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Programs that create a lifetime of understanding and caring for the natural world


The Wenatchee River Institute believes that the greatest hope for the future is to connect people, communities and the natural world. With the highest quality facilities, programs, and staff, students and people of all ages are engaged in learning about, and caring for, our area's often fragile environment. Each experience is created to inspire an understanding of, and an appreciation for, the natural world. The Wenatchee River Institute facilities and services are available to all, regardless of race, color, national origin or ancestry.

Wenatchee River Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

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WRI Announces Selection of New Executive Director

Wenatchee River Institute outdoor learning center (WRI), announces the selection of Carolyn Griffin-Bugert for the position of Executive Director. For 20 years, Griffin-Bugert administered programs serving low income and minority students in the Wenatchee School District (WSD). She has a strong commitment to the importance of equal access to education for everyone, especially those in underserved communities. Griffin-Bugert raised $14 million in funding as the district’s grants coordinator, creating programs serving thousands of students in 7 schools. For the past 3 years, her WSD After School Programs have partnered with WRI through the Traveling Naturalist Program, bringing environmental education to the students.

Griffin-Bugert acted as the WRI Interim Executive Director from January through March of this year, skillfully securing existing grant funding while also applying for new educational and operational grants. She comes to WRI with a unique educational background –a Bachelor’s degree in zoology giving her a strong basis in science, and a Master’s degree in social work giving her equally strong people-skills.

Field Notes & News

Save the dates for The Bird (3rd) Weekend in May!
Learn about the wide variety of migratory birds that come to Leavenworth and the Wenatchee Valley for a brief, but important part of their year; breeding season. This unique area features spectacular habitats ranging from snow-capped mountains to sunny ponderosa pine forests, lush riparian zones to shrub-steppe. Bird Fest field trips are led by experts and professionals in their field. Activities also include wildflower walks, arts events, and family activities to ensure fun and learning for birders of all ages and skill levels

Rich Beausoleil, Bear and Cougar Specialist and Karelian Bear Dog Program lead for WA Department of Fish and Wildlife. Karelian Bear Dogs, pictured here with Beausoleil, are trained to haze bears and other wild animals from areas where they are not welcome.