1. The Wenatchee River Institute (WRI) was established as a Washington State Nonprofit Corporation in 2007. This followed a collaborative effort in 2000, between the Washington State Audubon Society and the Icicle Fund to purchase the property then known as Barn Beach Reserve, with a goal to preserve public access and create a learning center to “Bridge Environment, Arts & Cultural History” (B.E.A.C.H.). The property was most recently a bed and breakfast, Haus Lorelei, after serving as a family home for many years and for many notable Leavenworth families. Originally, the main home, now known as the River Haus, was built in 1903 for the owner of the Lamb Davis Lumber Company and was known at that time as the Lamb-Davis Bungalow. Currently the River Haus serves as the administrative offices and program space for WRI and shares the building with the Upper Valley Museum and Upper Valley M.E.N.D.
2. The Wenatchee River Institute’s mission is “Connecting People, Communities, and the Natural World.” WRI achieves this mission by teaching about conservation, stewardship and sustainability through experiential science education and community events for all ages. Our staff works to develop a wide array of opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and interests to get out and get into the natural world. Our method is all about “hands-on” because studies show that offering a wide range of dynamic and sensory learning opportunities increases student curiosity, engagement, motivation and enthusiasm for learning.
3. The Wenatchee River Institute’s primary program focus is its “Youth Field Days,” which offer an extensive and popular standards-based curricula to local elementary schools on topics ranging from macroinvertebrates to climate science. WRI offers a unique type of hands-on learning that is sought after by many schools and teachers in the area. WRI also hosts regular community events for all ages, including the annual Bird Fest (held on May 19-22 this year; leavenworthspringbirdfest.org); Adult and Family Workshops, which provide hands-on, deep exploration of nature in the Pacific Northwest through arts, science and natural history experiences; and Red Barn Events, which inspire life-long learning and connection to people, places and the natural world of the Pacific Northwest.
4. The Wenatchee River Institute is supported by volunteers, donors and most of all its members, and it leverages this support to manage and maintain its spectacular facilities that include the historic River Haus, the green-built Barn Learning Center, the Lorene Young Community Garden and nine acres overlooking the Wenatchee River in downtown Leavenworth.
5. The Wenatchee River Institute relies on community support to operate and serve over 800 kids annually in its Field Day program. WRI will hold its Annual Legacy Banquet fundraiser, featuring fine dining and a silent auction, on June 8 at the Cashmere Riverside Center (wenatcheeriverinstitute.org/events/legacy-banquet-and-auction). Our primary ongoing goal is to promote a healthy world and sustainable future for generations to come by reducing the effect of nature deficit disorder in our youth, opening doors to the wonders of our local environment to residents of, and visitors to, our area, and highlighting and supporting the relationship between the environment and our community through teaching and implementation of sustainability practices. We would love to have your support and see you there.