"Teaching in the Rain: The Story of North Cascades Institute" with John Miles in Bellingham

Event Details

Oct 03, 2023 from 07:00 PM to 08:30 PM
Village Books in Bellingham
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A Nature of Writing Speaker Series event at Village Books in Bellingham

In the early 1980s, five young men who loved teaching, the natural world, and the North Cascades dreamed of creating a field school to teach about the place and its many histories—natural and cultural. The North Cascades Institute emerged from that dream in 1986 with the help of North Cascades National Park. This is the story of how the Institute grew from humble beginnings to become a model nonprofit environmental education organization admired throughout the United States.

"Teaching in the Rain tells a most unlikely story, one that is far from over but has a happy outcome just the same. John Miles, as the genius loci of the North Cascades and the Institute that took their name, is the perfect person to tell it. In prose both elegant and engaging, sleek yet omitting nothing important, he takes his lucky readers through the life so far of a most wonderful flowering, from outset through evolution to its present place as an essential Northwest institution. If every eco-region had something like the North Cascades Institute, and someone like John to tell us all about it, we might actually scrape through our ecological crisis in good shape. As it is, this book gives me hope."

--Robert Michael Pyle, author of The Butterflies of Cascadia, Wintergreen, and The Thunder Tree

"Washington State has a long history of teaching outdoor environmental education with various facilities providing for teacher and student instruction. Teaching in the Rain is a singular summary of the North Cascades Institute, one of Washington State’s most unique, successful, and sustained programs. John Miles has written an important and intriguing history of how the Institute was created and has been sustained for over 35 years. This important book is an essential guide to what it takes to direct education meaningfully in this age of environmental stress and to marshal the common ground of community to develop skills and shape attitudes necessary to address the environmental challenges we all face."

--Tony Angell, Artist/Educator, Seattle, WA

John C. Miles is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies at the College of the Environment, Western Washington University. He taught at Western for four decades where he focused his work on environmental education and environmental humanities, especially history of the US national park system. He served as dean of the college from 1985-1992.