PEI Statewide Collaboration

Central Coast Educators ‘Blown Away’ by Multiple Facets of Forest Management

Even when you live in timber country, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. Just ask the 14 teachers from Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties who recently attended an ‘Engaging Communities in Sustainable Forestry’ workshop. Several described themselves as ‘blown away by the amount of work and care that goes into forest management.

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FieldSTEM in Action

PEI Expands its Collection of Spanish Language Resources for Teachers

Wherever Lourdes Flores goes in Washington State, the reaction is the same. The moment Dual Language teachers hear her describe the free Spanish language STEM resources available through PEI, they want to learn more. “They are very interested,” says Flores, PEI’s Multicultural Program Coordinator. “Often there aren’t enough materials in Spanish for them to use or they don’t know how to access them.” 

Are you ready for National Hispanic and LatinX Heritage Month?

Resources to help you prepare your lessons

Looking for ways to celebrate National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month? PEI’s collection consists of websites, books, and videos to expand general knowledge as well as specific educational tools, including our Spanish translations of ELA Performance Tasks and Schoolyard Investigations. PEI acknowledges that we are not the foremost authority on Hispanic and Latinx cultures. The resources have been compiled by PEI staff to support their own learning about Hispanic and Latinx cultures. They are offered here as part of a commitment to shared learning. Explore the resources page.

2021/22 Community Partner Highlight

Preparing Students for Natural Resource Careers through the New Youth Engaged in Sustainable Systems (YESS) Program

This summer, students from four Washington school districts strengthened their career readiness skills through PEI’s new Youth Engaged in Sustainable Systems (YESS) Program. YESS is part of the Career Connect Washington system along with a coalition of industry, labor, and community leaders who are creating work-based and academic programs for youth to explore, learn, receive stipends, and earn high school or college credit. Together, this year’s programs connected with more than 15 partners and completed restoration projects at dozens of sites on both sides of the Cascades.

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YESS Program Registration

Register Now

Want to launch a YESS Program at your school, district, or skills center?
PEI is currently accepting applications for the 2023 YESS Program. Learn more, attend one of our interest sessions, and apply to launch a YESS program through your school, district, or skills center.
Submit your application to participate in 2023 by Friday, October 14th.
Interest sessions (each meeting will include the same agenda, and districts only need to attend one date): Community organizations and industry leaders should contact PEIs’ Green Jobs Coordinator ([email protected]) to discuss partnership opportunities.

2022 FieldSTEM Celebration 

Register to Attend

Registration Open!
Join us for PEI’s 4th annual FieldSTEM Celebration on Thursday, September 22nd from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Olympia Ballroom.
Come celebrate the individuals and organizations who are bringing FieldSTEM to life across Washington State and making a positive impact in students’ lives.  You’ll hear directly from the teacher, school, school district, and community partner we’re recognizing for their outstanding efforts in 2022 about how and why they embrace this educational model.
This year we are excited to recognize some amazing individuals and organizations who continued to support FieldSTEM.

  • Teacher of the Year: Dale Sweet, Cle Elum-Roslyn School District
  • School of the Year: Waskowitz Environmental Leadership School (WELS)
  • District of the Year: Riverview School District 
  • Community Partner of the Year: Katie Kosanke, Urban Forester, Spokane Parks and Recreation
  • Legislators of the Year: 
    • Representative Alicia Rule, District 42
    • Representative Alex Ybarra, District 13
  • FieldSTEM Champion: Lynne Ferguson, former PEI Executive Director

Interested in sponsoring this event? It’s a great opportunity to connect with a statewide audience in support of an outstanding cause. To learn more about sponsorship, contact Kathryn Kurtz at [email protected].

Register for the 2022 FieldSTEM Celebration

Welcome New PEI Staff

Amy Keiper and Heidi Smith

Amy Keiper, Northwest FieldSTEM Coordinator

Amy Keiper started with PEI in July. She is the Northwest FieldSTEM Coordinator serving educators, schools and districts in Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties.

Amy loves the intersection of education and environmental stewardship and spent the last ten years as a general education teacher of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at Blaine Elementary. Each year she created outdoor learning experiences for her students, integrating content areas and using Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) strategies for language learners. She led the after school club "Forks and Trowels" where students learned to prepare, cook, and celebrate fruits and veggies, and she volunteered on the school's Salish Sea Interest Committee, working with other teachers to scaffold environmental education K-12.  She believes that all students should have access to rigorous science instruction that is anchored in "place" and enables students to become critical thinkers and stewards who know, love, and protect their environment. 


She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education and M.A. in Environmental Education, and partnered with the Whatcom Marine Resources Committee (MRC) and Garden of the Salish Sea Curriculum (GSSC) to create Blaine Kids on the Beach, a day of learning about Birch Bay beach ecology for 5th graders. When not tinkering on her gardening projects and yard, you can find her mountain biking on Galbraith mountains, or spending time with her friends and family around Whatcom County

Heidi Smith, Communications and Development Coordinator

Heidi Smith has been working with PEI as a contractor since 2017 before joining the staff as Communications and Development Coordinator. A California transplant by way of Hawaii, her passions include writing, education and the outdoors.

After a decade of working with historically underserved students in the Hawaiian islands and Washington State and abroad, she earned a Masters Degree in Teaching from The Evergreen State College. She spent the following 13 years in the classroom teaching middle and high school English and E.L.L. and serving as adjunct faculty at Bates Technical College, Saint Martin’s University and South Puget Sound Community College. Along the way she has been the editor-in-chief of an international quarterly magazine, a high school soccer coach, a humor columnist, a counselor and an eight-time trail crew leader with the Student Conservation Association. When not working, she can be found hiking, cheering on professional women’s soccer teams, gardening or relaxing on her sunny deck in Yelm.

Please join us in welcoming Amy and Heidi to the PEI team!

Read more about all our staff here.

Upcoming Events 

Date   Workshop  Location
Aug 18-19   FieldSTEM: Aberdeen School Gardens  Aberdeen SD*
Aug 23   FieldSTEM 102: Secondary (6-12)   Cascade SD*
Aug 24   FieldSTEM 102: Elementary (PK-5)  Cascade SD*
Aug 25   FieldSTEM: Intro to Project Based Learning  Wahkiakum SD*
Aug 30   FieldSTEM: Introduction  Brownsville ES, Central Kitsap SD*
Aug 30    FieldSTEM: Intro to High Impact Field Experiences  Ellensburg SD*
Aug 31   Project Learning Tree & Project WILD  Sherman ES, Tacoma PS*
Aug 31   Introduction to Project Learning Tree  Harrah ES, Mount Adams SD*
Sep 8   Intro to PLT for Nonformal Educators & Resource Professionals  Online**
Sep 16   Afterschool Training  Orondo SD*
Sep 19   Intro to PLT Workshop Facilitation   Online**
Sep 20  YESS Interest Session 1  Online
*Not open to the public.
**Registration will open at a later date.
Visit our
calendar for more information.

  With Gratitude

Thank you to last month’s funders

Gottfried and Mary Fuchs Foundation
Gareth Waugh
Bill Monahan
John Ison
Donate to PEI
Copyright © 2022 Pacific Education Institute, All rights reserved.

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