Can you believe we’re already done with May? Now in our second month of complying with the state’s Stay at Home order, South Sound GREEN has adapted to our new normal and are continuing to provide the best resources possible for our amazing local teachers and students. We are regularly creating environmental education activities through our weekly Home Science Activity articles for ThurstonTalk, and regularly updating our student and teacher resources on our website to promote some of the materials created by local education organizations. We would be usually going on nearshore field trips this time of year to bring students to Puget Sound beaches and help them connect their freshwater monitoring site with the marine environment. However, in response to the Stay Home Stay Healthy order, we started working with some of our local partners to design a full online course to replicate our field trip experience from home. While we know that nothing compares to getting outside and seeing some native critters yourself, we hope that this course can be a nice alternative for the students!
Along with field trips, we have had to think differently about another one of our favorite in-person activities, teacher professional development. But much like our curriculum, we’re finding ways to do that online as well. This month, we had our first all-online Climate Literacy, Action, and Monitoring in South Sound (CLAMSS) Fellows professional development meeting for teachers, involving 23 teachers from Thurston and Pierce counties all on a Zoom call. We are so inspired by these educators and their efforts to teach effectively and interactively from their homes, and our goal was to not only provide them with resources to use in their virtual classrooms, but to connect with each other and strengthen their network of support. Talks from local artist and Thurston Climate Action Team member Carrie Ziegler (check out her latest collaborative art project here!) and University of Washington and Puget Sound Restoration Fund research assistant Emily Buckner were insightful and engaging. Breakout rooms allowed for formal and informal educators to bounce ideas off of one another and share tips for better adapting to the current circumstances. Overall, the meeting was a massive success.
We have more upcoming teacher events, including our annual Summer Institute for Teachers, that we’re anticipating as virtual events as well. We’re excited to find ways of being creative while distant during these challenging times, but we still look forward to getting to interact with students and teachers again in the near future!