National Park Partners

Mount Rainier Institute is a joint effort between Mount Rainier National Park and University of Washington. The combined expertise of Mount Rainier Institute staff and experienced National Park Service educators coupled with incredible natural resources, provide the ingredients for a fantastic environmental education program.


John Hayes-Director
John started leading the effort to establish Mount Rainier Institute in 2012.  Before coming to western Washington, John was the Executive Director of another residential environmental learning center in partnership with the Nation al Park Service at Dunes Learning Center. He has worked in the Environmental Education field for over 20 years. He has taught and coordinated environmental education programs in Vermillion County Illinois, and for Indiana University’s Bradford Woods.  John also worked at Teton Science Schools in Wyoming where he was part of their Graduate Faculty.

Amy Wilson-EE Coordinator

Amy came to us from North Carolina where she worked as an Environmental Education Program Coordinator for a total of four school years.  During the summer months she has worked as a Summer Teacher Naturalist at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.  Amy earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in environmental education from Warren Wilson College.  She is currently working to finish a masters program in environmental education from Montreat College.  When Amy has free time it is usually spent capturing photographs, exploring, playing ukulele, or searching for spiders.


Katie Ewen- EE Instructor

Born and raised in beautiful Kentucky, Katie graduated with degrees in English and Earth Science from Vassar College. In between her studies, she's led backpacking and kayaking trips everywhere from North Carolina to Alaska and is a trained Wilderness First Responder. She is passionate about conservation, geology, outdoor adventures, and experiential education, and has spent the last seven months leading wildlife research for students in Yellowstone National Park. When not exploring alpine lakes or examining rocks, Katie can be found reading, writing, backing large birthday cakes, building kayaks, and attempting to play the banjo.

Sydney Rose Davis-EE Instructor

A Washington native, Sydney is pumped to return home after teaching all over the US the past few years. This past year she was on Cape Cod teaching science, leading adventure trips, and getting dirty on the farm. She has a fondness for forest ecology and geology, and hopes to inspire a love of herptiles in all her students. During the winters, Sydney prefers to migrate with the birds and travel abroad. You might also spot her biking, playing board games, and dancing to 90s music.

Sylvan Whitmore-EE Instructor

Sylvan grew up in Ithaca, New York and completing his BA in linguistics at Cornell University. Since then, he has slowly been making his way out west, teaching outdoor education in Texas and then Colorado before making his way to Washington. When he's not teaching, you might find him hiking, juggling, exploring different forms of art, or getting distracted by cool insects.

Earl Hidayetoglu-EE Instructor

Coming soon!

Jessica Page-EE Instructor

Coming soon!

Calvin Linder-EE Instructor

Coming soon!


Conor Lough-Adjunct EE Instructor

Conor is retruning to Mount Rainier Insititue for his second spring season. Conor has taught environmental education Wild Whatcom and a Youth programs Lead Instructor for the Wilderness Awareness School. Conor holds a BS in Environmental Science and Terrestrial Ecology and a BA in Environmental Education from Western Washington University.

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