As today marks the last day of 2016, what better place than Chattermarks to look back at the memories and highlights of the year here at the North Cascades Institute. I have only recently joined as a contributor to the blog and many of the posts this past year were submitted by guests, naturalists, C15 graduate students and Ben Kusserow – our previous blog editor who left intimidatingly large shoes to fill! Before I started the graduate residency program, I frequently came to Chattermarks to get a better idea as to what my life would be like in the upper Skagit and the work being done by the Institute. The first hand narratives, naturalist tidbits, and expertise of all these contributors painted a rich picture, helping to prepare me for this year of living in the North Cascades. I hope you’ve found their contributions as helpful and informative as I did. Enjoy this look back at 2016!
One last group photo before these 5th graders head back to Bellingham after three days of Mountain School.
In my mind there isn’t a program at NCI that can compete with the energy and enthusiasm of Mountain School. Hundreds of students from all over the state participate in the program during fall and spring, spending three to five days exploring the trails and learning about mountain ecosystems through interdisciplinary activities.
- We always hope that when the students leave, they are taking with them positive and lasting memories. This year, instructors shared some of the letters they received from students in the post, “Dear Mountain School,” affirming our hopes.
- In October, we were all excited to see Mountain School in the cover story of National Geographic. The article highlighted the importance of getting young people and people of color into our National Parks.
Photo courtesy of Ben Kusserow, from his natural history project on bats in the North Cascades National Park.
2016 was full of educational opportunities here on Chattermarks. If you feel like your naturalist skills could use a brush up or you just want to learn something new, look no further. This year seemed to have a little bit of everything, from fungi to fire lookouts.
- Mike Rosekran did an incredible six part series on grizzly bears in the Pacific Northwest. Read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI.
- One of the graduation requirements for the M.Ed Graduate Residency Program is a natural history project completed in the spring. This year, graduates shared their work with insightful posts that highlighted their topic of choice. Read about subalpine and alpine wildflowers, beavers, lichen (Part I and Part II), loons, bats (Part I and Part II), western red cedars, fire lookouts, wolverines, urban foraging, plant phenology, the social lives of trees (Part I Part II and Part III) and bioregionalism.
- What do you do when you find a dead bobcat in your shed? One of my favorite posts by graduate student Holli Watne answers this question in Skinning for Science: A Bobcat Case Study