We’ve updated our name!

Let it be said, let it be known, we’ve updated our name to GEO and we’re ready to be shown!

A topic that has come up a number of times during my eight years as an employee of Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute has been our name. I never really gave it much thought. After all, a name doesn’t really define an organization. However, a name does create a tangible way for others to address you. After a long-time volunteer told me last year that they had just figured out how to say “C-G-E-I” then I knew we needed the change. After a lot of discussion with several supporters, and some brainstorming amongst our board, we decided to change our name. I have a lot of appreciation for our former name, CGEI or Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute, and I’m also very excited about this updated name, GEO or Gorge Ecology Outdoors. I think that it’s approachable, appeals to a wide audience, it’s simple, it’s catchy, it’s relevant, and it honors the years past.
When I asked our founder, Bill Weiler, to provide a quick thought about our updated name he commented, “We can usher in our new Gorge Ecology Outdoors name with fanfare and celebration.” Bill is also the person that taught me that a name doesn’t tell you much about something. For example, I can tell a student that we’re looking at an oak tree but that doesn’t inform the student of the many benefits that oak trees provide to an ecosystem.
Next year, in March 2021, it will mark 25 years of our programs nurturing wonder and connection with the Columbia River Gorge communities. We have taken on a few names in that time including Central Cascades Alliance, SECRETS Institute of Learning, Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute, and now Gorge Ecology Outdoors. Just as it is in nature, the name doesn’t really tell you about the importance or connectivity of this organization. We have had more than 25,000 students go through our multitude of programs. We have served as a fiscal sponsor to help other programs and organizations get their footing. We have partnered with many volunteers, teachers, schools, organizations, agencies, and businesses. We have been at the foundation of many stories that were cause for celebration and we have persevered when faced with a variety of challenges.
All of that has been possible through your support, whether it was one day or one decade. We are a public charity that is truly supported by the public, and we are committed to serving the public regardless of our name.
It’s an exciting time to be involved with the organization and I’m looking forward to the year ahead.
We are beginning the lengthy process of changing our name on all of our materials and accounts. However, in the interest of sustainability we are going to use all of our old printed materials. Please have patience with us during this transition and please notify us if you happen upon a place where we haven’t updated the name. One of our new logos is below.
Bye-bye CGEI, hello GEO.

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