In partnership with Mount Rainier National Park, University of Washington created the Mount Rainier Institute. Located at Pack Forest, Mount Rainier Institute is a residential environmental learning center that uses the natural and cultural resources of Mount Rainier National Park and Pack Forest to achieve its mission.

Mount Rainier Institute provides schools in our region with in-depth, multi-day programs focusing on science/STEM education. Mount Rainier Institute also helps connect students and teachers to Mount Rainier National park, and uses the park and Pack Forest as its “classroom.” We partner with schools to provide experiences that enhance curriculum, enrich science, and build community.

Vision & Mission

We envision a world with a diverse community of ecologically literate people inspired by the natural world and motivated to be stewards.

Mount Rainier Institute provides outstanding nature-based education experiences that are rooted in science and nurture the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders.



It is essential to foster a sense of community among students, staff, and our partners.  Meaningful collaboration with one another will create an enduring conservation ethic.

  • We believe in the strength of diversity.

  • We respect the values, viewpoints and beliefs of other cultures.

  • We are committed to inclusiveness and seek to engage people of all cultures in the environment.

  • We actively work to have a diverse staff and seek to engage a diversity of students.

  • We seek to provide programs universally adaptable to all people.

  • We recognize and encourage others to value the interconnectedness of people, place and issues.



Core to our mission is to help all those involved with Mount Rainier Institute grow and develop knowledge and understanding of the environment.

  • We use our resources to provide the most in-depth, immersive experiences, possible.

  • We are committed to facilitating students’ and staffs’ scientific and ecological literacy.

  • We actively partner with schools and teachers to enhance K-12 science education.

  • We help students understand the importance and significance of Mount Rainier National Park.

  • We are committed to inspiring people to become lifelong learners.

  • We provide hands-on authentic learning experiences.

  • We strive to use the environment as the integrating context for all learning.

  • We strive to provide programs that are interdisciplinary and engage a variety of learning styles.


We will strive to bring out the best in people and produces the highest quality experiences possible.

  • We are committed to working hard.

  • We are accountable to our mission and to all others involved with Mount Rainier Institute.

  • We incorporate the most accurate, up-to-date and best-known science and information into the topics we teach.

  • We hold ourselves and our students to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.

  • We strive to be a national model for place-based residential environmental education programs.


We will strive to express the value of the Mount Rainier region.

  • We strive to be sustainable in our approach to learning. 

  • We recognize that we must balance the need to engage students in authentic hands-on experiences with the need to preserve and protect sensitive resources.

  • We demonstrate sustainable living practices to the best of our ability.

  • We encourage students to develop strong attachments to the Mount Rainier region and their home.


We believe it is essential to not only educate but also to inspire people to appreciate the joy and beauty of nature, and to become active stewards.

  • We foster hope and help students see the possibilities for a sustainable future.

  • We inspire students to consider careers in natural resource management, education, or related fields.

  • We help students rekindle their curiosity and sense of wonder for the natural world.

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School of Environmental and Forest Sciences University of Washington College of the Environment School of Environmental and Forest Sciences