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About the Verbrugge Site

Whitworth University's Verbrugge Environmental Center comprises 835 acres of forested habitat and over two miles of riparian corridor situated approximately 35 miles northeast of Spokane, near the headwaters of the Little Spokane River. Landscapes at the VEC represent the mixed coniferous forests characteristic of the Columbia Highlands of Northeastern Washington and Northern Idaho. A range of past management legacies and current restoration efforts apparent at the center provides a rich backdrop for education and research regarding the fragile nature and astounding resilience of Creation.


Whitworth's Verbrugge Environmental Center is characterized by excellence and innovation in field-based education and research. University academic programs there will consist of interdisciplinary and disciplinary education, small semester-long programs (8-12 students), summer workshops, and weekend field-labs. The center also supports basic and applied ecological research for students, faculty, and guest scientists. The center will include an interpretive center and a retreat center for use by 30-45 people for day use and no more than 16 persons for overnight use. Programs at the VEC will promote the following objectives and outcomes:

  • Conserve, restore, and sustain the natural resources of the Verbrugge property.
  • Integrate individuals' Christian worldviews and life plans with care for God's creation at the Verbrugge Environmental Center and the Scotia Valley.
  • Foster growth in students' cross-disciplinary and disciplinary understanding of the dynamics of the Verbrugge ecosystem.
  • Support research that enhances the human capacity to conserve resources and to restore forested and riparian habitats.
  • Cultivate the capacity to observe and express the beauty of God's creation in the arts.
  • Facilitate an understanding of the relationship between social, cultural, political and economic phenomena with the ecosystems of a rural context (through an understanding of poverty, injustice, the history of native peoples in the region of northeastern Washington, resource exploitation, etc.).
  • Encourage exploration and appreciation of the complex nature of life, responsible care for the natural world, and commitment to human health and well-being.
  • Support the preparation of pre- and in-service educators.
  • Provide an opportunity to cultivate the ethic of service.


Gary Verbrugge, Property Owner

Research & Conservation

Grant Casady, Assistant Professor of Biology, Whitworth University
Jonathan Moo, Associate Professor of Theology, Whitworth University

Project Management

Dave LejaMeyer, Director of Development for Major Gifts, Whitworth University
Gregor Thuswaldner, Provost and Executive Vice President, Whitworth University