Fall/Winter 2023/2024 Courses

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March Courses

The Good, the Wise and the Lusty: Women in Boccaccio's Decameron - Online

Zoom, 1 - 3 p.m.

Thursday March 14,
Thursday March 21,
Thursday March 28,
Thursday April 4

$96 for members, $128 for non-members

Course Description

Written for and dedicated to women some seven centuries ago, Decameron (c. 1353) has been both praised for its feminism and condemned for misogyny. In his capital work, Giovanni Boccaccio’s view of women has long been interpreted in various shades of gray. Enjoy shaping your own opinions as we read and discuss several emblematic novelle from this literary work.

The book contains 100 short tales told by a group of young women and men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the plague. Written in the Florentine vernacular, it is considered a masterpiece of classical early Italian prose. Ranging from the erotic to the comic to the tragic, these ground-breaking short tales encompass all of the human condition, both in Renaissance Italy and today. 

After exploring Decameron’s historical perspective, we discuss the plot and characters through a lens of recurring motives, including fortune, love and intelligence, focusing on the ambiguity of the adjectives good, wise and lusty. 
Recommended Text: The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio, translated by Wayne A. Rebhorn, W. W. Norton & Company. The required readings are emailed to registered participants in advance.

Instructor: Irena Stanic Rasin

Irena Stanic Rasin is a humanities scholar with a breadth of language-related interests, including authoring children’s books and serving as a translator. Currently an instructor with Arlington Community Education in Arlington, MA, Irena teaches courses in the language and literature of Italy. She holds an M.A. in English and Italian Language and Literature from the University of Zagreb in Croatia as well as an M.A. in Italian from San Francisco State University. She is currently a doctoral candidate studying Croatian Philology in the Intercultural Context at the University of Zagreb.

We are fortunate to welcome back Irena, who is presenting this class from Massachusetts via Zoom.

Climate and Biodiversity: From the Local to the Global - Online

Zoom, 10 a.m. - noon

Friday March 15,
Friday March 22,
Friday March 29,
Friday April 5

$96 for members, $128 for non-members

Course Description

Over four weeks, we engage with current policy and planning efforts pertaining to both biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation/adaptation. While these topics are quite broad, instructor Lauren Eastwood provides specific examples of policies (and urban/rural planning approaches) designed to address biodiversity loss and/or climate change.  

We consider the following questions:

  • How have human societies created circumstances that cause biodiversity loss and global heating?  
  • How has biodiversity loss been conceived of in both local and global terms? In what ways are local environments impacted by biodiversity loss? In what ways is this an environmental problem of global significance? How can we also look at climate change as having local and global dimensions?
  • What are some local/regional responses to biodiversity loss and changing climate? What do some case studies tell us about environmental values? What do they tell us about infrastructure and more systemic changes needed to address the problems?

Instructor: Lauren Eastwood

Dr. Lauren Eastwood has gathered ethnographic data over 25 years at more than 50 UN meetings in order to analyze the making of policy pertaining to climate, biological diversity, forests and Indigenous Peoples. She also engages in research on the increasing criminalization of anti-fossil fuel infrastructure activism. 

Dr. Eastwood is a Senior Researcher at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, where she leads the policy field of Global Governance of Climate Change and Sustainability.   

She is Chair of the Environment and Technology Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP). She is also Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

We welcome Dr. Eastwood via Zoom from New York.

April Courses

The Poems of Emily Dickinson - Online or In-Person

Zoom, Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 1 - 3 p.m.

Monday April 22,
Monday April 29

$48 for members, $64 for non-members

Course Description

Emily Dickinson is one of the most iconic and influential poets in 19th century America. This class dispels some of the myths about her, while offering new insights into this brilliant and fascinating poet.

We read her work in the context of religion and the Great Awakening in New England, and her family and relationships, including Susan Dickinson, the great love of her life. We also examine her treatment of madness and the Gothic. We look at her manuscripts and handmade chapbooks, and we consider her idiosyncratic method of literary production.

