Mount St. Helens Institute

Science and Learning Center Winter Reopening Celebration

As winter approaches, visitors may be looking for things to do on the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, part of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The Mount St. Helens Institute is hosting an event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, to mark the winter reopening of the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater. Beginning Nov. 4, visitors to Mount St. Helens can explore the Science and Learning Center on weekends while the Johnston Ridge Observatory is closed for the winter season. The event features live music by Raeann Phillips, art workshops with biologist and artist Natalie Tonn, Forest Service Ranger talks, volcano and winter themed crafts, a Mount St. Helens photo booth, lunch on-site, a gift shop, and more. A full schedule is available at http://www.mshslc.org/events/#slcopening. A $10 suggested donation includes lunch and all activities.

The Science and Learning Center is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through mid-May, when the Johnston Ridge Observatory reopens for the summer. Visitors to the Science and Learning Center during winter can enjoy a hike or snowshoe on nearby trails around the monument, watch two films about the 1980 eruption, pick up a souvenir at the gift shop, and learn fascinating facts from employees and volunteers who love sharing information about this special landscape.

Carnival of Colors at the Mount St. Helens Science & Learning Center

Bring your kids for a fun and engaging day at the Carnival of Colors, happening at the Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15. Quentin Comus, a 16-year-old Boy Scout from Troop 520 in Newberg, Oregon, will install a 30 foot, permanent flagpole to begin the event. Comus’s Eagle Scout project focuses on building improvements that will help transition the visitor center (built in 1993) into an overnight education center. In addition to the flagpole installation, Comus will build two wheelchair-accessible changing rooms, paint the 14,000-square-foot building, and update the fire evacuation signage. The Carnival of Colors also includes:

  • Live music by Caspar Babypants (Chris Ballew, formerly of the alt-rock band The Presidents of the United States)
  • Face painting by Kelsey the Face Painting Lady
  • Art workshops with Natalie Tonn, biologist and artist
  • OMSI traveling exhibits with brainteaser puzzles and animal items
  • Crafts including shrink plastic, pumpkin decorating, and fall banners
  • Carnival games including beanbag toss, paper airplane target, pumpkin ring toss, and more
  • Mount St. Helens photo booth station

A full schedule and tickets are available at http://www.mshslc.org/events/#carnivalofcolors. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. (Reduced priced tickets are available for low-income families.) Admission includes all activities, lunch, hot cider, and a pumpkin. To purchase tickets online now, click here. The event is hosted by the Mount St. Helens Institute and the U.S. Forest Service. Event sponsors include Eureka! Engineering, Cowlitz PUD, Red Canoe Credit Union, Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce, Castle Rock Community Development Alliance, and Castle Rock Blooms.

Carnival of Colors

Bring your kids for a fun and engaging day at the Carnival of Colors, happening at the Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15. Quentin Comus, a 16-year-old Boy Scout from Troop 520 in Newberg, Oregon, will install a 30 foot, permanent flagpole to begin the event. Comus’s Eagle Scout project focuses on building improvements that will help transition the visitor center (built in 1993) into an overnight education center. In addition to the flagpole installation, Comus will build two wheelchair-accessible changing rooms, paint the 14,000-square-foot building, and update the fire evacuation signage. The Carnival of Colors also includes:

  • Live music by Caspar Babypants (Chris Ballew, formerly of the alt-rock band The Presidents of the United States)
  • Face painting by Kelsey the Face Painting Lady
  • Art workshops with Natalie Tonn, biologist and artist
  • OMSI traveling exhibits with brainteaser puzzles and animal items
  • Crafts including shrink plastic, pumpkin decorating, and fall banners
  • Carnival games including beanbag toss, paper airplane target, pumpkin ring toss, and more
  • Mount St. Helens photo booth station

A full schedule and tickets are available at http://www.mshslc.org/events/#carnivalofcolors. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. (Reduced priced tickets are available for low-income families.) Admission includes all activities, lunch, hot cider, and a pumpkin. To purchase tickets online now, click here. The event is hosted by the Mount St. Helens Institute and the U.S. Forest Service. Event sponsors include Eureka! Engineering, Cowlitz PUD, Red Canoe Credit Union, Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce, Castle Rock Community Development Alliance, and Castle Rock Blooms.

