Friday, January 20, 2012

Heading to the Mountains

To close out the fall quarter, in December grads from North Cascades Institute (NCI) and Wilderness Awareness School (WAS) came to IslandWood for a three-day professional development conference to learn from and share with each other. All outdoor educators, we swapped songs to use in the field, exchanged creative lesson ideas, and explored IslandWood’s ecosystems. Last weekend, the same group congregated in the beautiful North Cascades, with the NCI grads as our gracious hosts. Their campus had just experienced the first snowfall of the winter, and arriving to this winter wonderland was purely “magical.” For three cozy days, we enjoyed the snow-capped landscape and company of fellow outdoor educators, where highlights included mountainous hikes, discovering cougar tracks in the snow, and venturing to Diablo Lake. We all benefitted from a mountainous getaway with some new friends in many ways, including the following:

“It was great to have some time for longer conversations with WAS and NCI students.  We share so many similarities and have so much to learn from each other; I only wish we had been there for a few more days to connect.  WAS students have some amazing wildlife stories and I learned a lot about the Cascades and Skagit River valley from NCI grads.” –Selena

“Being outside in the snow helped me get in a relaxed mindset. I became more comfortable in the snow, which I needed when teaching in the snowstorm at IslandWood this week.” –Lily

“It was nice to spend more time hanging out with the NCI and WAS grads, playing games at night and getting to know them a bit more on a personal level.” –Liz
  From the lookout on Diablo East hike, looking down on Diablo Lake under the Seattle City Light power lines. 
 A breathtaking mountain view from Ted
 Hiking in the mountains
 Eating lunch by the lake
 Gazing at the beautiful view

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