Neil Gavin: Online Classes Superstar!


“I’m trying to do what I can to leave the world a better place for my kids, for the next generation.”

As a father of two young children and lover of all things outdoors, Neil Gavin cares deeply about learning about and protecting the environment around us — even when the pandemic had us isolated and often stuck indoors. Neil holds the honor of being the #1 most active participant in our suite of Online Classes since we launched them in 2020 in response to COVID-19 and the pause on in-person gatherings. When the pandemic hit and his family ended up sequestered at home, Neil registered for many virtual offerings, including Impact of Fires on Flowers, Living with Volcanoes and Hawk Migration, in order to have a connection with the larger world beyond our immediate neighborhoods. Neil has been able to have transformative learning experiences with us even when engaging with the natural world online!

While teaching people in-person at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center and in the field is our passion, our Online Classes have been a unique success because they are affordable, provide flexibility to fit into people’s busy schedules and folks from anywhere in the world can join us to learn about our special corner of the continent.

“It meant a lot to me to have access to this programming during the pandemic because I spend so many hours online managing multiple work teams,” he shares. “Even though these Institute programs are virtual, the subject matter helped me disconnect from my work in a way that felt as if I was in the North Cascades. The power of place came through in what the speakers shared – their knowledge and passion is so evident. The access flexibility and the variety of the topics spoke to me.”

As a donor to the Institute’s youth programs, Neil also walks the talk of doing what he can to ensure our work is equitable and available to a larger number of youth throughout the region, like our Youth Leadership Adventures currently out on the trail in the offline world. Thanks Neil!

I recommend the Institute’s online programs as a way to connect in the midst of a busy life with impactful topics that are both interesting and helpful to understand the issues, history, and science impacting the region. Not only do they provide good mental stimulation in these areas, they fire my imagination on how I can help do my little part in making this community better – and hopefully contributing in some small way to leaving the world a better place for future generations.


Oct 12: Trees of the West with M0lly Hashimoto
Oct 26: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing with Katharine Hayhoe
Nov 12: An Evening of Poetry with Rena Priest (free!)
Nov 20: The Art of the Map with Véronique Robigou

Visit our website for more information and to register at or call (360) 854-2499

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