SAVE THE DATE: GiveBIG to North Cascades Institute on May during The Seattle Foundation's annual fundraiser

April 11, 2014: North Cascades Institute is participating in the Seattle Foundation’s Give BIG Fundraiser this year, a one-day, online charitable giving event to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations who make our region a healthier and more vital place to live.

Please help us create even more opportunities to get even more people of all ages outside by donating to us through the Seattle Foundation’s website on May 6!

#1: Like us on Facebook for updates and GiveBIG

#2: Sign up for our eNewsletter:



October 21: North Cascades Institute successfully completed their first-ever Fall Campaign for Youth, surpassing their goal of raising $200,000 in six weeks to fund their core conservation education programs. The Institute, founded in 1986 with a mission to conserve and restore Northwest environments through education, serves more than 2,500 young people annually in outdoor activities on public lands throughout the North Cascades ecosystem. More than 95% of Mountain School students and 74% of Youth Leadership Adventures students receive scholarship support from the Institute to make these opportunities possible.

Highlights of the Fall Campaign for Youth included:

  • The Nugent Family pledged an early leadership gift of $20,000, establishing the Nugent Family Scholarship for both Mountain School and Youth Leadership Adventures
  • A $1,000 challenge match to Institute staff, who raised this amount in less than 24 hours
  • Crucial foundation support from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, Horizons Foundation, OneFamily Foundation, Lucky Seven Foundation, Quest for Truth Foundation and the Darby Foundation
  • The last-day-of-the-campaign contribution of $50,000 by the Tom and Sonia Campion Foundation, bringing the Campaign total to $228,000!

    "This is an exciting period for North Cascades Institute," said Brad Tuininga, Resources Development Director for North Cascades Institute. "I am inspired and encouraged by the donor response and passion for our work!"

    Thank you everybody!


    October 15: In 2013, North Cascades Institute received their tenth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. Charity Navigator works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,500 of America's largest charities.

    "Only one percent of the charities we rate have received at least ten consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that North Cascades Institute outperforms most other charities in America," explains Ken Berger, president & chief executive officer of Charity Navigator. "Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that your organization adheres to good governance and other practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way. This 'exceptional' designation from Charity Navigator differentiates North Cascades Institute from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust."

    "This is an exciting endorsement from America's most trusted independent charity evaluator," said Institute Resource Development Director Brad Tuininga. "The Institute was compared against thousands of other nonprofit organizations and received the highest overall rating for sustainability and efficiency — donors' dollars go to programs and the people we serve, not expensive overhead."


    October 14: We are relieved that the 16-day federal government shutdown is finally over and we are able to reopen the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center again.

    The closure of North Cascades National Park forced us to cancel four different Mountain School sessions, impacting more than 300 students, teachers and parent chaperones. (You can read about how Bellingham fifth-graders from Wade King Elementary felt about having their Mountain School cancelled on our blog at

    The dysfunction in Washington D.C. also meant that we had to furlough nine staff members; shut down our five bookstores; cancel a nature journaling class, a luncheon for Skagit Tours, a yoga retreat and two Group Rentals contracts for staff retreats; and cancel or return food deliveries from local farms.

    All in all, we estimate that we’ve lost $65,000 in revenue over these past two weeks.

    But the shutdown is over now, the park and Learning Center reopened, and we’re looking for ways to bring the disappointed fifth-graders up to Mountain School later this season. As a good friend of ours pointed out, “Our children need our parks and our parks need our children.”

    Thanks for your continued support.


    October 3:As a result of the federal government shutdown, the National Park Service was forced to suspend all partnership agreements on Thursday, October 3, including the long-standing agreement that guides the close relationship between North Cascades National Park and North Cascades Institute. As a result, we are unable to conduct scheduled programs at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center until further notice.

    We are in touch with the groups that this impacts and deeply regret having to cancel programs. All programs happening outside of federal lands will continue as scheduled.