Instructor: Allison Giffen

Allison Giffen is a professor in the English Department at WWU where she specializes in 19th century U.S. literature and culture. She received her M.A. from Yale and her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She has published widely in her field, including the recent edited essay collection Saving the World: Girlhood and Evangelicalism in Nineteenth-Century Literature. She is currently at work on a new essay collection, titled The Biopolitics of Childhood, forthcoming from Rutledge Press. She is also the co-editor of the website Critical Childhood Studies: A Long 19c Digital Humanities Project (https://ccsproject.org).

Steelmaking and the Global Steel Industry

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 10 a.m. - noon

Wednesday April 10,
Wednesday April 17

$48 for members, $64 for non-members

Course Description

Since mid-2022, there has been controversy in Bellingham about noise created by the loading of scrap steel for export at the Bellingham port. Discussion has focused on how the Port agreed to the deal with ABC Recycling without consulting the affected neighborhoods or addressing other potentially negative environmental impacts of this agreement. As the involved parties work to resolve these issues, the rest of us can benefit by understanding the central role of steel and its life cycle in our economy and infrastructure. 

The context provided in this course helps us to consider economic and environmental trade-offs involved in the life cycle of this important industrial commodity, including:

  • The role of steel in the modern economy and global steel industry
  • The steelmaking process: From iron ore to steel and associated CO2 emissions
  • The science -- and the importance -- of recycling scrap steel
  • The impact of current US tariffs on imported steel
  • Discussion/Q&A

Instructor: David Wu

David Wu has a B.A.Sc. in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of British Columbia. He earned an M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto. David also holds an M.B.A. from Arizona State University and has more than 30 years of professional/executive experience in the aerospace industry. He comes to ALL most recently as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Iowa.

Immortal Heroines: A Few Significant Women in Religious History

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 1 - 3 p.m.

Wednesday April 10,
Wednesday April 17

$48 for members, $64 for non-members

Course Description

This is story time! This class tells the stories of the specific women who were connected and close to the prophets of four Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i Faith. Such women include, but are not limited to: 

• Miriam, sister of Moses 
• Mary Magdalen, disciple of Jesus
• Khadijah, wife of Muhammad
• Tahirih, Persian poetess and early Babi convert
• Bahiyyih Khánum, daughter of Baha’u’llah

Who were these women? Mothers? Wives? Sisters? Believers? Did they have anything in common? What role(s) did they play in their respective prophets’ lives? 

The class relates the stories of these women chronologically, starting with Miriam (Judaism), and ending with Bahiyyih Khánum (Baha’i Faith). All these women played a significant role in the early days of their respective religions. We highlight their lives, contributions to the spread of their faith and similarities in their stories and legacies.

Instructor: Lina Zeine

Lina Zeine was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, in a Baha’i family. At the time, the country practiced peaceful coexistence with a population of mostly Christians and Moslems and a small Jewish community. The Baha’i community was small and interacted with all faiths. Lina attended Christian schools with friends and classmates of all faiths.

After graduating from the American University of Beirut, she obtained her M.A. from the University of Colorado and her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. Lina retired as Professor Emerita from WWU’s department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Topics in religious history are her passion.

Women Who Run with the Wolves: The Passing of Knowledge and Wisdom to Girls and Women

Ferndale Public Library, 10 a.m. - noon

Tuesday April 16,
Tuesday April 23,
Tuesday April 30

$72 for members, $96 for non-members

Course Description

As wise women, we have invested so much of ourselves in the precious girls and women in our lives. Instructor Lois Moore invites us on a journey to explore the depth of feminine wisdom as one more gift to share with our daughters, their daughters and future generations. In these challenging times, let’s discover how we can help girls and young women find their paths to uncover their strengths and joys. 

We’ll draw stories from the work of Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., a renowned Jungian analyst, expert in the oral tradition, and author of Women Who Run with the Wolves. Stories hold extraordinary power. They sweep us up and quickly usher us in. They make the abstract concrete. Doors open where we saw only walls. Here we find ourselves -- and our treasures. 

