Access to learning is a basic human right, one that the Whatcom Coalition for Environmental Education is committed to protecting for young people across the County. But the needs young people are facing right now extend far beyond just academics. Connections gives young people a respite from feelings of isolation and lack of companionship, and it serves as an opportunity for nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders from across the County to work together to come up with creative solutions to the increased needs of the community during these challenging times.


Schools normally offer students more than just a place to learn: They are a place for friendships, hot meals, and recess.  Due to the ongoing pandemic, young people are spending more time than ever before indoors—cooped up, and plugged in. Opportunities for field trips, and the joy of learning in a social context are hard to replicate online. Connections, an in-person outdoor program, gives young people furthest from opportunity in Blaine, Mount Baker, and Bellingham school districts a chance to gather with their peers and learn about the natural world from some of the region’s leading environmental educators.


Connections on NPR

In December 2020, education reporter Ashley Gross of KNKX / National Public Radio shined a light on this amazing outdoor program for students in Whatcom County. Listen to her report here.


Read more about Connections

Learn about the goals and partners involved with Connections in Outdoor Learning During a Pandemic.

Read a profile of this unique program on the Beetles Blog fr0m the Lawrence Hall of Science: Partnerships in the Pandemic Spotlight: North Cascades Institute.

Read Annah Young's reflections on teaching in the Connections program in this blog post.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2021: After a successful pilot this Fall, we’re excited to continue to work with elementary school students from Mount Baker and Blaine districts, incorporating a new partnership with Common Threads Farm and offering field trips to Camp Saturna.