Friday, February 28, 2014

IslandWood - BainBridge Island

Learning is a journey, one that begins with the spark of inspiration. 

IslandWood is that catalyst... an invitation to walk down a new path and come to a new awareness of our place in the world.

Covered in lush fir, cedar and more, IslandWood’s 255-acre home campus is an outdoor learning center. IslandWood invites children and adults alike to discover a new way of seeing nature, themselves, and one another. In doing so, each person comes to understand their ability to change the world for the better.

History - In 1999, IslandWood Founder Debbi Brainerd had a bold vision. She suggested to her husband, Paul, that they build an environmental learning center for children without access to outdoor educational programs. Debbi believed that in order for children to become emotionally connected to and stewards of their world, they needed to have access to and understand it.

The official groundbreaking began in the summer of 2000. To prepare, IslandWood looked to its most valuable resources: its community. University of Washington landscape architecture students worked with over 250 children in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades to understand their thoughts on design. A suspension bridge. A floating classroom. And, of course, a tree house. From there, Mithun architects and The Berger Partnership designed the educational structures, trail systems, and outdoor field structures. 

Suspension bridge 

The Canopy Tower lends a new perspective on the ecosystem far below.

The hand-cranked Floating Classroom offers a lesson in the power of teamwork.

 The Tree House ...unleash your imagination. See the natural world from a new vantage point.

Our greatest strength is our ability to learn.
When the invitation to learn is wide open ...beneath our feet, at our fingertips, and all around us—we realize the world is our classroom. 
At IslandWood, this understanding begins with educational experiences in nature, and extends to every corner in which we find ourselves.

For more information and their upcoming events, visit

Photographs by Anupama Puneeth
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