Class is 65% lecture and 35% lively discussion. At the end of each session, thought-provoking questions are distributed for the following week’s reading. Bring your insights! We also include mini-talks on engaging girls and young women in Estés’s stories, which leads to broader discussion about listening and opening new avenues of communication with children, teens and adults. 

Join us! Meet the wildest of the wild women, stand in the presence of power and learn the nine tasks a girl/woman must master to attain full adulthood. 

In prep for class, please bring a copy of the book. Inexpensive copies are readily available online. If possible, read chapter one before the first session. 

Instructor: Lois Moore

Lois Moore has a Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Chicago. She holds a lifelong interest in the value of story, a tool that proved vital to her work with both children and adults. Her career focused on teaching in the humanities (secondary school through community college) and supporting children and families struggling with poverty, disabilities, serious health conditions and/or social injustice. Organizations served include Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco, the Milwaukee Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Treatment Center, the YMCA’s Africa programs, the Asia Foundation and Seva Foundation (working for health and the alleviation of poverty).

Wetland Amphibians

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Thursday April 18

$36 for members, $48 for non-members

Course Description

Spring is a time of inspired renewal. Frog choruses are part of this annual celebration!

Washington state is home to an incredible 26 species of amphibians, of which 11 are salamanders, one newt and ten species of frogs, as well as one species of toad on the wet, west side of the Cascades and Olympic Mountains. We discuss their field ID, adaptations, bio-ecology, habitat associations and then we go out on an easy field trip.

Join us to learn more about and to better appreciate these slithery sallies and happy hoppers!

Lecture: 10 to 11:30 a.m. with time for questions.

Lunch: noon to 1 p.m., options include a sack lunch that you bring from home or purchasing lunch at a restaurant downstairs in the terminal. Plan to return no later than 1 p.m. 

Field Trip: 1 to 2 p.m. Easy walk near the terminal. Dress for the weather. Rubber boots are recommended.

Instructor: David Drummond

David Drummond, wildlife biologist/naturalist, enjoys exploring the world’s natural and cultural history with you! David has been involved in ecological study since his youth. He wakes up early with the birds every day and works regionally as a wildlife biologist with the Coastal Forest Merlin Project, various natural resource agencies, NGO’s and as a naturalist on land and at sea around the world. He writes nature articles, enjoys creating poetry about his time with people and nature and is hard at work on a North American Merlin book project.

(Re-)Reading Virgil's Aeneid

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 10 a.m. - noon

Wednesday April 24,
Wednesday May 1,
Wednesday May 8,
Wednesday May 15,
Wednesday May 22,
Wednesday May 29

$144 for members, $192 for non-members

Course Description

In this course, we read (or re-read) the most famous work of Roman literature, the Aeneid of Virgil (70-19 BCE), which tells how a Trojan prince named Aeneas escaped the destruction of Troy and, after many wanderings, made his way to Italy, where Fate had decreed that he would fight wars, settle and become the ultimate progenitor of the Roman people.

In writing this poem, Virgil set himself the hugely ambitious task of becoming the Roman Homer, recreating (and in the process thoroughly transforming) the themes, style and literary conventions of the Iliad and Odyssey in a different language and in entirely dissimilar historical and cultural circumstances.

We read approximately three-quarters of the poem, in Robert Fagles’ translation (Penguin Classics, ISBN 978-0143106296). Handouts suggesting things to think about while reading are provided for each assignment; they also include brief summaries of those portions of the poem that we skip. Please come to the first session with book one already read.

Instructor: Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller was a professor of Classics at the University of Pittsburgh for 35 years. He is the author of From Delos to Delphi: A Literary Study of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo; Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation; and Pindar: The Odes. He taught extensively in lifelong learning programs at both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University; this is his 15th course for ALL.

