Outdoors

Climate Science

From students to stewards

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Officially, we celebrate our planet Mon., April 22, and many of us will take part in a wide variety of celebrations, work parties and other gatherings intended to reignite our commitment to protecting the natural systems upon which we all depend. These events are fun and can be meaningful ways to introduce children to environmental advocacy. But as that trite phrase suggests, the real work needs to happen every day, not just one day in April.

Before Jay Inslee became the “Climate Change Presidential Candidate,” he guided our State Legislature to earmark $4 million to provide climate science education to our children at every grade level. The proviso funds are intended to support teachers by providing professional development in climate science and Next Generation Science Standards. To that end, six local independent community based organizations—Common Threads, Gardens of the Salish Sea Curriculum, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, North Cascades Institute, RE Sources for Sustainability, and Wild Whatcom—came together to provide a four-part teacher training series.

During this collaboration, nearly 50 K-12 teachers in both Whatcom and Skagit counties have been empowered to take their students outside, introduced to grade-appropriate lessons focused on climate science, and supported as they dive into the new Next Generation Science Standards.  

The goal of this training series is to give teachers knowledge and tools so they are confident in extending their teaching beyond the walls of the classroom, without having to outsource naturalist “experts.”

Hands-on outdoor lessons incorporating environmental stewardship doesn’t have to be left to a special class field trip—it can be done nearly anywhere, in any season, with any group of students.

Sabrina Hauck, a kindergarten teacher from Skyline Elementary in Ferndale, has already implemented some of her newfound skills by taking her students on nature walks to discover the difference between living and non-living things. Third grade teacher Shannon Wanlin balks at the idea that elementary is too young to teach about climate science.

“Climate science is important to teach young kids,” she says. “These changes will impact their lives directly. A third grader can change the habits of people in their family even by just reminding them to turn off the faucet.”

During two classroom sessions and two field day sessions, teachers rediscovered their inner student through active lessons focusing on specific local examples of the ways in which climate change is impacting our planet and how we are able to help reduce the consequences. Whether playing a game of tag that models the obstacles that shellfish might experience due to ocean acidification, forming a human snowflake, designing a model to illustrate how greenhouse gases trap heat, or engineering and building a watershed to explore conservation and mitigation techniques, teachers come away from the training series with specific lessons to use, as well as the tools to create their own.

All of these organizations bring experience in presenting diverse and proven programming to students in our region—garden education with Common Threads (http://www.commonthreadsfarm.org), neighborhood adventures with Wild Whatcom (http://www.wildwhatcom.org), salmon education and restoration with Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (http://www.n-sea.org),  RE Sources for waste management programs (http://www.re-sources.org), intertidal biomes with Gardens of the Salish Sea Curriculum (http://www.gardensalishsea.org), and mountain, snow and forest ecology with North Cascades Institute (http://www.ncascades.org).

Many Whatcom and Skagit county schools have relied on the strengths of these organizations to introduce kids to ecological concepts and natural systems. This collaborative effort will further bolster teachers as they expand their skill sets into place-based education—multiplying the opportunities for students to intuitively understand and sense their responsibility for the natural world around them. As a community we can go further than “Every Day is Earth Day” and make every teacher an outdoor educator, every school a place for environmental education and every student steward of our planet.

Abby Sussman is North Cascades Institute’s School Day Program coordinator.

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Friday
Whatcom Art Market featuring Karen Silvernale

11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm daily at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St. Through Aug. 1, Karen Silvernale’s acrylic mixed-media work will be…

Future Artifacts at MoNA

10:00am

“Future Artifacts” shows from 10am-5pm daily through Oct. 10 in La Conner at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St. The exhibit features work by Lummi Nation glass artist Dan Friday,…

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10:00am

View painter and mixed-media master David Syre’s latest installation, “An Artist’s Universe,” hanging throughout the corridors, lobby and dining room of Hotel Bellwether and the Lighthouse…

Larry Richmond at Good Earth Pottery

11:00am

Ceramic baskets by Larry Richmond will be highlighted from 11am-5pm daily through Saturdays, and 11am-4pm Sundays through July at Good Earth Pottery, 1000 Harris Ave.

