March 2020 Photo Round Up!

Signs of Spring in the North Cascades

As everyone can agree, so very much has happened this month. Since we’re all hunkered down in our homes and neighborhoods practicing good social distancing behavior, it’s a great time for an Institute Photo Round-Up to show you what has been happening in the North Cascades and Skagit Valley! Please enjoy this peek into life at the Institute as we welcome the new season in our favorite place, the beautiful North Cascades. 

Photo by Sarah Meyer
Photo by Jillian Ross
Photo by Alexa Brandt
Photo by Emilee Carpenter
Photo by Katie Manz

In another blog post, our Learning Center staff have shared some Spring Observations from Lake Diablo about what has been happening in the natural world around the Learning Center.

Closing the Environmental Learning Center

While navigating the disappointment and difficulty of the abrupt closure of our Learning Center, and the early conclusion of our Spring Mountain School session, our awesome staff worked hard to sanitize, organize, and generally put things in order so we’re ready to come back strong.
Assistant Program Instructor Jessica Rodriguez-Ramos is serious about cleaning. 
The Mountain School gear closet looks satisfyingly neat and tidy, ready for students’ return this Fall!
Mountain School Instructor Bre Harris takes this opportunity to get the library in order.
Senior Program Instructor Alexa Brandt finds an old friend while tidying up the classrooms.
Before shuttering the doors of the Learning Center kitchen, staff processed a bounty of organic produce intended for Mountain School and other Institute programs. Applying the theory of “eat what you can and can what you can’t” to every bit of perishable food in the coolers, the Kitchen is well prepared to hit the ground running once programs resume.
Photo by Chef Justin Daniels
Photo by Chef Justin Daniels
Turning local produce from our Foodshed Initiative into yummy preserves for later! Photo by Chef Justin Daniels
Photo by Chef Justin Daniels
Mr. Pickles, one of our talented cooks in the kitchen, works to remain sane in uncertain days. Photo by Chef Justin Daniels

Stocking Up

Meanwhile back in Sedro-Woolley, things are getting nutty for our Retail staff as we hope for the seasonal re-opening of our gift shops in and around North Cascades National Park. Unpacking boxes and preparing new merchandise are a lot to keep up with! Visit us in one of our 6 shops later this year, and till then you can find unique gifts, North Cascades apparel, and a curated selection of books in our online gift shop.

New merchandise arrives every week, creating box walls like this in our Sedro-Woolley warehouse. Photo by Brenda Martinez
We know exactly where everything is—really, we do! Photo by Brenda Martinez

Cohort 18 Graduation

Bundled up on a chilly day, a brave group gathered at Zuanich Point Park to honor the achievement of our 18th cohort of Graduate M.Ed. students finishing studies in environmental education. Our heartfelt congratulations go to Adam Brayton, Matt Ferrell, Nicola Follis, Spencer Gee, Dianna Green, Thumper Ormerod, Christine Sanderson, Chris Williams, and Carson Yach.

Photo by Jodi Broughton
Photo by Jodi Broughton
Photo by Jodi Broughton
Photo by Jodi Broughton

Getting Out on the Water

Mountain School Instructors Sarah, Bridget, Bre, Bernt, Alexa, Lindsay, and Emily took advantage of unexpected free time by setting out for a group paddle on Diablo Lake. Before going on furlough, they also created some wonderful Mountain School at Home lessons and activities for us to share. We hope these will inspire students of all ages to continue to learn about the natural world and discover new connections to the outdoors from home. Thank you, Instructors!

Photo by Sarah Meyer
Photo by Sarah Meyer
Photo by Sarah Meyer
Photo by Sarah Meyer

Working from home

The necessity of social distancing from colleagues comes with the silver lining of working in our slippers, home-cooked lunches, and being surrounded by our favorite human and non-human families.

School Day Programs Coordinator, Abby Sussman takes a cozy break to read with her 3-month-old son.
Mari Schramm runs some ideas by her German Shepherd Maggie while the two work from home.
Emilee Carpenter works on the ELC’s Bird Saver project, helping our feathered neighbors avoid windows on campus.
Senior Program Instructor Kari Paustian takes a break to snuggle with this fuzzy co-worker.
In Calvin Laatsch’s living room, Terry and Peach seem to really understand each other.

Mount Baker Snow School: That’s a wrap!

Mount Baker Snow School was able to host almost all of its scheduled school sessions before coming to a close this Spring. If you missed it, this wonderful program was covered in the Skagit Valley Herald. Thanks to all our volunteer instructors and great partners, Northwest Avalanche Center, Mt. Baker Ski Area, and Western Washington University.




See more Mt. Baker Snow School photos on our Flickr page

Thanks for coming along on this photo round up! As always, we invite you to share your own adventures with us—please reach out to us at and your pics just might appear in our next round up!


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