Boots & Bowties Dinner-Auction Fundraiser for Mount St. Helens Institute

The Mount St. Helens Institute, a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote stewardship of the earth through science, education, and exploration of volcanic landscapes, will host its fourth annual Boots & Bow Ties Dinner and Auction Fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Hilton Vancouver. But this is no ordinary cocktail-attire affair: after you don your little black dress or your suave suit, throw on a snorkel and some hiking boots. If you can manage to walk in skiis, snowshoes, or flippers—well, you’ll get points for your outdoorsy spirit. Don’t forget your canoe paddles and trekking poles. (But if trail riding is your outdoors thing, maybe leave your horse at home, because clean-up would be problematic.)

The evening includes both silent and live auctions featuring local goods and services with outdoor recreation, environmental stewardship, and well-being in mind. Event tickets are $75 per person and include a delicious catered dinner and an introductory membership to the Mount St. Helens Institute. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. for cocktail hour and the silent auction, then dinner and the event program start at 7 p.m., followed by a live auction. Live and silent auction packages pampering packages, outdoor gear, day trip adventures, a night at Skamania Lodge, and a trip to New Orleans including airfare, a three-night stay, and a jazz tour package.

All proceeds benefit Mount St. Helens Institute’s education, stewardship and volunteer programs. To purchase event tickets, click here. To donate items or services for the silent auction, visit www.mshinstitute.org. For information about becoming an event sponsor, call 360-449-7826.

Boots & Bow Ties

The Mount St. Helens Institute, a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote stewardship of the earth through science, education, and exploration of volcanic landscapes, will host its fourth annual Boots & Bow Ties Dinner and Auction Fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Hilton Vancouver. But this is no ordinary cocktail-attire affair: after you don your little black dress or your suave suit, throw on a snorkel and some hiking boots. If you can manage to walk in skiis, snowshoes, or flippers—well, you’ll get points for your outdoorsy spirit. Don’t forget your canoe paddles and trekking poles. (But if trail riding is your outdoors thing, maybe leave your horse at home, because clean-up would be problematic.)

The evening includes both silent and live auctions featuring local goods and services with outdoor recreation, environmental stewardship, and well-being in mind. Event tickets are $75 per person and include a delicious catered dinner and an introductory membership to the Mount St. Helens Institute. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. for cocktail hour and the silent auction, then dinner and the event program start at 7 p.m., followed by a live auction. Live and silent auction packages pampering packages, outdoor gear, day trip adventures, a night at Skamania Lodge, and a trip to New Orleans including airfare, a three-night stay, and a jazz tour package.

All proceeds benefit Mount St. Helens Institute’s education, stewardship and volunteer programs. To purchase event tickets, click here. To donate items or services for the silent auction, visit www.mshinstitute.org. For information about becoming an event sponsor, call 360-449-7826.

Volcano Views and Brews: Wild Mushroom Foraging

It’s almost time for another Volcano Views & Brews, the North Bank’s popular series that combines those seemingly unalike yet both iconically Northwestern things, volcanoes and beer. This next installment—sponsored by the Mount St. Helens Institute—will be held on two dates in two locations: Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the Fort Vancouver Artillery Barracks, and Thursday, Sept. 21, at Ashtown Brewing in Longview. The topic is “Edible Mushroom Identification and Foraging,” and the presentation will be given by noted Northwest mycologist Rachel Box. Both presentations are from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

We study flowers, trees, and other plants but miss out on an entire natural frontier: mushrooms! It’s time to look beyond the stigma of mushrooms as dirty decomposers or…um, fatal poisoners…and consider the ways they inspire our curiosity, our culinary creativity, and our inner forager. Learn the basics of the identification process, what it takes to forage on your own, and how to pick the proper field guide. There will be a question-and-conversation time following the presentation so that you can ask any mushroom-related question you can think of!

