Monthly Update – August 2023

Science Adventure Camp participants learn about water quality testing at Big Creek.

The new school year is right around the corner, which means South Sound GREEN is getting ready for another year of outdoor field experiences! While inventorying supplies and editing curriculum may not be the most exciting tasks, it sets us up for success when our schedule gets busy with water quality testing. This year we’re looking forward to working with new teacher participants and implementing some updates to our long-standing programs! If you are a Thurston County teacher who is interested in water quality testing, salmon spawning field trips, or any other SSG field experience, please reach out to Sam Nadell at snadell@thurstoncd.com for information. 

Even in August, there are still education programs to help with! We joined up with Northwest Youth Corps at a Capitol Land Trust site for a stream bug lesson, and also assisted with the Nisqually Reach Nature Center’s Science Adventure Camp out at Mount Rainier! We’ve been meeting with teachers as well, setting up North Thurston 5th grade teachers for success in their Watershed Explorers curriculum. It’s been a great summer and we’re looking forward to a great 2023-2024 school year!


Monthly Update – July 2023

Students from the Tumwater STREAM Camp participate in Water Quality Testing at the Deschutes River in Pioneer Park.

Summer is a great opportunity for us at SSG to have a reset before the upcoming school year – but that doesn’t mean we can’t fit in a few programs as well! This month we helped out with the Tumwater School District’s summer STREAMS (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, Math, Service/Stewardships) program for middle school students, providing classroom and field lessons for their “One Water” week-long track. We don’t typically get to bring students out on field trips during the summer, so it’s always a treat when we get the chance! We’ve also been busy networking with marine and environmental educators from across the country (and world!) at the National Marine Educators Association Conference, finding ways to incorporate unique, global ideas into our local lessons. 

With the school year coming up fast, now is a great time to reach out if you’re interested in becoming a South Sound GREEN volunteer! If you have any experience in education, water quality, intertidal biology, salmon, or other related fields, please reach out to Sam at snadell@thurstoncd.com with the subject line “SSG Volunteer Interest – YOUR NAME”. We’re hoping to have some extra help in the form of a Fall Education Intern (applications are still open for that!) but we’re also always on the lookout for new, energetic volunteers!


Monthly Update – June 2023

Teachers at the Summer Institute for Teachers learn about the Salish Roots Farm managed by the Squaxin Tribe.

The 2022-2023 school year has just wrapped up, and what an exciting year it was! Over 5,500 students participated in South Sound GREEN programming this year, starting with Water Quality Monitoring back in October and ending with Eye On Nature field trips at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge a few weeks ago. We were thrilled to meet and collaborate with new teachers, community partners, and volunteers who worked with us to make all of this possible. Thank you to everybody who helped us bring outdoor experiences and watershed education to local students this year!

We wrapped up June with one of our favorite annual professional development events – Summer Institute for Teachers! This year’s theme was Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and we were so grateful to have speakers from the Nisqually and Squaxin tribes, as well as other environmental agencies and tribal members, share some of their stories and environmental expertise with local educators. After a long school year of teaching, it’s great to have an opportunity for our amazing teachers to become students for a few days!

We’re looking forward to a summer of rejuvenation and preparation for the next school year. South Sound GREEN is also looking to hire a fall intern, so if you’re interested or know of any interested parties, you can find more information here.


Monthly Update – May 2023

Students from North Thurston High School measure atmospheric conditions at Luhr Beach before touring National Fish and Oyster.

Summer came quick to Thurston County, and South Sound GREEN has been busy enjoying the weather and the outdoors with hundreds of students! We kicked off our CLAMSS Nearshore field experiences this month with Chemistry students from all three North Thurston high schools out at the Nisqually Reach. These students spent the day exploring the beach, learning about the shellfish industry with a tour of the National Fish and Oyster facility, and connecting their chemistry lessons with real world applications. Thanks, as always, to our community partners at the Nisqually Reach Nature Center and the Nisqually River Education Project for their support!

There are only a few weeks of school left, but we’re squeezing in as many outdoor education opportunities as possible before kicking off the summer with our Summer Institute for Teachers!


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!