Goodbye Saul, Hello Bec!

Change is in the air at North Cascades Institute this year — as the pandemic recedes, the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center reopens and we welcome nearly 25 new staff hires to our community — but also with Executive Director Saul Weisberg’s retirement on June 30, 2021. Weisberg was one of the Institute’s co-founders in 1986 and stewarded the Institute through tremendous growth and expansion over the past 35 years

“Finding the next leader for North Cascades Institute is a significant milestone, as Saul has served as the organization’s Executive Director since the beginning,” remarks Sterling Clarren, Chair of the Institute’s Board of Directors. “His long-planned retirement for 2021 coincided with a time of great societal and organizational change – as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and a troubled economy, with an urgent focus on racial justice and the climate crisis. While the challenges ahead are great, so are the opportunities.”

Rebecca (Bec) Detrich was chosen by the Board of Directors as the Institute’s next Executive Director after a six-month, rigorous worldwide search process. Among the qualities that the Board admired in Bec were her leadership experience and deep knowledge of Residential Environmental Learning Centers, experience working successfully with federal and state partners, and her career-long emphasis on community engagement and inclusion. She began working alongside Saul this May.

Bec most recently served as Executive Director for Trips for Kids Marin in San Rafeal, CA, where she led a culturally-diverse 26-person staff spread across multiple sites. She has also worked as Director of Education/School Programs at Westminster Woods in Occidental, CA; Adjunct Graduate Instructor for the Global Field Program at Miami University, and Field Science Education Manager for NatureBridge at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA. Bec received a BA in Environmental Science from Willamette University, a MA in Biology from Miami University and MBA from Sonoma State University.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be joining a strong, dedicated, and creative crew of educators, innovators, naturalists, artists and outdoor adventurers!” Detrich says. “For many years my professional mission has been to develop an environmentally conscious global community while promoting equity and inclusion of all people. Therefore, to join a community that is dedicated to creating a more inclusive and welcoming learning environment is exceptionally exciting.”

Read more about this exciting transition and what is in store for the future of North Cascades Institute and environmental education in the Pacific Northwest in this new story from Whatcom Talk, written by legendary local journalist Margaret Bikman:

 “I’m fascinated, in awe of, and humbled by the epicness, beauty, complexity, and diversity of the North Cascades ecosystem. I want to learn more, explore more, and work in service of this exceptionally special place.” — Bec Detrich


Leave a Comment