As a Pacific Northwest native, Box grew up exploring the off trail depths of the forest. One autumn, with guidance from a friend of what to pick, she came home with a hat full of Chanterelle mushrooms and an inspired curiosity. Since then, curiosity has fruited into an in-depth passion and knowledge of the world of mushrooms. Box teaches mushroom foraging workshops and lectures throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is an active member of the Oregon Mycological Society, leading field trips and teaching for a variety of their events. Box also runs a small-but-resourceful website that addresses the most frequently asked questions from those aspiring to learn more about mushrooms and has a YouTube page that features how to identify key edible mushrooms and other fungi facts. Learn more about Box at www.yellowelanor.com.

Sky and Star Party at Mount St. Helens

Attend a Sky and Star Party at the Science and Learning Center on Saturday, Sept. 16. The event—hosted by the Mount St. Helens Institute and others—features talks by former NASA astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger and others, live music by Jawbone Flats, telescope viewing, astronomy-themed crafts, dinner, and more. The event will happen rain or shine, and is open to the public from 3 p.m. to midnight. A suggested donation of $10 per person includes all speakers, activities, and dinner. Overnight reservations are available for those who want to stay late to view dark sky objects and camp out. Camping reservations are available online at http://www.mshslc.org/events. The cost is $30 per person and includes camping, breakfast, and a guided morning walk or hike in addition to all of the public events.

Bring the kids to enjoy astronomy crafts from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by a pasta dinner and live music from Jawbone Flats from 5 to 7 p.m. At 7 p.m., hear stories from Metcalf-Lindenburger at 7 p.m. Greg Cermac, NASA’s Solar System Ambassador, will also share information on volcanism in the inner solar system at 3 p.m. Howard Knytych, Mt. Hood Community College instructor and Rose City Astronomers member, will speak about cryvolcanism and Pluto at 4 p.m.

In the evening, amateur astronomers from Friends of Galileo and the Rose City Astronomers will share their telescopes and enthusiasm for the night sky, giving the public an opportunity to see some deep sky objects. An introduction will begin at 8 p.m., followed by telescope viewing and a guided constellation identification walk. Sky viewing is weather dependent. Day of weather updates will be posted to Facebook at www.tinyurl.com/2017mshsky. The full schedule is online at www.mshslc.org/events/#skyandstar.

Mount St. Helens: It’s a Blast!

On Saturday, May 13, Mount St. Helens will welcome a steady stream of visitors for “It’s a Blast!” a public outreach and fundraising event hosted by the Mount St. Helens Institute to kick off the 2017 summer season at the Johnston Ridge Observatory and the Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center. Enjoy enthralling exhibits, breathtaking crater views, award-winning films about the 1980 eruption, and the astonishing return to life at Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Visit the Science and Learning Center for kids’ activities, crafts, guided hikes, and music from Amber Sweeney. Admission is $8 per person and benefits Mount St. Helens Institute’s education and volunteer programs. The event is free for children 15 and younger and federal recreation pass holders.  Both facilities will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Here’s the schedule at the Science and Learning Center:

  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.—OMSI brain teasers and animal artifacts, education activities and crafts, photo booth station with props
  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. —Guided Hummocks Trail Hike (meet at Hummocks Trailhead)
  • Noon—TRASHCANO! demonstration
  • 12:30 p.m.—TRASHCANO! demonstration
  • 1 to 4 p.m.—Music by soul/rock songwriter Amber Sweeney Trio at the Science and Learning Center
  • 2 to 4 p.m.—Guided Hummocks Trail Hike (meet at Hummocks Trailhead)
  • 2 p.m.—TRASHCANO! demonstration
  • 3 p.m.—Guided walk on Winds of Change Trail
  • 4 p.m.—TRASHCANO! demonstration

Check here for more details: http://www.mshslc.org/events/. The Mount St. Helens Institute is a 501(c) (3) private, nonprofit organization that advances understanding and stewardship of the earth through science, education and exploration of volcanic landscapes. For more information, visit www.mshinstitute.org or contact Ray Yurkewycz at ryurkewycz@mshinstitute.org or 360-891-5069.

