Over 500 student delegates from 30 schools around the South Puget Sound and Nisqually Watersheds gathered at The Evergreen State College for the 26th Annual Student GREEN Congress on March 22nd. This year’s Congress theme focused on the Orcas of Puget Sound, featuring a welcome from State Representative Beth Doglio (LD-22) and a keynote presentation from Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales, a program where students can experience the world as the animals around them do. With the Southern Resident Killer Whale population at critical levels, it was a special opportunity to connect students’ work studying local streams to broader issues of environmental stewardship in their communities.
South Sound Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN) and the Nisqually River Education Project host Student GREEN Congress each year as the culmination of water quality monitoring programs with classes around local watersheds. Student delegates ranging from 4th grade through high school participated in a “State of the Rivers” session, sharing water quality data and developing action plans to improve their local streams and rivers.
Students also learned from experts dealing with today’s environmental issues and took part in hands-on, science-based educational workshops, including salmon dissections, investigating stream bugs, shellfish tasting, tree planting, and much more. Student GREEN Congress gives a unique opportunity to investigate other topics related to water quality.
One student who attended Congress wrote “The best part of GREEN Congress for me would have to be taking a Volcano class and meeting new people.” Even the teachers are excited about participating, “My students and I loved the break out classes. Each student was able to explore their individual interests in the water quality area.”
This year 159 volunteers, teachers, parents, and professionals supported the event by leading workshops and State of the Rivers sessions, guiding students around campus, and much more!
Since Student GREEN Congress began in 1992, thousands of students and hundreds of teachers have used hands-on learning to make a meaningful difference in their own backyards. The event is supported by many community partners who make this educational experience possible. In addition to support from Thurston Conservation District, Nisqually River Foundation, and The Evergreen State College, many community partners, along with local artists, scientists, and educators committed to environmental stewardship came together to put on another successful Student GREEN Congress. A special thank you to the Nisqually Indian Tribe for donating smoked salmon and seedlings as gifts for the 500+ student delegates.