The Picket Post | Summer 2017 North Cascades Institute Graduate Alumni Newsletter

Introducing Cohort 17!

Welcome Grads!

Last month, the 17th Cohort of graduate students arrived to begin their 7-quarter educational journey towards their Master of Education degree! This group of 14 students arrived from all corners of the United States -- as far away as Florida! -- and will soon move in to a year-long residency at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center.

But first, they've embarked on a 6-week Place-based Education course to meet their new home, traveling by canoe down the length of the Skagit River to the Salish Sea. They will be meeting naturalists and community leaders to learn the natural history of the area, how its people interact with the landscape and what it means to develop a sense of place.

Students and graduate program staff have also participated in day trips to local farms and gardens, worked on an alpine restoration stewardship project with the US Forest Service, learned about local geology from North Cascades National Park geologist Jon Reidel and viewed the solar eclipse.

Their summer course will culminate in an immersive 10-day backpack through the North Cascades this month. In addition to getting to know their new homes in the Cascades, this intensive outdoor course also provides the perfect opportunity for this group to get to know each other and create their own cohort community culture.

Graduate student, Angela Burlile's video about the Place-based Learning course in summer of 2016!

Changes in Store for the Blue House

In 2014, North Cascades Institute purchased the Blue House property in Marblemount in order to address a housing shortage.

The year following the purchase of this 7.7 acre farm property saw changes in Institute programs, including the expansion of the Graduate Program. These changes brought about the need for more stable housing options. From these needs came plans to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), or smaller additional residential building, on the Blue House property. In fall 2015, Creative Residents Faren Worthington and Oliver Osnoss created an ecological design for the property which the Institute used in initial planning. David Hall, the Architect of the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, designed the 5-bedroom ADU and we’ve now received the building permit and will be breaking ground soon. It is with the support of generous donors and a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust that we are able to embark on this important housing expansion project which will increase resiliency, build community and sustain the planned growth of our graduate program.

Find out more about this project or contact us to find out how you can help:

This property is now home to a handful of staff and graduate students, the Confluence Garden, and a lowland forest full of alder, salmonberry, osoberry, deer, bear, and the occasional bobcat. New plans for the property will now make it home to so much more!
This summer, Family Getaways participants got to spend time helping and learning in the garden.

The Blue House property provides a unique venue for North Cascades Institute community gatherings and program offerings centered around garden stewardship. Management of the Confluence Garden and garden education is integrated into some graduate students' work study and leadership tracks. The Blue House property provides a great space for graduate students and staff to live, learn, and facilitate experiences for participants and our hope is that this continues to flourish with the addition of the ADU.

Recent Chattermarks blog posts about the Blue House:

Alumni spotlight: Emily Baronich

Emily on the summit of Mount Yale with teachers and students of High Mountain Institute

From the most recently graduated 15th graduate cohort, Emily Baronich has embarked on a new journey in Leadville, Colorado working with High Mountain Institute. Emily has a background in mathematics and loves teaching kids outdoors. After graduating in March 2017 and earning her teaching certificate, she began a position as a Math Faculty member at High Mountain Institute combining her passions and teaching high school students.

Life at High Mountain Institute (HMI) has been energetic, rejuvenating, inspiring, and filled with lots of love and laughter!

"I began working at HMI as a new Math Faculty member at the beginning of August 2017 with four other new staff members. We had three weeks of training, including a five day backpacking expedition, before our students arrived bright eyed and bushy-tailed mid-August. Shortly after their arrival, we took the students out on a 19-day backpacking expedition. My rocking team explored the Collegiate Peak Wilderness and everyone summited Mount Yale at 14,196ft!"

"We began academic classes this week and I am teaching Algebra II and two sections of Pre-Calculus. In late October we will venture down to the Canyons in Southern Utah for another epic adventure with our students. I am grateful to have found an amazing school that ties all of my passions together; mathematics, education, and the wilderness of course!"

We are so proud of all of our alumni and would like to keep in touch and hear about your life and career updates. If you have news to share with us please shoot us an email, we would love to hear from you!

Featuring: YOU!

Call for Photos

We’d like to commemorate a wall in the Learning Center office to all of the wonderful cohorts of graduate program alumni. However, many of the photos we have are not of the best quality. If you know you have a great one of you and your whole cohort, please send it along!

if you know someone who would be a good fit for our next cohort, please send them to ncascades.org/study to learn more. We encourage those interested in applying to visit the ELC, meet students and staff, and get a feel for the program.

Graduate Student Publications

The culmination of seven quarters of work in the Graduate M.Ed Residency includes unique, individual capstone projects. These inquiries, essays and presentations focus on students' interests; diving deeper into subject matter that has intrigued them throughout their Graduate School experience. Student publications from the Institute's 13th and 14th graduate cohorts are published online through WWU's peer-reviewed journal: Summit to Salish Sea.

Thank you for Reading.

Tread Lightly.

Photos by graduate student, Angela Burlile and Institute Staff

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