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Stay Current with Salish Sea Expeditions' Hands-On Learning Adventures, Highlights from the Field, and Upcoming Events
“I wonder what their names are?”
Laughter, glee, smiles, and cheers describe what it was like to see a pod of our Southern Resident Orca for the first time! In this video from our last expedition of the year, fifteen student scientists, ranging from 5th through 8th grade from seven different local schools and home schools, could not believe their eyes. Of the many memorable moments we had this year, this was a defining moment for these Marine Explorers. Even though the J and K pods have been a constant feature along our shores this year, seeing these majestic creatures first-hand had eluded our students until now. They had heard about them, knew they had names, but seeing them was a moment to remember. To make the experience even more special, that evening, they witnessed a show of bioluminescence that could have rivaled the 4th of July fireworks! There’s time for science and then there’s time to pause and appreciate moments of awe.
As our sailing season comes to an end, I want to take a moment to thank you for supporting Salish Sea Expeditions and the students we serve. Your investment in these students means a lot to me and to 8th graders, like Benjamin and Mathias, from Alderwood Middle School in Lynnwood, WA, who joined us for a 3-day expedition and then courageously shared their stories at our annual Breakfast.
When asked about a memorable moment, Benjamin told us he was inspired by the feeling of “the cool air of the sea” and by imagining “the deep unexplored areas where researchers haven’t fully studied yet. Before Salish, my experience with the Sound was going to the locks multiple times and going boating once. I remember thinking the Sound was like a mysterious other dimension. After exploring it with Salish, it is an interesting, beautiful and diverse part of our planet that I want to learn more about.”
The “Aha!” moment. The connection that happens with hands in the water, eyes to the microscope, thoughtful calculations and more questions. A year in the life of Salish Sea Expeditions is really a collection of stories and research data that is punctuated by short videos, hundreds of photos and wonderful testimonials shared by our educators, chaperones, parents and student alumni.
If we could magically transport each of you to these hands-on and student-led experiences, that would be the absolutely BEST way to see this important process of learning the scientific method by DOING IT. But, as a second best option, we’re thrilled to share with you a report on the impact of your support for our youth communities for the period of June 2017 through June 2018. Read more ›
Our last update took place just before the Good Ship Carlyn headed north to Anacortes. Our time in the San Juans is a particularly magical part of the season. With striking scenery and abundant wildlife, this season was no exception.
Our first trips out of Anacortes were with our friends at Anacortes Middle School, who also completed a SOURCE program exploring their local watershed in February. Their 3-day SOUND program allowed them to make further connections between the research they completed on their local watershed and how their findings might affect the Puget Sound. We also had the chance to work with Cap Sante High School students, which was a fun way to connect with another neighboring school. Read more ›
In the fall and winter of 2017, Salish led several dockside marine education programs aboard the organization’s new vessel Elettra III. The focus of these programs is to give area youth the chance to explore marine careers and skill development in three primary areas: science, technology and trades.
The first program was piloted in late summer with interns from the Port of Seattle as part of Salish’s involvement with the Youth Maritime Collaborative. Port interns conducted oceanographic sampling and toured ship’s systems aboard Elettra, listened to a presentation by naval architect firm Elliott Bay Design Group, and toured Ballard’s Pacific Fishermen Shipyard. Read more ›
This year marked a big milestone for Salish, our 20th year of hands-on learning on the Salish Sea. It was an eventful year, with many eager student scientists conducting research to investigate science questions of their own design.
Salish students completed many interesting marine research projects, which included comparing the presence of plankton with the presence of copper, water pH compared to plankton abundance, and abundance of zooplankton as compared to the abundance of phytoplankton.
Spring was action packed with 65 program days and 500 students participating in our programs, exploring Puget Sound as scientists, captains, navigators and crew. The season concluded with our annual student science symposium, which featured Dr. Thomas Poole as keynote presenter and many stellar student presentations, like this one.
On Tuesday, October 17, our generous community helped raise more than $48,000 for student-led voyages of exploration and discovery at our Patrons of Discovery Breakfast. This support means that we can engage even more kids in hands-on learning on the Salish Sea.
It’s wonderful to know how many of you share in our mission to get more kids excited about applied science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while learning valuable critical thinking skills that will serve them for a lifetime of learning and career success. Read more ›
Our fall 2017 program sailed its final day in mid-October amidst stunning blue skies, somewhat uncharacteristic for programs this time of year. This season is shorter than our spring programs, but we enjoyed connecting with several returning partner schools.
These included our “hometown” friends at the Odyssey Multiage and Woodward MIddle School programs, and our nearby neighbors at Chief Kitsap Academy.
We also forged new partnerships with the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, with a fun 3-day expedition for girls interested in marine science and STEM education. Read more ›
Salish has been working with school and community groups doing hands-on learning expeditions for 20 years. In addition to our curriculum-integrated programs, we also offer trips that cater to individual students who are interested in marine biology and maritime field-based learning. Salish “Sound for Individuals” programs give students a comprehensive view into what its like to be a scientist or mariner, and invite students to take a closer look at life beneath the surface of the Salish Sea.
In April, Salish hosted two “Sound for Individuals” programs. One of our participants was kind enough to share her experience in a recent letter:
My name is Mariah and I am a junior in high school. I participated in the Salish program April 2017. I am interested in becoming a marine biologist so I thought this program would give me some field experience.
A guest post by Education Director Dan Hannafious, describing the process of designing, building and deploying data buoys during the recent Salish Sea Science Explorers Camp held on Bainbridge Island.
A large bucket of PVC pieces and parts is noisily spilled at the feet of the circle of Salish Sea Expeditions Science Campers. In a flash, campers are reflecting on buoy design, flotation, sensor positions, line length, anchoring, tidal change, depth of deployment… and in their eyes you can see: “oh, this is going to be fun!”
Leading up to that moment, there were conversations about why build and deploy buoys? How will the minus tide this week affect our deployment? How can the sensor positions provide the “coolest” information? Read more ›