Mountain School: Leveling the Playing Field for Environmental Education
Mountain School is our 28 year-old residential education program at the Environmental Learning Center in the heart of North Cascades National Park. Over 3 days, students spend 60 hours learning about ecological communities with their classmates, teachers, and parent chaperones. Hands-on, interdisciplinary experiences connect students to the natural and cultural history of our watershed.
For most, this is the first time they visit a national park, spend a night away from home, and discover the connections between their lives, communities, and the environment.
Mountain School 2017 Program Report
In the past three years, we have experienced increasing demand for Mountain School, which is now full with a growing waitlist. In 2017, we evaluated audience prioritization. Recommendations include:
- Increase impact by deepening curriculum integration with schools
- Support equity goals by serving full school districts
- Extend program season to serve more students
Benefits of serving full school districts: increases equity, stabilizes participation to improve planning, magnifies long-term impacts, strengthens curriculum integration, and deepens community engagement with the North Cascades ecosystem.
68% of participating teachers have attended for 2+ years
53% of teachers integrate Mountain School curriculum year-round
Every year, we compile statistics on the school and communities served through this partnership program. Our 2017 Mountain School Program Report was published on April 25, 2018 and can be viewed below.
Mountain School program outcomes serve as the pillars for the curriculum and structure of students’ trip, they include:
Connection to nature and fellow classmates through cooperative learning
Inspiration to continue learning and connecting with public lands and the natural world
Knowledge of North Cascades ecosystems and the scientific process
Supporting schools in meeting state and national education standards
We prioritize participation of full local school districts and subsidize costs on a sliding-scale, based on Federal Free & Reduced Lunch percentages. We provide clothing and nutritious, locally-sourced meals.
- $325 cost to North Cascades Institute per participant
- $124 average paid by schools per participant
- 11% English Language Learners
- 36% identify as People of Color
- 16% Special Education students
- 16 communities served in the North Cascades Ecosystem
- 2,423 students and 469 teachers and parent participants
- 49% Title 1 low-income schools
- $451,000 of tuition was subsidized by Institute fundraising
To learn more about how you can get involved or make an impact, please visit our Support page
For more Institute reports from this and previous years, please visit our Accomplishments and Reports page