written and filmed by Giorgie DePaolis, AmeriCorps Food Educator

Winter can be painted as a dreary time, a time of hibernation and patience. But we say it doesn’t have to be!

As much as the winter months of frost inspire stillness, so many evergreen berries show off just how hardy they are these months. They contrast the deep greens of conifers and faded browns of twigs with oranges, reds, deep purples, and fluffy whites. Some are truly berries, like the berry of the evergreen bearberry bush, and some just look like it, such as the winter-hardy rose’s accessory fruit.

If Zoom classes get too draining and you feel like there’s nothing outside, try taking a walk with a household member around Lake Whatcom or the hatchery by Whatcom Creek. The outdoors contain so much color through winter berries and the video above shows how to use them to bring light into our homes.

Remember! While foraging, two important guides should be followed!

  • First, don’t eat anything you foraged!
  • Second, try not to pick more than 10% of the plant’s abundance.

These are to keep you safe, and keep Bellingham’s natural art safe too!


Written instructions: 

1. Gather your materials: needle, berries, and thread.
2. Measure out between 1-2 yards of thread, considering that the length of the thread will be halved once threaded through the needle. Cut thread at this measurement. (Feel free to eyeball-it, too!)
3. Thread measured thread through the eye of the needle, tying the two ends of the thread at the opposite end of the needle.
4. Start to poke the tip of the needle through as close to the center of the first berry. Pull the berry all the way to the tied-off end of the thread.
5. Repeat step 4 until all the berries are gone or until thread has 2 inches left showing.
6. Take scissors and snip thread as close to needle as possible. Tie the two loose ends together in a double knot.
7. Hang and admire!