Monthly Update: June 2021

And that’s a wrap on the 2020-2021 school year! It goes without saying that this year was, in a word, different – but different doesn’t mean bad! This past month exemplified that again. June is usually spent bringing students out to Thurston County’s amazing coastlines to study the nearshore and intertidal environments, but in a world without field trips, we decided to bring the intertidal zone to the students. We led multiple oyster and ocean acidification lessons at middle schools throughout Olympia, in which students had the opportunity to analyze real oysters and understand how climate change can impact them. We even took students outside to participate in a simulated intertidal activity, but it doesn’t compare with really being at the beach!

A HUGE thank you and congratulations to our fantastic teachers who made it through such a challenging year! Your perseverance and creativity has been at an all-time high, and we’re constantly impressed and inspired by these educators! This was on full display at our Summer Institute for Teachers, back in person after last year’s virtual event. We wanted to be outdoors as much as possible, and hosted three days of hands-on professional development at the Nisqually Indian Tribe Community Garden, Glacial Heritage Preserve, and Violet Prairie Seed Farm. Another huge thank you to our fabulous community partners at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Nisqually Reach Nature Center, WA Department of Natural Resources, GRuB, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Center for Natural Lands Management, Thurston County, and the Thurston Conservation District, and our sister organizations Nisqually River Education Project and Chehalis Basin Education Consortium for putting on such a successful event!

And while we’re always looking for ways to support and compliment our teachers, the students of Thurston County deserve recognition as well, adapting to a new education environment and keeping spirits high as their school experience changed throughout the year. For you students: enjoy your summer, and we look forward to seeing you outdoors next fall!