Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute

Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute

Sponsored by Solstice Wood Fired Pizza

PO Box 1104 Hood River, OR 97031


Provide educational opportunities with an emphasis on stewardship and a sense of wonder in the natural systems of the Columbia River Gorge. Recognizing the unique biologic, cultural, and geologic nature of the region we use a place-based approach, engaging participants through innovative and experiential programming in an effort to cultivate the long-term conservation, sustainability, and vitality of the Columbia Gorge communities.


Create an ecologically literate citizenry.


We aim to (1) recruit and retain more volunteers so that we may (2) expand the number of students we’re serving, in addition to (3) increasing financial support from donors.


The Ecology Institute’s SECRETS program, a multi-week environmental education program that provides transformative outdoor experiences, has served regional schools since 1996. From a handful of classes when it began the SECRETS program now reaches 70% of the 5th grade classrooms in a 2,000 square mile service area and is known as a leading educational resource throughout the region. Additionally, the Ecology Institute offers middle school students opportunities to engage in meaningful scientific field surveys and restoration projects; provides internships in conservation stewardship and community service for high school students; engages hundreds of youth in after and out-of-school experiences of their local places; works to restore critical habitats for rare, threatened, and endangered species of the Gorge and creates a variety of other experiences that foster stewardship and a sense of wonder. We annually teach approximately 1,500 students and work with about 100 community volunteers. Our core values include passion, service, wellness, equity, and community. More than two-thirds of our programs are provided for FREE!

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