Israel-Palestine from the "Peace Process" to the Gaza Wars

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 10 a.m. - noon

Monday April 15,
Monday April 22,
Monday April 29

$72 for members, $96 for non-members

Course Description

This course explores the last 30 years of Israel-Palestine’s history. After recapping the outcomes of the 1948 and 1967 wars that undergird the main debates of the contemporary period, it begins with an examination of the rise and fall of diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians and outlines why the 1990s peace process failed. 

We then turn to look at the two decades that have followed the collapse of serious negotiations, which have been subsumed in growing and re-current violence. This ranges from the second intifada (2000-05) to the five Gaza wars (2008-23), with a detour through the 2006 Lebanon War. The course includes a primer on Hizballah and its historical origins and program. 

The course looks at the challenge to, and growing eclipse of, secular Palestinian nationalism (represented by the PLO) and the rise of the Islamist movement Hamas. In parallel, it traces the downfall of Israel’s left, the growing clout of Jewish fundamentalism, the settler movement, the contentious tenure of PM Binyamin Netanyahu from 2009-21 and 2022-present and the capture by the right and the far-right of Israel’s government and its politics.

Instructor: Charles Anderson

Charles Anderson is Associate Professor of History at Western Washington University, where he has taught Middle Eastern history since 2014. A senior editor at Arab Studies Journal, his published work has received several awards and distinctions, such as the Elie and Sylvia Kedourie Prize for Outstanding Article for 2018 from the venerable journal, Middle Eastern Studies. 

His current book project, examining the Palestinian national movement and its independence struggle in the 1930s, has been supported by a Harry Frank Guggenheim award. 

Professor Anderson’s recent publications include the introductory essay to an essay collection on the 2021 Gaza war (published in Arab Studies Journal) and When Palestinians Became Human Shields: Counterinsurgency, Racialization, and the Great Revolt (1936-39), in Comparative Studies in Society and History (2021).

Master the Art of Seeing... Continued

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 1 - 3 p.m.

Tuesday April 30,
Tuesday May 7,
Tuesday May 14,
Tuesday May 21

$96 for members, $128 for non-members

Course Description

Drawing is a visual language. Understanding how we process this visual information is the key to developing drawing skills.

Through a series of drawing exercises, we discover the way to unlock our individual potential to draw realistic subjects. In this course, we explore how to make marks, discover the value of contour lines and learn the importance of sketching an underdrawing.

We also practice how to site an object, develop a drawing, then create and complete a composition by employing several artistic elements and techniques. We see how a simple pencil and pen can be used to create a still-life masterpiece!

In this course, we build on skills taught in an earlier course by this name, but the first Master the Art course is not a prerequisite for this continuation course.

Materials Required:

  • Sketch book (8" x 10" or larger [12 available for $5])
  • White polymer eraser
  • #2 pencil
  • Black ballpoint pen
  • ...Openness to creative possibilities!

Instructor: Trisha Dawn Coggins

Trisha Dawn Coggins is an art educator, designer, sculptress and photographer with a BFA from West Chester University, Art Teaching Certification from the Moore College of Art and Design and a master’s equivalency in fine arts from McDaniel College. She has designed, developed and taught classes throughout Whatcom County.

May Courses

Themes in Philosophy II - Online

Zoom, 10 a.m. - noon

Friday May 3,
Friday May 10,
Friday May 17,
Friday May 24

$96 for members, $128 for non-members

Course Description

We continue to explain and discuss more fascinating themes in philosophy -- let’s gear up for another philosophy buffet! Topics include the philosophy of democracy, religion and politics in America, human rights theory and application, religion and human rights and civil disagreement.

Why has democracy become popular in the modern world? How do religion and politics overlap in the United States? What are the boundaries of human rights? Is religion good or bad for rights? And how can we have meaningful conversations with people who disagree with us about things that matter? 

David addresses these questions and more. Themes in Philosophy I is not a prerequisite.

Instructor: David E. Smith

Dr. David E. Smith grew up in the world of fundamentalist Christianity. As an adult, he gradually moved away from that perspective and became a religious progressive/skeptic. After earning an M.A. in philosophy of religion and serving as an urban law enforcement officer, he received a second M.A. and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Temple University in Philadelphia.

