Summer Institute for Teachers

Summer Institute for Teachers, formally known as Summer Teacher Institute, is a three day teacher training held at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in June after the school year. Since 2013 the theme for this training has focused on climate science, including topics like ocean acidification, sea level rise, glaciers and more (see below for links to our agenda and training materials). We strive to engage teachers in local, relevant science, dynamic field experiences and a connected community. “Institute” is a collaboration between South Sound GREEN, the Nisqually River Education Project, and the Chehalis Basin Education Consortium.

At the Summer Institute, teachers:

  • Hear scientists and natural resource professionals on cutting edge research and issues
  • Tour field sites featuring current watershed-related topics
  • Participate in curriculum training and experience hand-on activities for their classrooms

See below for information about our past trainings, including links to lessons and resources:

2023: Traditional Ecological Knowledge

2022: Drought and Wildfires

2021: Waters that Connect Us

2020: “Stay In”-stitute – Action for Oceans

2019: Climate Change in the Pacific NW: Climate Change and Endangered Species

2018: Climate Change in the Pacific NW: Urban Environments, Flooding, and Sea Level Rise
Highlights from the 2018 event include a Deschutes Watershed tour, guest speakers from City of Olympia, WA Sea Grant, NOAA, Zero Waste Washington, and the Squaxin Garden.  Classroom lessons include thermal expansion lab, oyster dissection/plastics monitoring lab, Game of Floods, Do One Thing and more.

2017:  Climate Change in the Pacific NW: Glaciers, Forests and Freshwater
In 2017, our Institute traced the Nisqually Watershed from the snowpack of Mount Rainier to the Nisqually Reach.  Guest presenters from NOAA, Mount Rainier Institute, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife and others, along with hands on lesson plans highlighted the changes seen on the Nisqually Glacier, forests and more.

2016: Sea Level Rise and Ocean Acidification

2015: Biomimicry and Climate Change
The principles of Biomimicry, hands-on engineering lessons and ways for students to collaborate on projects were introduced to incorporate into life science classes. All resources, including speaker Power Points, websites referenced, video clips, etc. can be found via the link above.

2014: Taking Action and Becoming Eco-Literate
Teachers learned about the five principles of becoming Eco-Literate and how they can implement service learning projects in their watershed.

2013: Climate Change in the Northwest
In 2013 STI was held on June 19th, 20th and 21st. The focus was on climate change and its impacts on our local environment. Speakers from the Tulalip tribe, NOAA, the University of Washington and local resource professionals provided presentations addressing climate change, ocean acidification and sea level rise. Field trips included visits to the Skokomish Estuary restoration project and Taylor Shellfish.

2012: Coming Home: Salmon, Sense of Place and Time
The 2012 Summer Teacher Institute was held on June 25-27. The theme for 2012 was Coming Home: Salmon, Sense of Place and Time and highlighted Native American curriculum, salmon-related field experiences, and excellent hands-on presentations by local teachers and natural resource professionals. We used the Salmon, Water and Forests curriculum which was compiled by Olympia School District. This workshop also featured Since Time Immemorial funded through a partnership between Washington State’s 29 federally recognized Tribes.

2011: Ecological Restoration of Schoolyards and Water Quality Training
The 2011 Summer Teacher Institute was held from June 27 – 30. The four-day training event was entitled Ecological Restoration of Schoolyards and Water Quality Training and featured Earth Partnership for Schools and their K – 12 Curriculum Guide: 10 Restoration Education Steps.

2010: Coming Full Circle: From Native Plants to Local Food
The 2010 Summer Teacher Institute was a three-day training entitled Coming Full Circle: From Native Plants to Local Food.

2009 : Water Wars
The 2009 Summer Teacher Institute was entitled Water Wars. The three day event included a Project Wet workshop, water quality monitoring training, a keynote speaker from Earth Economics, activities about water conservation, aquifers and hydrology, and a field trip to McAllister Springs, source of much of the area’s drinking water.