The new school year is almost here, and South Sound GREEN is preparing for a virtual start to education. As our amazing local teachers prepare for an unusual beginning of classes, we have been developing resources for students to participate in hands-on and engaging watershed activities from their own homes and nearby outdoor spaces. While there is no true substitute for spying a stream bug or seeing a spawning salmon with your own eyes, our retooled water quality monitoring program will still allow students to test water from home, take actions to directly improve the health of their watershed, and follow along with interactive online resources.
We had another wonderful professional development event this month, with 30 local teachers attending our Action for Oceans Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) Summit that we co-hosted with the Nisqually River Education Project and Chehalis Basin Education Consortium. In this event, we gave teachers the opportunity to discuss some of the challenges of teaching environmental education virtually and provided resources for socially distant activities and lessons. Our keynote speaker, Samara Almonte, presented “Institutionalizing Environmental Justice in the Education System,” in which she reviewed the current issues facing the inclusion of BIPOC students and role models within the broad field of environmental education (you might also recognize Samara as the Digital Media Coordinator for the Thurston Climate Action Team). The respectful and collaborative atmosphere of this meeting allowed for productive discussion about equity and justice within the physical and virtual classroom, and we look forward to having similar conversations and presentations in future professional development events. South Sound GREEN is still creating weekly Home Science Activities with ThurstonTalk, and even made a video this month with Capitol Land Trust to teach kids about shapes in nature! Feel free to reach out and let us know if you would like to suggest a certain topic or if you would like to share some of your home projects.