FieldSTEM Integration

B-WET Grant Supports Snowshoe Science and Salmon Education

For a group of teachers from Eastmont School District, February 11 was a day to remember. At a time when most professional learning workshops for teachers happen indoors, the group spent a day outside – on packed snow and ice, no less! – learning about Wenatchee River watershed geology, flora and fauna, field data collection methods, and snowpack science as part of a project to integrate watershed education in the classroom. Their day began and ended at Cascade Elementary School but in between, they visited Lake Wenatchee State Park, Dryden Dam Public Access and a Chelan-Douglas Land Trust property for a hands-on exploration of watershed systems.

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PEI Courses

New Courses Create Pathways to Environmental Education Careers for K-12 Students

Like many states, Washington has a teacher shortage. Unlike any other state, Washington passed legislation in 2022 establishing an Outdoor School program for students statewide. The combination of these two factors creates a unique demand for educators trained in outdoor-based learning. 
PEI is meeting that demand through a new program currently in the early developmental stage. Pathways to Teacher Education Through Environmental & Sustainability Education and Outdoor Learning will consist of two high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses that provide high school students with a foundation in K-12 outdoor education. 

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Special Event

Ellensburg Students Create Their Own Student Summit after Statewide Version is Canceled

Students from Ellensburg’s Discovery Lab awoke on February 23, filled with anticipation. Today was the day they would meet Governor Inslee, share their findings about the shrub-steppe ecosystem with local legislators and connect with other student groups who have similar interests. Their school wouldn’t open for another hour but already the 2nd through 5th graders were piled into an extra-large SUV and raring to make the long drive to Olympia. 
Alas, the weather had other plans. As reports of multiple school closures due to winter conditions came in, PEI’s staff made the difficult decision to cancel the scheduled Environmental & Sustainability Literacy Student Summit. For the eighteen teams from around the state who had planned to attend, it was a disappointing finish to months of effort. 
But although the day got off to a rough start for the Ellensburg students, by the time it was over they had presented to two separate groups of adults, been on a local radio show and received a free lunch.

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Teacher Tips & Tools

Hands-On Bird Nest Crafts that Blend Science and Art

Invite students to think like a bird and connect what they know about natural environments to the science behind building a nest. Pose questions about materials birds use in different habitats. Do they need to be waterproof? Should they withstand windy conditions? Eventually, your students will begin to see the nests as the architectural marvel that they are. 

Let’s take a look at activities that explore bird nests in unique ways.

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Source: Project Learning Tree 
Photo by Landon Martin on Unsplash

Welcome New Staff 

Education Pathways Coordinator Chelsea Trout

With PEI since March 2023, Chelsea has over a decade of experience working in formal and informal education and field work. In Pennsylvania and New York State, she worked for Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, ZooAmerica, and New York Audubon Society. Transplanting to North Central Washington in early 2016, she has worked for the National Park Service, the Okanogan Conservation District, and the Okanogan School District. Chelsea was a part of the original roll out of FieldSTEM in 2016 through her work with NPS. This position led her to work for Okanogan CD where she created and taught K-12 project and placed-based learning opportunities for students across the county. More specifically, she worked with field projects at the Okanogan High School, where she eventually taught Biology and a field-based Ecology class with many partnering agencies and organizations. Chelsea was the 2022 Okanogan Conservation District Conservation Teacher of the Year Awardee for “creating energy and action educating young people in natural resources conservation”. She also brings experience in partnering and working with multicultural communities and their youth. Equitable opportunities statewide are very important to her given that she has lived in rural America for most of her life. Chelsea earned her B.S. in Environmental Science/Biology with a minor in Spanish at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

When not working on PEI projects, Chelsea enjoys hiking, paddling, cross-country skiing, gardening, and traveling. She now lives in Wenatchee with her partner and their furred and scaled friends.

Upcoming Events 

Date Workshop  Location
Apr 8   Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Food Waste  ESD 105/171 regions
Apr 19   Spring 2023 FieldSTEM Intro Series: Fostering Outdoor Observation Skills  Statewide
Apr 20   Spring 2023 FieldSTEM Intro Series: Field Investigations  Statewide
Apr 22   Growing up WILD and Trees & Me  Cle Elum Roslyn SD**
Apr 22   High Impact Field Experiences & Garden of the Salish Sea Curriculum  Blaine, WA
Apr 27   Spring 2023 FieldSTEM Intro Series: FieldSTEM & Civic Engagment  Statewide
Apr 29   Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Renewable Energy Solar  ESD 123 region*
*Registration will open to the public at a later date.
**Not open to the public.
Visit our calendar for more information.

  With Gratitude

Thank you to last month’s donors and funders!

Bill Monahan
Bloedel Timberlands Development, Inc.
Gareth Waugh
John Ison
SCJ Alliance
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