Mission & History

The Mount St. Helens Institute connects people of all ages to Mount St. Helens and our natural world through educational programing designed to enrich visitors’ appreciation and understanding of the Pacific Northwest’s youngest and most active volcano.

We are proud of the many ways we connect people to the volcano they love, from our outdoor youth education programing hosted at the Mount St. Helens Science & Learning Center at Coldwater, to expert lead field seminars and guided exploration programs, to meaningful volunteer opportunities occurring all over Mount St. Helens and surrounding Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

We consider ourselves to be purveyors of passion; and our passion is Mount St. Helens.

Our Mission

Mount St. Helens Institute’s mission is to advance understanding and stewardship of the earth through science, education and exploration of volcanic landscapes.

Our History

Founded in 1996 by a handful of individuals passionate about Mount St. Helens, the Mount St. Helens Institute is a 501(c) (3) private, nonprofit organization devoted to helping people understand and protect the volcano. We aim to enrich people’s experiences at Mount St. Helens through our field seminars, guided climbs, lecture series, work parties, and outings. Supported by generous businesses and individuals across the country, we want to share our enthusiasm for the Pacific Northwest’s youngest and most active volcano. We believe that this special landscape deserves support through education, research and stewardship.

Our Work

Each year, the Mount St. Helens Institute offers new seasonal events. We are constantly changing—just like the volcano. Our current work includes:

  • Volcano Outdoor School and summer camps focused on science and the outdoor
  • Classroom outreach
  • Guided climbs, hikes outings with scientists and other experts
  • Monthly science pub lecture series
  • Volunteer staffing of visitor centers, climbing ranger assistance, trail work and youth education programming.

The Mount St. Helens Institute is proud to operate under a special use permit from the US Forest Service and is a equal opportunity education provider.

Our Accomplishments

Since 2000, the Mount St. Helens Institute has reached out to more than 30,000 people with its field seminars, guided hikes and climbs, free outings, and work parties. We’ve hosted dozens of lectures, supported research, and helped thousands of youth experience the volcano. Our volunteers have clocked thousands of hours yearly making contact with hundreds of thousands of visitors and have helped restore many miles of trails and streams. With continued support we hope to build upon our decade of accomplishments with new programs and classes, ongoing stewardship, and expanded opportunities for people of all backgrounds and ages.