Glacier Peak Institute (GPI) Empowering youth through action based education to build resilient rural communities and ecosystems encompassing the Glacier Peak region.
GPI bridges the gap between classroom lessons and real world applications. Our interactive programs combine nature-based curriculum with learner led research and problem solving. We expand community by building relationships between schools, residents, tribes, universities, students, human service organizations, government agencies, businesses and their local ecosystems. By empowering students and community to identify, design and solve today’s problems, we all build interdependent resilience for posterity. Ecosystems spread beyond school district boundaries, opportunities often do not. While rural youth connect with the natural environment, urban youth have access to connect with the STEM industry. Through connecting the positive characteristics of urban and rural environments, we provide cultural and educational exchanges to find diverse solutions and increase opportunities for all.
We develop and coordinate STrEaMs (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programs introduced through personal connections via recreation, resources and research interpreted and expressed through the creative lens of art and solved with real-world skills by a partnership of stakeholder students, community members, tribes, institutions of higher education, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies. These programs include in school and out of school education opportunities.
GPI is a direct response to tragedy. The deadly SR 530 Mudslide on March 22nd, 2014, forced the timber depressed Darrington community to examine its uncertain future. After the Mudslide, the community’s greatest assets were identified: youth, forests and recreation. In August of 2014, members of the community, supported by the town of Darrington, North Counties Family Services, Washington State University Extension, and the Darrington School District designed and launched the Darrington Youth Outdoor STEM Pilot Project (later to become the Glacier Peak Institute) to invest and strengthen these assets through empowering students to develop infrastructure and scientific knowledge endemically through hand-on, practical-based projects contributing to the ecological and economic regeneration of their community. GPI is widely supported by the community and by NCFS who have been providing human services in the community for 22 years. WSU Extension provides administrative and programmatic infrastructure as well as knowledge of strong science-based training.