February is a busy month, as students head out into the outdoors to collect water samples on their adopted creek. After they collect results for dissolved oxygen, turbidity, nitrates, pH, temperature and fecal coliform bacteria, they will compare these numbers with their fall data, noting patterns and trends in the data.
This data analysis will prepare them for the 26th Annual Student GREEN Congress, to be held on March 22nd, 2018 at The Evergreen State College! Student delegates will present their data, then discuss the health of their watershed with other students to find out how they can protect their watershed.
The new school year is almost here, and South Sound GREEN is moving into its 26th year! We are excited to see what the new school year will bring! Below is the 2017-2018 calendar of events:
Summer Teacher’s Institute
South Sound GREEN wrapped up the school year by hosting a 3-day training on climate change in partnership with Nisqually River Education Project and Chehalis Basin Education Consortium. This year’s focus was on forests, freshwater, and glaciers. We had 30 teachers attend and explored the Nisqually river watershed from its mouth all the way to the glacier that feeds it. Scientists came and talked about their research on carbon sequestration, glaciers on Mt. Rainier, clouds and much more. Then we discussed examples of how real data can be used with lessons in the classroom.
8 students from Lincoln Elementary presented the water quality data they collected with their 4th and 5th grade class to the Olympia City Council. They were able to raise awareness about the impacts human activities have on local freshwater streams in urban environments, like Moxlie Creek, by clearly presenting their data and explaining what it indicates. Special thanks to the City of Olympia and Michelle Stevie, and Lincoln Elementary teacher Michael Stine for giving the students this wonderful opportunity!
Nearshore Field Trips
So far 115 students have visited Johnson Point Beach and Zittel’s marina for nearshore field trips and we are excited to have even more next month. At the marina, students learn about plankton and use microscopes to identify different kinds. A scuba diver brings up organisms for the students to touch and observe while an expert talks about the animals. The students record the different adaptations of the organisms they see in their field journals. After a short bus ride to the beach, they have time for a low tide field exploration guided by naturalists and an activity that involves collecting shore crabs and making observations. These field trips wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated volunteers who have contributed a total of 80 hours so far.
To see final numbers and share highlights from this year’s nearshore program check out this infographic.
Quotes from student letters:
“I caught 16 crabs, 2 were 3 cm long, and the smallest one was 1 cm long.”
“I actually picked up a few crabs after you showed me how. I liked to see the ghost shrimp”
“I learned about a lot of new animals I did not know about.”
Griffin School Nearshore Field Trip
70 8th grade students from Griffin School visited Chelsea Farms where they learned how geoducks, oysters, and clams are grown, and how important water quality is to the process. They explored the beach and discovered other intertidal organisms that live there too. Then the students went to Frye Cove Park to remove invasive English ivy choking the native trees with its vines. They learned about the damage invasive species can do to the habitat and made a contribution to the health of the Puget Sound. The trees greatly appreciate your hard work!
25th Annual Student GREEN Congress
Hundreds of students delegates gathered at The Evergreen State College to present and discuss water quality data collected with their class throughout the year and attend workshops to explore a variety of environmental topics. This year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Student GREEN Congress!
Check out a few highlights of this year’s smashing success here.
Learn more about Student GREEN Congress and see more photos here.
Watch Governor Inslee’s message to the students here.
Komachin Middle School Day of Caring
23 students from Komachin Middle School chose to visit Harmony Farms, a Capitol Land Trust property, as part of a school-wide day of community service. They learned about tree biology, how to identify tree species, measure tree height, and other forestry methods from Capitol Land Trust volunteers Bill Carlson and Tom Terry. The students endured the rain to plant oak, cedar and cascara trees, as well as native species of rose and willows in areas where the habitat had been disturbed. They also picked up trash that had been brought into the salt marsh with the tide.
Chinook Middle School Contributing Citizens Day
Students from Chinook Middle School helped plant over 200 native trees and shrubs in an open field. These trees will one day grow tall enough to shade the drainage that carries water to Henderson Inlet, keeping that water clean and cool. The students were excited to find chorus frogs all over the place and listen to them sing as they worked. We thank Bob Hughes, the landowner, for making this project possible.
Winter Water Quality Monitoring
South Sound GREEN had another successful water quality monitoring week this February! Over 800 students visited the same testing sites as they did in the fall and collected data on the dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, nitrates, turbidity, and fecal coliform in the water. Many of the results were quite different than they were last time. The students were noticeably more confident in running the tests, which made it even more fun!
For more information about South Sound GREEN, please contact:
South Sound GREEN Program Coordinator
Thurston Conservation District
(360)754-3588, ext. 108