Volcano Views & Brews: Reintroducing Grizzly Bears to the North Cascades

How many times have you awoken in the middle of the night and thought to yourself, “What the world needs now…is more grizzly bears.” You’ll be relieved to know that you’re not alone—many people at Western Wildlife Outreach are working hard right now to reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades. Two of those people, Lorna and Darrell Smith, will share their stories.

Western Wildlife Outreach began in 2002 as the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project, a science-based community education project. Their work expanded to include the Selkirk Ecosystem of northeastern Washington and northwestern Idaho. These two areas were identified by scientists working to implement the Endangered Species Act as having the best chance for recovering grizzly bear populations in Washington. Today, Western Wildlife Outreach has expanded its focus to include maintaining healthy populations of other large carnivores—namely black bears, cougars, and gray wolves—throughout Washington State and the Northwest. They provide information about ecology, animal behavior, safety during any human-animal interactions, and recovery under the Endangered Species Act. They help the people understand these elusive creatures while partnering with government agencies, non-government organizations, and the public to create wildlife-safe communities.

Learn more about your “local” grizzly bears at the next Volcano Views and Brews, happening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, at Loowit Brewing in downtown Vancouver. There’s a $5 suggested donation to offset costs, and beer and nibbles will be available to purchase. Loowit is located at 507 Columbia St. You can also hear the same presentation on Thursday, April 20, at the Hop N’ Grape in Longview. Volcano Views and Brews is a monthly lecture series hosted by the Mount St. Helens Institute. Click here to learn more.

Volcano Views & Brews: Hiking the Triple Crown

The Triple Crown isn’t just for horses. If you’re a veteran hiker, you know that the Triple Crown is the three longest, most magnificent hikes in the United States: the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. It’s the Impossible Dream for most hikers—but there are some few who’ve managed to do it. Jeff Garmire is one of them, and did all 7,700 miles in just nine months. He is the fifth and youngest person to accomplish this feat. If you want to hear his story in person, you’ll want to come hear him speak at the next Volcano Views and Brews, happening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Garmire began long distance hiking in 2011 and has continued to push the envelope ever since. In the past six years, he has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (2650 miles in 2011), the Pacific Northwest Trail (1250 miles in 2014), all of Colorado’s 14ers (58 different peaks in 2015) as well as his most recent Triple Crown accomplishment in 2016.

As you listen, enjoy some classic Washington craft brews at Loowit Brewing in downtown Vancouver. There’s a $5 suggested donation to offset costs, and beer and nibbles will be available to purchase. Loowit is located at 507 Columbia St. in downtown Vancouver. (You can also hear the same presentation on Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Hop N’ Grape in Longview.) Volcano Views and Brews is a monthly lecture series hosted by the Mount St. Helens Institute. Click here to learn more.

Mount St. Helens Winter Adventures

Explore Mount St. Helens’ scenic wintry areas with the Mount St. Helens Institute and learn what makes this volcano and the Northwest so special. The Mount St. Helens Institute’s Winter Adventures are a wonderful way to explore new places with an expert naturalist guide, Bob Appling. You can even rent your snowshoes from the Institute! You will need to provide your own lunch and transportation to the trailhead. And if you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary gift for the outdoor adventurer in your life, gift certificates are available and can be purchased online here.

