Special Events

Terry Tempest Williams at the Mount Baker Theater

June 15, 2016

Special Events TTW 30

"As we mark the centennial of the National Park Service, my question is this: What is the relevance of our national parks in the twenty-first century — and how might these public commons bring us back home to a united state of humility?"

As part of our year-long celebration of the National Park Service's Centennial, North Cascades Institute is excited to partner with Village Books to present acclaimed nature writer Terry Tempest Williams at the Mount Baker Theater in Bellingham to share her new book The Hour of LandA Personal Topography of America's National Parks.

For years, America's national parks have provided public breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why close to 300 million people visit the parks each year. Now, to honor the centennial of the National Park Service, Terry Tempest Williams, the author of the beloved memoirs Refuge, Finding Beauty in a Broken World and When Women Were Birds, returns with The Hour of Land, a literary celebration of our national parks, what they mean to us, and what we mean to them.

"By definition, our national parks in all their particularity and peculiarity show us as much about ourselves as the landscapes they honor and protect. They can be seen as holograms of an America born of shadow and light; dimensional; full of contradictions and complexities. Our dreams, our generosities, our cruelties and crimes are absorbed into these parks like water."

Through twelve carefully chosen parks, from Yellowstone in Wyoming to Acadia in Maine to Big Bend in Texas, Tempest Williams creates a series of lyrical portraits that illuminate the unique grandeur of each place while delving into what it means to shape a landscape with its own evolutionary history into something of our own making. Part memoir, part natural history, and part social critique, The Hour of Land is a meditation and manifesto on why wild lands matter to the soul of America. Our national parks stand at the intersection of humanity and wildness, and there's no one better than Tempest Williams to guide us there. Beautifully illustrated, with evocative black-and-white images by some of our finest photographers, from Lee Friedlander to Sally Mann to Sebastião Salgado, The Hour of Land will be a collector's item as well as a seminal work of environmental writing and criticism about some of America's most treasured landmarks.

"Restoration is what is required today. Can we engage in the restoration of a different kind of storytelling...stories that foster integrity within a fragmented nation? Can we change America's narrative of independence to one of interdependence — an interdependence beautifully rendered in the natural histories found in our public lands?"

Tickets are $5 and are available at Village Books and the Mount Baker Theater box office. Stay tuned for more information on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ncascades and by subscribing to our monthly eNewsletter at www.ncascades.org/newsletter-signup.


Free Anniversary Picnic at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center

SUNDAY, JULY 17 • 10 am - 3 pm

Special-Events-Picnic-30Gather your friends and family and come join us for a birthday party in the mountains! You're invited to help us celebrate the Institute's 30 years of conserving and restoring Northwest environments through education and the National Park Service's Centennial. Join us for a BBQ picnic lunch, naturalist-led activities on Diablo Lake and local trails, Learning Center tours, Diablo Lake Boat Tours with Seattle City Light and a chance to mingle and visit with Institute staff, grads and board members. Space for activities is limited; arrive early to sign up!

The North Cascades Environmental Learning Center is the field campus of the North Cascades Institute. This hub of discovery for people of all ages is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and the City of Seattle. The award-winning, green-built campus hugs the shore of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park, one of the wildest, heaviest glaciated, and most biologically diverse areas in North America.

Interested in being a sponsor? Click here for opportunities!

Stay tuned for more information on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ncascades and by subscribing to our monthly eNewsletter at www.ncascades.org/newsletter-signup.


"The Wild Nearby" Exhibit at the Burke Museum

June 18, 2016 – Feb 5, 2017

The Wild Nearby at the Burke Museum tells stories of the North Cascades that only the Burke can tell using concepts and images from the book The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby. In The Wild Nearby, visitors explore change in the North Cascades through geologic material and research projects focused on archaeology, plants and animals. Visitors step into the role of Burke scientist/researcher as they have an exploratory, multi-sensory experience of Burke collections and the North Cascades. This exhibit transports visitors from Seattle to the North Cascades ecosystem, where they experience the region as a scientist through natural history and cultural objects and see the region’s intense beauty and vastness through large photography pulled from The North Cascades. The Wild Nearby imbues visitors with a sense of connectivity to and behind-the-scenes knowledge of the North Cascades, which can be independent of or complimentary to an outdoor experience in the region.

More info at www.burkemuseum.org/exhibits/wild-nearby.


Residential Environmental Learning Center Conference at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center

January 6-10, 2017

North Cascades Institute is honored to host the Association of Nature Center Administrators’ biannual gathering of administrators (directors and coordinators) and those with an interest in residential environmental education programs at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center in Washington State. This gathering of professionals in the heart of North Cascades National Park seeks to advance the residential environmental education movement through the sharing of current ideas, concerns, solutions and insights.

About the location for the 2017 gathering:

The North Cascades Environmental Learning Center is a LEED Silver-Certified facility completed in July 2005 located three hours from Seattle. Operated in partnership with the National Park Service and City of Seattle, the Environmental Learning Center is a hub of discovery in one of the wildest, most biologically diverse landscapes in North America. People of all ages come to explore, learn and participate in innovative programs that inspire and enrich their lives. More information at www.ncascades.org/learning_center.

The North Cascades Institute is an award-winning conservation education nonprofit organization with the mission to conserve and restore Northwest environments through education. Since 1986 the Institute has helped connect people, nature and community through science, art, literature and the hands-on study of natural and cultural history. As operator of the Environmental Learning Center, the Institute works with community partners throughout the region to design, fund and implement programs that help people experience and enjoy the mountains, rivers, forests, people and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest – so all will care for and protect this special place we call home.

Guests to the Learning Center will stay in dorm-style bunkhouses, with common living rooms and bathrooms. All meals are included and served in our dining hall, which uses over 70% local and organic food. Our kitchen staff is responsive to diet restrictions and preferences. The campus offers groups wireless internet, a range of meeting spaces and resources and nearby recreation opportunities.

Registration Cost: $325 per person, includes 5 days/ 4 night accommodations and 12 meals (dinner Friday through lunch Tuesday).

Online registration coming soon. Questions? Feel free to contact us at  or (206) 526-2565.