When the coronavirus pandemic hit a year ago, North Cascades Institute was forced to close the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center on Diablo Lake and cancel most of its educational programs for the year. This meant no Family Getaways, Base Camps, Skagit Tours, or Field Excursions in North Cascades National Park.
But in the trying months ahead, the environmental education nonprofit adapted to create new ways to reach out and creatively connect people to the outdoors. Instructors turned their favorite learning activities into online lesson plans and the Institute began offering online classes for the first time, sharing in-depth presentations on topics including geology, photography, painting, wildflowers, wolves, owls, and more!
For an organization that specializes in face-to-face learning with people in the great outdoors, pivoting to online teaching was a challenge, but a necessary one to meet the times. And there were hidden benefits too: they could reach people all around the country who wanted to learn about grizzly bears or glaciers in the North Cascades, and the cost and convenience of the Zoom classes made for more equitable access to their offerings.
This spring, with vaccines rolling out and restrictions being lifted, the Institute has reopened the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, with programs like Base Camp, Family Getaways, Skagit Tours, and Field Excursions running at reduced capacity and with Covid-19 safety plans in place!
The Institute’s online learning continues as well, so whether in sunshine or rain, up-valley or down-valley, in-person or from the comforts of your couch, North Cascades Institute is back with a diversity of pathways to help people everywhere better appreciate, understand and enjoy the natural world all around us!
Check out North Cascades Institute’s full listing of programs here: https://ncascades.org/signup