From North Cascades Institute

Search Chattermarks

North Cascades on Instagram



Celebrating 30 & 100 Years Birthdays!

March 9th, 2016 | Posted by in Institute News

As we ready for our 30th spring and summer of offering outdoor explorations and learning adventures in the North Cascades, we acknowledge another important anniversary too: the Centennial of the National Park Service! On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that created the agency that today stewards 410 units, of which 59 are national parks. We are fortunate in Washington State to have three of the best ones! Learn more at and

We’ll be celebrating this important milestone this year by co-presenting Terry Tempest Williams reading from her new book The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks at the Mount Baker Theater on June 15 and hosting a free Anniversary Picnic at the Learning Center on July 17. North Cascades National Park has a slate of special offerings too, including a NatGeo Centennial BioBlitz May 20-21 and a Centennial Photo Scavenger Hunt; learn more on their website.

In other news, we just opened for registration two dozen more Learning Center classes and Field Excursions on our website, including Hart’s Pass Wildflowers, Backpacking for Women, Hawkwatching at Chelan Ridge, Ross Lake Canoe Adventure and several photography and geology classes. We are also signing folks up for Family Getaways, Base Camp (check out our new online calendar of available dates) and Skagit Tours. View the calendar below to see what’s coming up, visit or call our friendly registrars at (360) 854-2599 for more information and to sign up.

2016 Learning Adventures: Now Registering!

April 22-24: Ross Lake Revealed: Exploring the Drawdown by Canoe
April 29-May 1: Skagit Canoe Adventure
May 7-8: Exploring Yellow and Jones Islands by Boat and Boot
May 8: Snakes and Amphibians of the Methow Valley
May 14-15: Exploring Sucia Island by Boat and Boot
May 20-22: Stewardship Weekend at the Learning Center
May 27-29: Blockprinting and Bookbinding
May 28: Sauk Mountain Wildflowers
June 3-5: Wild Edibles on Lopez Island
June 3-5: Spring Birding East and West of the Cascades
June 10-12: Watercolors in the North Cascades
June 10-12: Adventures NW Photography Workshop
June 18: Geology: Cinder Cones and Crater Lakes of Mt. Baker
June 24-26: The Artful Map
July 1-3: Fourth of July Family Getaway
July 8-10: Best Hikes of the Cascades I
July 8-10: Beaver Ecology in the Methow

Many more classes, pricing and registration at >>

Teacher clock hours, scholarships, student and military discounts and academic credit may be available >>

Mail Attachment

Naturally Wonderful Naturalists: New staff of 2016

March 7th, 2016 | Posted by in Institute News

As the snow is melting and the trees are budding, our Naturalist Team is getting ready for teaching in the mountains. At the North Cascades Institute‘s Environmental Learning Center the Senior Naturalist and Lead Program Assist will help guide the five new Naturalist Field Instructors over nine months of teaching in the mountains.

During the spring and fall of 2016 these naturalists will educate elementary through high school students in our Mountain School program about the numerous interactions in the surrounding ecosystem. During the summer they will be leading high school students on back country trips through our Youth Leadership Adventure program. Throughout their time here they will also have opportunities to lead Skagit Tours; a tour of Seattle City Light’s Skagit River Hydroelectric Project.

We look forward to their energy and enthusiasm in the variety of ways they will teach about the North Cascades!


Max Thomas

Max isn’t new to North Cascades Institute, but is taking on a new role with us. After 2 previous years as a seasonal naturalist, Max has moved into the Senior Naturalist position. This position supervises the naturalists and provides leadership and mentorship in our education programs, with a focus on Mountain School, Family Getaways and Basecamp. Max was raised in Minneapolis and went to college at the University of Minnesota Duluth where he received a degree in Outdoor Education. Chinese Teapots Wholesale Chinese Teapots Amber Spiral Bracelets
During college he found a variety of passions in the forms of canoeing, hiking, backpacking, snowboarding and cross-country skiing.  After college Max worked as an interpretation ranger in Glacier National Park.  The beauty rocked his socks off.  After 4 years in Montana, the Cascade Mountains called his name and has found a new home in the Evergreen State.  The beauty is still rocking his socks off.  When he isn’t playing nature games with fifth graders or camping in the mountains, Max can be found fiercely rooting on Minnesota sports teams.

