Summer Teacher Institute is a two – three day teacher training held at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in June after the school year.

At the Summer Teacher 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  For a list of resources and presentations, please visit

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.  Resources for this Institute can be found here

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 here.

2016: Dates are June 27th, 28th, and 29th !