On Tuesday, June 25, representatives from First Interstate Bank presented a donation check for $5,000 to the Mt. Adams Institute in Trout Lake.

Founded in 2011, the mission of the nonprofit Mt. Adams Institute is strengthening the connection between people and the natural world. It does so through education, service learning, career development, and research.

The institute’s Cascade Mountain school offers summer camps and outdoors school programs for Oregon and Washington school children. The programs combine STEM — science, technology, engineer, and math — with outdoors adventure.

It also operates the VetsWork program in 13 states, helping military veterans transition into careers in public lands and natural resources.

Veterans participate in a 45-week internship with agencies including the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and several state and local agencies.

First Interstate’s donation will go toward a project to update the institute’s facility in Trout Lake.

The center hosts educational programs and serves as a training center for veterans.

“The donation is huge,” said Brendan Norman, executive director and founder of the Mt. Adams Institute. It will allow “us to increase the capacity of both of those programs, meaning we’re going to be able to serve more young people and more veterans.”

Karalee Chabotte, Retail Manager for First Interstate in Bingen, said there are two great reasons to support the Mt. Adams Institute.

“The first reason is the VetsWork program. It is a program for military veterans that teaches them skills in natural resource land management and the environmental sector as their website indicated. We cannot do enough for our veterans,” Chabotte said. “The second is that it connects people with nature in ways that teach us to be stewards of our land.”

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