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The Sustainable Schools program helps students of all ages protect our ecosystem and live sustainably. We provide hands-on education on waste prevention, water conservation, energy efficiency and climate change for all grade levels. Read more.

  • 21st Century Kids Take On a 21st Century Problem: Non-Point Source Pollution by Andrea Reiter, Education Specialist, Sustainable Schools Program Do you know what non-point source pollution is? How about the effects of non-point source pollution has on water quality ...
    Posted Aug 3, 2017, 12:49 PM by Hannah Coughlin
  • Blaine High School students study their local watershed, tour salmon stream as part of Young Water Stewards The Sustainable Schools and Clean Water programs at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities joined forces in 2016 to launch Young Water Stewards for high school students in rural Whatcom County ...
    Posted Jul 12, 2017, 11:11 AM by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities
  • Where does your drinking water come from? By Lindsey GardWould you want to drink groundwater that has been contaminated by dog poop? Me neither. Knowing what can contaminate our water supply, and where our water comes ...
    Posted Jun 5, 2017, 12:34 PM by Hannah Coughlin
  • 11 Ways to be Water Wise – Water Conservation Tips For Your Everyday Life Clean, bountiful water is one of the most important resources around the world. With the current world population reaching towards 7.4 billion people, our rapidly growing use of water ...
    Posted May 30, 2017, 3:40 PM by Hannah Coughlin
  • Earth Day Litter Clean up at Locust Beach RE Sources for Sustainable Communities’ AmeriCorps-Washington Service Corps members and Western Washington University club Students for the Salish Sea (SSS), are hosting an Earth Day beach cleanup at Locust ...
    Posted Apr 10, 2017, 5:05 PM by Hannah Coughlin
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 14. View more »

21st Century Kids Take On a 21st Century Problem: Non-Point Source Pollution

posted Aug 3, 2017, 12:48 PM by Hannah Coughlin   [ updated Aug 3, 2017, 12:49 PM ]

by Andrea Reiter, Education Specialist, Sustainable Schools Program 

Do you know what non-point source pollution is? How about the effects of non-point source pollution has on water quality? Or that we all are contributing to the problem? La Venture and Mount Baker Middle School students can now help you not only answer these questions having become Young Water Stewards of the Nookachamps Creek and Skagit River. Throughout June and July, 24 Skagit Valley kids studied the Nookachamps Creek watershed and the impacts of non-point source pollution on the health of their stream through RE Sources’ Young Water Stewards Program. In a five-week course, students learned why non-point source pollution is a problem for water quality and the role we all play in non-point source pollution within our watershed. 

The program started out with an insight into the problem – non-point source pollution is being carried into our waterways through surface runoff. NOAA Education Coordinator, Casey Ralston, attended the program one day to show the impacts on aquatic life when exposed to surface runoff that is contaminated with non-point source pollution; NOAA scientists in Seattle exposed salmon to runoff water and 100% of salmon exposed died within 24 hours. In addition to the presence of pollution within our watershed, humans have changed the functionality of the watershed through the increase of impervious surfaces in the form of roads, houses, sports fields, and parking lots. These impervious surfaces do not allow water to infiltrate the soil, instead that water is forced to go into storm drains. The city of Mount Vernon alone has over 5,000 storm drains.

After the students learned about the problem of non-point source pollution affecting the health of our watershed, we set off to test the water quality of the Nookachamps Creek. Through field laboratory kits, students tested the dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, temperature, and the presence of fecal coliform bacteria. When asked what her favorite part of the 5-week program was; Mykila, a Boys & Girls participant stated: "when we went and tested water because it was fun and helped me learn". Half of a day in the field and three test sights later, students discovered that currently the biggest problem with the Nookachamps Creek is temperature and the presence of fecal coliform bacteria.

The following week, we discussed our water quality testing results and introduced the concept of Best Management Practices. Students discussed ways they and other residents of their watershed can reduce the non-point source pollutants in the water. To leave these kids with a sense of empowerment and the ability to solve problems within their community, we completed a few stewardship projects. Students labeled storm drains at La Venture Middle School, the school that the majority of the students will be attending in the fall, picked up trash on a Skagit Land Trust property, mulched native plants, and removed invasive species in a riparian zone along the Nookachamps Creek. "One fact I want to share with others (is) if you see a tree/baby plant put dirt or wood chips around it, so it can grow." Carmella, a Boys & Girls participant, stated during a reflection of our stewardship day.

Originally developed for high school students, the Young Water Stewards curriculum was adapted to middle school level and enhanced with more hands-on activities to engage a summer audience participating in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, & mathematics) summer enhancement program at a 21st Century Community Learning Classroom (21st CCLC) site. 21st CCLC are a nation-wide campaign to provide education and support during non-school hours for children in high poverty and/or low performing school districts. Through a National Marine Sanctuary Foundation grant, RE Sources was able to partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Skagit County (the 21st CCLC Host), NOAA, and the Skagit Land Trust to offer a meaningful watershed educational experience to youth.

Stats:
  • 24 middle school students from Mount Baker and La Venture Middle School in Mount Vernon, WA 
  • 3 Nookachamps Creeks & tributary sites tested for water quality including temperature, turbidity, fecal coliform bacteria, pH, and dissolved oxygen 
  • Storm drains labeled on La Venture Middle School’s campus directly in front of the Boys & Girls Club Clubhouse 
  • 14 hours of watershed education and stewardship for each participant

Blaine High School students study their local watershed, tour salmon stream as part of Young Water Stewards

posted Jul 12, 2017, 11:11 AM by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities   [ updated Jul 12, 2017, 11:11 AM ]

The Sustainable Schools and Clean Water programs at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities joined forces in 2016 to launch Young Water Stewards for high school students in rural Whatcom County, helping them develop an understanding of their local watersheds and how to be a steward of clean water. 

This spring, almost 200 high school students from Blaine participated in the Young Water Stewards training. Students learned how watersheds function through an interactive watershed model, learned how to conduct water quality testing, toured their local watershed to learn about different types of pollution, learned tips for how to protect the health of their local watershed, and took part in a stewardship project. 


Field notes from the North Sound Baykeeper

By Lee FirstNorth Sound Baykeeper


Spending 5 full days — with 7 classes per day — with Blaine High School students during the last week of their school year was not something I knew how to prepare for. I know a lot about the watersheds and pollution issues in Whatcom County — but working with 200 students during the last week of school? I let our Sustainable Schools staff figure out the details, and went along for the ride. 


