Photo Roundup: April 23 2017

April 23rd, 2017 | Posted by in Life at the Learning Center

Every Sunday I will be posting photos collected from various NCI graduate students and staff. Please enjoy this glimpse into our everyday lives here in the North Cascades.

Photos by Kay Gallagher

The appearance of the sun at the North Cascades Institute Environmental Learning Center, has been a rare treat this spring. Last weekend, we had a few beautiful days of sunshine and everyone went out to soak up that vitamin D! Our on-campus graduate students kicked off their Easter with a gorgeous paddle around Diablo Lake.

A rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus). Photos by Kay Gallagher

This little one and some friends have been hanging around the lilac bush in front of graduate housing in Diablo, anxiously waiting for it to bloom. Fun fact: a group of hummingbirds can be called a shimmer, a charm, a bouquet or a hover!

Beaver signs near Cascade River. Photos by Calvin Laatsch

Conference and Retreats Coordinator, Calvin Laatsch, saw some pretty distinct beaver markings on this tree along the Cascade River in Marblemount. Beavers, (Castor canadensis) cut down trees, shrubs and other available vegetation for food and building material. Beavers are considered ecosystem engineers – their dams slow the flow of water in a stream, creating wetlands which many native North American fauna species rely on. Dams also slow the movement of nutrient-rich sediment in a stream, causing it to build up in a pond. These sediments not only provide food for creatures who live at the bottom of the pond but also enriches the soil once the water drains away!

This week, Seattle City Light opened a flood gate on Diablo dam to let out excess water from the spring melt. Students walked onto the dam to learn the history of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project and see the water cycle in action. Photo by Angela Burlile

A highlight for many students in the Wolverine trail group was our Sit Spot activity. Done each day, students are asked to find a peaceful place somewhere along the trail and to sit silently, making observations about the natural world around them. Photo by Angela Burlile

It was a gorgeous, sunny day on Friday and Lincoln Elementary School took full advantage of the clear skies and sweeping views of Pyramid and Colonial Peak for this group photo. Photo by Angela Burlile

Mt. Vernon’s Lincoln Elementary School arrived on Wednesday to participate in our Mountain School Program. Students explore how all parts of the ecosystem are interconnected through lessons and activities on the trails surrounding our Environmental Learning Center.

Graduate students, Rachael Grasso and Smokey Brine, identifying plant species along the Diobsud Creek Trail in Marblemount. Photo by Angela Burlile

Blooming falsebox (Pachistima myrsinites) along Diobsud Creek Trail. Photo by Angela Burlile

Skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanum) was found in the pond just west of Thunder Arm along Highway 20. Photo by Dan Dubie

The western trillium (Trillium ovatum) was found in the deep forest up Diobsud Creek last Monday. Photo by Dan Dubie

Signs of spring are emerging all around us! As the days get longer and warmer, grads and staff are getting out and enjoying the clear trails once again. What changes are you noticing?

Planting at the Confluence Garden work party this Sunday. Photo by Angela Burlile

This Sunday, the Confluence Garden in Marblemount held their first work party of the season. Owned by North Cascades Institute and run by volunteers, staff and graduates – this space is designed for teaching, learning and growing community.  Beds were tilled, seeds were planted and the barn was cleaned and organized!

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