What a Year for Hands-On Learning: 2016 in Review
What a busy and fulfilling year it’s been! Our first program of 2016 kicked off in March with weather that roared in like a lion, but settled into lovely, lamb-like sunshine and gentle breezes — the perfect combination of environmental conditions to keep the crew on their feet! We had an enthusiastic group of educators who led programs through June, serving 26 groups of students with 58 days on the water. Our students generated some interesting hypotheses to test, which included the examination of the presence of copper and plankton, the relationship between silica and zooplankton abundance, and development density and it’s relationship to water turbidity. It was fun seeing our young student scientists present their findings at our annual Salish Student Science Symposium at the end of the season (you can read a wrap on that here).
Over the summer, our education team led summer campers in shoreline ecology exploration, visited our friends at the Kenneth K. Chew Center for Shellfish Research and Restoration, and built and deployed student-built ROVs. We’re grateful to our families that joined us on Bainbridge Island and Whidbey Island for this fun summer experience.
One of the highlights from the fall was working with the Anacortes school district, where we had the opportunity to work with nine classes of sixth graders from Mt. Erie, Fidalgo and Island View schools. These “Source” programs focused on water quality exploration in the Puget Sound watershed, and helped students connect their daily activities with related impact on marine ecosystems. What a fun experience, with many “Aha!’ moments.
Another major focus of the fall was on our second education vessel, Elettra, which is undergoing refit. We have made exciting progress on Coast Guard safety inspection and permitting, program design and architectural planning and are working on next steps for rebuilding the vessel’s interior spaces to become a dynamic and digitally interconnected learning environment.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Elettra and ways to support our vision for growing hands-on marine learning programs for Washington youth, please contact Maria Drury: maria [at] salish.org. Please stay tuned as this exciting project unfolds!