Summertime at the Institute
Learning can feel a lot like play around here—that’s true all year long, but especially in summertime! It took real hustle to create those experiences this season and still, we found ourselves in the middle of some beautiful moments with each other and participants. We heard kids laughing at some unnamed silliness up the trail, and marveled at big views unfolding through the trees. We squinted at the sun sparkling off the lake and felt the shock of ice-cold water splashing off oars. Feet up, we relaxed with friends after a belly-filling meal and watched the campfire spark and spit … we were, and are, here for all of this!
Youth Leadership Adventures
“Never in a million years did I think I would do a trip like this and it has been the best 9 days of my life,” said one student, summing up the impact of another Youth Leadership Adventures season. All said and done, these high schoolers canoed 82 miles, hiked 46 miles, and completed 608 hours of service projects while sustaining no injuries and building skills and community along the way. As their trips concluded, students met adults from our community to talk about what they learned from each other, how their confidence as leaders grew, and what a hopeful and just future looks like in their eyes. Thank You! to the students, donors and YLA crew who make these experiences possible!
Day Programs at the Learning Center
Hiring challenges dramatically changed our summer plans, but we prevailed in connecting people with nature at the Learning Center. Instructors drew on their creativity and expertise to host interactive learning opportunities like Super Salmon in the Skagit, Skullz & Trackz, and Falling for Waterfalls. It was literally all hands on deck for the launch of a canoe program that offered guided Diablo Lake adventures for walk-up visitors. Staff also provided interpretive services aboard the Diablo Lake Ferry, talking with passengers about the area’s natural and cultural history.
August Family Getaway
What a joy to host a Family Getaway this August at the Learning Center! No doubt, our visiting families brought home life-long memories—thanks to the enthusiasm, stamina and creativity of our summer instructors and coordinators, tasty meals served up by the new kitchen team, and attentive support from our hospitality and behind-the-scenes staff. Everyone enjoyed Family Getaway classics like Big Canoe excursions, North Cascades Jeopardy, the costume parade and talent show, and a campfire with s’mores at day’s end!
Boxes, boxes, and more boxes. Summer is always a whirlwind for our Retail team operating North Cascades National Park gift shops, but 2022 gave us a season for the record books! Long lines of visitors snapped up souvenirs to remind them of their North Cascades adventures—patches, stickers, mugs, and super cute bobcat finger puppets. But most impressive in numbers sold were the T-shirts, with more than 9,000 flying out the doors!
This summer’s classes and field excursions took learners to distant corners of the region. Mari Schramm brought wildflower enthusiasts to Stevens Pass, an ideal setting to learn flower identification in July. Students joined Andy Porter at Artist Point on a moonless night to capture dramatic images of the Milky Way over Koma Kulshan and Mount Shuksan. Bob Gillespie’s pollinator workshop met at WSU’s Research Center in Mount Vernon to net and identify active pollinators while touring the gardens. Where will we go next? Learn about future field courses in Field Notes, our monthly enewsletter.
We packed in so much over 3 short months. And somehow on top of all these programs, the incredible Learning Center staff also helped host several private conferences and weddings. (Is there a more spectacular place to pledge one’s love than in the North Cascades?) There’s much to feel proud of—thanks for taking a tour of this summer’s best!