Cancel Forgot Password?

North Cascades Institute/Western Washington University - Huxley College of the Environment

  • Diablo , WA
  • Private
  • Rural
  • 85%15%
    student ratio
  • 14
    total students
  • $16,800 | $16,800
    in-state tuition | out-of-state tuition


A Unique and Comprehensive Master of Education in Environmental Education

North Cascades Institute, in collaboration with Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University (WWU), offers a unique professional residency program leading to a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Environmental Education and Certificate in Leadership and Nonprofit Administration.

The program is designed to prepare students in all aspects of environmental education while allowing them to live, learn and teach at an established green-built Environmental Learning Center inside North Cascades National Park.

Courses are taught by the Northwest's best conservation leaders, naturalists and educators, and explore environmental education practices and pedagogy while emphasizing cultural studies, natural history, field science, teaching and nonprofit administration.

The M.Ed. degree is a seven-quarter program beginning late July with a month of immersive field studies in the North Cascades. The next four quarters of instruction take place at the Institute's Environmental Learning Center. The final two quarters are completed at WWU.

Residency Opportunities for M.Ed. Students

North Cascades Institute M.Ed. students engage in a variety of educational settings through the teaching practicum during their year-long residency at the Environmental Learning Center. The practicum is divided into four quarters, each building upon the experiences gained in the previous sessions.

During fall quarter, graduate students develop skills as an environmental educator through interdisciplinary training and teaching experience with Mountain School, the Institute's flagship program for students grades 5-12.

Winter quarter focuses on curriculum development and design theory and nonprofit administration. Institute professionals serve as instructors for both courses

Spring quarter offers many opportunities for students to hone their instructional skills by teaching another quarter of Mountain School and an introduction to instruction in dynamic adult programs on topics like amphibians, climate change, creative arts, edible plants and fire ecology.

The residency culminates in the summer with mentored leadership roles, allowing graduate students to hone their newly acquired skills in environmental education, leadership and nonprofit administration. Leadership tracks include serving as a Youth Leadership Adventures instructor, an Environmental Learning Center Adult and Family Programs lead, a Community Stewardship and Citizen Science instructor or National Park Service intern.

M.Ed. Students Earn Two Additional Graduate Certificates

North Cascades Institute M.Ed. students complete two graduate certificates as required components of the M.Ed. program: Certificate in Leadership and Nonprofit Administration and Northwest Naturalist Certification. The certificates are only available to students who complete the full residency program and reflect the value of challenging academic study when combined with hands-on, professional work experience.

Certificate requirements include four categories of study: natural and cultural history; leadership and nonprofit administration; learning center operations; and education curriculum, instruction and evaluation.

North Cascades Institute's Environmental Learning Center

The North Cascades Environmental Learning Center opened in 2005 to serve as a hub of discovery for people of all ages in one of the most biologically diverse regions of North America, North Cascades National Park. The Learning Center runs in partnership with the National Park Service and the City of Seattle. Facilities include multimedia classrooms, 92-bed lodging facility, full-service dining hall, a library and outdoor learning shelters and trails. The Silver LEED-certified campus is surrounded by over a million acres of protected public lands.

Graduate Students: Diverse Backgrounds, Diverse Careers

North Cascades Institute M.Ed. students have diverse experiences and backgrounds prior to attending the program, including education, resource management, liberal arts, conservation and recreation management.

For example, Liza Dadiomov lived and studied in Russia, Israel, Denmark, California and the Pacific Northwest. She had worked as an assistant at a forest preschool in Denmark and taught environmental education in the San Juan Islands. Ryan Weisberg received a bachelor's degree in queer studies and ethnography from the Evergreen State College in Washington state. Prior to pursuing the M.Ed program, he worked at the Insitute as a Seasonal Naturalist. Upon graduating from UCLA, David Strich worked as a snowboard instructor and environmental educator in California and eventually taught English in Japan for several years.

Upon graduation, students have found meaningful work in a diverse range of careers throughout North America, including public and private schools, natural resource agencies and community service organizations.

Faculty Bring a Wide Variety of Interests and Experience

North Cascades Institute's M.Ed. faculty have a wide variety of interests and experiences that enhances their instruction.

Katie Roloson, Institute program manager, holds experience in culinary arts, dietetics, fine arts and sports exercise. She uses her creative energy to draw from those fields to develop a variety of programs at the Environmental Learning Center, including the M.Ed. Graduate Program, Skagit Tours, Mountain School and adult and family programming.

North Cascades Institute executive director and co-founder, Saul Weisberg, is an ecologist, naturalist and writer with over 25 years of experience with NCI. His "Nonprofit Administration for Environmental Educators" course immerses students in the day-to-day operations of nonprofit organizations.

Over time the Institute's roster of instructors has included Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Michael Pyle, William Dietrich, Estella Leopold, Art Kruckeberg, Anne Zwinger, Tim McNulty, Kathleen Dean Moore, Rick Bass, Douglas Chadwick, Dave Matthews, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, Eugene Kozloff, Jennifer Hahn and Gary Ferguson.

Financial Aid Opportunities

Financial assistance is available to M.Ed. students for the duration of the program. North Cascades Institute offers scholarships applicable to the residency portion of the program, while Western Washington University provides financial aid for tuition, books and supplies.

Forbes and Kiplinger magazines rank WWU as a national "Top Value in Education." More than 60% of WWU students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and student employment. Over 300 scholarships are available to graduate students in 3 categories: departmental, non-departmental and diversity scholarships.

North Cascades Institute, Connecting People of All Ages to the Natural World

North Cascades Institute seeks to inspire closer relationships with nature through direct experiences in the natural world. Their mission is to conserve and restore Northwest environments through education. Since 1986, they have helped connect people, nature and community through science, art, literature and the hands-on study of the natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to the M.Ed. program, North Cascades Institute offers learning opportunities for youth, adult and families through school programs, summer youth adventures, natural and cultural history retreats and field excursions, family getaway weekends, community events and group programs, conferences and retreats at the Environmental Learning Center.

North Cascades Institute has received 10 consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. Only 1% of the 5,500 U.S. charities evaluated by the organization have received that distinction, indicating that the Institute outperforms most other charities in the nation for fiscal responsibility.

Location & Contact

North Cascades Institute

1940 Diablo Dam Rd
Diablo, WA 98283
(360) 854-2599

Joshua Porter
Graduate Program Coordinator
(206) 526-2567

Contact school now

Colleges, Departments, and Programs

  • Masters of Education in Environmental Education (WWU)

  • Certificate in Leadership and Nonprofit Administration (North Cascades Institute)

  • Northwest Naturalist Certification (North Cascades Institute)

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees
    • In-state tuition *$16,800
    • Out-of-state tuition *$16,800
    • International student tuitionNot Reported
    • * Tuition for full-time graduate student per academic year
  • Fees
    • Per-academic year feesNot Reported
    • Per-term feesNot Reported
    • One-time feeNot Reported
    • * Fees for full-time graduate students
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFinancial aid through Western Washington University
    • Application deadlines for financial aidFebruary 15
    • Types of financial support availableFederal student loans, Institute scholarships and WWU work-study



Advanced Search Options

Search your needs below, and view information about the schools that meet those needs by clicking "Search."
Step 1: Select Subject Area(s)
Step 2: Select Program(s) that Interest You
Complete step 1 before selcting a major
Step 3: Select Location
Complete step 1 and 2 before selecting a location
Step 4: Select Degree Level

Forgot Your Password?

To reset your password, simply enter your email address in the field below and click the Reset Password button. You will receive an email with a link and instructions to reset your password.

Check your email.

Please check your email and click on the link provided in the message to reset your password.