The Central Cascades Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the long-term economic, cultural and biological sustainability of the Central Cascades community. We are motivated by the historical fact that societies that ignore the ecological health of the land surrounding them do not survive. CCA's region spans Washington and Oregon, extending from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Jefferson, with an emphasis on the area between Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. Within our core group in the Columbia Gorge, the heart of the Central Cascades, are farmers, educators, biologists, writers, land-use planners, artists, community organizers, and foresters. Author Terry Tempest Williams suggests that the most important thing we can do for the Earth is to "stay at home." For us, staying home means getting deeply involved in the ecological integrity of our region-protecting the life-support systems that sustain us and will sustain our children. We aim to create a local understanding whereby it is just as natural for us to protect habitat and biological diversity as it is for us to protect our own homes. CCA has taken many routes to try and engage our public on the importance of maintaining biological health in our region. We believe solutions exist that would enable us to create sustainable ecosystems and communities in our region. The impediment facing us is getting the public to acknowledge, understand and take action to solve our ecological predicament. CCA has been active since the Spring of 1995, reaching out to our communities with many non-threatening programs, including: Education, Informing our community about the inseparable relationship between economic sustainability and the health of the natural world is CCA's primary goal. Our SECRETS of our Forest Home program takes local schoolchildren out to the forest to learn basic biological concepts and explore firsthand its wonder and complexity. We have reached nearly 1,000 students in the local public schools in the past two years at no cost to the schools. Our Environmental Education Exchange (EEE) program optimizes the use of existing environmental education (EE) programs and effectively incorporates existing EE opportunities into the classroom learning experience. The EEE program will also develop a web-based clearinghouse for local teachers. Collaboration: Nature does not understand political boundaries. Thus it is crucial to link existing wildlife reserves by establishing connecting corridors and buffer zones across a jigsaw puzzle of public and private lands in order to protect the wildness that sustains our ecosystems. Quite literally, we must "link it or lose it." The Cascades Protection and Restoration Project works with the Conservation Biology Institute and our own scientific advisory committee on computer mapping projects that will find those linking corridors in our area. Our long-term goal is to bring land-owners and agency representatives together to cooperate on a science-based approach to land-use management. Research: CCA collects scientific, social and economic data to develop a rational science-based strategy for sustainability in our region. We seek financial security over generations rather than fiscal quarters, and understand that our quality of life is dependent upon a healthy environment. The ECOnomics project is working with the Strategic Environmental Associates, ECONorthwest, and the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District on a study of the value of nature's resources in the Gorge. Restoration: Ecological restoration is the art form of our time. Throughout the Central Cascades our streams, forests, and grasslands are in need of repair. As we monitor and restore our damaged natural systems, we learn the importance of basing our values upon the economies and ethics of nature. We work with several local groups including the Native Plant Society, the Gorge Paddlers Club, American Rivers, Full Sail Brewing Company, and the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association. Whether it's pulling knapweed, planting trees, pulling out tires from the White Salmon River or taking down old, these activities engender a commitment to the ecosystems that support us. The most exciting restoration project of them all in our region is the removal of Condit Dam and the regeneration of 40 miles of salmon habitat on the White Salmon River. CCA welcomes public participation in our ongoing ecological service projects. Celebration: Flanked by snowcapped volcanoes, surrounded by green forests and sparkling salmon rivers, our region brims with wonders to celebrate. We recognize this fragile richness and strive-through quarterly solstice and equinox celebrations, inspiring field trips and other events-to understand our human place within the ecological circle.