Rainbow over mountains with Lake Diablo in the foreground
Photo by John D'Onofrio

June 2019 Photo Round Up!

Summer is officially here, schools out, and it’s time to get to the mountains! We’re all ready for a busy season full of programs like Family Getaways, Base Camp Learning & Lodging, Skagit Tours, Adult classes and a wide array of conferences and retreats. Have you made plans to join us this year? Check our online calendar to see all of the different options for engaging with us!

Here’s a look back at the past month of programs and activities at North Cascades Institute!

In June, we celebrated Pride Month! North Cascades Institute strives to inspire & empower everybody to build a relationship with the natural world! We believe that diversity is a source of resilience and that the outdoors are for all people.

Up at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, our staff have been training new instructors on everything from walkie talkies to canoe safety, to hosting a very special tribal listening session with guests from the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Eastern Band Cherokee and Upper Skagit Indian Tribe.

Larry Campbell of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Dr. Michelle Montgomery of Haliwa Saponi/Eastern Band Cherokee
Many thanks to Larry Campbell of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Dr. Michelle Montgomery of Haliwa Saponi/Eastern Band Cherokee and Scott Schuyler of the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe (not pictured).

Our staff are grateful for their valuable time at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center for a day of listening and learning last week. We are committed to being responsible stewards of the knowledge and lessons shared, and to building reciprocal relationships with our sovereign neighbors.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the training for our seasonal instructor team:

Participants are in for a treat! Here is some of what our summer instructors have been learning this month.

At the end of May, we held a Spring Birding in the North Cascades weekend class based at the Learning Center with excursions to Rockport, Marblemount, North Cascades National Park and the Methow Valley.

Migrant songbirds being the unofficial harbingers of spring, Libby Mills guided a group of avid birders across the Cascade Mountains to meet some of these feathered heralds. From the middle reaches of the Skagit River to the base of Patterson Mountain, the flock traveled, caroused, and learned together. Meals were taken at the Learning Center Dining Hall, and folks woke early in order to hear the local vocalists. In addition to the class Aves, colorful spring flora and a few insects made appearances!

—  Evan Holmstrom, Program Coordinator

Adult participants watch instructor Libby Mills as she teaches abour birding in a forest
Instructor Libby Mills led our annual birding weekend on both sides of the Cascade Range

Our awesome kitchen team recently produced food for a weekend-long Korean themed menu to celebrate two of our recently married friends. Featuring as much local and organic produce as possible, one of the big stars of the weekend were the strawberries they served from Nelida at Pure Nelida Farms.

Pure Nelida Farms

Nelida has a few methods she’s developed for watering and irrigating that produce the sweetest, most delicious strawberries I’ve ever had. I think lots of other folks in attendance that weekend would agree.

Nelida works hard to grow enough produce to share with community members throughout our Foodshed.

— Learning Center Head Chef, Justin Daniels

To learn more about Nelida and find out where you can buy the best strawberries you’ve ever had, check out her website: https://purenelida.wixsite.com/pure

We’re also preparing for the first Youth Leadership Adventures group of students to arrive….

Our Youth Leadership Adventures 2019 crew are busy at the Environmental Learning Center getting ready for the first wave of high school students and trips into the North Cascades backcountry!

…and assisting our Graduate M.Ed. students as they transition into exciting summer Leadership Tracks with the Institute, National Park Service and Youth Conservation Corps. The photos below are from their Spring Natural History Seminar in the Methow Valley, taken by Cara Stoddard.

Graduate students observing a big in the woods

Graduate students sit in the forest while talking and learning

Graduate students in a field using binoculars to make observations

Dr. Don Rolfs, native bee biologist observes a critter in the forest
Dr. Don Rolfs, a native bee biologist, shares his knowledge with graduate students.

In other news, we’re thrilled to be partnering with Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to run the gift store at their Heather Meadows Visitor Center — come in to say hello, and pick up books, maps and souvenirs this summer, knowing that your purchases help support youth programs on public lands! (If you can’t make it to our stores, you can shop online too.)

We're thrilled to be partnering with Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest – US Forest Service to run the gift store at…

Posted by North Cascades Institute on Saturday, June 29, 2019

Okanogan Upward Bound spent a week at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center in June. They are a high school group of students preparing for a future in college. Here are a few scenes from their week of exploring, learning and connecting with this special place….

A group of youth observe a mushroom while learning from an instructor
Students make observations of fungi. Photo by Kiley Barbero
A group of youth pose near a waterfall in the North Cascades
Okanogan Upward Bound youth pose at the Sourdough Creek Waterfall. Photo by Kiley Barbero
Youth on a canoe with instructor leading on Diablo Lake
Okanogan Upward Bound taking off on a canoe trip to explore Diablo Lake. Photo by Carson Yach
Youth in a classroom acting out scenes from an environment
Students presented a self-directed play to illustrate being a part of the forest environment. Photo by Carson Yach

Also joining us for a retreat in the North Cascades, a group from Everett Community College enjoyed wonderful early summer weather during their own canoe trip on Diablo Lake.

A group of adults taking in the beauty of Colonial Peak from a canoe on Diablo Lake
Photo by Carson Yach

Concluding the Youth Ambassadors program for 2019, students from Concrete and Sedro Woolley visited the Community Boating Center in Bellingham to experience kayaking and explore Bellingham Bay. Ambassadors shared a closing ceremony to reflect on the program and look toward their bright futures!

Teen poses smiles into camera in front of a boat shed at Bellingham Bay

Last but not least, Graduate M.Ed. students and staff Addie, Cara and Matt hiked to Hidden Lake Lookout in the North Cascades and camped out a couple weeks ago, enjoying the views and last remnants of snow.

Two adults pose at the top of a snowy mountain
Addie and Matt at Hidden Lake Lookout. Photo by Cara Stoddard

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look back at an action-packed, inspiring month of learning, adventure, community and fun in the North Cascades! Sign up for our monthly newsletter or follow us on Facebook to learn about how you can join us in the mountains.


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