Iona snapped a familiar righthand turn that seems to say "this way to snow!"

Winter 2021/2022 Photo Round-Up!

Before turning our lens to spring flowers and bursting leaf buds, let’s bring winter into focus with another round-up of staff photos. As the calendar flipped forward, we adventured near and far, worked hard to reopen the Learning Center for the start of 2022 programs, and welcomed new staff, new visitors, and new puppies! Thanks for coming along—please enjoy!

Winter Across the Region

Winter always adds a dramatic filter to our favorite views around the North Cascades and Institute staff brought home a gorgeous array of snowy pics.

Upon joining the Learning Center’s kitchen crew, Iona discovers her commute across Diablo Dam is pretty epic!
A snowy lane is picture-perfect through Jason’s lens, taken on a visit to his cousin’s North Bend winery.
Hannah’s continuing coverage of the rise and fall of the Skagit River shows a submerged shoreline behind the Blue House.
Catherine’s snowshoeing trip to Mount Baker took her up among the clouds for some dramatic views.
Mark captured this winter wonderland east of Sedro Woolley in the North State Recreation Area.
A placid January day for Stephanie’s drive to Deception Pass State Park.
A cozy cabin in Baring is where Kari weathered the late December-early January storm.
Christian captured the last sunset of 2021 from Post Point in Bellingham, looking towards Lummi Island across the Salish Sea.
Jason’s expansive view of Lake Whatcom from his Sudden Valley home.
A rainbow over Diablo Dam Road greeted Jodi on her February visit to the Environmental Learning Center.
MK and her constant companion, Juniper, check in on the winter views at Ross Dam.
Stephanie’s walking loop routinely takes her to Little Squalicum Beach for sunset views.
At the Lyman Mercantile, Darcie enjoyed how the sky seemed to open up through textured clouds.

Further Afield

Institute staff ventured far and wide this winter, visiting family and friends, recreating and exploring the “wild wonders” offered beyond our region.

Kate spent time hiking in southeastern Utah, southern Arizona, and among boulders at Chiricahua National Monument.
Have dog, will travel! MK adventured with her pup to Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, as well as Reno, Nevada.
En route to Virginia for the holidays, Aislinn and Michael stopped at the Seattle Aquarium to see the sights in their new home.
On Hannah’s winter trip to Wyoming, she completed a Wilderness EMT course, got out on skis (skate, classic and backcountry) and enjoyed amazing views of the Tetons and a sunset over the town of Jackson.
Tidal pools and sunsets galore on Kari and Tre’s Olympic coast adventure, backpacking north from Rialto Beach to the Norwegian Memorial. 
Seeking a sunny escape this December, Kim and Matt headed south to explore the Caracol Ruins of Belize.

Snow Days at the Learning Center

Snow! A marvelous accumulation of beautiful microscopic ice crystals—and the makings of a risk-management situation requiring shovels and the fortitude of Learning Center staff. A big THANK YOU to Alan, Chris, Mark, Aislinn, and Michael for making walkways safe on the eve of our first 2022 program!

A necessary implement for the snow-clearing operation. Photo by Jodi Broughton
Mark surveys the path he just finished and staircase he is about to tackle while Aislinn and Michael put some muscle into the work above.
Aislinn took a moment to catch her breath and document the drift sliding off the Main Office’s roof.
Jodi’s photo is a great visual aid showing one reason “roofalanche” guards are critical for campus buildings.
Speaking of snow… Chris has a tale to tell of a scary encounter with an avalanche on North Cascades Highway. We’re happy he made it home safe but with a damaged roof and front end, this truck is toast.

In the Kitchen

With the Environmental Learning Center kitchen back in operation for a new year of programs, let’s give a shout out to the creative crew who keep visitors and staff well fed in the dining hall: Chef Dan, Lead Cook Iona, Cook Dalton, and Seasonal Cook Olivia.

Jodi snagged Iona and Dalton for a photo amidst another successful lunch shift.
Freshly prepped ingredients are ready for the salad bar. Photo by Jodi Broughton
Dalton fries tortilla strips to garnish the day’s lunch offering, a gorgeous Tortilla Soup. Photo by Jodi Broughton
Jodi lends a hand in the kitchen, helping assemble Korean Pork Skewers for dinner.
Dinner is served, thanks to Chef Dan and his crew! Photo by Jodi Broughton
And dessert! Photo by Jodi Broughton

Nature Sightings

One might think of winter as a time when not much is happening in the woods. But as much as any season, winter has its unique magic and if we keep our eyes open, we can see that many curious things are happening.

Always watchful for signs like this, Alexa spotted otter tracks along Diablo Dam Road.
Who goes there? Jodi crossed paths with a raccoon on campus.
A troop of elfin saddle mushrooms spotted by Kim.
Kim also encountered this menagerie of moss and fungi on a log that doesn’t stand a chance.
Jodi took this incredible shot of 2 Bald Eagles at Semiahmoo Spit this January.
And a Black Oystercatcher.
As well as a Bufflehead Duck.


A feature dedicated to the canines in our lives has been long overdue in these photo round-ups. Our pups are loyal trail companions, foot-warming snuggle buddies, nearly tireless playmates, and truly, ridiculously cute.

Julie’s new puppy Arlo is “president of the puppy biting club and sometimes, in his free time, uses the bathroom indoors.”
Mark’s “mostly Malinois Shepherd” River, loves both snow and her ball.
Kim and Luna enjoy a clear day on Goose Rock Trail at Deception Pass, and some snow time before the melt.
More adventures with MK and Juniper: posing in front of a frozen waterfall in Reno, and catching some rays in Garland Park.
And just one more of Julie’s tuckered out Arlo.

Good Vibes

With staff dispersed between two work sites, many working from home, and others furloughed for the winter season, it’s great to see the smiling faces of our Institute community.

Tre, Kari, Alexa and Dan on the San Juan ferry, headed for Stuart Island to visit friends.
Catherine and friends enjoy a day of snowshoeing at Granite Creek Trail Connector near the Middle Fork River.
Alan!!!  A rare sighting of someone who works hard behind the scenes to keeps operations running smoothly. Photo by Saul Weisberg
Nice to see Saul at our Sedro-Woolley office for a photo-op with Pat.
Jodi stops for a selfie because it always worth the thrill when the dam is spilling!
Snorkeling off the coast of Belize is treating Kim and Matt just right.
MK looking refreshed and happy, hiking around the North Cascades near Ross Dam.
The Brandt Family posing with the cutest little graham cracker houses!


Aislinn and Michael keep spirits high while wielding shovels to clear campus walkways.
David Hall (architect of the Environmental Learning Center) joined Bec, Maria, and Saul for a wander through campus reflecting on the creation and evolution of this special place.
And lastly, some warm words from our friend and former Mountain School instructor, Imara.

Thanks for coming along on this seasonal photo round-up! If you missed the last one, check out our Fall 2021 photos. 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!


  1. Saul Weisberg

    It makes me happy to see all the people and places that are dear to my heart.

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