Middle & High School Programs

Free hands-on, place-based supplemental education that fits with your curriculum and leaves a lasting impression on your students.

Completed on June 22, 2019

Navigating the complicated issues of today’s world can be confusing. Our middle and high school offerings are designed with today’s student in mind. Starting with a global lens and moving into pertinent local issues, we lead students to investigate the environmental problems of today. Through interactive programs with inquiry and reflection, students think through the issues of consumerism, clean and plentiful water, climate change and social justice. We nudge the process along with truths of the world around us so students can reach their own conclusions and create their plan of action. We currently focus on two main issues: waste and water use.

Waste Wise: Consumption and waste intelligence for today’s throw-away culture. 

What and how much we throw away is becoming a more significant problem since most of us are never taught what “away” truly means. These interactive, free workshops use experiential learning to teach your students the environmental and social impacts of a disposable and single-use culture and how the current systems in place encourage wastefulness. We then we help guide students to identify solutions and actions they can take. Action project ideas are provided to encourage students to apply their learning into something tangible, memorable, and impactful. Provided on behalf of Whatcom County Solid Waste Division.

Workshops we offer to all middle and high schools in Whatcom County:

Plastic is such a useful material, we have become dependent on it in nearly everything we use —  if it doesn’t contain plastic, then it’s built with plastic or packaged in plastic. With all this plastic everywhere, we face the problem of managing this waste, single-use plastics in particular. This course examines the uses of plastics and identify how our discarded plastics are entering watersheds and negatively affecting life in our oceans and freshwater. Since China no longer accepts most of the world’s plastic recycling, we help students think creatively about solutions to problematic plastic waste.

Roughly 40% of food grown or raised in the U.S. is not eaten, while paradoxically one in six Americans lives in a food-insecure household. Students will examine the complexities of our food system and the social and environmental impacts of how food is grown, distributed, and wasted. In their individual lives, students will think critically about food’s ecological footprint, learn the basics of composting, and discuss the climate impacts of food waste. Through interactive lessons and action projects, students will integrate their learning and apply their creativity to possible solutions, from the household to the global scale.

The United States makes up 5% of the world’s population, but consumes 25% of the world’s resources. How can we see through the marketing, packaging, and cheap prices into the real issues behind consumerism to become wiser shoppers? Students will examine the reasons we buy so much, and what the subsequent impacts are on the environment and on people. Students will look behind the veneer of fast fashion and consumption marketing to explore the social injustices, ecological impacts, strategies, and motivations of the fashion industry.

Did you know the average American throws away 4.5 pounds of garbage a day? Tap into student’s creativity as they give new life to items previously destined for the landfill. Students will learn the importance of diverting materials from landfills using the 5 R’s of sustainability — Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, Repair, and Recycle — focusing on reuse. Students will learn about artists who use repurposed materials in their art pieces, and the many whimsical and practical household items that can be made from repurposed materials.  Action project ideas include making a reusable, no-sew bag from a t-shirt.

Ever wonder how well your school is separating recyclables and compostables? We’ll help you find out by providing the tools and education for your students to sort through waste bins at school to discover ways to improve waste diversion at your school. After performing a waste audit, students will choose an action based on the data they collected during waste audit, showcasing what materials are most often found in the incorrect bin.

“The climate crisis is the largest threat to every single person and living thing on this planet.” — Nadia Nazar, 17-year-old climate activist.

In what ways are youth taking action, organizing new movements around the climate crisis and promoting the protection of our earth? Governments, corporations, cities, and schools aren’t doing enough to slow the effects of climate change, and this generation is raising their voices. Learn how Indigenous youth, climate refugees, and passionate students are standing up for climate justice. Students will have an opportunity to brainstorm changes they want to see at school, in the community, state, country, and world. This workshop is designed as an add-on after students have received at least one other workshop.


Water Wise: Whatcom’s water supply issues and pollution problems.

Clean water defines who we are in Washington, and we depend on it for just about everything. Whatcom County receives 36 inches of rain per year on average, yet we’re increasingly experiencing drought conditions in the summer months — right when water consumption is at its highest. This rainwater also picks up and moves pollutants generated on land into our creeks, rivers, and bays, directly impacting the health of the Salish Sea watershed. As the climate continues to change, how we can better conserve water for all that depend on it for survival in our ecosystem? These interactive, free workshops use project-based, experiential learning to educate students about human impacts on water quality and water use. Action project ideas are provided to encourage students to apply their learning into something tangible, memorable, and impactful. Contact us for more information. Provided on behalf of the City of Bellingham, for schools within city limits. 

Workshops we offer to middle and high schools within Bellingham city limits:

Geared toward middle school students, our interactive workshop connects students to current issues of water conservation by introducing the myriad of resources required to filter and move water from Lake Whatcom to the tap, and from the tap to the ocean. Students will engage in an interactive activity illustrating how water is a finite resource and how access to water is distributed. Students will apply this learning to their lives by taking a look at their own daily water use — including less-obvious uses like clothing and food — using a personal water consumption calculator. Learning is deepened by asking students to make a change to their personal consumption, track how their usage changes, and calculate their savings to report back to their peers. Contact us for more information. Provided on behalf of the City of Bellingham, for schools within city limits. 

What we do on land affects the health of our watershed. Every time it rains, water flows from impervious surfaces (like roofs and pavement), carrying pollution directly into nearby creeks, rivers, and bays. This is called stormwater — and it’s Washington’s biggest source of pollution into Puget Sound. Students will discover how everyday activities contribute to pollution that impacts water quality, the sources of non-point source pollution, and how pollutants move through the watershed. Then students think critically about how we can utilize Best Management Practices to reduce stormwater pollution entering our watersheds. This workshop pairs well with the 6th-grade field trip on the Snowgoose boat. Contact us for more information. Provided on behalf of the City of Bellingham, for schools within city limits. 

Our Young Water Stewards program teaches high school students in rural Whatcom County the science of clean water, and how they can keep our water resources clean. Through stewardship activities, hands-on learning, and a science-based approach, high school-aged participants will gain experience with water quality testing and analysis, Best Management Practices, and mitigation techniques. They will develop valuable skills and apply their learning to protect the health of our drinking water, creeks, lakes, and beaches.

Students will learn about watersheds, sources of non-point water pollution, and the complex barriers to clean water. Students will take a tour of several areas within their local watersheds, conducting water quality sampling at diverse locations. Contact us for more information.


Our programs are free. There is no charge for teachers, students or parents. Our work is funded by foundations, community partners, and generous donors so we can offer support to teachers and valuable opportunities to students for FREE.

To make learning more effective, our workshops are designed to run from 50-60 minutes. We can adjust to meet teacher needs for scheduling.

Yes! Our workshops are interdisciplinary and are appropriate for any class subject.

It’s not required, but it is encouraged. Applying their learning in hands-on, student-led projects helps them integrate their learning and bring the lessons to life. It also helps students better negotiate the weight of difficult topics if they feel empowered to be a part of the solution.

Yes, teachers may sign up for only one workshop, but they also have the option to host the series for a more comprehensive look at environmental issues.

Yes, some action projects occur outdoors on your school campus such as litter cleanups and storm drain labeling. Certain workshops are able to move outdoors for all or part of the time if you’re interested. Check in with our educator to arrange this option.

You can support this program in a variety of ways by volunteering with us, giving a gift, or helping to spread the word. Contact us at schools@re-sources.org for more info.

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