Participants will learn the basic skills of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing while also gaining knowledge about winter wildlife tracking, geology and biology. In short: it’s a beautiful and educational workout, with hot chocolate at the end. The cost per participant is $45. Snowshoe and trekking pole rentals are available for $15 per participant. (Sorry, cross-country ski and pole rentals aren’t available, so BYOCCSAP—bring your own cross-country skis and poles!)

Below is the complete list of 2017 Winter Adventures, or you can visit www.mshinstitute.org for details. Click on each link for information about registration, and showshoe rental.

Above image: hikers near Chocolate Falls. See more amazing photos on the Mount St. Helens Institute’s Facebook page!

Volcano Views & Brews: 100 Classic Hikes in Washington

Washington is a beautiful state with big mountains, big rivers, big lakes, a big coastline, big trees, big animals, and big tracts of public lands traversed by thousands of miles of trails that offer some of our country’s most awe-inspiring hikes. Come and hear about 100 of our great state’s classic, not-to-be-forgotten, and un-replicatable-anywhere-else hikes with award-winning author Craig Romano. Learn about the very best hikes in the state—short, day-long and overnight. From the misty wild Olympic Coast to the sun-kissed Blue Mountains, explore trails covering every facet of Washington’s incredible geographical diversity.

As you listen, enjoy some classic Washington craft brews at Loowit Brewing in downtown Vancouver— because that’s where the next Volcano Views and Brews is happening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15. There’s a $5 suggested donation to offset costs, and beer and nibbles will be available to purchase. Loowit is located at 507 Columbia St. in downtown Vancouver.

Romano is the author and co-author of 16 books, including “Day Hiking Mount St. Helens.” Romano has hiked every mile of every trail (including the winter ski and snowshoe trails) within the 110,000-acre national volcanic monument, as well as having climbed the volcano and explored miles of surrounding trails while researching this, his 14th book. The book also includes hikes in the adjacent Dark Divide and Siouxon Roadless areas and the Chehalis and Cowlitz River valleys. Learn more at craigromano.com.

Boots & Bow Ties

The Mount St. Helens Institute, a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote stewardship of the earth through science, education, and exploration of volcanic landscapes, will host its first annual Boots & Bow Ties Dinner and Auction Fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Hilton Vancouver. But this is no ordinary cocktail-attire affair: after you don your little black dress or your suave suit, throw on a snorkel and some hiking boots. If you can manage to walk in skiis, snowshoes, or flippers—well, you’ll get points for your outdoorsy spirit. Don’t forget your canoe paddles and trekking poles. (But if trail riding is your outdoors thing, maybe leave your horse at home, because clean-up would be problematic.)

The evening includes both silent and live auctions featuring local goods and services with outdoor recreation, environmental stewardship, and well-being in mind. Event tickets are $75 per person and include a delicious catered dinner and an introductory membership to the Mount St. Helens Institute. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for cocktail hour and the silent auction, then dinner and the event program start at 7 p.m., followed by a live auction. Live and silent auction packages include a week in Tuscany; skydiving for two plus overnight stay at Oregon Garden Resort; Blazers tickets for Nov. 8 or 13, cooking lessons and dinner party for six; and a private flight over Mount St. Helens.

All proceeds benefit Mount St. Helens Institute’s education, stewardship and volunteer programs. To purchase event tickets, click here. To donate items or services for the silent auction, visit www.mshinstitute.org. For information about becoming an event sponsor, call 360-449-7826.

Boots & Bow Ties

The Mount St. Helens Institute, a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote stewardship of the earth through science, education, and exploration of volcanic landscapes, will host its first annual Boots & Bow Ties Dinner and Auction Fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Hilton Vancouver. But this is no ordinary cocktail-attire affair: after you don your little black dress or your suave suit, throw on a snorkel and some hiking boots. If you can manage to walk in skiis, snowshoes, or flippers—well, you’ll get points for your outdoorsy spirit. Don’t forget your canoe paddles and trekking poles. (But if trail riding is your outdoors thing, maybe leave your horse at home, because clean-up would be problematic.)

