About

The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular river canyon cutting 80 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep, with the north canyon walls in Washington and the south canyon walls in Oregon. The mission of the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute is to create life-long learning opportunities that foster a sense of wonder and community [...]

Programs

The Ecology Institute’s SECRETS program has served regional schools since 1996.  From a handful of classes when it began, the SECRETS program now reaches almost every 5th grade classroom in a 2,000 square mile service area and is known as the leading educational resource throughout the region. In addition, our Science in Action program offers [...]

Support Us

The Ecology Institute depends on the support of donors and volunteers to keep our programs running and to reach students throughout the Columbia River Gorge! There are many ways you can support us, including donating, volunteering, and program sponsorship.  Those interested can learn more on how to support CGEI through other gifts of stock or estate planning. [...]

Nature Notes

Why do we love environmental and place-based education?  Because we love the outdoor world and want to share our enthusiasm with you!  Welcome to Nature Notes: posts on our blog to tell you when the first grass widows bloom, what species are migrating through the Gorge, or fun facts about trees you see every day.

But we need your help.  Let us know when you see new flowers blooming or interesting wildlife.  Ask us questions about the natural world.  We will create a Nature Note and share it on our blog, our Facebook page, and our twitter feed.  So make sure you’re following us to get the latest updates about the beautiful place we live!

To make a Nature Note on a recent wildflower or wildlife sighting in the Gorge send a short story or essay and a photo or two if possible to info(at)gorgeecology(dot)org with “Nature Note” in the subject line.  We’ll compile reports, post them on our blog, and share on our Facebook page to let you know when a new Nature Notes post is up.

 

 

Blog

  • LogoOnly

    Please watch this video highlighting some of our work.

    We’re so excited to share this video with you! This is a quick look at some of the work that we’re doing. We hope you enjoy and will share this video with others. Either click the link or click our logo to watch the video on YouTube. Thank you! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HGyjZ9TMWA  

  • Burrowing Owls via Flickr

    On the insistence of owls

    1. One day last summer, my partner and I hiked a loop that began at Crawford Oaks in Columbia Hills State Park, located on the Washington side of the river, just east of The Dalles. It was a spontaneous decision—to go on the hike in the first place, to do a full loop, to begin [...]

  • SECRETS Costume Ball flier

    SECRETS After Dark: Costume Ball

    It’s that time of year again: the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute cordially invites you to join us for a night of celebration at our annual SECRETS After Dark Costume Ball. This year, our event will take place on Friday, October 28th at River City Saloon (207 Cascade Avenue, Hood River). Starting at 8pm, join us [...]

  • Celia's wonder

    Moments of Wonder

    In the closet of my childhood bedroom there are rows and rows of shoeboxes, each one carefully labelled in black permanent marker: Bagamoyo 2002, Zanzibar 2004, Pt. Roberts 2006. Inside each box is a treasure trove of beach glass, small bits of driftwood, and oddly shaped pebbles that have been collected from every beach I [...]

  • Skunk (featured image)

    Event: Unity Picnic @ Hood River Library

    CGEI is excited to announce our presence at Hood River County Library’s annual Picnic in the Park! This year’s theme is “unity,” and we’ll be participating in the conversation by hosting “Biodiversity Jenga” and a collaborative community mural. The event starts at 5:30 pm at the library, and will take place indoors as well as [...]

  • students trekking

    WIND MTN. (a hiker’s review)

    A note from Bear: The following text is what I hope will be the first of many contributions from community members and volunteers. Today’s post, a meditative review of a favorite local hiking spot, is written by Moh Burford: poet, librarian, and occasional volunteer in the SECRETS classroom and on field trips, during which he [...]

  • Evaporation painting 4 (GEx)

    Gorge Explorers 2016: a photo essay

    As the penultimate week of my first time through Gorge Explorers comes to an end, there is much to reflect on. GEx is such a multivalent camp experience, with layers of mentoring that are many and diverse: high school students mentor 3rd graders; teachers from local elementary schools mentor everyone in the room; CGEI staff [...]

  • Meet a rock

    on Getting Close

      I have this memory: I was very young, sitting in the backseat of my mom’s car, her driving. Looking out through the windows like I’d just noticed their transparency, I saw for the first time, I mean really saw, the mountains surrounding us, making up the Rogue Valley in which we lived. Curious and [...]

  • 20160412_131502

    How to Adapt

    a brief user’s guide on getting through life, as gleaned from plant adaptations invented by students in our SECRETS program.   1) Everything that comes out of your mouth can be a seed—or a thorn.                                         [...]

  • Blue belly

    on Wonder

    In grad school, I learned to be really good at answering questions. You had to be—English departments, in striving for quantifiable excellence that might mirror their scientific sister departments, have come to prioritize things like thesis statements, highly specialized arguments, and the propping up of one’s reasoning on legs made of unquestionable steel.     [...]