Jim Wells
  • Founder

Jim Wells Director


Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon

  • BS in Psychology, Education
  • Secondary Teaching Credential
  • Overseas Study Program: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Southwest Semester: Arizona and New Mexico

Professional Experience

2010 - 2017   

Cascadia Adventure Education School
  • Founder: Environment-based education, service learning, leadership courses
  • Costa Rica Student Travel Programs
  • Residential Outdoor School
  • Cascadia Kayak School
  • Public School Field Trips
  • Summertime Multi-Day Courses for Teens
World Class Kayak Academy
  • Board Director
Reed College, Portland, Oregon
  • Outdoor Specialist, Freshman Orientation "Outdoor Odyssey" Program

2000 – 2009   AmeriCorps -- Northwest Service Academy, Trout Lake, WA

     Director, NWSA / Mt. Adams Center

  • AmeriCorps Member Placements
  • Liaison with Non-Profit Organizations and Government Agencies
  • Supervision of 8 Staff and 78 Members (average age: 22)
  • Training and Leadership Development
  • Residential Program Management
  • Service Learning
  • Community Partnerships
  • Local Advisory Council
  • Fiscal Oversight and Budgets
  • Grand Writing and Fundraising
  • Compliance and Reporting
  • Operations and Training
  • Risk Management
  • Background Checks

1981 – 2000  Alaska Wildland Adventures, Girdwood, Alaska

  • Founder and Vice President
  • Program Planning and Implementation
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Staff Recruitment and Training
  • Oversight of Operations
  • Customer Service
  • Public Relations
  • Procurement
  • Risk Analysis and Safety Plans

1981 – 1986  Sycamore Associates, Trout Lake, WA  

  • Served as principal in a firm specializing in interpretive planning and design
  • Sample list of clients: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska State Parks, Washington Park Zoo, Alaska Zoo, Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona, Shaker Lake Nature Center in Cleveland, South Slough Estuarine Sanctuary in Oregon, and Chippewa Nature Center in Michigan

1980 – 1981  Washington Park Zoo, Portland, Oregon

  • Project Director – Cascade Nature Center
  • Created, designed, and supervised fabrication of exhibits for the Cascade Nature Center

1978 - 1980 Youth Conservation Corps

  • Director (Seasonal Summer Programs)
  • Summer residential program for 30-50 young adults
  • Cherry Grove YCC, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Gaston, Oregon
  • Ilwaco YCC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ilwaco, Washington
  • Moose Pass YCC, U.S. Forest Service, Chugach National Forest, Moose Pass, Alaska

1973 – 1979 Washington County Educational Services District, Beaverton, Oregon

  • Residential Outdoor School Program - Site Supervisor
  • Supervised 12 person camp staff, 15+ high school counselors, 3 classroom groups/week
  • Collaborated with author to develop, pilot, and publish an environmental education curriculum titled Sunship Earth

Other Professional Experience

Washington Association of School Administrators Conference (2010 -2012)

  • Conference Attendee
  • Joint WASA and WASDA Small Schools Task Force

Washington Association of School Directors Annual Conference (2009- 2013)

  • Workshop Presenter: Place-Based Education
  • Conference Attendee

National Conference on Volunteering and Service, San Francisco, California (2009)

  • Conference Attendee
  • Professional development

Institute for Earth Education (IEE), Greenville, West Virginia

  • Co-founder of the Institute (1974), currently serving on the Board of Directors
  • Mission is to help people build an understanding and appreciation for the earth and its life systems

Winnetka Public Schools, Winnetka, Illinois

  • Summer Program Director – Kampsville, Illinois,  Archeological Dig for 7th - 8th grade students

Towering Pines Camp, Eagle River, WI

  • Summer Program Director
  • Piloted Environmental Education Program (featured in National Geographic Magazine)

George Williams College, Williams Lake, Wisconsin

  • Program Coordinator: environmental education workshops
  • Handled promotion, bookings, and development of educational workshops designed for youth leaders and educators

Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

  • Grant Writer – living history interpretive program for middle school educators and students
  • Summer Program Director – Kampsville, Illinois,  Archeological Dig for 7th and 8th grade students, Winnetka Public Schools

Eight Northern Indian Pueblos, Taos, New Mexico

  • Independent study project: developing youth action programs with native American VISTA volunteers  (In conjunction with Lewis and Clark College Southwest Semester)


Wilderness Medical Institute 2010- 2014 (National Outdoor Leadership School)

  • Wilderness Advanced First Responder Certification (WFR)
  • 10 Day Medical Training Course

Rescue 3 International (2010)

  • Whitewater Rescue Technician Certification
  • 3 Day Professional Certification Course

National Outdoor Leadership School(2010)

  • Risk Management Professional Training, Sausalito, CA  

Advanced Volunteer Management Institute (2009)

  • AVMI Certificate of Completion
  • Trainee - seminars and workshops related to volunteer programs and engagement

Private Pilot License & Class III FAA Medical Certificate

  • Current Endorsements

U.S. Coast Guard

  • Licensed Six Pack Boat Operator (expired)

Red Cross

  • Life Guard Certification (expired)


Primary contributor/project leader for the development and publication of:

Acclimatization  (book – environmental education for resident summer camps)

Acclimatizing   (sequel book – environmental education for resident summer camps)

Sunship Earth  (book – environmental education for resident outdoor schools)

The Earth Speaks  (book – anthology of the world’s best nature authors and their writings)

Earth Education  (textbook for college or graduate level students / program facilitators)

National Geographic Magazine   “In Touch with Nature”  - Featured Magazine Article

National Geographic Book– “Secret Corners of the World” - Featured Chapter


  • National Outdoor Leadership School
  • Wilderness Medical Institute
  • Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
  • Youth Service America
  • AmeriCorps State Commissions in Oregon and Washington
  • Washington State School Directors Association
  • WSSDA Small Schools Task Force
  • Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute
  • National Audubon Society
  • Institute for Earth Education

Volunteer Work

  • Trout Lake School District – School Board Director and Chair - 2002 to 2013
  • Trout Lake Wildfire Protection Plan Steering Committee - Chair
  • WASSDA Small Schools Task Force - Region VI Representative
  • Mt. Adams Parks and Recreation Formation Committee – Member
  • Institute for Earth Education - Board Director

Life Experience

Mountaineering Expedition Team Member– Colombia, South America (three winters); First ascents of Colombia’s highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Range

Hang Gliding Exhibition– Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

Technical Rock Climbing– Oregon (Smith Rocks, Mt. Hood, North Sister, Jefferson); Washington (North Cascades); California (Yosemite – Half Dome, Washington Column, Royal Arches and more).

Private Pilot  -  Airplane Owner, 2200 Hours Logged Flight Time (Alaska to Baja)

2nd Language – Spanish

Award Recipient - U.S. Forest Service Certificate of Merit and Cash Award

Personal Travel – USA, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Greece, France, Britain, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore.

Current Lifestyle Activities– aviation, roller blade hockey, tennis, skiing, biking, kayaking, backpacking, camping, wilderness river trips.