Monthly Update – June 2022

Stephanie kicks off the 2022 Summer Institute for Teachers!

Another school year is in the books, and I think most teachers and students would agree that this was one of the more unique ones! From school-based water quality field days, to virtual salmon spawning field trips, to our packed spring nearshore field trip schedule, this year had everything. We are so grateful to have such amazing local teachers to work with, who have dealt with more than ever this year to help us implement our programs whether they were virtual, school-based, or field-based. We are eagerly looking forward to next year, when even more of our students and teachers should be able to join us for field experiences!

The end of June saw one of our favorite annual activities – the Summer Institute for Teachers. This year’s theme was Drought and Wildfires, highlighting some of the heightened issues we’ve been facing both locally and nationally. Thirty teachers from South Sound GREEN, the Nisqually River Education Project, and the Chehalis Basin Education Consortium came out to the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge for three days of amazing tribal speakers, research experts, hands-on activities, and lots of fun! We even had the incredible opportunity to explore the expansive South Sound prairies on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and learn about prairie management practices from on-base environmental technicians. Overall, the event was a great success, and thank you again to everybody who helped to make the event possible! Stay tuned for information about the 2022-2023 school year soon!


Monthly Update: May 2022

Students from Boston Harbor Elementary play CRAB-O and explore Burfoot Park for critters.

For the first time in too long, our schedule has been packed with in-person field trips! We’ve been having a great time out at local Thurston County beaches for nearshore programs with Olympia, North Thurston, and Tumwater students. Some of these students are participating in their first field trip in the past three years, while some of our third grade students have been joining us for their first field trip ever! And what better way to get back into field trips than by exploring the beach environment for crabs and other critters!

We were also thrilled to help out with Eye On Nature programs at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge this month. Along with partners and founders Nisqually River Education Project and Nisqually Reach Nature Center, we tagged along to help guide students through the Refuge and identify native plants and animals. Simply put, being outdoors is the best way to learn about your local environment!

Coming up in June is our Summer Institute for Teachers, one of our favorite professional development event. If you are a South Sound GREEN teacher interested in attending, please let us know by emailing Stephanie at sbishop@thurstoncd.com.


Monthly Update: April 2022

Students from Marshall Middle School participate in a wrack line survey during their Nearshore Field Experience.

The weather is warming up and South Sound GREEN is starting to go on field trips again! This past month, we’ve had a blast helping out our friends at the Nisqually River Education Project with their North Thurston 4th grade programs out at the Nisqually community garden, which saw hundreds of elementary students participating in everything from salmon dissections to hearing Nisqually tribal stories. A big thank you to our partners at the Nisqually Indian Tribe as well for hosting these programs! We’re also in the middle of restarting our spring Nearshore Field Experiences, which we haven’t done in person in three years! Marshall Middle School students in the Citizen Science Institute, frequent participants in SSG programs, joined us for our first Nearshore trip of the season, and enjoyed beautiful weather while learning about unique intertidal species and the importance of beach wrack lines. We can’t wait to bring more students out to local beaches soon!

Let’s hope for more great weather and Nearshore programs in the coming months! And teachers, our Summer Institute is coming up in June! Stay tuned for more information about our favorite teacher training opportunity!


Monthly Update – February 2022

Students from Salish Middle School investigate benthic macroinvertebrates.

The days are getting longer, the sun has been shining, and South Sound GREEN is busier than ever! Most schools are still unable to take students on field trips, so instead we’ve been bringing the field trips to the students. Throughout February, we’ve brought water quality testing and benthic macroinvertebrates to schools all over Thurston county, reaching hundreds of students of all ages in the process. As always, these programs wouldn’t be possible without our amazing community partners – thanks Nisqually River Education Project and Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge!

Now that we’re in March, it means that Student GREEN Congress is right around the corner! Once again this event will be virtual, and this year we have the Chehalis Basin Education Consortium joining us for the first time! Teachers have been registering to participate in our State of the Rivers Story Map, as well as signing up for our numerous community partner-led workshops! This all leads to our keynote event featuring Long Live the Kings and their Survive the Salmon game. We’re so excited for our 29th annual Congress! Stay tuned for more SSG programs, and hopefully the return of field trips by the end of this school year!


Monthly Update – January 2022

2021 is in the books and we’re excited for a new year ahead of us! After a year that saw SSG engaging record numbers of students in our overall program as well as participation in Student GREEN Congress, we can’t wait to get back to working with returning and new teachers in whatever capacity we can. We are continuing to offer adjusted SSG programs, from classroom-based watershed lessons to assisted water quality testing, all done either virtually or outdoors to maximize safety. If you’re a teacher who is looking for a hands-on activity, or are looking for a collection of resources, feel free to reach out to us (snadell@thurstoncd.com) or check out our website!

This month, we participated in two service projects in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. SSG helped facilitate Marshall Middle School students in planting 50 coastal redwood trees at the Ralph Munro Trail, and the Teens in Thurston (TnT) volunteer group assisted TCD and the City of Olympia in pulling scotch broom and planting native species at LBA Woods. These projects, along with others that were led by community partners, significantly improve watershed health and engage our community in environmental conservation.

We also made the decision to hold our Student GREEN Congress event virtually for the second year in a row! We were thrilled with the participation and enthusiasm for last year’s event, and this year we will once again be offering a digital Water Quality Story Map, hands-on workshop opportunities, and an exciting live keynote presentation! Keep checking our website or social media for updates, or feel free to reach out with any questions.

Stay safe everyone!