We started the Young Water Stewards program by asking each student to fill out survey telling us what they knew about watersheds, and asking them to draw a watershed. Almost all of them drew a small building, sometimes next to water or with a tap. After a quick discussion about what a watershed ACTUALLY is, we split each class into two groups. Half of them stayed inside to listen to a presentation on watersheds, and other other half headed outside to build a watershed model. 

Building a watershed model

We built our watershed model with wadded up newspaper and a blue tarp plus plastic cars, homes, barns, factories, and animals. We crumpled up the newspaper in a pile, covered it with the blue tarp, then scattered the plastic pieces around the tarp to resemble farms and cities. Then, the fun part! We handed out containers of dirt, food coloring, glitter, and chocolate sprinkles, representing sediment, chemicals, heavy metals, and bacteria, respectively. After the stuff was tossed about, we sprayed our model with water. 

This model is an effective way to showcase a watershed, especially in Whatcom County. The students were aware that most of the water in the Nooksack River starts from snow melt on glaciers on Mount Baker. But what they didn’t know was that the watershed where they lived was not part of the Nooksack watershed – it’s part of the Drayton Harbor watershed, and their subwatershed is Cain Creek. Most of them didn’t know that water carried pollutants from the land along with it.

It was a hot day, and the water bottles were a hit. Water sprayed on the high point turned into tributaries, slowing down in areas that represented wetlands. The chocolate sprinkles and glitter flowed downstream, some farm animals got their feet wet, and a lot of sprinkles, dirt and glitter (aka pollution) ended up downstream. 

Touring Cain Creek

The next day, we toured Cain Creek, a local salmon-bearing stream. The students loaded on the school bus, and I was the tour guide. Leaving the city of Blaine, we discussed what kind of pollutants were in stormwater and where the stormwater goes (answer: Cain Creek). 

We passed a few farms, talked about problems caused by improper manure management, and stopped the bus near the headwaters of Cain Creek. We discussed the importance of headwater wetlands, the interplay between surface water and groundwater, and alterations of the land that have led to the filling in of wetlands. 

On the way back, we stopped at an industrial facility and viewed a large parking lot that drains into a wetland. From this area, Cain Creek heads into giant pipes, crosses under the freeway, pops up a few times, and finally reappears near the Blaine Post Office. Here, we got off the bus, walked to the edge of a steep bank, and peered down into the creek. 

It was sad. Garbage was strewn about, the stream was a browning trickle, and two huge storm drains were located right above the creek. The kids were surprised. We’d talked a lot about how stormwater from all the types of land uses we’d seen from the bus ended up in pipes connected to the creek, without any treatment. What they saw opened their eyes. A few were upset by the garbage and the color of the water.

Testing water quality 

The next day we showed the kids how to test water for temperature, turbidity, and pH. We found a place to access the creek with a neglected sign that said "Cain Creek – Salmon Stream."  A few kids noticed the sign and commented that if more people could see it, they might care more about the creek. Right on!

Taking on stewardship of storm drains

The last day we helped the kids with a stewardship project. Since we’d placed a big emphasis on pollution from stormwater, we decided the stewardship project would be to label the 60 storm drains on the Blaine High school campus and some areas of the surround neighborhoods with storm drain markers. In all, we labeled close to 100 storm drains. Another group of students went down to the creek, picked up litter, and cleared vegetation away from the salmon sign for all to see. 

The students really got the message: at the end of the week, they understood what a watershed is, what stewardship means, why clean water is important, and some positive steps to prevent pollution. They understood that what we do on the land can have a detrimental impact to water quality downstream. And they learned a few steps they could take right in their own Cain Creek watershed to increase the health of the creek. 

In the final survey, the drawings of watersheds were totally different from the first day – they contained glaciers, tributaries, streams, rivers, wetlands, storm drains, parking lots, and more. It was an honor to spend the week with these students and their teachers. We are looking forward to taking this program to many more schools. Thank you, Blaine!

Where does your drinking water come from?

posted Jun 5, 2017, 10:42 AM by RE Sources Education   [ updated Jun 5, 2017, 12:34 PM by Hannah Coughlin ]

By Lindsey Gard

Would you want to drink groundwater that has been contaminated by dog poop? Me neither. Knowing what can contaminate our water supply, and where our water comes from is important for all of us to know.

I am serving with Washington Service Corps at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities in Bellingham, WA. I am the Green Classroom Coordinator on the Sustainable Schools team. I go into K-5th grade classrooms and give workshops on water conservation, waste prevention, and energy efficiency. I am working to protect the environment by giving elementary-aged kids the information they need to care for our planet's resources. 

I recently did a special program with Blaine Elementary Schools’ 4th graders. We focused on water conservation/waste prevention with an emphasis on groundwater. This program was done in collaboration with Birch Bay Water and Sewer District and The City of Blaine. 

Most, if not all of Blaine’s residents get their drinking water from groundwater aquifers. Aquifers act as reservoirs for groundwater, and feed wells and springs.

When I went into each of these classrooms and asked them where their drinking water came from, hardly any students knew. Many guessed it came from the sink. When I asked how it got to the sink, most guessed it came straight from the ocean. 

If we don’t know where our drinking water is coming from, how will we know how to protect it?

During the workshop the students got to make their own edible aquifer. The goal was to show students the geographical layers in a groundwater aquifer, and how water — and pollution — moves through it. 

Each student was supplied with a clear cup, straw, spoon, teddy grahams, fruit snack gummies, soda water and ice cream. When we got to the point of “digging our well” (the straw) the kids pumped up the “groundwater” (soda water) and got to witness how “pollution” (food coloring) moved through the aquifer and what happened to the groundwater level when it is pumped out by a well. We talked about all the different ways groundwater can become polluted: dog poop and other animal waste, pesticides, car oil, gas and heavy metals, and landfill liquid waste called, leachate.

After this exercise, they got it. Students got a hands-on picture of how water makes it to their tap, and how easy it is for that water source to become polluted. 

The students also participated in a school-wide poster contest for their Green Classrooms Action Project. The posters were hung in the cafeteria and judged by local dignitaries. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner all received an Alliance for Water Efficiency stainless steel water bottle, and the first place winner got a pizza party for their classroom! 
Many students committed to changing their behavior and committing to their ACT classroom pledge. ACT stands for Aware, Conserve, and Take Action. In that classroom, 95% of students had an increase in knowledge. This was just one of seven classrooms that completed the program.

