Forest School

Based on input from the Bellingham School District, we have cancelled Forest School through 2021. Please contact our Schools Program Manager with any questions. We will be providing ongoing updates at ncascades.org/coronavirus.


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Forest School is a collaboration between Bellingham Public Schools and North Cascades Institute. Beginning in 2019, every 3rd grader in Bellingham will be guided by Institute program instructors in an exploration of the local forest ecosystem at the Gordon Carter site on the south end of Lake Whatcom.

The Institute provides content that compliments a larger classroom-based unit and supports Next Generation Science Standards. In small groups students explore the forest through the perspective of an animal mascot. Whether building a nest for a flying squirrel, peering into decaying logs for beetle larvae, or drawing the woodpecker hotel of a snag, experiential lessons incorporate teamwork, problem-solving and creativity. Students use inquiry, observation, and reflection to investigate themes of habitats, adaptations and interdependence.

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    Classroom >>

    This one day field trip takes place on the south end of Lake Whatcom at the Gordon Carter Conservation Site. Acquired by Bellingham Public Schools in 1954, the 130-acre site is an important — and beloved — community resource

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    Program Staff

    Local college students and community members are trained by Institute staff to serve as instructors and role models. Forest School is as much a learning experience for future teachers as it is for the children

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    Teacher-Parent Resources >>

    Welcome letters, release forms, trail group rosters, FAQs & more to get you ready for Forest School