About the Program

Often the students participating in our Source program develop an interest in improving and monitoring the health of their local watersheds.

By adding this component, Salish Staff will consult with teachers to integrate a student-directed, stewardship project into the Source watershed program curriculum. Working with local organizations and government, students design a field-based project and then monitor the impact of their project, eventually sharing the results with their local community.

Project Topics

  • Water Quality Analysis
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Pollution Reduction
  • Filtration Systems & Rain Gardens


Salish fills a unique yet critical role in education today: to immerse students in an intensive, hands-on learning experience that helps prepare them for the challenges they will face in our increasingly complex society.

“Students become more conscious of what is going into the Puget Sound, other organisms etc.  Especially with the link to the Source program.  My students were questioning how dumping dish water (surfactants) would impact the Puget Sound.”-Dimmitt Middle School teacher
“My son couldn’t stop talking about his sampling project today when he got in the car. He was so animated. I think it has boosted hisconfidence and gotten him excited about school again.” -Parent at Eton School


Answers to the questions we encounter most frequently.

What is Salish Sea Expeditions?

Salish Sea Expeditions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to provide an opportunity for students to design and conduct real scientific research from the field and the decks of a sailing vessel on Puget Sound.

What type of programs do you run?

We run both land- and boat-based programs that are rooted in student-led, scientific research. Our land-based program, Source, focuses on watershed and stormwater research while our boat-based programs conduct oceanographic research aboard Carlyn, a 61’ yawl built in 1996, belonging to Four Winds*Westward Ho Camps. Carlyn is a US Coast Guard (USCG) inspected vessel.

Where does the land-based Source program take place?

The Source program can take place on school grounds, at local waterways or any stream, pond, river or storm drain. Source is designed to be customizable for each group, allowing for integration into curriculum and removing obstacles to getting students out into the field.

How long is the program?

Source is a 10-hour program. We work with each teacher to determine the duration of the research. We have conducted the program in intervals as short as one or two weeks and as long as a month.

What standards does the program align with?

We are aligned with Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards and Ocean Literacy Principals.

What is the maximum/minimum number of participants?

We can work with an individual class or an entire grade level.

How many Salish staff will be in the classroom and in the field, and what qualifications do they have?

Typically we have two science staff attending classroom visits. When students are in the field collecting samples, we can provide 2-5 staff depending on the nature of the research design. Salish Educator-Scientists have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in science and experience both in the teaching and research fields. All our staff have experience working with teenagers in residential and outdoor settings.

What does a program involve?

The Source program aims to increase student knowledge and foster awareness of watershed and storm water issues in the Puget Sound through the use of engaging lectures, activities, and student-designed research experiments. Students come away with a greater understanding of the scientific process and how they, as residents of the Puget Sound watershed, can ultimately affect the health of their watershed and the Puget Sound ecosystem.

In the classroom, students are taught scientific principles and provided with background information. They then identify a suitable research topic and work with our staff to collect data and organize their research. On the final day the students put together a communication piece on their groups’ research and present their findings to their classmates. Classmates are given a rubric to score each presentation allowing for benchmarks and accountability during the program. As a culminating event, students, or a delegation of the students, are invited to present their research at the annual Salish Sea Student Science Symposium.

What is the optional Restoration component?

As an extension, students and teachers may choose a restoration project that is feasible and meaningful to the community.  Our savvy watershed and restoration scientists work with the teacher, local agencies and organizations to bring a meaningful connection to the research the students are doing within their watershed/ community. These projects can range from planting native plants, invasive species removal, seeding oyster bags, and riparian buffers.

What are your payment policies?

The total fee is $2000/program. This includes 10 hours of instruction, all science research materials, and pre-planning meetings with teachers. Depending on the number of classrooms participating, costs may be up to $3500. An additional fee of $100-$300 may apply depending on the project design and implementation hours. Our payment policy is a nonrefundable deposit of $600 due with a signed contract, the first 1/3rd of the total cost due 90 days prior to the program, the second 1/3rd of the total cost due at 60 days prior, and the balance due 30 days prior to the program. If that doesn’t work in your district, let us know and we’ll work out an alternative.

Are there scholarships available?

We may have scholarships available through grants and generous donors. Please contact us for criteria and further information.


Welcome, teachers and group leaders! We’re glad that you’re interested in extending your Salish Sea Expeditions program with a Restoration component and we’re here to guide you through the process.

Step 1: Request a date.

Contact our Education Director at (206) 780-7848 or email

Step 2: Review the Restoration portion of the Teacher’s Guide.

Download the Source Program Teacher Guide (PDF) – everything you need to ready yourself for an upcoming expedition.

Step 3: Fill out and return the following forms.

Program Details

  • Programs available year-round.

Cost: variable depending on project; please contact us for details
Class Size: Up to 250 participants
Grade Levels: 5th -- 12th grades