The merry (and busy!) month of May

This month, our 25th anniversary year really starts hopping with a wide range of public events, field excursions, readings, open houses and the first family getaway of 2011. Here’s a round-up of what we’re doing — read on and see how you can plug in.
May 6: Book release party for Ana Maria Spagna’s Potluck: Community on the Edge of Wilderness
Reading, book sales and hor d’eouvres at the Libation Station in Mount Vernon, 5 pm, free!
May 7-8: The History of the Legendary F-Style Mandolin with Stan Miller and John Reischman
Join Bellingham resident and master luthier Stan Miller as he shares his experiences in constructing of one of the most revered stringed-musical instruments ever developed. In our first-ever musical Sourdough Speaker event, mandolin legend John Reischman (Tony Rice Unit, The Jaybirds) will join Stan to demonstrate the range of sounds that these exquisite instruments are capable of producing. As Stan tells the fascinating story of the mandolin in words and images, John will provide a soundtrack of tunes, techniques and commentary.
May 12 (Seattle’s Town Hall) and May 13 (Bellingham’s Sehome High School): Richard Louv
Hear the author of the best-selling book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” introduce his latest publication, “The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder.” The Seattle event will feature an environmental education fair with over 20 organizations and a special on-stage conversation between Louv and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist William Dietrich.
May 12 and May 14: Mountain School Open House
Join us to learn more about this award-winning residential environmental education program Thursday, May 12, 9am-4pm or Saturday, May 14, 9am-4pm. We’ll meet at our office in Sedro-Woolley and travel up the Skagit River together to our wilderness campus for a tour of our LEED-certified facility and a chance to meet Mountain School staff. Thursday attendees will have the opportunity to observe the Mountain School program in action. We’ll provide a hot lunch in our Dining Hall and organize transportation.
May 14-15: Naturalists’ Delight: Spring Magic in the Methow
Join us for a weekend outdoor adventure with local naturalist Dana Visalli, editor of The Methow Naturalist and an attentive resident of the Methow for four decades. Meandering through the aspen-laced hills with all of our senses open, we’ll learn the basics of identifying the bewildering array of plants, mushrooms and mosses at our feet, while keeping an eye to the sky for birds, butterflies and bugs.
May 20-22: Learning Center Stewardship Weekend
Join the National Park Service and Institute naturalists to tend to native flora and the habitat surrounding the Learning Center. You are invited to form a relationship with this piece of the planet by contributing to its well being by way of shovel, shears and some elbow grease. We’ll have a variety of projects for all abilities and we’ll provide all of the tools too. Your hard work will be rewarded when our talented kitchen staff serves up hearty and delicious meals. After a satisfying day of giving back to the earth, give yourself a treat and head out for a sunset stroll, relax in our library or spend an evening around the campfire sharing stories of this place. $50 suggested donation.
May 24: Wendell Berry in Seattle
Critics and scholars have acknowledged Wendell Berry as a master of many literary genres, but whether he is writing poetry, fiction, or essays, his message is essentially the same: humans must learn to live in harmony with the natural rhythms of the earth or perish. Join North Cascades Institute and Seattle Arts & Lectures for our annual “Wilderness and Imagination” event at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall.
May 28-30: Memorial Weekend Family Getaway
As spring emerges in the mountains with longer days and explosive green growth, gather your family in the North Cascades for a slate of engaging, hands-on activities including big canoe paddling, hiking local trails, outdoor games and nature crafts, campfires at nights and delicious meals in our lakeside dining hall.
And coming up in June….
June 3-5: Spring Birding Weekend
Discover the diversity of avian life that wings into the Pacific Northwest every spring during its annual migration from Mexico and Central and South America to summer grounds in the north. Joining expert birders Libby Mills and Tim Manns, we’ll gain deeper awareness of those wonderful creatures that bring beauty and song to our days. We’ll explore forests, meadows and mountain streams in the Methow and Skagit valleys, spending the first night at the Learning Center on Diablo Lake and the second night camping in the Methow Valley.
More programs, information and registration at or (360) 854-2599.

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