What is the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center?
Sketch by David Hall
Henry Klein Partnership
The North Cascades Environmental Learning Center (NCELC) is a residential education facility located on the shore of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park.
The Learning Center is one of the central elements of the 1995 federal re-licensing of Seattle City Light's Skagit River dams. This project and others are designed to mitigate the impact of hydroelectric projects on the Skagit River environment.
The environmental programs offered will help people of all ages learn, enjoy and understand more about the Skagit River and the North Cascades.
The center has been open to the public since June 2006.
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Who planned and built it?
The North Cascades Environmental Learning Center is a partnership project of Seattle City Light, the National Park Service, and North Cascades Institute.
Each partner has unique responsibilities:
What facilities does it have?
- Seattle City Light funded the design and construction of the facility, owns the buildings, and are leases them to North Cascades Institute. City Light also provides some operational and educational funding.
- The National Park Service dedicated land for the Learning Center within the Ross Lake National Recreation Area of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. The National Park Service also provides services such as water, sewer, fire management and educational support.
- North Cascades Institute is a non–profit organization based in Sedro–Woolley, Washington. It operates the Learning Center and provides environmental education programs for all ages and backgrounds.
Embodying principles of sustainability and respect for the natural setting, facilities include:
What kind of Programs are being offered?
- Multimedia classrooms, a research library, and aquatic and terrestrial labs
- Overnight lodging for up to 92 participants, plus housing for graduate students and staff
- A lakeside dining hall with a recycling/composting center
- An amphitheater, outdoor learning shelters, and trails leading into the surrounding wild lands
- A dock on Diablo Lake for paddling adventures
- ADA–accessible facilities and pathways
North Cascades Institute provides all of the Learning Center's environmental education programs, serving children and adults from the Skagit and Methow Valleys, the Puget Sound region and beyond. The Learning Center reaches more than 10,000 people each year in a wide variety of field-based and overnight programs. Scholarships are available. Programs include:
- Field–based natural and cultural history seminars for adults and families
- Professional development experiences for teachers
- Mountain School and watershed education for local school districts
- Youth summer experiences such as Cascades Adventure Camp, Cascades Climate Challenge, and North Cascades Wild
- Volunteer stewardship programs in wilderness, wildlife and watersheds
- Environmental education internships
- Graduate program: Master of Education in Natural Science/Science Education
Where is the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center?
To learn more:
Seattle City Light
Charles Beall, Chief of Interpretation
North Cascades National Park
Deb Martin, Registrar
North Cascades Institute
Kristofer Gilje, Operations Director
North Cascades Institute