Happy 30th Birthday Mountain School!
2020 marks the 30th anniversary of Mountain School! Over the past 29 years, more than 30,000 youth from Northwestern Washington State have traveled up the Skagit River on Highway 20, past bald eagle sentinels and berry farms, to experience an unforgettable three days and two nights in the mountains with their school class, teacher and chaperones. Mountain School is offered every spring and fall in cooperation with North Cascades National Park to introduce students to the ecosystems, geology and natural and cultural history of the mountains that exist practically in their backyard.
We know from interactions with 29 years of Mountain School alumni that this educational program has been a transformative experience for so many people in our community. We want to hear YOUR stories! Students and teachers: Please share your favorite Mountain School memories in the comments below…
My first experience was that my son and husband were in one of the very first Mountain School experiences (maybe the first?) in the old army tents at Newhalem. But my favorite Mountain School story stems from a Hispanic student I worked with at the elementary school I worked at. She wasn’t going to go. I said she would love it and it would be such a great experience for her. She said, “What if I get lost?” I said you can hug a tree and they will find you. She told me she didn’t even hug her dad, why would she hug a tree? The young lady had a very difficult home life and never smiled and was usually negative about everything! I convinced her to go and loaned her warm clothing, sleeping bag, etc. After the three day experience, I was waiting for her at school and I will never forget the look on her face. The biggest smile I had ever seen on her face! I truly believe for 3 days she was extremely happy and able to relax and enjoy herself. Mountain School made a difference in her life, at least for those three days.
— Patricia Jorgensen