David currently teaches for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington and offers courses in religion and philosophy at many different venues through his Beliefs and Ethics Seminars. He has published in these areas as well. His mission is to empower people to think for themselves about things that matter.

We are pleased to have David return via Zoom from Seattle.

Masters in Glass: Glassmakers in the Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco Periods - Online

Zoom, 1 - 3 p.m.

Friday May 3,
Friday May 10

$48 for members, $64 for non-members

Course Description

The glasswork of the Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods is among the most elegant and extravagant in decorative art history. The prolific glass designers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries -- Louis Comfort Tiffany, John La Farge, Émile Gallé, Jean Daum and René Lalique -- exemplify the outstanding contributions made to works of art in glass during this period.  

Their opulent designs in stained glass vases, goblets, lamps and other objets d'art set artistic standards in creativity, beauty and luxury in glassmaking. The course explores the lives of these artists as trendsetters surrounded by the social and artistic influences of these periods.

Note: We are also offering a hands-on class, Easy-to-Create Faux Stained Glass, with Jeff Eastman so you can design and produce a masterpiece of your own after taking Eleanor’s inspiring course!

Instructor: Eleanor Schrader

Eleanor Schrader holds an M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She has done graduate work in Fine and Decorative Arts at Sotheby’s in London and New York, and in Architectural History at USC. This architectural historian and award-winning educator is Professor Emerita of Art and Architectural History at Santa Monica College; she has also been named a Distinguished Instructor of Design History at UCLA Extension. Schrader lectures worldwide on the history of architecture, interiors and decorative arts, and she leads art and architecture tours around the world.

We are pleased to have Eleanor, our architectural historian, return via Zoom from southern California.

The Exploration of Mars

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 2 - 4 p.m.

Wednesday May 8,
Wednesday May 15,
Wednesday May 22

$72 for members, $96 for non-members

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the planet Mars, focusing on how we know what we know about the red planet. We survey major spacecraft discoveries and exploration history. We also review the current state of knowledge about the big questions: 

  • Was there ever life on Mars?  
  • Could there be life on Mars now? 
  • What would it take for humans to live there in the future?

Instructor: Melissa Rice

Dr. Melissa Rice is a Professor of Planetary Science at Western Washington University, where she has held a joint appointment in the Geology Department and the Physics and Astronomy Department since 2014. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University in 2012, and she was a NASA Astrobiology Institute Postdoctoral fellow at Caltech from 2012-2014. 

Her research focuses on the history of Mars, and she and her students are part of NASA’s active Curiosity and Perseverance Rover Teams. Specifically, she works with the Mastcam-Z cameras, which are the scientific eyes of the Perseverance Rover. She also manages a reflectance spectroscopy laboratory facility at WWU. When she’s not exploring Mars, she enjoys traveling and exploring the best planet in the solar system: Earth!

Easy-to-Create Faux Stained Glass

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 10 a.m. - noon

Tuesday May 14,
Tuesday May 21

$48 for members, $64 for non-members

Course Description

From show-stopping window designs to gorgeous glass art accents, this course shows you how to create realistic-looking stained-glass works of art. No artistic talent required -- just a desire to create something new.  

Here is your chance to make two of your very own unique stained-glass pieces without having to purchase a variety of tools and glass, cut and grind glass pieces, work with lead, or solder pieces together. Instead, you use Gallery Glass stained-glass paints along with rubber-like faux lead lines to create realistic-looking stained-glass items that impress family and friends.  

The creative process is simple: You select a pattern template that appeals to you, tape it behind a clear plastic surface, apply the rubber-like faux lead lines to outline where the different colors are going to go and then simply fill in the spaces between the lines with one of six colors that come as part of your kit. When the colors dry, your creation resembles textured stained glass held together by pieces of lead. Gallery Glass stained-glass paints can be used on a variety of surfaces including mirrors, plastic surfaces, decorative glass bottles, vases, jars, windows and more. 

