The Gordon Carter Conservation Site was purchased by the county for $1 and later transferred to BSD with a deed that states the land is to be used for “the purpose of nature study by the school children of Whatcom County for the study of birds, plants, trees and all forms of natural life.” Overnight programs for 3rd and 6th graders were held in the second-growth forest there from 1960 through 2008, run in the later years in part by WWU and Whatcom Community College undergraduate students and interns. Local 8th graders performed site upkeep like clearing trail and maintaining the rustic shelters as part of a school Leadership Program.

The Gordon Carter site has provided a wide range of outdoor learning opportunities for local kids ranging from 3rd grade to university, a pretty impressive use of this small patch of forest over the past 60 or so years!

In 2013, voters approved a bond for a feasibility study to consider the construction of an educational facility at Gordon Carter. In 2019, funds were approved for the site and once again provide important opportunities for curious students to get out of their classrooms to explore these woods and learn about the rich, biodiverse community of plants, trees, mosses, fungi, birds, amphibians, macro invertebrates, mammals and fish. Teaching about the water cycle and Lake Whatcom watershed health is part of the updated curriculum, including the study and stewardship of Brannian Creek that runs through the property.

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