My service in AmeriCorps at RE Sources has solidified my decision to continue working with youth in environmental education. Learning sustainability and how humans affect natural resources at a young age will only benefit our broader environment in the future.




11 Ways to be Water Wise – Water Conservation Tips For Your Everyday Life

posted May 30, 2017, 3:37 PM by Hannah Coughlin   [ updated May 30, 2017, 3:40 PM ]

Clean, bountiful water is one of the most important resources around the world. With the current world population reaching towards 7.4 billion people, our rapidly growing use of water for industry, agriculture, sanitation, and drinking has led to freshwater consumption tripling over the last 50 years.


With added considerations of seasonal variability and accessibility, water is often not where we need it when we need it. With less than 1% of the world’s water accessible to humans to drink, it’s a shame that pollution has made it so 1 in 10 people lack access to safe water.

No matter where you are in the world, you can do your part to conserve water by both saving water from being wasted and protecting water from becoming polluted.
  1. First, calculate the daily water use online or on paper for you or your household.
  2. Second, follow our tips below to get started on the water-wise path to conservation.
  3. Third, join us on January 18th from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm to clean up litter at Squalicum Beach Park in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  4. Lastly, get ready to celebrate UN World Water Day on March 22nd. Every year this event focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources - this year’s theme is “Water and Jobs”. Stay tuned for local events around Whatcom County in our upcoming newsletters.
In the Bathroom

  • Shorten your showers. The average person uses 17.2 gallons of water during their 8.2 minute shower, totaling over 6,000 gallons of water every year. You’ll save water, energy, and time when you shorten your shower to 5 minutes or less or skip out on a couple showers a week. Don’t think you could ever skimp out on your long, hot showers? Check out this list of other actionsyou can take that would save just  as much water as cutting out showers altogether.
  • Be frugal at the flusher and faucet. Update to a low-flow toilet if you haven’t already. Depending on how big of an upgrade you’re doing, consider investing in a compostingtoilet that requires no water. And  your faucet? Make sure to turn off the faucet when you scrub your hands with soap and brush your teeth. Install a faucet aerator to save even more water when the faucet is running.

If you live within the City of Bellingham, you can receive a free water conservation kit from the Finance Department in City Hall at 210 Lottie Street. The kits contain one low-flow showerhead, a kitchen and a bathroom faucet aerator, and toilet leak detection tablets.

In the Kitchen
  • Do the dishes. While the jury is still out on what conserves more water – using a dishwasher or washing dishes by hand – either situation can benefit from a few simple tips to save water. First off, thoroughly scrape your dishes into the compost right after eating to lessen the need for rinsing and running the garbage disposal. Secondly, use water only when you have a full load – whether it’s going to fill the sink or dishwasher, you might as well use it to clean as many dishes as possible.

    • Use the excess. Whether you just boiled a pot of pasta or you can’t finish a glass of water, the leftover water doesn’t need to go down the drain. Use the water for plants, animals, or cleaning.


    In the Yard

    • Embrace the gold. During the summer, stop watering your lawn and allow your grass to lay dormant. In Whatcom County, from June 1st – September 15th, it is recommended to stop watering your lawn. If you must water, make sure to practice smart lawn watering – make sure you’re not overwatering or losing water to evaporation. Especially within the City of Bellingham, where water demand doubles in the summer due largely in part to lawn and landscape watering, reducing the drinking water we use outdoors can have a huge savings.
    • Harvest the Rain. Use landscaping techniques to passively harvest rainwater for your outdoor space or actively collect and store rainwater to reduce your reliance on tapping into our drinking water resources for your outdoor water use. If you don’t have a use for collected rainwater, install a rain garden on your property to reduce the impacts of stormwater.
    • Use Nozzles and Cans. Rather than letting your hose run between uses, use a spray-control nozzle or watering can to get the exact amount of water you need every time with no waste. Take a hands-off approach and still save water when you use a soaker hose or install drip irrigation for your garden and flowerbeds.


    Other Ways to Conserve:

    • Stop Dirty Stormwater.Stormwater is rain that runs off hard surfaces (rooftops, streets, parking lots) instead of soaking into the ground. Most stormwater flows from these surfaces directly into a local stream, lake, or bay, carrying with it pollution – like oil, fertilizers, pesticides, garbage, and pet waste – without any treatment. Stormwater is the leading contributor to water pollution of urban waterways in Washington. Stop your contribution to stormwater pollution by adopting a few simple behaviors. For instance, scoop the poop!Pet waste,  especially from dogs, washes into our local waterways when it rains and can have negative impacts on our water quality. Do your part: pick up after your pets and throw their waste in a garbage can.
    • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The 3 R’s aren’t just for waste prevention. Everyday products that we buy, use, and throw away have already used thousands of gallons of water in production. Make conscious decisions to practice the 3 R’s as you shop for everything from clothing and food, to cars and furniture.


    Need more tips? Check out all these awesome water conservation tip sheets:

    RE Sources is committed to promoting sustainable communities and protecting the health of people and ecosystems in our glorious little slice of NW Washington. 

    For more information, please contact us at schools@re-sources.org

    Earth Day Litter Clean up at Locust Beach

    posted Apr 10, 2017, 5:05 PM by Hannah Coughlin


    RE Sources for Sustainable Communities’ AmeriCorps-Washington Service Corps members and Western Washington University club Students for the Salish Sea (SSS), are hosting an Earth Day beach cleanup at Locust Beach to remove trash and large debris from the beach.

    The cleanup is from 10:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday April 22nd at Locust Beach. Participants should meet at the Locust Beach parking lot. There is limited parking so participants are encouraged to carpool or ride your bike. Join us, as we come together as a community and volunteer our time to being stewards of the Salish Sea.

    Natalie Lord, the Aquatic Reserve Coordinator for the Clean Water Program and Lindsey Gard, the Green Classrooms Coordinator for the Sustainable Schools Program, came together in collaboration with SSS to organize this important event. Natalie coordinates the citizen science projects, educational events, and outreach activities to make citizen science more available to our local community. Lindsey facilitates elementary-level education on topics like energy efficiency, waste reduction, and water conservation. 

    There are 500 times more micro plastics in our oceans than stars in our galaxy. Plastic pollution endangers more than 600 species due to ingestion and entanglement, including ourselves. It can be found on every beach around the world, and defines our presence as a species on this planet. Join us in the effort to reduce our impact on the ocean at our Earth Day beach clean up, located at our local marine debris hotspot, Locust Beach! 

