Sunday, January 27, 2008

A New Year & The North Cascades

2008 has settled in nicely here on the west coast. After two weeks at home for the holidays, I returned to the cabin in the woods. My time at home was incredible, hanging with family and enjoying the late wake up calls. A New Years celebration ended with a 1pm flight on Jan 1st, which wasn't too bad considering the hour I went to sleep.

We got things started pretty quickly back at IslandWood. After a few days of re-orientation, the kids arrived and I was back teaching again. With that came the start of Winter semester. The classes are really interesting, especially the Non-Profit Management. It's a class not in the field of education, which makes it inherently different than the classes I'm used to taking, and the Executive Director is teaching it! Not too many places offer that. We're also taking our integration of arts & technology classes which have been a blast. We've done some improvisation work and we're getting started on video projects. I'll be sure to post a final product when it's completed.

The best of the New Year happened last weekend when 19 of the grad students traveled to the North Cascades Institute (NCI). We were meeting our fellow environmental educators at NCI as well as some apprentices from the Wilderness Awareness School (WAS). All told, there were about 30 or 40 people hanging in the snowy mountain settings, getting to know more about what we all do. The vision is the same, but the implementations are different and educative. It was a blast talking with other educators and simply enjoying the settings.

We drove up there after class on Friday afternoon. Saturday brought a days worth of fresh snow that fit nicely over top the already present 3 feet of icy covered snow. No snowshoes needed. We walked on top of a dam, standing 400 feet above the water. We saw cougar tracks, along with bobcat. Turns out, the north Skagit River is a winter home to hundreds of bald eagles. We spotted 40 of them. We made art in the snow. We made music in the cabin. We watched the moon glow. Mostly though, we watched the snow fall and got a few steps closer to saving the world.

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