The evening includes both silent and live auctions featuring local goods and services with outdoor recreation, environmental stewardship, and well-being in mind. Event tickets are $75 per person and include a delicious catered dinner and an introductory membership to the Mount St. Helens Institute. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for cocktail hour and the silent auction, then dinner and the event program start at 7 p.m., followed by a live auction. Live and silent auction packages include a week in Tuscany; skydiving for two plus overnight stay at Oregon Garden Resort; Blazers tickets for Nov. 8 or 13, cooking lessons and dinner party for six; and a private flight over Mount St. Helens.

All proceeds benefit Mount St. Helens Institute’s education, stewardship and volunteer programs. To purchase event tickets, click here. To donate items or services for the silent auction, visit www.mshinstitute.org. For information about becoming an event sponsor, call 360-449-7826.

Boots & Bow Ties

The Mount St. Helens Institute, a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote stewardship of the earth through science, education, and exploration of volcanic landscapes, will host its first annual Boots & Bow Ties Dinner and Auction Fundraiser on Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Hilton Vancouver. But this is no ordinary cocktail-attire affair: after you don your little black dress or your suave suit, throw on a snorkel and some hiking boots. If you can manage to walk in skiis, snowshoes, or flippers—well, you’ll get points for your outdoorsy spirit. Don’t forget your canoe paddles and trekking poles. (But if trail riding is your outdoors thing, maybe leave your horse at home, because the clean-up would be offputting to other guests.)

The evening includes both silent and live auctions featuring local goods and services with outdoor recreation, environmental stewardship, and well-being in mind. Event tickets are $75 per person and include a delicious catered dinner and an introductory membership to the Mount St. Helens Institute. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for cocktail hour and the silent auction, then dinner and the event program start at 7 p.m., followed by a live auction. All proceeds benefit Mount St. Helens Institute’s education, stewardship and volunteer programs. To purchase event tickets, click here. To donate items or services for the silent auction, visit www.mshinstitute.org. For information about becoming an event sponsor, call 360-449-7826.

Boots & Bow Ties

The Mount St. Helens Institute, a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote stewardship of the earth through science, education, and exploration of volcanic landscapes, will host its first annual Boots & Bow Ties Dinner and Auction Fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Hilton Vancouver. But this is no ordinary cocktail-attire affair: after you don your little black dress or your suave suit, throw on a snorkel and some hiking boots. If you can manage to walk in skiis, snowshoes, or flippers—well, you’ll get points for your outdoorsy spirit. Don’t forget your canoe paddles and trekking poles. (But if trail riding is your outdoors thing, maybe leave your horse at home, because the clean-up would be offputting to other guests.)

The evening includes both silent and live auctions featuring local goods and services with outdoor recreation, environmental stewardship, and well-being in mind. Event tickets are $75 per person and include a delicious catered dinner and an introductory membership to the Mount St. Helens Institute. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for cocktail hour and the silent auction, then dinner and the event program start at 7 p.m., followed by a live auction. All proceeds benefit Mount St. Helens Institute’s education, stewardship and volunteer programs. To purchase event tickets, click here. To donate items or services for the silent auction, visit www.mshinstitute.org. For information about becoming an event sponsor, call 360-449-7826.

Wild Mushroom Foraging Field Seminar

You’ll go on a foraging trip through the forests surrounding Mount St. Helens, and  you’ll learn how to identify delicious wild mushrooms like chanterelles, boletes, and matsutakes: super-expensive in the store, but 100% free when plucked straight from Nature’s bountiful arms.

Boldensmith is a highly experienced instructor who has not died yet from accidentally eating poisonous mushrooms, so that’s a good sign. He’s also passionate and eager to share his knowledge with other wild mushroom-lovers. Seminars are open to all ages, but young ‘uns aged 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult. To sign up, call 360-449-7883, e-mail info@mshinstitute.org, or visit www.mshinstitute.org.