    The cleanup is appropriate for all ages. Light snacks and equipment will be supplied, but volunteers are encouraged to bring work gloves and 5-gallon plastic buckets. Registration is not required. 

    Questions: Email Lindsey Gard at lindseyg@re-sources.org


    Earth Day Litter Clean up at Locust Beach
    Saturday April 22nd
    10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
    Locust beach, Bellingham
    Meet at parking lot at Locust Ave (map)

    Material World workshop teaches middle schoolers about consumerism

    posted Feb 14, 2017, 12:33 PM by Hannah Coughlin   [ updated Feb 15, 2017, 12:57 PM by virginiac@re-sources.org ]

    By Priscilla Brotherton, Sustainable Schools Education Specialist

    For the first Material World workshop in our Waste Prevention and Water Conservation programs for middle and high school students, my goal was to teach two classes of 7th graders how their actions have an effect on our world as a whole.

    No small task.

    We started with the big picture. While seated on the floor in a circle, students were told that the pile of chips in the middle of the circle were for all of us. At the beginning of a round, every student had a chance to take resources from the pile. At the end of the round, I would double whatever was left in the pile, and anyone who had 10 or more chips would get a reward. (In this case, the teacher provided the incentive — their school's "Economy Bucks.") The pile could never be any bigger than what it was at the beginning — our pile was at maximum capacity. And they weren’t allowed to communicate once questions were answered.

    What ensued was chaos. Some students dove into the middle to get to the pile first. The round was over before you knew it. Only one or two students got the reward. But, sadly, there was nothing left in the pile. So, nothing could be doubled and the game was over.

    “Would you like to try again?” I asked.

    As you can imagine, the next couple attempts were equally beneficial to some and frustrating to others. The realization that the pool wouldn’t be doubled had some students trying to police the pool and others begging to be able to speak.

    “Would you like to try speaking?” I asked.

    To their relief, they had no restraint in sharing their ideas. The cries of unfairness from those who got none were equal to the looks of regret from those who took plenty. Eventually they formed a “civil society,” agreeing upon a way to play the “game” so that everyone was rewarded.

    The discussion this simulation offers is rich. When asked to draw parallels between the way the chips were treated and the way individuals, and society as a whole, use or overuse renewable resources, the connection was quickly made to deforestation, overfishing, pollution, and more. And when asked to view each individual as a country, the benefit of communication was undeniable.

    This simulation is a pre-lesson to a two-part workshop on consumerism. 

    Part two started with a "What do you remember?" question. The responses were happily right on target with my goals. Students remembered that if we deplete or are greedy with our resources, no one wins.

    With that reflection, the lesson began with a graphic that illustrates how the United States has only 5% of the world’s population, yet we consume 25% of its natural resources. We are the person in the circle who is selfishly taking more than our share. Why? How?

    We spent the next hour trying to answer those questions and offer some solutions. Students were taken through a brief synopsis of how the garment industry has an impact on our world, through unseen environmental and human costs. Students made difficult decisions on how packaging — an unseen environmental cost — is complicated. They defended their choices and were allowed to change their minds when the situation called for it.

    The realization that reducing personal consumption habits is beneficial, but engaging students to take a look at their own purchases in a wants-versus-needs personal inventory is truly eye-opening. Many were surprised that they, in fact, didn’t even know how many of a certain item they owned. They were equally dumbfounded when asked what natural resources were used to make the products. After planting the seeds of awareness of personal contributions to the problem, we moved into solutions.

    The creative juices flowed when students were offered different items that would normally head to the landfill, and asked to come up with new uses for each. Examples of repurposed or upcycled products were oohed and aaahed over. To help close the loop, we closed with  a discussion around where, locally, consumers can purchase and recycle used items.

    During the final visit, students will participate in a repurposing or upcycling project, teaching them how to take real action on the concept of consumerism.

    Beach Clean Up at Semiahmoo Spit: Stand for the Salish Sea

    posted Feb 2, 2017, 4:32 PM by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities   [ updated Feb 2, 2017, 4:40 PM ]

    By Sarah Sasek
    Coordinator of Students for the Salish Sea

    On Monday 16th, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 40+ volunteers gathered to pick up litter from Semiahmoo Spit. The weather was clear and warm for the beach clean up, organized by RE Sources and WWU’s student club, Students for The Salish Sea. As we walked along the beach, we could see the city of White Rock, BC approximately four miles to the northeast of the tip of the spit. 

    The clean up was organized in solidarity with Friends of the San Juans, a grassroots conservation organization, who coordinated similar clean ups on San Juan, Lopez, Shaw, and Orcas Islands to show that the Islanders oppose the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which, if built, would increase tanker traffic transporting crude oil in BC waters sevenfold. Looking out into Semiahmoo Bay and the Straight of Georgia, we all felt a collective need to speak up for the voiceless; for the water, the orcas, and the salmon of The Salish Sea.

    https://www.facebook.com/trisha.patterson.9/posts/1292980797424940
    Semiahmoo Resort graciously allowed us to dump the litter gathered on the spit in their receptacles, and even volunteered two workers, a jackhammer, and a flat bed to help us haul away the concrete and styrofoam from the dock that had washed up on Semiahmoo Bay. Thanks again to everyone who showed up to Stand for The Salish Sea. 





    Green Classroom Accomplishments 2016-2017

    posted Jan 9, 2017, 12:15 PM by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities   [ updated Jun 30, 2017, 3:34 PM by RE Sources Education ]

    Congratulations to the following classrooms who have received their Green Classroom Certification in 2016-2017! See what amazing things these classes have accomplished below. This blog post will be updated throughout the year as new classrooms complete their certification.


    Kindergarten

    “We pledge to dry our hands-on towel, use scrap paper, recycle paper and teach our families about recycling”
    Laura Boynton’s kindergarten classroom did the waste prevention program and learned about the harmful impacts littering and landfills have on the environment. They sorted through trash with Ricky the Raccoon and put the waste in the correct bins. For their action project, the classroom conducted a litter clean up around their school.

    “We pledge to bring reusable materials into class for crafts.”

    Teresa Udo’s kindergarten classroom (left) did the waste prevention program and learned about the harmful impacts littering and landfills have on the environment. They sorted through trash with Ricky the Raccoon and put the waste in the correct bins. For their action project, the classroom conducted a litter clean up around their school. (Left)

    “We pledge to create a one-sided recycle bin so they can be used again and not wasted.”
    Sabrina Hauch’s kindergarten classroom sorted recyclables with Ricki the Raccoon and learned about how littering can harm our environment. After the waste prevention workshop, three kindergarten classrooms joined forces and completed a litter clean up around their school.

