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Get married in the heart of the North Cascades!

January 16th, 2015 | Posted by in Institute News

By Andriana Fletcher, Group Rentals Coordinator

Imagine mountains high above you while standing on the wooded shores of the glacial blue Diablo Lake. The warm sun setting and your family and friends surrounding you as you say, “I do” in the heart of the North Cascades.

Sarah and Andrew Chaplin’s wedding weekend took place on Aug. 8-10, 2014. Photo by Paul Joseph Brown.

 At the Environmental Learning Center, you can host your very own green wedding. We offer an all inclusive venue that includes lodging, custom homemade meals featuring local foods from the Skagit and Methow valleys, guided naturalist activities, as well as an onsite coordinator to help you plan your special wedding weekend.

We offer guided big canoe trips on Diablo Lake. We have two big canoes for 16-20 guests. Photo courtesy of Dan Weber

We offer guided big canoe trips on Diablo Lake. We have two big canoes for 16-20 guests. Photo by Dan Weber.

Weddings at the Environmental Learning Center are ideal if you and your significant other are looking for a destination venue for your guests to relax, enjoy and experience. Surrounded by old growth forests and the vibrant turquoise Diablo Lake, you and your guests can explore the beauty of the North Cascades during your stay by hiking along one of the series of trails connected to our campus or by getting in a big canoe that fits 20 of your guests to see incredible views of mountain peaks.

We host weddings with a maximum of 86 guests. Our friendly and courteous staff will help from start to finish as well as educate guests about the local landscape. Our onsite chefs create delicious, gorgeous meals with fresh ingredients and the best part: you get to work directly with our head chef to make sure you get the custom meal you want at your wedding.

View a slideshow and learn more at or take a look at the digital copy of the 2015 Seattle Bride Resource Guide, featuring the Environmental Learning Center!


Rebbeca Sudduth and Dan Weber were married at the Learning Center Aug. 22-24, 2014. Photo by Teri J. Pieper.


The Environmental Learning Center provides the location, lodging, food, staffing and support you’ll need for your wedding. Other items provided are:

  • Bed and bath linens for you and your guests
  • Exclusive use of classroom space for setup and storage
  • An optional guided naturalist hike
  • Onsite host to make sure your needs are met

Our onsite chefs make sure you experience incredible fresh flavors during your wedding.  Photo courtesy of Teri J. Pieper (

Our onsite chefs make sure you experience incredible fresh flavors during your wedding. Photo by Teri J. Pieper.


Interested in getting married at the Learning Center? Here are the dates available for 2015:

  • September 4-6
  • September 11-13
  • September 18-20

Summer is the perfect time for an outdoor wedding! Our amphitheater and outdoor spaces are perfect locations for all your friends and family gather for your ceremony.  Photo courtesy of Paul Joseph Brown

Summer is the perfect time for an outdoor wedding! Our amphitheater and outdoor spaces are perfect locations for all your friends and family gather for your ceremony. Photo by Paul Joseph Brown.

If you have another date in mind, don’t hesitate to ask! Feel free to contact our Group Program Coordinator, Andriana Fletcher, with any questions: or 206-526.2565.

See you in the North Cascades!

 Top photo by Don Tredinnick.
praying mantis k. renz

Nature Namaste: Retreats with Maya Whole Health Studio

June 9th, 2014 | Posted by in Institute News

Snowy mountains, old growth forests, wholesome food, s’mores and yoga.

How could you go wrong with a combo like that?

Maya Whole Health Studio is hosting their series “Yoga, Nature & More: Refresh Your Perspective” retreats at the Environmental Learning Center this summer and fall through North Cascades Institute’s Group Rentals Program. They are a fantastic group of instructors and health practitioners from Renton, WA who are devoted to the well-being and enjoyment of their participants.

Not only are the retreats located in one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest, but guests are well taken care of while staying at the Environmental Learning Center. Maya Whole Health’s owner, Shannon Aldrich-Payne, and instructor, Kristen Swanzy-O’Conner, created the three-day, two-night retreat around meditation, yoga, reflection and experiencing the surrounding nature. Spending a weekend with them is relaxing and rejuvenating.

Exploring and learning about the immediate environment is the mission of North Cascades Institute. While staying at the Environmental Learning Center, our expert naturalists lead guests on a guided hike in North Cascades National Park. Participants experience the wilderness by learning about the local flora and fauna, observing the natural beauty of the mountainous North Cascades and visiting a breath-taking waterfall.

Food is another passion for North Cascades Institute. Our chefs make sure no one leaves our historic lakeside dining hall hungry by preparing flavorful, delicious, local, organic meals that can accommodate any dietary need (and there’s plenty of dessert too!).

cake betsy AndrianaDid someone say, “dessert”? Enjoy scrumptious meals at the Learning Center like this creation by our very own Chef Betsy. It’s a dairy-free, gluten-free delicious chocolate cake. Photo by author.

In addition to our naturalists and chefs, there is always an on-site host for Group Rentals to help guests and the program. Just like Maya Whole Health Studio, the North Cascades Institute staff is dedicated to making sure everyone thrives during their time here.

Ready to sign up for a retreat weekend with Maya Whole Health Studio? Below are the summer retreat dates and click here to register online or contact their studio:

June 13-15

July 2-4

Mark your calendars for their fall retreats too:

October 3-5

November 28-30

There are other Group Rental Programs that you can sign up for as well! From hiking adventures to wilderness medical trainings, visit

Or learn how you can host your own event at the beautiful Environmental Learning Center by contacting Andriana Fletcher, Group Program Coordinator, or 206-526-2565.

See you in the North Cascades!

IMG_5472Is there anything more epic than a glaciated valley in the North Cascades to inspire you to become more flexible and grounded? Likely not. Photo by Samantha Hale.
Leading photo: This praying mantis is a natural yogini. Photo by Katherine Renz.
Andriana Fletcher keeps the Environmental Learning Center bustling with diverse groups of people in her position as the Group Program Coordinator. When not in the North Cascades, she can probably be found in Croatia.




Diablo Lake overlook, North Cascades Highway

The inside scoop on group rentals

May 26th, 2013 | Posted by in Institute News

So, what are Group Rentals?

Great question! In a nutshell, it’s a unique program that gives you the opportunity to create your own custom event at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center.

If you’re in search of a venue to host your next business conference, board retreat, wedding or most any other kind of gathering, the Learning Center is the perfect location. Our sustainable, Silver-LEED certified Learning Center is more than simply a place. It’s a retreat inside a national park, surrounded by snowcapped peaks, old-growth forests, glacial lakes, and a stunning display of biodiversity

learning center at night


» Continue reading The inside scoop on group rentals