Monthly Update – April 2023

Hanford McCloud of the Nisqually Tribe introduces students to the Nisqually Community Center during their Salmon, Cedar, Canoe field trip.

It took a while, but spring has finally sprung here in Thurston County, and we’ve been taking advantage of the good (and not so good) weather at South Sound GREEN with a variety of field trips! We continued our modified nearshore programs with North Thurston Public Schools high school biology students, who braved the elements to explore the Meyers Point Environmental Field Station on Henderson Inlet. We also joined in to help our friends at Nisqually River Education Project out with the Salmon, Cedar, Canoe trips at the Nisqually Community Center, where fourth graders participate in different environmental activities and hear stories and lessons from tribal members. Whether it’s bird watching, plant identification, or cedar weaving, all students can find something they enjoy on these multi-faceted trips!

This month we also helped to coordinate and host the South Puget Sound Regional Envirothon Competition for high school students. Teams of students from twelve schools and five different counties came to Squaxin Park to participate in hands-on environmental exams, practice presentation skills, and ask questions to local environmental scientists and educators about their careers. The event was a success, and if you know any Thurston County students or teachers who may want to participate next year, please reach out to Sam Nadell at snadell@thurstoncd.com.

For teachers, keep an eye out for information about our Summer Institute soon – it doesn’t seem like it, but the end of the school year is only two months away!


Monthly Update – March 2023

Student GREEN Congress participants take a picture with the Evergreen State College mascot, Speedy!

For the first time since 2019, this past month featured our favorite in-person event of the year – Student GREEN Congress! After months of water quality testing and preparation, students from three different watershed programs (South Sound GREEN, Nisqually River Education Project, and Chehalis Basin Education Consortium) came together at the Evergreen State College campus to share their water quality data and participate in a wide variety of community partner-hosted workshops. And to kick off our 30th Student GREEN Congress event, we had an original water quality themed keynote performance by local clowns and puppeteers! All in all, over 400 students and over 80 volunteers participated in Student GREEN Congress and we couldn’t have been happier with how the day went!

With the weather getting nicer, SSG will be transitioning to nearshore field trips in the coming months. Students will be coming out to local beaches to learn about the creatures that live in the nearshore and intertidal zone, and as always we’ll be joined by lots of our favorite community partners. If you’d like to volunteer to help out with our field trips this spring, please reach out to Sam at snadell@thurstoncd.com.


Monthly Update – February 2023

Ron Holtcamp, SSG advisor and Trout Unlimited member, leads the pH and Turbidity station with students from Lakes Elementary.

Although it’s one of the coldest months of the year, elementary student scientists from across Thurston County have been working diligently to collect water quality data from local watersheds! 5th grade students from Lakes and Pioneer Elementary Schools traveled to Pioneer Park and Squaxin Park this month to explore their local waterways, practice native plant identification, and analyze water quality data from tests that they conducted. 

With our traditional water quality monitoring season wrapping up, students are getting ready to present their class’s water quality data during the 30th Annual Student GREEN Congress at The Evergreen State College! We’re looking forward to having the first in-person GREEN Congress since 2019. Teams of 4th-8th grade student delegates have begun working on their presentations for the GREEN Congress State of the Rivers Sessions, where the teams will work together to compare their water quality data and create action plans to reinforce the health of their local aquatic ecosystems. We also have more workshop offerings than ever this year, and are excited to collaborate with new community partners from across Washington! The event will take place on March 23rd – check the Student GREEN Congress webpage here for more information.

At the end of the month, North Thurston School District high school students began their round of biology field trips at Tolmie State Park, Squaxin Park, and Meyer’s Point Field Station. These field trips are a great opportunity for students to build upon the curriculum they learn in the classroom through hands-on outdoor experiences and to be introduced to future career possibilities in STEM. Stay tuned for updates in March!


Monthly Update – January 2023

Students from Lacey Elementary School check to make sure they’re using the right chemicals for their Dissolved Oxygen test on their Watershed Explorers Field Day.

Here at South Sound GREEN, we’re starting the year with lots of exciting events and teamwork with our community partners! Students from Woodland Elementary and Lacey Elementary were able to gain hands-on experience with water quality testing and stream bug identification at Long Lake Park and Woodland Creek Community Park. During these field trips, the students collected real data that they will use to analyze the water quality in their local watersheds. 

Students like these will soon have the opportunity to share their data at our Student GREEN Congress event! Congress will be held on March 23rd at The Evergreen State College in collaboration with The Nisqually River Education Project and Chehalis Basin Education Consortium. This is our biggest annual event, and we can’t wait to host it in-person again for the first time in three years! Check out the Student GREEN Congress webpage here for more information.

This month, the Teens in Thurston (TnT) high school volunteer group event took place at GRuB (Garden-Raised Bounty). High schoolers from across Thurston school districts worked together to remove invasive Himalayan blackberries from GRuB’s nature trail. In February, the TnT volunteer group will be assisting the Center for Natural Lands Management with restoring native prairie lands by creating a bonfire at a former Christmas tree farm! Are you a high school student interested in participating in conservation and sustainability activities and gaining community service hours? Sign up for email updates about TnT events using this form!

Another upcoming opportunity for high school students to engage with environmental science is the 2023 South Puget Sound Regional Envirothon! The competition will take place on April 25th at Squaxin Park in Olympia, WA. Competition participants and volunteers can register for the event here. If you have any questions, or would like more information, you can contact Sam Nadell at snadell@thurstoncd.com.


Monthly Update – December 2022

Students from Komachin Middle School test the pH of water from the Deschutes River at their Water Quality “Staycation” Field Day on campus.

December might not seem like field trip season, but at SSG we’re excited to teach students at any time of year! With only a few weeks available in December before winter break, we managed to squeeze in a number of exciting programs, working with Horizons Elementary and Komachin Middle schools for water quality testing and joining Tumwater High and Nisqually Middle schools out at McLane Creek for some chum salmon spawning trips! Overall, it was a great end to a fantastic year for us, and one that saw students returning to in-person field experiences for the first time since the winter of 2020.

As another year wraps up for us at South Sound GREEN, we wanted to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated or volunteered this year! We had nearly 6,000 student interactions in 2022, which was only possible due to the incredibly hard work by our community partners, school administrators, and teachers! And we can’t forget our students either – thank you for your effort and excitement! We couldn’t do it without you!

We have a lot of exciting things upcoming in 2023, most notably the return of Student GREEN Congress at the Evergreen State College! We can’t wait to host our biggest annual event in-person again, and we’ll be celebrating our 30th Congress event alongside the Nisqually River Education Project and Chehalis Basin Education Consortium. Reach out or stay in touch if you’d like to be kept updated on Congress, the South Puget Sound Regional Envirothon competition, the Teens in Thurston (TnT) volunteer group, or any other SSG programs in the new year!