We developed this hands-on class as a follow-up to our Masters in Stained Glass course for your enjoyment, but you may elect to take Faux Stained Glass as a stand-alone class. Register early to create your own masterpiece! 

Course format:  

  • In the first session, you are given your materials and shown how to use them. You are then given time to decorate two plexiglass shapes.
  • The second session requires you to bring in an item you want to decorate. This could be a framed piece of glass, a large sheet of plexiglass, a vase, a mirror, or other item -- you decide! You use your kit materials from the first class as well as your patterns to help with this latest creation.

There is an additional materials fee of $45 for this course. Details are provided in course confirmation.

Instructor: Jeff Eastman

Jeff Eastman was a teacher for 44 years, 42 of which were spent teaching the children of U.S. military personnel stationed overseas. He has always loved making things and now utilizes his skills to build sets and props at the Bellingham Theatre Guild and occasionally at local schools. He has made a wide variety of real stained-glass pieces, but he was very pleasantly surprised when an 85-year-old lady introduced him to Gallery Glass, the safer, cheaper, faster way to create pieces that very closely resembles the real thing.

Neotropical Bird Migrants

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Thursday May 16

$36 for members, $48 for non-members

Course Description

Before you awaken in the wee hours of an early summer day, neotropical migrant and resident birds are singing their beautiful songs! Busy to the max with establishing a territory, finding a mate, building a nest, locating food to raise the family and defending their space.

We learn to identify by sight and sound some of our local denizens on a field trip which provides insights to better appreciate these feathered friend’s bio-ecology.

Lecture: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with time for questions.

Lunch: noon to 1 p.m., options include a sack lunch that you bring from home or purchasing lunch at a restaurant downstairs in the terminal. Plan to return no later than 1 p.m. 

Field Trip: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Easy walk near the terminal. Dress for the weather. Rubber boots are recommended.

Instructor: David Drummond

David Drummond, wildlife biologist/naturalist, enjoys exploring the world’s natural and cultural history with you! David has been involved in ecological study since his youth. He wakes up early with the birds every day and works regionally as a wildlife biologist with the Coastal Forest Merlin Project, various natural resource agencies, NGO’s and as a naturalist on land and at sea around the world. He writes nature articles, enjoys creating poetry about his time with people and nature and is hard at work on a North American Merlin book project.

Viticulture: The Science Behind a Glass of Fine Wine

Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 1 - 4 p.m.

Thursday May 23

$36 for members, $48 for non-members

Course Description

This three-hour course explains the scientific principles underlying grape production. We explore the fundamentals of grape growing and vineyard establishment, including the distribution of wine grapes and wine-producing regions around the world; botany (plant taxonomy, anatomy and morphology) and physiology of grapevine; soils and climate; cultivars, hybrids and rootstocks; vine training and canopy management; propagation; diseases; composition of grape berry; and harvesting. Specifically, Dr. Bondada covers: 

Botanical description of grapevine 
Vegetative and reproductive structures
Growth characteristics of grapevine
Grape species, clones, cultivars and rootstocks
Annual growth cycle of vine

Physiology of grapevine and berry 
Chemical composition of grape berries and fruit quality
Berry maturity and harvest parameters
Photosynthesis and respiration

Grape production and vineyard practices 
Site selection, climate and soil
Planting and training young grapevines
Grape pest and diseases 
Yield and yield components, crop level/load, harvesting  
Vine propagation
Basic principles of pruning, irrigation and canopy management

Instructor: Bhaskar Bondada

Dr. Bhaskar Bondada is an associate professor of viticulture engaged in research, teaching and extension activities in support of the Viticulture and Enology Program located at WSU Tri-Cities. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas in agronomy in 1994. His research focus is grapevine physiology, with both basic and applied research geared to address the goals and trends of the wine industry. Dr. Bondada’s work has been published widely, and he has lectured frequently at major national and international conferences.

This course is offered in coordination with the ALL Excursion to Lake Chelan, in Washington wine country, in June 2024.