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NC Wild and Kulshan Creek come together for stewardship

October 6th, 2012 | Posted by in Life at the Learning Center

The Kulshan Creek Neighborhood from Mount Vernon joined up with North Cascades Wild students on August 16th for a day of stewardship on Baker Lake.

The last session of NC Wild, and my last event with the Kulshan Creek Neighborhood Program this year, was an event to put in the books. Next to the three-day Kulshan Creek Mountain School in July at the Environmental Learning Center, there has been no other Kulshan Creek event to match the laughter and good times of this particular day!

The day began when staff and donors from the Institute and Forest Service employees met with the NC Wild crew to share brief introductions and an overview of what promised to be a fabulous day. When the kiddos from Kulshan Creek showed up and introductions were over, we split up into different task groups and got to work right away! Under the guidance of the NC Wild students, the Kulshan Creek kids, Institute staff, donors, and US Forest Service employees were all put to work to do some good stewarding on Lower Sandy Campground in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

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Butterflies and Bee Bowls – Citizen Science in the North Cascades

October 4th, 2012 | Posted by in Field Excursions

Now that it is autumn, I find myself reflecting on all of the incredible Citizen Science opportunities of this past summer season. I remember that with summer came the presence of some of the most beautiful creatures – butterflies! The Cascades Butterfly Project is just one of North Cascades Institute’s numerous Citizen Science projects that are presented in conjunction with North Cascades National Park Complex (NOCA) for individuals interested in assisting in valuable scientific research and giving back to their public lands through volunteer work.

During the height of this past summer, Cascades Butterfly Project volunteers participated in a free training that focused on identification and introduced them to the most common species of butterflies found in the North Cascades. After the initial training, everyone went outside to test some of the field research techniques in order to get comfortable with the process. Then, throughout the summer, happy volunteers were out walking transect lines to collect data at various locations throughout NOCA and Mount Rainier National Park (MORA).

In early August, I had the chance to participate in one of these butterfly field days at Cascade Pass. It just happened to be one of those days in the North Cascades that turns out to be absolutely perfect! Great weather, sunshine, low wind, and, to top it all off, really awesome people. The process of identifying butterflies while they are “on the wing” is actually quite fun, and the butterfly researchers from the Park were able to do it with no problem. There were two groups of us walking a transect line that follows the Sahale Arm Trail, butterfly nets in hand, making an entertaining spectacle of ourselves for fellow hikers! The first group saw 18 butterflies and the second group found 23! Most of them were only identified to species, but that alone can tell us so much.

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A Snowy Exchange with Environmental Educators

February 1st, 2012 | Posted by in Graduate M.Ed. Program

“We need someone to plan the second portion of our three part Instructor Exchange with the graduate students and teaching apprentices from IslandWood and Wilderness Awareness School immediately after winter break.”

 Um, okay.

In less than two months, three novice event planners would host a group of 60 environmental educators at their secluded home in the mountains. What now? Dreams and plans, of course!

This meeting of the minds happened January 14th – 16th at the Environmental Learning Center tucked up in the splendor of the North Cascades National Park. We are lucky to have a landscape here along Diablo Lake that is quite beautiful and unique – our own special place we call home and love to share with others. This was the driving undercurrent behind what we hoped our weekend would be together.

Some friends from IslandWood and Wilderness Awareness School exchange exclamations during a breakout session. Photo by Jess Newley.

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