We'll show you our classroom, if you show us yours!

Snowshoeing Winter ELCFollowing our winter break, the North Cascades Institute graduate students were stuck downriver by mudslides, avalanches and washouts. When the roads were cleared, we had one day to prepare for a weekend retreat with 40 apprentices, instructors and graduate students from two leading environmental educations centers in Western Washington.We shoveled walkways, cooked food, cleared trails and prepared the lodges at the Environmental Learning Center for their much anticipated arrival.

An introduction icebreaker….literally

It turned out to be a fabulous way for us to bring in the New Year with a housewarming party of 40 plus nature-loving educators!!!  

ie_canoe-0021Beautiful day for exploring; Colonial Peak in the background.

The 3rd annual Instructor Exchange between Wilderness Awareness School, Islandwood and North Cascades Institute proved to be during the sunniest weekend yet in Western Washington this winter. Luckily for all involved, the graduate students at North Cascades Institute made getting outside to explore and show off our “classroom” a top priority. Snowshoe adventures to the waterfall, stargazing strolls along the lake, snowy explorations to sunny vistas and of course the mandatory eagle watching on the Skagit made for a fantastic weekend.Besides showing our guests the best of what winter in the North Cascades has to offer, we enjoyed communal meals and late night campfires, sharing songs, stories, experiences and fun.

p1030358Snowshoers on the way back down from the waterfall

In a few weeks Wilderness Awareness School and Islandwood will be returning the favor by hosting all instructors and graduate students at their facilities.We hope to continue fostering these new friendships, learn fun fresh teaching tricks, share inspiration and focus our positive energy on the mission of conservation through education.

img_7960Spotting Eagles on the Skagit River

Special Thanks to Nate Summers of Wilderness Awareness School and Soren Burns, Greg Schayes and David Cook of Islandwood for help in organizing this great exchange of knowledge and friendship.

Photo Credits:
Snowshoeing pictures by Jenny Frederick
Spotting Eagles and Icebreaker by Meghann Willard
Colonial Peak by Aneka Singlaub


  1. Jenica from C5

    After helping to organize the first NCI/IslandWood/WAS instructor exchange in 2007, I am sooooooooo happy to see that the tradition has continued! Speaking from experience in “the real world,” it’s very helpful to have been exposed to a variety of teaching methods and program models. Good work everyone!! Hip hip horray!!

  2. Jewell Engholm

    That is totally cool that you found a cougar track… thats no comparison to the rubber mold of a bobcat I maade prints with… Where at did you find these? Is is somewhere you take trail groups to? That would’ve been cool for the BOBSCATS of Birchwood to see…
    Jewell Engholm of Birchwood and the BOBSCATS

  3. Jenna

    I had a fun time at mountain school. I loved seeing the Bobkittie whith you’re group but you’re group would’ve scared it off if tenisha haden’t seen it first (Most’ve been the extra carrots!!)

  4. Jewell

    Wow! Thats really cool how you guys found a cougar track. Thats a way bigger achievment than when we got rubber molds and I made bobcat tracks.
    Jewell the BOBSCAT and the Birchwood student

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