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11:00am

“Lands Real and Imagined” shows from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through July 31 at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. This installment will include landscape-inspired pieces from…

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11:00am

“Cabin Rain Revisited,” featuring paintings by the late Northwest master William Slater from 1939-2007, shows from 11am-6pm daily (except Tuesdays) through July in Mount Vernon at Perry and…

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11:00am

From 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday, visit La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Currently on display are “Small Expressions: Handweavers Guild of…

Signature Member Show

11:00am

Peruse works by NW Pastel Society artists at a “Signature Member Show” from 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday through Aug. 1 in Anacortes at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave. More…

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11:00am

Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild hosts a “Celebrate Summer” juried show from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Saturdays through Sept. 2 at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St. NW.

Diablo Lake Boat Tours

11:30am

Seattle City Light and the North Cascades Institute will team up to offer Diablo Lake Boat Tours starting this week with outings aboard the Alice Ross IV at 11:30am and 2:30pm Thursdays…

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Community Boating Center Summer Hours

2:00pm

Sign up for summer classes and experiences and book rentals for a dinghy, kayak, keelboat, paddle board or rowboat at the Community Boating Center, 555 Harris Ave. Summer rental hours are…

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4:00pm

Steve Webb and the Great Mad Swirl perform at a Happy Hour Concert Series taking place every Thursday from 4pm-8pm at the beer garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. The weekly…

Quilt Museum Porch Sale

9:00am

Shop a gigantic selection of “fabrics, fibers and fancies” at a Porch Sale taking place from 9am-4pm Friday and Saturday, and 9am-2pm Sunday in La Conner at the Pacific Northwest Quilt &…

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9:30am

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10:00am

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11:00am

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11:00am

Check out award-winning Pacific Northwest artist Sheila Klein’s new exhibit, “Flags and Monuments,” from 11am-5pm Fridays through Sundays through Aug. 1 in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains…

Ferndale Public Market

2:00pm

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Port of Anacortes Summer Concert Series

6:00pm

The Port of Anacortes brings back its free summer concert series starting tonight with a show from the Chris Eger Band and the Powerhouse Horns from 6pm-8pm at Seafarers’ Memorial Park, 601…

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6:00pm

The High Mountain String Band perform at a revived “Farmtunes” series taking place from 6pm-9pm at Bellewood Farms, 6140 Guide Meridian. The free, family-friendly music series continues with…

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6:30pm

The up-and-coming acoustic folk/bluegrass trio, the LaFever Dream, will make music from 6:45pm-8:45pm at All That Jazz Boutique Gallery, 1015 Railroad Ave., STE 105.

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7:00pm

Watch Hockey Teeth, Northwest Hip Hop Collective, and India Glover with Lilyplayscello perform at a livestream taking place from 7pm-10pm at Make.Shift Art Space, 306 Flora St. The streamed…

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Attend a monthly Afterglow Comedy Hour from 9pm-10pm at Stemma Brewing Company, 2039 Moore St. The recipe is simple—add seven comedians, give them one hour to fit in their funny business, and…

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9:30pm

The film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? continues a “Dive-in” Movies at the Waterslides series at 9:30pm in the parking lot of the Birch Bay Waterslides, 4874 Birch Bay Lynden Rd. The series…

Saturday
Whatcom Art Market featuring Karen Silvernale

11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm daily at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St. Through Aug. 1, Karen Silvernale’s acrylic mixed-media work will be…

Future Artifacts at MoNA

10:00am

“Future Artifacts” shows from 10am-5pm daily through Oct. 10 in La Conner at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St. The exhibit features work by Lummi Nation glass artist Dan Friday,…

An Artist's Universe at Hotel Bellwether

10:00am

View painter and mixed-media master David Syre’s latest installation, “An Artist’s Universe,” hanging throughout the corridors, lobby and dining room of Hotel Bellwether and the Lighthouse…

Larry Richmond at Good Earth Pottery

11:00am

Ceramic baskets by Larry Richmond will be highlighted from 11am-5pm daily through Saturdays, and 11am-4pm Sundays through July at Good Earth Pottery, 1000 Harris Ave.

Lands Real and Imagined

11:00am

“Lands Real and Imagined” shows from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through July 31 at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. This installment will include landscape-inspired pieces from…

Cabin Rain Revisited

11:00am

“Cabin Rain Revisited,” featuring paintings by the late Northwest master William Slater from 1939-2007, shows from 11am-6pm daily (except Tuesdays) through July in Mount Vernon at Perry and…

Quilt Exhibits in La Conner

11:00am

From 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday, visit La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Currently on display are “Small Expressions: Handweavers Guild of…

Signature Member Show

11:00am

Peruse works by NW Pastel Society artists at a “Signature Member Show” from 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday through Aug. 1 in Anacortes at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave. More…

Celebrate Summer Exhibit

11:00am

Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild hosts a “Celebrate Summer” juried show from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Saturdays through Sept. 2 at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St. NW.