    “We pledge to refill our water bottles.”
    Karen Tesheras’ kindergarten classroom sorted recyclables with Ricki the Raccoon and learned about how littering can harm our environment. After the waste prevention workshop, three kindergarten classrooms joined forces and completed a litter clean up around their school.


    First Grade







    “We pledge to put all our scrap paper in the recycle bin.” 
    Marla Reimer’s 1st grade class at Kendall Elementary (left) completed a Waste Prevention project. After discussing different ways to reduce our waste, like reducing the amount of garbage we make in the first place, the students performed a litter clean up around their school. The students learned how harmful litter can be to the animals and the surrounding environment. (Left)

    “We pledge to reuse, reduce and recycle.” 
    Susan Kelley’s 1st grade class at Kendall Elementary (left) completed a Waste Prevention project. After discussing the harmful impacts of litter on our environment and different ways to reduce our waste, like, reducing the amount of garbage we make in the first place, the students performed a litter clean up, picking up trash around their school.

    “We pledge to recycle all of our paper” 
    Emily Hie’s 1st grade class at Kendall Elementary completed a Waste Prevention project. After discussing the harmful impacts of litter on our environment, and different ways to reduce our waste, the students performed a litter clean up, picking up trash around their school.

    “We pledge to reduce the water usage in our classroom by shutting off the water while washing hands or desks.”
    Erika Wayerski’s 1st grade students at Birchwood Elementary completed the water conservation program. The students learned about the water cycle and how they can conserve water at home and in the classroom. The students made water conservation posters that were displayed during the Cities’ Walk for Water event that happened in March of 2017.

    “We pledge to turn off the faucet when we scrub our hands with soap.”

    Valerie Califf’s 1st grade students at Birchwood Elementary (left) completed the water conservation program. The students learned about the water cycle and how they can conserve water at home and in the classroom. The students made water conservation posters that were displayed during the Cities’ Walk for Water event that happened in March of 2017. 

    “We pledge to work to conserve water and raise our awareness of how people around the world meet their need for water.”

    Morgan Kelley's 1st grade students at Birchwood Elementary completed the water conservation program. The students learned about the water cycle and how they can conserve water at home and in the classroom. The students made water conservation posters that were displayed during the Cities’ Walk for Water event that happened in March of 2017.



    Second Grade

    “We pledge to turn down the heat and wear more coats.”
    Kirsten Zoba's 2nd grade class at Cascadia Elementary completed the Energy Efficiency and Climate Change program. The students made energy bursts reminder pledges to take home to remind their families how to save energy.

    “We pledge to turn off the lights when we leave the classroom.”
    Kerry Brehan's 2nd grade class at Cascadia Elementary completed the Energy Efficiency and Climate Change program. The students made energy bursts reminder pledges to take home to remind their families how to save energy.

    “We pledge to turn off the lights every time we leave the classroom.”
    Diane Dodd's 2nd grade class at Cascadia Elementary completed the Energy Efficiency and Climate Change program. The students made energy bursts reminder pledges to take home to remind their families how to save energy.

    “We pledge to REUSE both sides of paper before recyling it.”

    Becky Pederson’s 2nd classroom at Irene Reither Elementary (left) completed the waste prevention program where they learned about how they can send less waste to landfills. For their action project, the students made paper from recycled paper! 

    “We pledge to Recycle classroom garbage.”
    Kathryn Otten’s 2nd classroom at Irene Reither Elementary completed the waste prevention program where they learned about how they can send less waste to landfills. For their action project, the students made paper from recycled paper. 

    “We pledge to reuse paper. “
    KC Rhodes’ 2nd classroom at Irene Reither Elementary completed the waste prevention program where they learned about how they can send less waste to landfills. For their action project, the students made paper from recycled paper.

    “We pledge to compost our paper towels.”
    Scarlett Ballard’s 2nd grade classroom at Irene Reither Elementary completed the waste prevention program where the students learned about how they can send less waste to landfills. For their action project, the students made paper from recycled paper.

    “We pledge to not waste water at home and at school.”

    Annie Welch’s 2nd grade classroom (left) completed the water conservation program. The students learned about why it is important to conserve water and how harmful litter and pollutants can be on the wildlife and ecosystems. For their action project, the students created educational posters to inform other students about water conservation. 


    “We pledge to use scrap paper instead of new paper whenever we can.”

    Morgan Clark’s 2nd grade classroom (left) completed the waste prevention program. The students learned about landfills and why we all need to reduce, reuse and recycle more. For their action project, the students performed a litter clean up around their school.



    “We pledge to turn off the lights when we leave the room and keep the classroom at 67 F or lower to save energy.”
    Bethany Buroff’s 2nd grade classroom (left) completed the energy efficiency program. The students learned about renewable vs. non-renewable energy sources and what is considered “clean” energy and what is considered “dirty” energy. They played a memory game, and created energy burst take home pledges for their action project to remind themselves and family how to save energy at home. 

    “We pledge to turn of the water while washing our hands”
    Wendy Colby’s 2nd grade classroom completed the Water Conservation Program. After learning about the water cycle and playing water conservation bingo, the students create water droplet take home pledges to remind themselves and their family how to save water while at home!

    “We pledge to never litter our whole lives long.”
    Anne Franzmann’s 2nd grade classroom completed the Waste Prevention Program. The students learned about the harmful impacts of landfills and how to avoid making landfill bound waste. The students were already learning about reducing, reusing and recycling at school so this program was a perfect ending to their Environmental unit! The students made paper from old recycled paper as their action project! Ms. Franzmann’s class also performed a litter clean up along Birchwood Avenue and collected over 12 lbs. of trash from the sides of the street.

    “We will be mindful of the ways we can reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose and refuse at school and at home.” 
    Rachel Smith’s 2nd grade classroom (left) completed the Waste Prevention Program. The students learned about the harmful impacts of landfills and how to avoid making landfill bound waste. The students were already learning about reducing, reusing and recycling at school so this program was a perfect ending to their Environmental unit! The students made paper from old recycled paper as their action project!

    “We pledge to sort our waste into garbage, recycling and compost after lunch every day.”
    Emily Bruland’s 2nd grade classroom completed the Waste Prevention Program. The students learned about the harmful impacts of landfills and how to avoid making landfill bound waste. The students were already learning about reducing, reusing and recycling at school so this program was a perfect ending to their Environmental unit! The students made paper from old recycled paper as their action project!