» Continue reading Naturally Wonderful Naturalists: New staff of 2016


Thank you, North Cascades Institute. Sincerely, a loving intern

September 4th, 2013 | Posted by in Life at the Learning Center

A group of Base Camp participants, Carla (a fellow summer naturalist), and I piled into a North Cascades Institute vehicle one morning in August. We were in search of amphibians at the famed “Ag Ponds” near Newhalem. Carla knew where we were going…kind of…with directions from a graduate student tucked into her brain—“A gravel road on the right with a signed gate, about a mile or so East of the Visitor Center.” As we happily drove on the chilly morning over to Newhalem, it really hadn’t crossed my mind that we could run into anything but a great day. I trusted in Carla (as I always do) that the directions she had would be clear.

Aha! A gravel pull off, about a mile from the Visitor Center, on the right! We pulled in, unloaded the bus of people and our fancy, giant water nets, and began walking down the trail. “A 10-minute walk to some gravel pits,” she said. I was at the back of the group and was focusing on a “piggyback” plant with another participant. I heard Carla call my name so I stood up…and saw that ahead of us was a gun range. Targets lined the edge of a clear-cut far in front of us, speckled with bullet holes. My stomach dropped to my feet as I quickly scanned the area for people. (I think it is safe to say that this shooting range is quickly on its way to becoming ancient—it’s overrun with tall tanzy and young alders and thankfully, no recent sign of humans.)

» Continue reading Thank you, North Cascades Institute. Sincerely, a loving intern

Extended value gift certificates: $100 value for only $80!

December 3rd, 2012 | Posted by in Institute News

In the spirit of giving back to all of you who have supported us over the years, as well as to encourage new friends, North Cascades Institute is pleased to offer extended value gift certificates during this holiday season. These limited edition gift certificates offer $100 value for only $80 and can be used toward 2013 Institute programs.

We’ll also include a package of our blank note cards featuring art from Molly Hashimoto, Chinese Teapots Wholesale Chinese Teapots Amber Spiral Bracelets
John Cole and other artist friends of the Institute.

Share your love of the Pacific Northwest with friends, family and other loved ones by giving them a gift that will enrich their lives and provide a way to get outdoors in a meaningful way. Gift certificates can be used for Institute tuition-based programs including Family Getaways, Base Camp, Field Excursions, Learning Center classes and other offerings (not valid for Skagit Tours, bookstores or youth programs).

And yes, it’s okay to gift yourself too!

To take advantage of this special limited time offer,

1. Call our registrar at (360) 854-2599, or
2. Email, or
3. Stop by our Sedro-Woolley office at 810 State Rt 20, Sedro-Woolley WA 98284, 9-4 M-F.

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, cash and personal checks. This is a limited time offer valid through December 20, 2012. For holiday arrival, please purchase by December 17, 2012.

We look forward to talking with you soon!

Join us this summer in the North Cascades

July 20th, 2012 | Posted by in Institute News

The glorious summer weather that makes Western Washington one of the best places in the country to be finally arrived on July 4! North Cascades Institute is offering programs to people of all ages every day of the week at our Learning Center, on Diablo, Ross and Baker Lakes, up Highway 20, out in the field….we are everywhere!

If you, perhaps in the company of friends or family, want to get in to the North Cascades over the next couple of months to learn about the ecology of this special place, enjoy the views of towering peaks and rushing rivers, exercise your creative muse or simply relax and unwind at our lakeside retreat, we most certainly have a program just right for you. Read on to find out what’s coming up next, browse our catalog online or request one to be sent to you in the mail, or simply call our friendly registrars for a personal consultation at (360) 854-2599.

There truly is nothing like summer in the Northwest and we’re here to help you and your loved ones make the most of it with memorable experiences full of learning and adventure!

P.s. If you are just passing through for the day, or exploring on your own, you can still connect with the Institute by visiting one of our bookstores and gift shops located along Highway 20 in Sedro-Woolley, Newhalem, Marblemount, Stehekin and on Diablo Lake. We offer high-quality outdoor apparel, camping gear, beautiful posters and postcards, field guides, recreation maps, kids’ activities, permits and more, with all proceeds going back to support Institute programs!

