Faculty & Staff


The Graduate M.Ed. Residency program receives instruction from faculty at Western Washington University and North Cascades Institute, as well as our partners in the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and other agencies and organizations. Throughout the program, our students learn from and work alongside many of the Northwest's best educators, naturalists, business leaders, resource managers and conservation professionals.

Western Washington University Faculty:

Joshua Porter
Graduate Program Director, North Cascades Institute
Joshua brings 20 years of experience in environmental, conservation and wilderness education to the Institute’s M.Ed. program. He has coordinated, developed and taught field based programs ranging from Alaska to Patagonia, and Puget Sound to Cobscook Bay. Since earning a M.S. from the Lesley University, Joshua has been teaching undergraduate courses for the Wild Rockies Field Institute and more recently, as adjunct faculty in the Ecological Teaching and Learning M.S. program at Lesley University. The North Cascades became home for Joshua while attending the Evergreen State College and working as a Climbing Ranger in North Cascades National Park. He is happy to be back in this familiar landscape, engaged in a learning community so committed to illuminating connection to place.

Gene Myers, Ph.D.
Gene's Cascadia roots extend back four generations, and his early passion for northwest natural history continues with intensity. An environmental educator since 1978, his aim is to integrate a deep understanding of ecology with a profound grasp of human ethical development. A pioneer in Conservation Psychology, his research specialty concerns the bases of children's and adults' connection to nonhuman animals (and nature in its other aspects), and how educators may use this to foster the development of environmental responsibility and effective action. More information about Professor Gene Meyers can be found on his website.

Nick Stanger
Nick is a Cascadian from across the Salish Sea, Victoria BC. Teaching in environmental education for more than 20 years, he explores the edges of the human-digital-nature conundrum we currently face in our westernized social fabric. Nick completed his Doctorate at the University of Victoria in 2014 and was a Social Sciences and Humanities Council Doctoral Fellow. The main focus of his research revolved around the learning that occurs within outdoor childhood places and their lasting effects on our lives. With his background in natural resources, tree-canopy research, Masters in environmental education and communications, and significant work in conservation, Indigenous education, and technical web-based learning systems, his PhD represented an interactive online video journey designed to combine his skills, expertise, and interests. Nick is the Chair of the board for the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, an organization that seeks to connect organizations, families, and youth with nature-based experiences. You can learn more about Professor Stanger’s work on his website, www.nicholasstanger.ca.

Saul Weisberg 
Executive Director, North Cascades Institute
Saul Weisberg is executive director and co-founder of North Cascades Institute. His primary responsibilities are to build organizational capacity and develop the human, financial, administrative and programmatic resources to achieve the Institute’s mission and strategic objectives. Saul’s work focuses on strategic planning, partnerships, board development and fundraising. Saul is the primary instructor for the graduate program’s Leadership and Nonprofit Administration track where students learn how nonprofit organizations are created, structured, managed and funded; the relationship between the mission and business of nonprofit organizations; how to balance financial sustainability while growing program quality and public support; how to develop your own leadership ability by demonstrating collaborative teamwork and behaviors needed to work with our audiences, staff, partners and funders; and to develop your leadership competencies in planning, implementation and assessment during professional summer leadership tracks. Saul serves on the board of directors of the Association of Nature Center Administrators and the Natural History Network. He continues to teach natural history and write about Northwest mountains, watersheds and wildlife. Saul lives in Bellingham where his passions include canoeing, bugs and walking in the mountains in the rain.

Learn more about Saul Weisberg in this interview with Clearing Magazine.

North Cascades Institute Graduate M.Ed. Residency Staff

Aly GourdGraduate Community Engagement Coordinator
Aly's connection to the Pacific Northwest and interest in place-based education has led to her continued involvement with North Cascades Institute. Aly graduated from the Master of Education Residency program at the Institute as a member of Cohort 15. She has continued to follow her passion for supporting experiential and field-based experiences in higher education through her work with the Graduate program. Aly lives in Bellingham and is often found seeking sunshine on the east-side of the Cascades in search of mountain goats and rocks to climb on. 

Cara Stoddard
Graduate Residency Coordinator
Cara grew up on a lake in Michigan boating with her family and camping in her backyard during the summers. Since then, she has lived in the Weminuche Wilderness in Colorado, the Palouse prairie in Idaho, the channeled scablands of eastern Washington, and the Snohomish River watershed in Everett working as a backpacking guide and writing instructor. Cara lends her twin passions for expeditionary learning and ecofeminism to her mentorship role with the graduate program. Prior to coming to the Institute, Cara taught undergraduate courses in nature writing, women’s literature, the graphic novel as literature and podcasting. Cara has her Master’s degree in creative nonfiction and is working on a book that examines the intersection of illness, identity and environmental toxicity. In her free time, Cara enjoys mountaineering, fresh water snorkeling during the salmon runs, and trail running with her dog Scout.

Graduate students also learn Nonprofit Administration and Leadership skills from North Cascades Institute staff in the classroom, in Work Study positions and more.

Read more about our skilled staff