    “We promise to always turn off the water when we leave it on.”

    Jeff Jacobs 2nd grade class at Columbia Elementary (left) completed the Water Conservation Program. The students brainstormed ways they could save water in the classroom and at home and ended up making water droplet take-home pledges to remind themselves and their family how to save water at the house. 


    “To not waste water at the water fountain.”

    Tammy Alejandre’s 2nd graders (left) did the Water Conservation Program. We talked about the water cycle and made water conservation bracelets to remind us the phases of the water cycle. The students decided to make water droplet take home pledges to remind themselves and their family to save water while at home. 


    “We pledge to use natural light when we can.”

    Wendy Colby’s 2nd grade class completed the Energy Efficiency and Climate Change program. After learning about ways they can practice energy efficiency in the classroom and at home, the class made recycled paper!

    “We pledge to use our leftover water to water the plants.”
    Diane Dodd’s 2nd graders at Cascadia Elementary completed their second program with the Green Classrooms. They did the water conservation program and learned about the water cycle and played water conservation bingo! The classroom made posters that were hung up around the school to educate their school mates on how to protect and save water.

    “We pledge to water our plants with leftover water from our water bottles.”
    Kerry Brehan’s 2nd graders at Cascadia Elementary completed their second program with the Green Classrooms. They did the water conservation program and learned about the water cycle and played water conservation bingo! The classroom made posters that were hung up around the school to educate their school mates on how to protect and save water.

    “We pledge to use our leftover water to water the plants.”
    Kirsten Zoba’s 2nd graders at Cascadia Elementary completed their second program with the Green Classrooms. They did the water conservation program and learned about the water cycle and played water conservation bingo! The classroom made posters that were hung up around the school to educate their school mates on how to protect and save water.

    “We pledge to reduce waste by composting in the classroom and using the back side of used paper.”

    Allison Alexanders 2nd graders at Silver Beach Elementary (left) completed the waste prevention program. They saw how recyclables get sorted and learned about the problems with landfills. For their action project, the students made paper from recycled paper. They learned to reuse paper and how paper is made on a very small scale.




    “We pledge to reduce and save paper by using scrap paper and paper with space from the recycle bin.”

    Lisa Conlon’s 2nd graders (left) completed the waste prevention program. After learning about the harmful impacts of landfills, the students put together a classroom worm bin! The students got to make the bedding for the worms, dig through dirt and make scientific observations and they made educational posters to remind each other what can and cannot go into the worm bins. This worm bin will prevent the classrooms left over food scraps from going to the landfill. 

    “We pledge to compost everything that is compostable.”

    Elise Mueller’s 2nd graders completed the waste prevention program. After learning about the harmful impacts of landfills, the students put together a classroom worm bin! The students got to make the bedding for the worms, dig through dirt and make scientific observations and they made educational posters to remind each other what can and cannot go into the worm bins. This worm bin will prevent the classrooms left over food scraps from going to the landfill. 

    “We pledge to use art supplies that are not used often.”

    Wendy Colby’s 2nd grade classroom completed the Waste Prevention Program. The students learned about landfills and the harmful effects they have on the environment. We talked about the solutions on how we can send less “stuff” to landfills, including REDUCING, by not making the garbage in the first place!


    “We pledge to make less Waste.”
    Kristy Tice’s 2nd grade crew did the waste prevention program. The students learned about the harmful impacts of landfills and got a virtual tour of a recycling facility. As their action projects, the students made paper from used paper that would otherwise have been recycled; they reused it instead!



    Third Grade

    “We pledge to use the sun's heat to warm our classroom.” 

    Liane Koester’s 3rd grade classroom (left) completed the Energy Efficiency and Climate Change program. After engaging in a conversation about Energy efficient cars and learning about clean and dirty energy sources, the students created energy burst reminder pledges for take home. 

    “Make educational posters and perform water audit with pre and post survey of which class refill their water bottles the most.” 
    Marca Kidwell-Babcock’s two 3rd grade classroom completed the Water Conservation program. Both classrooms learned about actions that waste and save water. Her two classrooms made educational posters to put up around the school and performed water audits seeing which classrooms in the school refilled their water bottles the most.

    “We pledge to turn off the water while lathering our hands when washing.” 
    Mimi Saunders’s 3rd grade classroom completed the Water Conservation Program. After learning about ways to save water and what makes the water polluted, the class decided to pick up garbage. Three 3rd grade classrooms did a collaborative litter clean and picked up trash around their school!

    “We pledge to turn of the water while washing our hands and pick up litter when we see it.
    Isabel Machuca-Kelley’s 3rd grade classroom (completed the Water Conservation Program. After learning about ways to save water and what makes the water polluted, the class decided to pick up garbage. Three 3rd grade classrooms did a collaborative litter clean and picked up trash around their school!

    “We pledge to bring our water bottles to school so we don’t waste water at the drinking fountain between sips.”
    Rachel Frere’s 3rd grade classroom completed the Water Conservation Program. After learning about ways to save water and what makes the water polluted, the class decided to pick up garbage. Three 3rd grade classrooms did a collaborative litter clean and picked up trash around their school!

    “We pledge to use only 2 clicks of paper towels and to think about our compost and garbage before we leave our lunchroom seat.”

    Jamie Kamrath’s 3rd grade classroom completed the waste prevention program. The students learned about how they can send less waste to landfills by recycling, reusing, reducing, and composting. The students made educational posters to go up around the school to educate others about making less waste!

    “We pledge to use 2 clicks of paper towels at the restroom. We will sort our compost at lunch without help.”
    Robb McKay 3rd grade classroom completed the waste prevention program. The students learned about how they can send less waste to landfills by recycling, reusing, reducing, and composting. The students made educational posters to go up around the school to educate others about making less waste!

    “We pledge to use only 2 clicks of paper towels dispensers in our school.”
    Amber Brouillette’s 3rd grade classroom completed the waste prevention program. The students learned about how they can send less waste to landfills by recycling, reusing, reducing, and composting. The students made educational posters to go up around the school to educate others about making less waste!

    “We pledge to use only 2-3 clicks of paper towels and think before you dump your food, about what can be composted.”
    Ricki Moynihan-Downs' 3rd grade classroom completed the waste prevention program. The students learned about how they can send less waste to landfills by recycling, reusing, reducing, and composting. The students made educational posters to go up around the school to educate others about making less waste!

