Memorable moments from 2018

December 5, 2018

“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.

Sometimes all you need is a journal

Kat, a crew member, was sleeping soundly on the third morning of a 5-day expedition, when a group of 5th grade boys woke up early. Because of the boat’s close quarters, their conversation carried and soon everyone on the boat was awake, well before the designated wake-up time. The next morning it happened again. That evening, as everyone was turning in for the night, Kat had an idea. She decided to hand out journals at bedtime when normally she gives them to the students after breakfast. She said, “in case you wake up early and need something to do in the morning, here are your journals.” Much to Kat’s surprise, the boys said sure, and took the journals. The real surprise came when Kat woke up the next morning and found two 5th grade boys quietly writing in their journals. And a third, documenting his plans on the motherboard.

Strong role models  

Captain Amy, from our spring 2018 crew, emailed us recently: “Salish Sea Expeditions taught me a lot about the importance of women in leadership positions. On every trip at least one girl asked me how I became a captain and if she could be one. Once, a group of girls even rubbed grease pencils on their jeans trying to stain them to “be like Captain Amy.” Young women are watching me and I want to represent a strong, skilled role model. Likewise, for the women on my crew: at James Island, the currents were strong and rocks surrounded the dock. Kat, Kate and I were the only crew on the boat and had to use our knowledge of the currents, maneuverability of the boat and the dock lines to bring the boat in and out of the dock. It made the three of us very proud to be working together as an all-female team.”

Making connections

Kavya, a Salish Sea Expeditions alumna, was featured in a blog post this summer when she worked as an intern at the NOAA Western Regional Center in Seattle. Her story is one we appreciate as it descibes Kavya’s strengths, and the strengths of the Salish Sea Expeditions program. As Kavya says, “The ability to learn something for myself, draw my own conclusions, and make connections is so empowering and is what really made science such an important part of my life.” Through Salish, Kavya met Amy Merten, who leads the Assessment and Restoration Division’s Northwest Branch and is a member of the Salish Sea Expeditions Council of Advisors. After hearing Kavya present on ocean acidification at the Salish Sea Expeditions 2017 Breakfast, Amy invited Kavya to come talk to her. Amy was impressed with Kavya’s command of environmental science and her communication style explaining complex concepts in terms people could easiy understand. “She is already a leader and I know Kavya will develop her passions and intellect to make our environment and communities healthier.” Kavya and Amy’s relationship inspires us, and makes us eager to find ways to set up connections, such as this one, for more students. And we will need your help. Stay tuned for more information on this idea in 2019, and thank you again, for making these connections possible.

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