Mount St. Helens Guided Climbs

Astonishing as it may seem, the Mount St. Helens Institute‘s Guided Climbs for 2016 are already starting to fill up.  You can get up close and personal with Mount St. Helens in four different ways: Summit Climbs, Summit Climbs with a Geologist, Crater Glacier View Climbs, and Into the Crater Hikes. Climbing permits are included in the cost for Summit Climbs and Climbs with a Geologist. Climbs begin on June 25, 2016, and the last hike of the season is on Sept. 17, 2016. Here’s a brief rundown of each hike, which you can register for by visiting www.mshinstitute.org:

The Summit Climb is designed for first-time climbers who want to learn more about the mountain’s natural history from experienced guides, and it’s an unforgettable adventure to those bold enough to climb an active Cascade volcano!

The Summit Climb with a Geologist takes hikers straight to the crater rim with trained geologists. The two-day event starts on Friday evening around the campfire, learning about the eruptive history of Mount St. Helens. On Saturday, the geologist will explain the mountain’s fascinating geological history and answer questions while ascending Monitor Ridge to the rim.

The Crater Glacier View Climb takes hikers up towards the crater from the Pumice Plain to find awe-inspiring, up-close views of the crater with its domes and glacier. The views to the north include Johnston Ridge, Spirit Lake, the Mount Margaret Backcountry, Mount Adams, the Goat Rocks Wilderness, and Mount Rainier.

Into the Crater Hike begins with a descent from Windy Ridge and across the Pumice Plain. Hikers will leave the Loowit Trail and travel up toward the crater breach. At stops along the route, hikers will hear about the geology and ecology of this amazing landscape. At the crater breach, climbers will learn more about Crater Glacier and other fascinating facts.

Mushroom Foraging Field Seminar

Autumn is the time of year for that Delicacy of Delicacies, the wild foraged mushroom. But how do you know which ones are good to eat, and which ones will result in your untimely demise? Find out during the “Foraging for Wild Mushrooms” field seminar, led by trained staff from the Mount St. Helens Institute. The first two workshops filled up fast, but there is one workshop left on Saturday, Oct. 10, with ‘shroom expert Joe Boldensmith.

You’ll go on a foraging trip through the forests surrounding Mount St. Helens, and  you’ll learn how to identify delicious wild mushrooms like chanterelles, boletes, and matsutakes: super-expensive in the store, but 100% free when plucked straight from Nature’s bountiful arms.

Boldensmith is a highly experienced instructor who has not died yet from accidentally eating poisonous mushrooms, so that’s a good sign. He’s also passionate and eager to share his knowledge with other wild mushroom-lovers. Seminars are open to all ages, but young ‘uns aged 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult. To sign up, call 360-449-7883, e-mail info@mshinstitute.org, or visit www.mshinstitute.org.

Arts of the Mountain & Music on the Mountain

Mount St. Helens is the ideal backdrop for a summer arts festivals—to browse, to enjoy, to buy, to listen, and to meet the artists and musicians who have been inspired by the majesty of the mountain. Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28, will be a perfect time to celebrate art during two separate and completely free events: Arts of the Mountain (Saturday and Sunday) and Music on the Mountain (Saturday evening). Here are details about both events, which are hosted by the nonprofit Mount St. Helens Institute:

  • Arts of the Mountain: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 27-28, when over 40 local artists and artisans will showcase their paintings, sculptures, jewelry, woodworking, and stained glass at several different venues along the Spirit Lake Highway (SR-504), as well as music and food: the Science & Learning Center, Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center, Twosome Art Studio, Toutle Lake School, Mount St. Helens RV Park, and the Silver Lake Grange. No tickets are required! For more details, visit www.facebook.com/artsofthemountain.
  •  Music on the Mountain: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday, June 27, at the Johnston Ridge Observatory Amphitheater. This is a free concert with bands performing against the fantastic backdrop of the volcano’s crater and the valley below. More details are available at www.facebook.com/musiconthemtn.