    “We pledge to use only 2 clicks of paper towels and to follow the lunch-room recycling posters.”
    Julie Arps' 3rd grade classroom completed the waste prevention program. The students learned about how they can send less waste to landfills by recycling, reusing, reducing, and composting. The students made educational posters to go up around the school to educate others about making less waste!

    “We pledge to Start a scrap paper bin.”

    Keith Gasper's 3rd grade classroom completed the waste prevention program. The students learned about how they can send less waste to landfills by recycling, reusing, reducing, and composting. The students made educational posters to go up around the school to educate others about making less waste!

    “We pledge to use less paper towels at the restroom and in class (2 clicks) and to compost without help from an adult.”
    Liz Hank’s 3rd grade classroom completed the waste prevention program. The students learned about how they can send less waste to landfills by recycling, reusing, reducing, and composting. The students made educational posters for the school about making less waste!


    Fourth Grade

    “We pledge to get a class compost bin so that we can sort our waste properly, to make it so we have as little trash as possible.”
    Adam Shaffer’s 4th grade classroom at Irene Reither Elementary completed the waste prevention program. The class played Jeopardy to learn about how they can reduce, reuse, and recycle. The classroom got to dig through garbage for their waste audit action project and saw how much waste could be diverted from the landfill by simply recycling and composting.

    “We pledge to recycle more efficiently.”

    Kelly Williams 4th grade classroom completed the waste prevention program. The class played Jeopardy to learn about how they can reduce, reuse, and recycle. The classroom got to dig through garbage for their waste audit action project and saw how much waste could be diverted from the landfill by simply recycling and composting.

    “We pledge to have a classroom compost bin and a job in charge of it.”
    Hallie Whitsell’s 4th grade classroom completed the waste prevention program. The class played Jeopardy to learn about how they can reduce, reuse, and recycle. The classroom got to dig through garbage for their waste audit action project and saw how much waste could be diverted from the landfill by simply recycling and composting.


    “We pledge to A.C.T: Awareness: Tell others water is important for life. Conserve: Use less water every day. Take Action: Keep pollutants out of our water supply.”
     
    Seven 4th grade classrooms at Blaine Elementary; Mr. Riley, Ms. Keiper, Mr. Jensen, Ms. Bennett, Ms. Tennyson, Ms. Lawrance, and Ms. Schulz, completed our special waste prevention/water conservation program designed just for them, with emphasis on groundwater. The students made ‘edible aquifers’ to learn how underground water works and about how easily that water can become polluted. The students learned about the different pollutants and how we can keep the water clean. The students competed in a poster contest to raise awareness about water conservation and took part in an awards assembly with prizes given to contest winner. This program was done in collaboration with The City of Blaine and Birch Bay Water and Sewer District and the posters were judged by local dignitaries.

    “We pledge to turn off or down the lights.”
    Rebecca Lawrance’s 4th grade classroom completed the Energy Efficiency & Climate Change program. The students learned how greenhouse gasses are causing global warming and climate change, and how we can help reduce carbon emissions. We played a game where the students came up with a list of solutions to climate change. The students created energy burst- take home pledges to remind themselves to save energy at home!

    “We pledge to buy more local foods to reduce carbon emissions.”

    Amy Keiper’s 4th grade classroom completed the Energy Efficiency & Climate Change program. The students learned how greenhouse gasses are causing global warming and climate change and how we can help reduce carbon emissions. We played a game where the students came up with a list of solutions to climate change. For their action project, this classroom learned about soil & compost and how soil stores carbon! It is a natural carbon sink! They also got to dig through some compost and identify different critters!

    “We pledge to recycle all our paper after using the back side of our paper.”

    Sean Riley 4th grade classroom completed the Energy Efficiency & Climate Change program. The students learned how greenhouse gasses are causing global warming and climate change and how we can help reduce carbon emissions. We played a game where the students came up with a list of solutions to climate change. This classroom’s action project included making zine’s to educate their friends about energy efficiency and global warming.


    “We pledge to turn off lights when we leave the classroom and turn off document camera and overhead projector when we leave the classroom.”
    J.J Jensen’s 4th grade classroom completed the Energy Efficiency & Climate Change program. The students learned how greenhouse gasses are causing global warming and climate change and how we can help reduce carbon emissions. We played a game where the students came up with a list of solutions to climate change. For their action project, this class created educational posters that were hung up in the halls to remind teachers and students to save energy and why that is important!

    “We pledge to use reusable water bottles.”

    Ms. Schulz’s 4th grade classroom completed the Energy Efficiency & Climate Change program. The students learned how greenhouse gasses are causing global warming and climate change and how we can help reduce carbon emissions. We played a game where the students came up with a list of solutions to climate change. For their action project, this class created a collaborative banner filled with all different sorts of methods on how to save energy!

    Fifth Grade

    “We pledge to unplug our Christmas lights during recess and lunch and use natural light when we can.”
    Staci Shrum’s 5th grade classroom (left) completed the Energy Efficiency and Climate Change program.  They played the board game "Choices" and learned about air pollution, greenhouse gases, global warming, climate change, and how we can all make an impact by practicing energy efficiency. The class then did an energy audit and found out how much energy they use on a daily basis.


    “We pledge to create a job to turn off and unplug all electronic devices.”
    Tawni Eisenhart’s 5th grade classroom completed the Energy Efficiency and Climate Change program. They played the board game "Choices" and learned about air pollution, greenhouse gases, global warming, climate change, and how we can all make an impact by practicing energy efficiency. The class then did an energy audit and found out how much energy they use on a daily basis.

    “We pledge to use less paper.” 
    Denise Guessford’s 5th grade classroom completed the waste prevention program! We played a waste Jeopardy game and learned about recycling, reusing and reducing. The students did a litter clean-up for their action project and picked up about 5 lbs of trash from around their school.

    “We pledge to reduce energy wasted throughout the school.”
    Terry Nylen’s 5th grade classroom completed the Energy Efficiency & Climate Change program. The students learned about greenhouse gasses, global warming and how that is all contributing to our climate changing. We brainstormed what we can do about it and played a game to get us thinking about ways to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions.   


    About Green Classrooms

    Our free Green Classrooms program helps teachers integrate conservation education into curriculum and initiate positive action in the classroom. Through workshops, pledges, and action projects we challenge students to think critically about their use of natural resources and see how waste, water, and energy are integral parts of our everyday lives. Hands-on activities and projects provide them the opportunity to brainstorm solutions and take action to promote conservation.

