Cruising through Cottonwood Canyon

Students explore natural resource science through Eastern Promise summer programEastern Promise students studying the river at Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute 2017

March 2, 2018 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute (CCSI) takes place along the John Day River at Cottonwood Canyon State Park and is one of a growing number of programs being offered to regional high school students through Eastern Oregon University.

This week-long residential field study runs June 17 to 22, and applications are now open.

Students work with regional professionals to conduct research and complete projects related to the natural and cultural resources of Eastern Oregon. This year, 25 students will explore on one of five topics: using current research techniques to learn more about macroinvertebrates in the river or vegetation on the surrounding landscape; designing and building solar solutions to modern problems; researching how the human body responds to the environment; and, practicing the fine art of writing non-fiction about nature.

High school participants work with EOU students and faculty to complete a high-quality project and earn college credit. Some of these projects become permanent displays for Oregon State Parks.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with a whole awesome camp of people, but especially an awesome team,” said a 2017 participant. “I’ve been mentored by instructors who are really knowledgeable and fun to work with.”

Recent efforts by EOU, Oregon State Parks, GO-STEM and Greater Eastern Regional Solutions have led to successful fundraising by the Oregon Parks Foundation to build an Experience Center at the park. The Experience Center, expected to open in June, directly supports educational pursuits such as CCSI and will provide a venue for learning, research, presentations and displays of student work.

For more information or to apply, visit

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