A meeting of minds, a sharing of ideas

In cultures around the world, oral tradition plays an important role in teaching people about the world around them. Through storytelling, elders can warn listeners of potential dangers, teach the medicinal uses of native plants and the importance of ecological balance, explain cultural norms and portend consequences of breaking mores.
This tradition exists at North Cascades Institute as well, in the form of natural history presentations from one graduate student cohort to another. Cohort 10 has been living and learning in the North Cascades for over a year now, and its members have become knowledgeable naturalists and skilled educators. Cohort 11 students began classes in Bellingham in June, and will begin their yearlong residency with North Cascades Institute in late August. The overlap between cohorts in the summer is one of the biggest strengths of the graduate program, as it allows time for each of the “elders” in Cohort 10 to share knowledge with the incoming students. While each student had a particular natural history topic they chose to teach, through the design of their presentations, they also shared teaching techniques, inspirational stories and sage advice. Perhaps more importantly, they helped connect the incoming students to this place through their passion to live, learn and teach in the North Cascades.

Jess Newley shares ideas with the group. Students take part in storytelling near Rainy Lake (above)
Students take a closer look at spores with Cece Bowerman
Codi Hamblin shares her knowledge about corvids near Cutthroat Lake
Students map out corvid ranges with Codi’s guidance
Students learn about soil composition from Stephanie Pate in the old growth forest along Thunder Creek
Kate Rinder journals with cohort 11 students about wolverines and climate change near Rainy Lake


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