    AmeriCorps Story of Service: Helping students turn the topic of energy efficiency into a real-life learning opportunity

    posted Dec 21, 2016, 10:50 AM by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities   [ updated Feb 2, 2017, 4:18 PM ]

    By Lindsey Gard, Green Classroom Coordinator, AmeriCorps

    The next generation of scientists, engineers and energy users are in school every day, learning reading, writing and math. What about teaching the children of our community where the energy comes from to turn on their bedroom light? And what the consequences of that energy use might be? 

    My name is Lindsey and I am a Washington Service Corps/AmeriCorps member serving at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, where I teach elementary-aged children about water conservation, waste reduction, energy efficiency, and climate change through workshops and action projects through our Green Classroom program. 
























    Recently, I hosted an hourlong workshop on Energy Efficiency and Climate Change in a third grade class at Lowell Elementary. Though I probably brought up topics a little too advanced for them — carbon producers, carbon consumers, renewable energy, nonrenewable energy, dirty and clean energy, and greenhouse gases — the kids were super engaged with the presentation. 

    One student compared clean energy to electric cars and said they do not put any pollutants into the air. Another student added that unless you bought a Tesla car, electric cars are hybrids and those cars do put pollutants into the air. Even though I was in the classroom talking about this big picture of energy efficiency, these students were able to make a connection to a real scenario that impacts their daily lives. 

    Talking about dirty energy sources like coal, crude oil, and gas and clean energy sources like wind and solar opened up the platform for these kids to engage in a conversation about sustainable sources of energy, and in particular, sustainable transportation. I was so proud in this moment, because I realized the students were carrying on the conversation without me. They were knowledgeable and excited to talk about electric cars, and the impacts they have on our air quality. 

    Serving for teachers and students in my community and teaching them about water conservation, energy conservation, and waste reduction, makes me feel hopeful about our future generations.

    I am hopeful that some of these kids will go home and talk to their parents and guardians about turning off the lights when they're not in use. I am hopeful the students will think about how they shouldn’t leave the faucet running when washing their hands so they can conserve water, even the smallest bit. I am hopeful that when they go to the grocery store with their family, they will say it is better to buy something with less packaging to reduce waste. 

    I am hopeful the facts I relay to students about conservation and sustainability translate into real-life moments in their lives — even if just for a moment, a day, or throughout the whole year.

    About the Green Classroom program

    The Green Classroom program for elementary school students is a free program that provides teachers with a meaningful, simple way to integrate conservation education into their curriculum and initiate sustainable changes in the classrooms and beyond. Through workshops, pledges, and action projects we challenge students to think critically about their use of natural resources while providing them the opportunity to brainstorm solutions and take action to promote conservation.

    Young Water Stewards teaches Ferndale, Lynden high school students about their local watersheds

    posted Dec 12, 2016, 5:52 PM by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities   [ updated Feb 2, 2017, 4:07 PM ]

    The Sustainable Schools and Clean Water programs at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities joined forces this fall to launch Young Water Stewards for high school students in rural Whatcom County, helping them develop an understanding of their local watersheds and how to be a steward of clean water. 

    A watershed is a drainage basin that funnels water into a lake, river, or bay. Everyone lives in a watershed, which means our choices impact the health of our waters.

    This fall, 175 high school students from Lynden and Ferndale participated in the Young Water Stewards training. Students learned how watersheds function through an interactive watershed model, learned how to conduct water quality testing, toured their local watershed to learn about different types of pollution, learned tips for how to protect the health of their local watershed, and took part in a stewardship project.

    Field notes

    After getting their hands dirty with the interactive watershed model, students boarded a bus for a comprehensive tour of their local watershed. Both the Fishtrap Creek and Schell Creek watersheds in Lynden and Ferndale, respectively, have been identified by Whatcom County as having high levels of pollution, making them the perfect case studies for these Young Water Stewards.

    “We must keep the watershed protected and clean for everything to survive.” (Kiera, Ferndale High School)

    As the bus trundled along, students learned how rainwater can carry different types of pollution into nearby lakes, rivers, and bays. Stops at several bridges helped students gain a unique perspective on how pollution from residential and industrial areas can impact water quality, and how bacteria from pet waste and farm fields can run off into waterways. 

    An extended creekside stop taught students how to use scientific tools and measurements to analyze water samples, exposing new scientific concepts for watershed health, including dissolved oxygen, turbidity, temperature, and pH.

    “I like how we learned so many different things, like riparian buffers or dissolved oxygen, yet it all ties in together.” (Lauren, Ferndale High School)

    The watershed tours and water quality sampling exercises provided a unique opportunity to make abstract ideas become more concrete, challenging students to think about the health of their local watershed and how different types of land use — from cities to farms to neighborhoods — can impact watershed health.

    “It’s interesting to see how pollution can affect aquatic life.” (Student, Lynden High School)

    After returning to school, the students took their new knowledge and discussed the importance of individual and community stewardship actions to keep their watershed healthy. The students brainstormed stewardship projects to help improve their local watershed. Since their high school is also within their local watershed, they didn’t have to go very far to make a difference.

    Spirits were high as students spent their afternoon outside in the sun, where they pulled invasive blackberry bushes and competed in litter cleanups. Students said they felt like they really accomplished something, whether it was clearing invasive plants from the creek on school property, or picking up more than 100 pounds of trash.

    Getting involved in a stewardship project helped the students see firsthand how every person can take action to keep their local watershed clean.

    “When we did the stewardship project, it made me feel like we did something good for the school.” (Oliver, Ferndale High School)

    According to student surveys, after participating in Young Water Stewards, nearly every student built some new knowledge of their local watershed, how it works, and why it’s important. Almost three-quarters of students said they enjoyed the project, and almost half said they have an increased or continued interest in pursuing a science-based career. For teenagers, we think these numbers are fantastic and feel lucky to have spent this fall with the students of Lynden and Ferndale.

    More information

    Young Water Stewards meets Next Generation Science Standards and includes in-class lessons, a field trip around your high school’s local watershed, water quality sampling, and a culminating stewardship project. The program lasts one week and includes up to 20 hours of direct instruction.

    The program hopes to extend to Meridian, Blaine, Mt. Baker, and Nooksack Valley high schools in 2017.

    Teachers interested in enrolling in the program, and volunteers interested in chaperoning a field trip or supporting the program, can email schools@re-sources.org or call 360-733-8307 x210.

    The program is funded by a grant from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    For more information about the Young Water Stewards program, visit re-sources.org/programs/sustainableschools/waterstewards.

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