School Overnight Prgram

We are now registering groups for the spring 2017 and the 2017-2018 school year. Contact John Hayes or call (253) 692-4161


Focus Areas


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Mount Rainier Institute programs provide a mix between interdisciplinary content with science process skills such as observation, inquiry, analysis, and supporting claims with evidence.  Mount Rainier Institute educators will work with teachers to better integrate the Mount Rainier Institute experience into their classroom curriculum.  Possible focus areas include:


Forest Ecology
Students explore the intricacies and interconnections of forest ecosystems and how humans manage forests for multiple benefits. Mount Rainier Institute’s main campus is located at Pack Forest, which contains both managed forest ecosystems and outstanding examples of old growth.  Students conduct research projects that explore the differences between different aged forests and a variety of plant and animal species interrelationships.

Watershed Ecology
Students learn about aquatic ecosystems and the importance of salmon habitat. Students conduct field investigations that can include: macro-invertebrate studies, water chemistry, and physical characteristics of riparian zones.  On a trip to Mount Rainier National Park, students see “where the rivers begin” and learn how water shapes the land.


Earth Sciences
Students explore how fire and ice have shaped the land and with it human history. They discover signs of past geological hazards that have occurred on the slopes of Mount Rainier, and see evidence of the awesome power of glaciers.  Students also investigate the relationships between abiotic and biotic factors.


In addition to choosing a curriculum track for your visit, you will also select your Evening Programs. Current options for these include:


EcoSel–Students explore what they value about nature through this fun and exciting activity.  Student will need to make hard choices about how they would manage natural resources in an auction of resource management plans.


Night Hikes – Students challenge themselves to explore nature at night.  In field groups students learn about nocturnal adaptations, how humans adapt to the darkness, and astronomy.


Predator Prey Games–These active games put students in the roles of herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores.  They search through their habitat for the food and water they need, while hunting and being hunted by each other.  Students learn about food webs and predator-prey relationships and how challenging it can be to survive in nature.


Values of the Past – Students will be introduced to the human history of the Mount Rainier region by going to a “time warp” party where they meet historical figures and learn how people valued nature in the past.


Opening & Closing Campfire – Sing songs, tell stories and reflect around a campfire.  Campfires are a fantastic way to end the day and build community, and are a great way to begin to close the program on the last evening.


Sample Schedule

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10:15 Welcome & Orientation

  • Students will get off the bus, unload luggage, and are immediately engaged in an active introduction to Mount Rainier Institute

  • Students will be welcomed to the Mount Rainier Institute and introduced to the staff

  • Pass out student journals/workbooks

  • Students are introduced to the 1 rule at Mount Rainier Institute – RESPECT

Chaperones Orientation
12pm Lunch


12:45 Introductory Lesson-Introduction to different land uses

  • Team building

  • Nature's Benefits

4:30-5:30 Free time
5:30-6:30 Dinner
6:30- 8:30 pm Evening Program-Historic land uses- Values of the Past-

  • Students will be introduced to some of the historical figures associated with Mount Rainier region

8:30 Field science Introduction

  • Scientific method

  • Field science investigation

      • Water quality and salmon restoration related to habitat preservation

      • Old growth diversity study/comparison

      • Carbon sequestration comparison

12pm Field Lunch
Continue field investigation
4:30-5:30 Free time 
5:30-6:30 Dinner
6:30- 8:30 pm Evening –Science symposium


8:30 Depart for Mount Rainier
9:15 National Park Service and Recreation

  • Students are introduced to the National Park Service

12pm Lunch
12:30 The power of the mountain

  • Students learn about natural processes that have shaped the land

  • Impact of flooding

  • Volcanic land forms

  • Observe Nisqually glacier and discuss origins of the river and source of fresh water

  • Learn about glacial land forms, parts of glacier, how glaciers form etc.

  • Students find a solo spot given journal prompts to reflect on beauty of area.

5:00-6:00 Free time
6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00- 8:30 Night Hike/Closing campfire


8:30 Group Energizers
9:00 Final Hike
                Journal time
                Solo spot
11:00 Closing Ceremonies
11:30 Lunch & Depart

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