Program Highlights


Monthly Update: August 2021

An example of one of our new curriculum overviews.

And just like that, we’re back at the start of the school year! Summer always seems to zip by, but we utilized this summer to update our curricula, reorganize our website, and mentally prepare for taking students on field trips for the first time in 18 months! This fall, SSG and our friends at the Nisqually River Education Project will be leading water quality monitoring sessions with every fifth grade class within North Thurston Public Schools, our largest student population to date, along with the dozens of participating classes that return every year. We’re so excited to restart our flagship field program with students in person – we know how much students have missed doing hands-on activities we’ve missed it too!

This fall, we’re looking for some amazing community volunteers to help with our water quality monitoring programs. These are typically for a few hours during the school day, and we provide volunteer training beforehand. Also, if you are a local high school student (or know a local high school student) who is interested in volunteer opportunities within TCD, check out our new Teens in Thurston volunteer program! You can sign up using this form, and we’ll be sending out information about our first meeting soon.


Monthly Update: July 2021

Our online McLane Creek Nature Trail journal is an example of a digital resources we’ve created this year that we can continue to utilize in the future!

Summer is always a time of reflection for SSG, a time when we can look back at the previous school year and determine what worked best and what could be improved. With the past school year being particularly unusual, this reflection now involves evaluating which virtual tools and materials we can carry forward into a more normal year, and planning ahead for any teaching challenges that we may still face. Our strongest programs are those where students get to experience their watershed first-hand, however by providing digital resources and alternative online curricula, we can create a more equitable environment for student learning.

If you’re looking for something to do this summer, Stream Team has you covered! Marine Creature Mondays are taking place this month on August 2nd, 9th, and 16th, and are open to all Thurston County residents! Join educators and marine specialists at Boston Harbor Marina to see the wonders found in Puget Sound. Registration is required, so click here to register!

Want to stay up to date on everything going on with SSG? Now is a great time follow us on social media! You can find us on Facebook and Instagram, where we’ll be sharing Watershed Wednesday posts throughout the summer!


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!


Monthly Update: May 2021

Here at South Sound GREEN we’ve had another great month of benthic macroinvertebrate lessons! We’ve had a blast meeting with students in-person and virtually across multiple schools in North Thurston, Olympia, and Tumwater school districts. We’ve also found some pretty cool “stream bugs” along the way, including crawfish, stonefly larvae, and this tiny freshwater clam, best seen under the microscope!

Students aren’t the only ones getting SSG attention – we had another successful CLAMSS professional development event this month! Focusing on your carbon “food print”, teachers virtually learned about blue carbon and food webs from U.S. Geological Survey researcher Isa Woo and shared some of their favorite recipes that utilize local ingredients. And looking ahead, we’re already in the final month of the 2020-2021 school year, which means it’s time for our Summer Institute for Teachers! Last year’s “Stay In”-stitute was a hit, but we’re ready to bring teachers outside again and offer some more hands-on programming. And for students and parents looking for fun activities this summer, remember to check out our catalogue of ThurstonTalk Home Science Activities!


Monthly Update: April 2021

Stephanie demonstrating how to use a dichotomous key to a group of students from Olympic View Elementary.

After over a year away from in-person teaching, South Sound GREEN resumed classroom lessons this month! Fully vaccinated and eager for face-to-face education opportunities, we were thrilled to be able to provide hands-on benthic macroinvertebrate (or “stream bug”!) lessons for students at Olympic View Elementary and Tumwater High. Adapting to new, hybrid class models was certainly a challenge, but one we felt comfortable taking on after seeing some of our fabulous teacher partners leading the way. We also continued to offer engaging virtual programming for other classes, bringing the excitement of stream bugs under a microscope to the big screen.

But we’re not stopping there! Keep an eye out for information about our new Nearshore Field Experience offerings over the next few weeks. We may not be able to take students to the beaches yet, but we can certainly bring the beaches to the students! And if you’re a teacher or if you know a teacher, please spread the word about South Sound GREEN’s programming! We are always on the lookout for new teachers to participate in our sessions. Questions? Send an email to Sam at