Congratulations Jon Riedel!

North Cascades Institute heartily congratulates our friend Dr. Jon Riedel of North Cascades National Park. Last week, National Park Service Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz  announced the 2012  Awards for Natural Resource Management and Riedel, based in Sedro-Woolley, was rightly recognized. Here’s the official statement on Jon’s award, followed by some appreciations written by staff and students of the Institute who have worked with Jon in the field over the years…

Dr. Jon Riedel, North Cascades National Park geologist, has been recognized for three significant accomplishments. First, he led the team that, over the course of four years, developed the Stehekin River Corridor Implementation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. This comprehensive planning effort uses the best available science to protect natural and cultural resources, support the private community of Stehekin, and establish sustainable administrative facilities – all while continuing to provide high-quality recreational experiences for the public. Second, he developed the landmark North Cascades Glacier Monitoring Program. This program, which is in its 20th year, has set the standard for glacier monitoring in the National Park Service and is at the forefront of understanding the impacts of climate change on the North Cascades ecosystem. Third, he has passionately served as a teacher and mentor. He uses his extensive professional knowledge to serve as an informative and entertaining instructor for youth and adults. He also inspires youth to consider science-based careers through his work with the North Cascades Institute, including the nationally renowned Cascades Climate Challenge.


“Jon is one of those rare scientists who is also a superb teacher and mentor. He has been inspiring people since I met him in the mid-80’s—with his unique blend of enthusiasm, deep curiosity, academic rigor, and a love for this special part of the world. I remember one of his early presentations on glaciers in the North Cascades. After a thorough introduction to the science, he moved us with a series of amazing mountain images combined with music. He speaks to both head and heart, and both at a high level. It’s been an honor to work with him over so many years.” – Saul Weisberg, Executive Director

“The highlight of my experiences with Jon was on one of our hikes up the Easton Glacier moraine. We were hiking up an active streambed when, with the students, Jon discovered a tree buried above the side of the stream. This was real-live geology in-action! He told the students that this tree was the kind of glacial evidence he has been looking for for years. When we returned the next day, the second group of students, helped him take a sample of the wood to get tested. In my experience, every student that has had the chance to spend the day with Jon walks away with a much greater understanding of the bigger picture of climate change, and is inspired by his instruction, experience, and engaging presence.” – Kate Rinder, Lead Climate Challenge Instructor
“Jon has inspired over 130 Cascade Climate Challenge students over the last 4 years and 25 public school teachers learning about place-based Climate Communication in North Cascade Institute’s Climate Change Teacher Workshop. What sets Jon apart is his amazing ability to explain complicated and controversial concepts like Glacial retreat, Milankovich cycles, and Solar flares, then relate them to on-the-ground research to audiences young and old, scientific and non-scientific. Each year Jon negotiates rain, sleet, or snow to bring youth leaders to the toe of the Easton glacier from Schreiber Meadows up Railroad Grade. We have had groups yearning for shade on the dry dusty moraine while others were snowshoeing atop feet of snow while trapped in a cold, misty cloud.…both experiences were in July. His calm voice, comfort in the mountains, and depth of knowledge in climate science, geomorphology and current glacier research has these young minds drooling with aspirations of emulating Jon’s path through life. He was even asked for his autograph this year by a few students who thought of him as a climate change movie star.” – Aneka Singlaub, Climate Challenge Coordinator
“As a northwest coastal girl I have grown up appreciating the beauty of the land around me. I have grown to love the ecosystems and to think of them as part of our community. A unique experience in the North Cascades National Park during the summer of 2010 helped focus my values and goals, forever entwining environmental conservation and science into my life…. After reaching the edge of a moraine on a hike beneath the summit of Mount Baker, our group was able to look down the carved valley where a glacier once slid past. It was the most eye-opening experience to sit on the edge of a moraine, something I could only vaguely visualize from a text book, while Jon Riedel, the Glaciologist leading us, explained glacial patterns, natural ice and warming ages, and the effect of glaciers on the watershed. He pointed out how scientists were able to gather data from glaciers, and how data from the past can be compared to the present to support climate change theories. This hands-on experience of using science to work towards the solution of a problem, in this case, global climate change, has inspired and kindled my decision to pursue a degree in a scientific field.” – Amelia Fitch, Cascade Climate Challenge participant 2010, Astoria OR

Leading photo by Jack McLeod; Baker photo by Christian Martin; others by Kate Rinder.


  1. Aneka

    Jon is an amazing educator and scientist, big congratulations on this well deserved recognition.

  2. Elisabeth Keating

    I really enjoyed my day spent with Jon and the Climate Challenge students on Mt. Baker a couple of years ago, which I documented in this Chattermarks blog post. He makes very technical info accessible to non scientists, and his passion for the North Cascades is inspiring. Congratulations Jon!

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