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Our Place

About Us

Indigenous peoples have lived in this region since time immemorial.  Wenatchee River Institute today is located on the ancestral homelands of the P'squosa (Wenatchi) Band.  The Wenatchee River Institute offers this acknowledgement as a step in honoring the original stewards of this land and to call for further learning and action.

Wenatchee River Institute Environmental Learning Center

Located just downstream from the confluence of the Wenatchee and Icicle Rivers, the nine-acre Barn Beach Reserve, owned and operated by the Wenatchee River Institute, is located in a spectacular setting that features accessible walking trails with panoramic views of the Wenatchee River and the Stuart Range. 

Visitors are always welcome.  We are just a short walk from downtown Leavenworth, and a world away from the hustle and bustle of Front Street.  Our property and neighboring Enchantment Park protect over 50 acres of diverse habitats ranging from Ponderosa pine forest to riparian habitats.

Four eBird hotspots exist on our property. Take a walk around, write down the birds you see, and upload to the site to contribute to the community science project.

See a map of Wenatchee River Institute Campus

The Gardens

Six different gardens are spaced throughout the Wenatchee River Institute property. Visitors are always welcome to come enjoy them. Self-guided garden walking tours are available at the kiosk in the parking lot.

  • Waterfall Garden
    Waterfall Garden

    A brand new garden here at WRI! Ann and Gary Colley installed this garden June 2020. They uncovered the original waterfall from the early days, adding new structure and some new rocks to spruce it up. Take a seat in the bench above and enjoy the sound of the trickling water while watching bird bathe.

  • Francis B. Field Garden
    Francis B. Field Garden

    Cascade Garden Club rebuilt this garden in 2014. Francis Field and her husband Robert bought the property and River Haus in 1921. Francis was an avid gardener. You will find plants in this garden that Francis is believed to have planted in the 20's. Enjoy the view of Wedge Mountain from the trellis.

  • Pond Garden
    Pond Garden

    This garden was redone in 2016. As another garden that was around during the early days, Ann and Gary Colley and Claudia Cockerham spruced it up with new plants, new slate and a smaller pond. Take a seat on the bench within the garden and be dazzled by birds and mammals drinking from the pond.

  • Dry Riverbed Garden
    Dry Riverbed Garden

    In summer 2018 we welcomed the new Dry Riverbed Garden put together by Ann and Gary Colley.

  • Native Plant Garden
    Native Plant Garden

    The Native Plant garden has been transformed recently by the hardwork of Gro Buer, Lisa Therrel and few others. Many of the plants have labels so we all can learn their names. Enjoy the smell of Mock Orange, Lupine and other flowers throughout spring and summer.

  • The E. Lorene Young Garden is a community garden with plots available for rent. Even if you are not a garden plot renter, enjoy walking through to see all of the flowers in bloom and veggies being grown.
    More information in link.

Red Barn Learning Center

Our Red Barn Learning Center is a model of energy efficiency and solar design. With photo-voltaic panels on the roof generating electricity and solar hot water providing heat for radiant floor heating, this building is as much a teaching tool as it is a place to learn.

In the Red Barn, we host youth, adult, and community education programs.  It is well appointed to accommodate everything from science labs to art classes, lectures, films, acoustic music performances and more!

Historic River Haus

Hand built over a century ago— this unique, iconic, and historic home embodies the history of settlement in the town of Leavenworth. Today the historic building is known as the "River Haus" and is the primary location for the Wenatchee River Institute administrative offices. We also share this space with Upper Valley MEND and the offices of the Upper Valley Museum at Leavenworth

E. Lorene Young House & Property

The E. Lorene Young (ELY) Property sits adjacent to our eastern border and was acquired through a partnership with the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust.  E. Lorene Young left a legacy by donating her property with the vision that her beautiful 3-acres of waterfront remained undeveloped. 

The ELY House is used primarily as a program space for Mountain Sprouts, a non-profit providing the Upper Valley with outdoor based early childhood education.  The lot north of the ELY House has become an active Community Garden.