Monthly Update – November 2022

Stream Steward volunteer Martin McCallum discusses chum salmon at the McLane Creek Nature Trail with students from South Bay Elementary School.

November is always a fun month for us at South Sound GREEN, and it’s been even better this year with field trips in person back at the McLane Creek Salmon Trail! Chum salmon have been returning to our South Sound waterways for the past few weeks, and hundreds of students have been ecstatic to see the fish and learn about their spawning behaviors from SSG educators and Stream Steward volunteers. Salmon field trips are a great way for students to connect their water quality testing to the animals they’re working to protect, and a great lead-in to their next round of water testing in the winter. And following that winter water quality testing will be our Student GREEN Congress event in March, our first one in-person since 2019!  

Over at Kennedy Creek, the Teens in Thurston (TnT) high school volunteer group helped the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group with their Salmon Celebration this month. New and returning TnT members led a series of activities for children visiting the trail, from offering a live salmon dissection to building edible salmon habitats with kids. If you’re a high school student looking for community service hours and opportunities to work outdoors, make sure you sign up for our email updates here! And we have our South Puget Sound Regional Envirothon competition for high school students around the corner as well! The competition is taking place on April 25th, 2023, and interested students and teachers can reach out to Sam Nadell at snadell@thurstoncd.com for more information.


Monthly Update – October 2022

Students from South Bay Elementary School explore stream bugs on their Watershed Explorers Field Day.

What a fun month at SSG! This month has been packed with field trips and water quality monitoring coordination, and after nearly three years without field trips it’s been great to have so much participation! Hundreds of students from five different school districts traveled to local waterways, conducted water quality tests, and gathered real data about their watersheds over the past few weeks. Joining students in classrooms and online has been good, but nothing beats going out on a field trip! And planning for the 2023 Student GREEN Congress has begun, so stay tuned for details about our first in-person Congress event in three years!

Coming up in November – more field trips! We’re continuing our Watershed Explorers Field Days with North Thurston elementary schools throughout the school year, and also helping with chum salmon field trips at the McLane Creek Nature Trail! Hopefully the recent rain will keep our rivers flowing high and we’ll have good salmon viewing. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for these field trips, please email Stephanie Bishop at sbishop@thurstoncd.com.

If you’re a high school student (or a parent of a high school student), we’ve got some opportunities for you as well! The Teens in Thurston (TnT) program has been going strong, and you can find information about our next event and how to register on our website. And now is the time to start creating a team for the 2023 South Puget Sound Regional Envirothon competition! Email Sam Nadell at snadell@thurstoncd.com with any questions or if you’d like to be kept up to date about event information.  

There’s a lot to be excited about at SSG these days!


Monthly Update – August 2022

Students in the Timberline High School summer program participate in water quality monitoring.

As summer winds down, we at SSG have been itching to get back to teaching. But even in August we can find ways to help get students outside! This month, we helped out with a summer school program at Timberline High School and took students out to Pioneer Park for some water quality testing and benthic macroinvertebrate identification, and also joined with a trash clean up at Pioneer Park with participants from the local juvenile detention center. We also had the opportunity this year to participate in the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators conference, held in person for the first time since 2019. This was an excellent chance to network with educators from across the Pacific Northwest (and Alaska!) and find ways to improve and update our programs.

With the school year right around the corner, we’ve been holding teacher professional development events to get our teachers prepared for water quality testing and to provide ideas about how they can incorporate environmental action projects into their classrooms. If you’re a teacher looking for water quality training, come to our full day training on September 17th! For more information email Stephanie at sbishop@thurstoncd.com.

Welcome back teachers! We look forward to working with you all soon!


Monthly Update – July 2022

Squaxin Teens in the Stepping Stones program learn about estuary restoration with the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team.

School might be out over the summer, but South Sound GREEN still has programs! This month, we had the great opportunity to lead activities related to careers in natural resources with the Squaxin Island Tribe’s Stepping Stones program. Teens and mentors participated in environmental science activities and learned career paths through freshwater and marine lessons in the Deschutes Watershed. From pressing seaweed to testing water quality to finding benthic macroinvertebrates, we had a blast working with these students! Thank you to our partners and volunteers from Pacific Shellfish Institute, Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT), Department of Ecology, and Kamilche Adventures for the help and support!    

Summer is halfway over, and we’re already preparing for the next school year! Teachers can reach out to Sam Nadell at snadell@thurstoncd.com if they’re interested in participating in Water Quality Monitoring or receiving updates about future programs. Also, if you are or you know a local high school student interested in volunteer opportunities, check out the Teens in Thurston (TnT) program. Our first program will be in September, which is right around the corner!


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!