North Cascades Institute Offers Summer Programs For Kids to Learn in the Outdoors

Now's the time to sign up your youngsters for learning programs at the North Cascades Institute.

Wondering what to do with your kids this coming summer? At the North Cascades Institute, there are a few great programs that will not only keep them busy, but teach them something about the great outdoors in and around North Cascades National Park.

Among the highlights are North Cascades Wild, Cascades Climate Challenge and Mountain School.

North Cascades Wild involves youth in a wilderness conservation program conducted in partnership with the national park and the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The program, is tuition-free for 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students from Seattle, Lake Forest Park, and Skagit and Whatcom counties, offers the following.

* 12-day summer canoe camping, hiking and conservation service trips in North Cascades National Park and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

* Spring and fall Saturday outdoor/service field trips (for Skagit and Whatcom County students)

* a fall reunion, and

* the opportunity to attend a 3-day Youth Leadership Conference in November at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center

Students who complete the course Students earn 30 community service hours in addition to receiving training in leadership development, conservation service, community building and natural and cultural history.

While the application deadline has passed for Skagit/Whatcom students, those enrolled in Seattle/Lake Forest Park/Tukwila schools have until April 15th to get their applications in.

For applications or more information, contact Amy Brown, North Cascades Wild Program Coordinator at 360-854-2582 or .

The Cascades Climate Challenge is a tuition-free program designed to help today's youth become "climate-change leaders for communities in the Pacific Northwest."

Each year, 40 high school students from Oregon and Washington are selected on the basis of teacher recommendations, service and leadership experience, an essay application and a personal interview. The institute encourages students from a wide range of communities and backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Those who are accepted meet in North Cascades National Park and spend three weeks in the North Cascades during either the July or August session, where they study climate change science in the field and develop their presentation skills. Field work includes hiking to glaciers, interviewing scientists and resource mangers, and participating in service projects with park personnel. These outings allow students to see and learn about climate change firsthand.

In the final part of their summer experience, students create and teach lessons to an outside audience in preparation for their fall service projects.

If you or someone you know is interested, contact the institute at .

Mountain School is the institute's award-winning environmental education program for elementary, middle and high school students and teachers based at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center. Mountain School students visit the North Cascades with their school class, teacher and chaperones to learn about the ecosystems, geology and natural and cultural history of the mountains.

A few slots remain for the April and May programs, and more will be offered in the fall.

For questions or to register, contact Aneka Singlaub, Youth Outreach Coordinator, at 360-854-2595 or .

For more information on any of these programs, visit the institute's website.