North Cascades Institute Inspires and empowers environmental stewardship for all through transformative educational experiences in nature.
"My name is Mia. I'm a small town girl and member of the Swinomish Tribe. My dad taught me how to hunt before I could walk and I hold the record for the 3rd largest elk taken out of Western Washington. Since 2015, I've participated in a Youth Leadership Adventures trip, the Summit, and Ambassadors. Before YLA, I had a close-minded view on people. My first thoughts when I arrived were: this place is beautiful, and what did I get myself into? The woods aren't new to me, but these activities with 9 strangers, felt awkward.During our trip, we hiked over 90 miles, completed stewardship projects, studied wildlife and glaciology, and helped each other grow. I pushed myself and came to know myself in a new way. After my trip, the Youth Ambassador program taught me useful college skills.These programs shaped my environmental consciousness by changing my actions. I used to not think twice about the ground I walked on. Now, I've seen the effects on an environmental area when we complete a project together. Even more, YLA shaped the way I view people. I realized that we all share commonalities. I formed connections with peers who are now my friends, with mentors who work for the park service, and most of all, with people who care about me. Thanks to the people at the North Cascades Institute, I know that I'll always have someone in my corner.Today I'm at Skagit Valley Community College, working toward a degree in environmental conservation. I am pursuing my dream job to be a wildlife biologist, so that I can preserve our wildlife for future generations to come."