January is a bit of a slower time for us at South Sound GREEN. We use the time following the holidays to apply for grants to help fund new and existing education programs and determine our programmatic goals for the rest of the school year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t slip in a little bit of fun stuff too! This month, Centennial Elementary School put on its first ever Virtual Science Expo, headed by fifth grade teacher Jennifer Knight, a participant in our Water Quality Monitoring and other SSG programs. With over 500 students in the school and multiple other community partners joining in, we wanted to offer students an environmental-focused activity that they could do from home but was also interactive and hands-on. We retooled our Plankton Prototypes activity (originally adapted from the Foss Waterway Seaport) for students to learn about the amazing world of plankton while creatively designing one of their own. We developed videos and instructions for students to follow along at home and at their own pace, and put together kits of materials – including corks, paper clips, and pipe cleaners – to distribute to all participants. After seeing the success of this activity at a different school’s science fair last year, we were so excited to see what Centennial Elementary could accomplish!
And just like that, we’re back in Water Quality Monitoring season! We still won’t be taking students out to their test sites this February, but virtual water quality videos and Zoom sessions will pick up from where we left off in the fall. With Water Quality Monitoring, a new stream bug virtual activity in the works, and a brand new Virtual Student GREEN Congress(!) taking place in March, we have a lot to keep us busy at SSG!