Coming up at North Cascades Institute

Family Getaways in the North Cascades, July 20-22 and August 3-5

Northwest Naturalists Retreat, July 27-30

Digital Wildflower Photography with a Pocket Camera, August 14-16

Cascades carnivores and our Changing Climate, August 17-19

Diablo Creative Arts Retreat, September 6-9

Diablo Downtime, September 14-16

Street Smart Naturalist in Seattle, September 15

Sourdough Speaker Series: Edible Pacific Northwest, September 29-30


» Continue reading Join us this summer in the North Cascades

North Cascades VIPs: Highlighting Institute Superstars

February 4th, 2012 | Posted by in Institute News

Written by guest contributor Deb Martin, the North Cascades Institute Registrar.

Happy New Year! As our Silver Anniversary comes to an end, we want to move forward in our 26th year by recognizing the strong connections we have with our participants and partners. We would not be where we are or who we are today without so many talented and passionate customers, teachers, students and staff.

We thought it would be fun to begin 2012 by spotlighting a few folks who have been great supporters of the Institute and our mission to conserve and restore Northwest environments through education. We are fortunate to have many such people and appreciate each and every one. Without further ado, here are some people that help make our work rewarding, organized by different program areas.


Nancy participated in her first program with North Cascades Institute in 2002. Since that first experience, she has participated in a total of 19 programs! In 2011, Nancy participated in eight different programs including the Hands to Work Stewardship Weekend, two Diablo Downtimes, four Base Camps and the Artistic Weaving with Cedar Workshop. Nancy is also a donor in support of Institute youth programs.

FAMILY PROGRAMS: The Tebbs/Armstrong Family

Matthew Tebbs, Dana Armstrong and Benjamin Armstrong (age 7) have made Family Getaways a family tradition. Since we launched our Family Getaways when we opened the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, the Tebbs/Armstrongs have participated in five Family Getaways, one each year from 2007-2011. In 2011, they extended their getaway experience by adding extra days through our Base Camp option. We are very honored to be a part of this family’s’ history!

» Continue reading North Cascades VIPs: Highlighting Institute Superstars

2011 programs open for registration – sign up by spring equinox and save!

February 17th, 2011 | Posted by in Institute News

In celebration of our 25th year of connecting people to nature through hands-on experiences in the outdoors, North Cascades Institute has opened over 50 new programs for registration, ranging from natural history classes focused on birds, butterflies and bugs to family camps, art and writing retreats and backcountry adventures in North Cascades National Park. All the details are now available at or by calling (360) 854-2599.

Plan ahead to join us and take advantage of the Early Bird discount. From now through the Spring Equinox (March 20), when you sign up for most programs with tuition over $100, you’ll receive $25 off each registration. It’s a great opportunity to sign up for as many as you like and save! (The Early Bird discount is not valid for Family Getaways or Base Camp and cannot be combined with scholarships. Tuition must be paid in full at time of registration.)

To register with the Early Bird discount, call us at (360) 854-2599.

The 2011 slate of North Cascades Institute programs for people of all ages includes Family Getaways, Base Camp, the Sourdough Speaker Series, Diablo Downtimes and over 30 different classes and extended retreats that explore the natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest. Class topics range from art (watercoloring, digital photography, cedar weaving), biology (corvids, dragonflies, rare carnivores, butterflies, mushrooms, birding), history (of the Skagit dams, of Ross Lake, of Washington State trails), writing (poetry, natural history essays, blogging) and field excursions (exploring Mt. Baker, Seattle, Ross and Diablo Lakes in North Cascades National Park). The roster of teaching staff includes Robert Michael Pyle, Dennis Paulson, Tim McNulty, Libby Mills, Molly Hashimoto, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, Langdon Cook, Mark Turner, Ana Maria Spagna, Jennifer Hahn and Nick O’Connell. More information and registration at

Most Institute classes take place at North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, our award-winning green facility on Diablo Lake in the heart of the North Cascades run in partnership between the Institute, National Park Service and Seattle City Light. Other classes take place in the field, exploring the natural history of Seattle, the Skagit and Methow Valleys, the Arid Land Ecology Reserve and North Cascades backcountry.