Chattermarks

From North Cascades Institute

Search Chattermarks

North Cascades on Instagram

Archives

Mt. Baker SnowSchool: Bringing Students Into the Mountains

February 3rd, 2017 | Posted by in Youth Adventures

By Abby Sussman

My life is focused in the mountains, so it is surprising how many local young people have never had the opportunity to visit our neighborhood peaks.

“So many kids in Whatcom County see Mt. Baker from the lowlands, but some never get the chance to experience the mountain environment,” says Gwyn Howat, Mt. Baker Ski Area’s executive vice president. “We wanted to facilitate the opportunity to do so.”

This is exactly why, four years ago, Mt. Baker Ski Area and Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) began offering Mt. Baker SnowSchool to local middle and high school students.

In 2015, Mt. Baker Ski Area partnered with the North Cascades Institute (NCI) to expand the audience and broaden the relevancy of the curriculum. Today, Mt. Baker SnowSchool asks students and teachers to consider the greater influence of the snowpack on our everyday lives—from recreation to drinking water, agriculture to fisheries, mountains to bay.

» Continue reading Mt. Baker SnowSchool: Bringing Students Into the Mountains

Seattle Times cover

North Cascades Institute in The Seattle Times: “Mountain School makes the magic of the wilderness real for kids”

August 17th, 2015 | Posted by in Institute News

We are thrilled with The Seattle Times‘ story on Mountain School, the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center and the Institute’s 30 years of environmental education in the North Cascades. It appeared as the cover story in the Times‘ Pacific Northwest Magazine on August 9, 2015 and features a wealth of amazing photos, many quotes from MS students and teachers and an interview with our founder and executive director Saul Weisberg.

 

“DO NOT LET the sly grin fool you. Nika Meyers is not joking around.

Out here amid the firs and ferns and tiny birds and devil’s club above Diablo Lake, she makes certain things clear to her young charges. Today’s lesson on getting in touch with the earth? It’s not some cute metaphor. It is exactly that: On your knees, boys and girls. Right down there with the spiders and rotting leaves and — Holy Crap! Is that a centipede?
This is how it’s done at Mountain School: One pair of happy, grubby, fifth-grade paws at a time. Multiply by 2,800 kids from 53 schools this year alone, stir, and enjoy.

The concept behind the school, run by nonprofit North Cascades Institute, sounds simple: In a three-day mountain camp experience, imbue in school children a visceral connection with this special place — the thumping, mountainous heart of Northwest wilderness. Make its magic real to them at a micro level, in the hope that some of them will feel the pull to return as powerfully as a salmon headed home to spawn. Slip into their consciousness rudimentary skills of a naturalist — the ability to observe and make the same personal connections to other wild lands.

Oh: Also do this without boring the amped-up, digitally dependent kids out of their skulls.

Mountain School still represents what Saul Weisberg espoused from the beginning: A chance for Northwest kids to get out in nature — many of them spending nights away from home for the first time — and go home with mountain air embedded in their hearts. While the Institute’s unofficial mission has always been to “save the world,” it’s official task is to put people and nature together and stand back in awe watching what happens. It can’t happen without the dirty hands.”

 

Read Ron Judd’s excellent story on our Mountain School program at www.seattletimes.com!

And watch a 4-minute video by Steve Ringman at http://bcove.me/5b5mbuaz!

ThunderCrkSml

Creative Residency with Sharon Birzer, natural history illustrator

December 6th, 2014 | Posted by in Naturalist Notes

By Sharon Birzer, artist and natural history illustrator

My Creative Residency journal  @ North Cascades Learning Center, Diablo Lake, July 11-18, 2014

July 11-13

The first three days I interacted with a class held at North Cascades Institute’s Learning Center on lichens: “Frog’s Pelt, Pixie Cup and Old Man’s Beard: Lichens of the North Cascades.” Taught by Daphne Stone, the weekend was rich with lectures, hikes and lichen identification. The class hiked to Rainy Lake and Washington Pass. We also took a hike up a service road to Buster Brown, a rocky outcropping covered in lichens.
This is a group that I brought back to look at under the dissecting scope and draw. This group has two lichens- Cladonia cervicornus with the double cup and Cladonia bellidiflora, and 2 mosses–Racomitrium elongatum and Polytrichum piliferum.

 

UmbrellLichenBIRZER

ClassNCI2

July 14 Thunder Creek

Today is hot, in the 90’s. I hiked up Thunder Creek and spent time in the cool shade of an old cedar and Douglas fir forest. A cool breeze wafts down from the mountains and everywhere are ferns, lichens, fungus, and life.
July 15 Sauk Mountain

Hiked up Sauk Mountain today, 4.2 miles, 5537 elevation. Annabelle told me it would be beautiful. Wow. Alpine meadows. Wildflowers abound. Ice fields at the top and glacier lilies and avalanche lilies (finishing) and many others species of wildflowers in full bloom everywhere. Afterwards I was dusty and hot so I dipped into Diablo Lake before working on lichen illustrations.

OldGrowthSml

» Continue reading Creative Residency with Sharon Birzer, natural history illustrator

MCM-IceLeads

“Imaging the Arctic: Climate Science Through Art” at Whatcom Museum, Jan 11

January 8th, 2014 | Posted by in Institute News

Join North Cascades Institute and the Whatcom Museum on January 11, 2 pm, for the Vanishing Ice Speaker Series! This final presentation in the four-part series will feature Expeditionary Artist Maria Coryell-Martin and marine mammal biologist Dr. Kristin Laidre presenting their project, “Imaging the Arctic: Communicating Climate Science through Art.” This free event is made possible with a grant from Humanities Washington and is part of  the Whatcom Museum’s Saturdays on Ice program that also includes reduced admission to the Vanishing Ice exhibit at the Lightcatcher Museum, family activities and workshops covering art, science, history and exploration.

MCM_Niaqornat

In Spring 2013, Maria Coryell-Martin accompanied scientist Dr. Kristin Laidre onto the pack ice of Baffin Bay, based out of West Greenland. Dr. Laidre and colleagues were investigating the effects of sea ice loss on narwhals and polar bears, iconic species that are highly adapted to the extreme Arctic environment and vulnerable to climate change.

“The Arctic is a remarkable and stunning environment that is rapidly changing,” explains Coryell-Martin. “Collaborating with Kristin has given me the opportunity to witness and help illustrate this region that so few people can access. Her research brings deeper meaning to my sketches and paintings as they go beyond being just environmental portraits, to having a story within a scientific context. Working together, we can use art as a hook for scientific outreach and to inspire appreciation and stewardship for the Arctic.”

mcm_ontheice

Coryell-Martin worked alongside the scientists as they recorded data on the health and movements of narwhals and polar bears, creating ink and watercolor sketches, as well as multimedia recordings. Following the tradition of artists working with early explorers, her fieldwork complements the science, and is being developed into a collection of stories and imagery to illustrate stories of climate change. Learn more at imagingthearctic.org.

 Read more:

“Painting the Arctic in a different hue” in The Arctic Journal

“Bringing Art To Narwhal Research In The Arctic” on KUOW