Valley kids learn about natural connections at Mountain School
Fifth-graders return to North Cascades Institute
Years ago, Methow Valley fifth-graders began attending Mountain School, an environmental education program offered by North Cascades Institute (NCI) in partnership with North Cascades National Park. Held at the Environmental Learning Center on the shores of Diablo Lake, Mountain School is a three-day program that gives each student 26 hours of learning about the natural world — the equivalent of one month in their science class at school.
“Through hands-on activities, students are connected to the natural and cultural history of our region, form connections with their classmates and the environment, and sharpen their understanding of their own identities and discover their place in the world — as someone intricately connected within the web of all living things,” NCI says.
Two weeks ago, after a two-year COVID hiatus, Methow Valley fifth-graders were back at Mountain School. The students were accompanied by three fifth-grade teachers — Jane Orme, Brooke DeVlieg and Sabrina Freedman — as well as six chaperones. Although they registered as a single large group, they spent their days in four smaller groups of about 15 each.Each day the groups hit the trail, stopping en route for learning activities. Orme said, “All of the activities infused relationship building, with respect for self and the environment.”
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* photos included here are not from the Methow Valley sessions
You can support local 5th graders having meaningful experiences in Mountain School by giving a year-end donation today: ncascades.org/donate