Grateful for Moments in Nature in a Challenging Year

“Gratefulness allows us to nurture a keener eye that no longer rushes past the small everyday moments that make up the larger part of our lives.”
—Guri Mehta

We at North Cascades Institute are grateful for thousands of small moments in nature this year that collectively foster growth, appreciation, understanding and environmental stewardship.

Moments such as:​​​​​​

▸ Local 5th graders exploring the forest and making memories with their classmates in Mountain School. “I learned more than you could possibly imagine,” said one student. “I learned that there is more than one type of moss. I learned that  not everything happens on a cellphone, it happens outside.”
Skagit Tours participants marveling at the landscape surrounding Diablo Lake, rubbing together mica-rich stones to imitate the minerals that lend the lake its distinctive color, catching a glimpse of Fremont Glacier and contemplating their role in our shifting climate.
▸ High schoolers forming a community despite cultural and language barriers, learning about their own leadership styles, discovering ways they can make a difference on climate change in their home community, all while canoe camping on beautiful Ross Lake with Youth Leadership Adventures.
▸ Adults using all of their senses to smell mushrooms at various stages of decay, look closely at gills with hand lenses, listen to the chalk-like crack of a Russula stipe, and feel the textural difference between pores and teeth on one of our fall mushroom Field Excursions.
▸ Hiking up to the Sourdough Waterfall behind the Environmental Learning Center, Boyz N The Wood retreat participants admiring the verdant forest and learning about the human and glacial forces that have shaped the water and mountains around them during their weekend exploring nature and building brotherhood.
▸  The more than 100 people — friends, fans and alumni alike — who joined us to celebrate John Miles’ new book Teaching in the Rain: The Story of North Cascades Institute at events at Village Books in Fairhaven and the Squalicum Boathouse on Bellingham Bay. (OK, these moments were actually indoors, but celebrated a book that is all about the power of learning and connecting in the outdoors!)

We’re grateful for hard-working staff, creative instructors, superintendents and teachers, government partners, a dedicated and talented board of directors, and YOU!

Thank you so much for participating in our programs, for your generous support, for your patience as the Environmental Learning Center closed due to the Sourdough Fire. We are so grateful for your steadfast belief in our mission to inspire environmental stewardship through transformative learning experiences in nature.

We hope you can take the time to nurture everyday moments—especially ones spent outside—that cultivate gratitude and joy.

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