    Read a story about the impact of the shutdown on local 5th grade students scheduled to be at our Mountain School program from The Bellingham Herald at

    We are in close contact with our friends at both the National Park Service and US Forest Service and we are hoping for a speedy resolution. Please feel free to contact us with your questions at (360) 854-2599. Thank you for your continued support.


    Saul Weisberg by BD
    August 25: Saul Weisberg, Executive Director of North Cascades Institute, has been recognized for his national and regional leadership with two high-profile professional awards: The Association of Nature Center Administrators’ 2013 Nature Center Leadership Award and Re Sources’2013 Environmental Heroes Award.

    Weisberg is the co-founder of North Cascades Institute, the award-winning conservation nonprofit organization founded in Washington State in 1986. The Institute, under Weisberg’s leadership, has served tens of thousands of people of all ages in outdoor programs focused on the natural and cultural history of the North Cascades and Salish Sea region. In 2005, the Institute opened the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center on Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park, a $12 million educational facility operated in partnership with Seattle City Light and the National Park Service. Weisberg is noted for creating sustainable, mutually beneficial partnerships with the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Western Washington University and numerous local and regional organizations and businesses.

    The Association of Nature Center Administrators’ 2013 Nature Center Leadership Award was presented to Weisberg in front of his national peers at the Surf’s Up Summit in Newport Beach, CA, August 21-24, 2013. ANCA recognized Weisberg’s “professionalism and ability to inspire and share with others,” “selfless work done in the profession and community” and for “exemplary accomplishments and contributions to the field of nature center administration” for his guiding role at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center on Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park.

    “He has been a great friend, advisor, mentor and inspiration,” noted a nominating peer. “I have been impressed by his ability to share his expertise with others in ways that are insightful, encouraging and supportive.”

    The Re Sources 2013 Environmental Heroes Award, presented Thursday, September 5, 2013 in Bellingham, WA, recognized Weisberg as a local leader in conservation and education.

    "We are delighted to honor Saul for his extraordinary achievements in protecting and promoting the health of the Pacific northwest environment," boasts Crina Hoyer, Executive Director of RE Sources for Sustainable Communities. "Saul has made huge contributions to the vision RE Sources and others share for our region. We at RE Sources  support, applaud, and encourage more work like Saul's."

    Weisberg is executive director and co-founder of North Cascades Institute. He is also adjunct faculty at Huxley College of the Environment and has served on the board of directors of the Natural History Network, the Environmental Education Association of Washington and the Association of Nature Center Administrators. Weisberg is the author of From the Mountains to the Sea, North Cascades: The Story behind the Scenery, Teaching for Wilderness, and Living with Mountains. A dedicated naturalist, Saul continues to teach and write about northwest mountains, watersheds and wildlife. He lives in Bellingham where his passions include canoeing, bugs and walking in the mountains in the rain.



    August 5: Thanks to our fans and friends voting for us online, North Cascades Institute won The North Face's Explore Fund grant competition, awarding us $25,000 to support our Youth Leadership Adventures programs. More info coming soon.


    May 15: This spring, Brad Tuininga joined North Cascades Institute as our new Resource Development Director. He begins work in advancing our development program with a powerful advantage: Brad is an alumnus of the Institute’s Graduate M.Ed. program, class of 2005, and his knowledge of our operations and programming, as well as his passion for our mission, runs deep. Eight years later, Brad returns to us having settled in Bellingham with his wife and two daughters and serving as the Development Director for the Bellingham Technical College Foundation. Before that, he developed and launched what is now the Society for Wilderness Stewardship, the first professional society for wilderness stewardship in the US.

    As he settles into his new role, Brad is excited to build on the Institute's strong base of community support, while also strengthening our major gifts and planned giving programs. Brad invites everyone to drop him a line to discuss supporting the Institute or simply to say hello: or (360) 854-2596. Brad invites everyone to drop him a line to discuss supporting the Institute or simply to say hello: or (360) 854-2596.