The Elana Gold ’93 Project

Join us for the 2024 Elana Gold ’93 Memorial Environmental Restoration Project in the Barlow Ranger District of Mt. Hood National Forest. This year’s project runs from July 21-27, 2024 and is open to Portland metro area high school students.

The Elana Gold project was established in 1993 and since that time high school students, parents, as well as Catlin Gabel alumni and faculty have contributed over 15,000 hours repairing lands that have been degraded by a century of cattle overgrazing, severe wildfire, and salvage logging.

Participants spend six nights and seven days in a rustic lodge on Mt. Hood, where they sleep, cook provided meals together, and enjoy evenings of music and games, after working outside. The trip also includes hikes and swimming, and a dinner with Elana’s parents.

Transportation to and from the camp is provided by Catlin Gabel buses. There is a small cost to participate, as the Project is primarily funded by an endowment established by the Gold family in memory of their daughter, Elana Gold.

Restoration Projects

Participants build fences to exclude cattle and vehicles from sensitive wetland areas, install native plants along stream banks to shade and cool streams, and add woody debris to streams for fish and other wildlife habitat. The goal is to increase and preserve habitat for fish and other wildlife, decrease erosion, improve stream water-quality, and thin timber to reduce the risk of fire.

This work educates participants on ecosystems and the importance of environmental restoration. Best of all, these lessons are imparted through direct, hands-on experience. The camaraderie and fellowship of overcoming physical challenges through teamwork and living together “in the rough” provide opportunities for growth seldom found inside a classroom.

Typical Schedule

The work days typically begin at about 8 a.m. with breakfast. The group meets with Forest Service personnel to begin the project, which often includes building fences to protect sensitive areas. Break for lunch. Return to the lodge for dinner and evening activities at about 5 p.m.

  • Day 1: Travel by school bus to Mt. Hood National Forest from Catlin Gabel School
  • Days 2 & 3: Work on restoration projects
  • Day 4: Fun day with hike/swimming
  • Days 5 & 6: Work on restoration projects
  • Day 7: Return back to Catlin Gabel School

Application Details and Deadlines

Who Can Apply

The Project is open to high school students. Applicants should be completing grades 9, 10, 11, or 12. Catlin Gabel students who have completed 8th grade may also apply. We also encourage past volunteers and Catlin Gabel alumni to participate. In total, each year, about 20 students take part.

Application Deadline and Requirements

Applicants must submit the following materials by May 24, 2024:
  • Application form
  • Short description of why they want to participate and what they hope to gain from the experience
  • After these two steps have been completed and accepted the final registration and payment will be done through CampBrain.  Here student medical forms can be updated/completed, waiver signed, and trip fee paid.
  • Waiver form
  • Trip fee

The trip fee is $100 ($125 after May 24). Elana Gold Project Financial Assistance is available, separate from Catlin Gabel Financial Assistance. Please contact Bob Sauer for more information.

The participant roster will be announced in mid-June. If an enrollment was not accepted, the trip fee will be returned.

Contact Information

Please contact Upper School Science Teacher, Bob Sauer, at with any questions.

About Elana Gold ’93

Elana Gold ’93 died in 1991. The year she would have graduated from high school, the Elana Gold ’93 Memorial Environmental Restoration Project was established to honor her memory. The annual trip celebrates Elana’s love of nature and commitment to the environment. Each year, her parents, Ivan Gold and Lois Gold, travel to Mt. Hood in memory of Elana to cook a meal for us and get to know the students, teachers, and alums making a difference to the national forest environment.

When Elana’s project started, most of the campers were her classmates and friends. The staff members were her teachers. A few years later, most campers who knew Elana were her friends’ younger brothers and sisters. Now, most of the kids know just her memory. But Elana really is there on the trip. People are always saying her name when they talk about the Elana Project or “Camp Elana.” It makes her immortal. We couldn’t ask for more.Lois Gold and Ivan Gold