Diablo Lake Boat Tours

11:30am

Seattle City Light and the North Cascades Institute will team up to offer Diablo Lake Boat Tours starting this week with outings aboard the Alice Ross IV at 11:30am and 2:30pm Thursdays…

Summer Juried Exhibit and More

12:00pm

A “Summer Juried Exhibit,” Seiko Purdue’s “Kumihimo Wishes: Current Times,” Gregory Kammer’s “New Terrain,” and “Quilting Forward: New Works by the Bellingham Modern Quilt Guild” can be seen…

Fluid Formations and More at Whatcom Museum

12:00pm

View “Fluid Formations: The Legacy of Glass in the Pacific Northwest,” “El Zodíaco Familiar,” “All Dressed Up,” “Silk for Suffragettes and Schoolchildren: The Impact of Kimono on European…

Community Boating Center Summer Hours

2:00pm

Sign up for summer classes and experiences and book rentals for a dinghy, kayak, keelboat, paddle board or rowboat at the Community Boating Center, 555 Harris Ave. Summer rental hours are…

Garden Parties at Boundary Bay Brewery

4:00pm

Steve Webb and the Great Mad Swirl perform at a Happy Hour Concert Series taking place every Thursday from 4pm-8pm at the beer garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. The weekly…

Quilt Museum Porch Sale

9:00am

Shop a gigantic selection of “fabrics, fibers and fancies” at a Porch Sale taking place from 9am-4pm Friday and Saturday, and 9am-2pm Sunday in La Conner at the Pacific Northwest Quilt &…

Wild Things

9:30am

Kids, adults and adventurers can join Wild Whatcom for a “Wild Things” community program exploring local trails and parks from 9:30am-11am every Friday. Please bring a simple, healthy snack,…

Jacobson and O'Neill

10:00am

View works by ceramicist and mixed-media artist Sara Jacobson and sculptor Brian O’Neill from 10am-5pm Friday through Sunday through Aug. 1 in Edison at Smith & Vallee Gallery, 5742 Gilkey…

Pilchuck Glass School Show

11:00am

“The Pilchuck Glass School Show” can be seen from 11am-5pm Friday through Sunday (and by appointment) through Aug. 22 on Camano Island at Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, 2345…

Flags and Monuments

11:00am

Check out award-winning Pacific Northwest artist Sheila Klein’s new exhibit, “Flags and Monuments,” from 11am-5pm Fridays through Sundays through Aug. 1 in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains…

Ferndale Public Market

2:00pm

The Ferndale Public Market takes place from 2pm-6pm in the parking lot of the Ferndale Grocery Outlet, 1750 LaBounty Dr. They’ll be on hand to punctuate the end of your work week with fresh…

Port of Anacortes Summer Concert Series

6:00pm

The Port of Anacortes brings back its free summer concert series starting tonight with a show from the Chris Eger Band and the Powerhouse Horns from 6pm-8pm at Seafarers’ Memorial Park, 601…

Farmtunes with the High Mountain String Band

6:00pm

The High Mountain String Band perform at a revived “Farmtunes” series taking place from 6pm-9pm at Bellewood Farms, 6140 Guide Meridian. The free, family-friendly music series continues with…

LaFever Dream

6:30pm

The up-and-coming acoustic folk/bluegrass trio, the LaFever Dream, will make music from 6:45pm-8:45pm at All That Jazz Boutique Gallery, 1015 Railroad Ave., STE 105.

The Comeback

7:00pm

Watch Hockey Teeth, Northwest Hip Hop Collective, and India Glover with Lilyplayscello perform at a livestream taking place from 7pm-10pm at Make.Shift Art Space, 306 Flora St. The streamed…

Cory Vincent

8:00pm

“Grunge blues” can be heard when Cory Vincent performs from 8pm-10pm at Thousand Acre Cider House, 109 Grand Ave. Entry is $5-$40 (depending on how many people will be at your table). All…

Afterglow Comedy Hour

9:00pm

Attend a monthly Afterglow Comedy Hour from 9pm-10pm at Stemma Brewing Company, 2039 Moore St. The recipe is simple—add seven comedians, give them one hour to fit in their funny business, and…

Dive-In Movies at the Waterslides

9:30pm

The film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? continues a “Dive-in” Movies at the Waterslides series at 9:30pm in the parking lot of the Birch Bay Waterslides, 4874 Birch Bay Lynden Rd. The series…