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In late June 2021, 33 teachers from 16 Coastal and West Sound school districts attended a three-day hybrid workshop, Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Wetlands, with Pacific Education Institute’s FieldSTEM Coordinators Karen Lippy and Julie Tennis and PEI Faculty, Lourdes Flores Skydancer.

PEI’s workshops begin by acknowledging the land where the facilitator resides. Participants then participated in a grounding activity, locating wetlands near them using a mapping tool and their observations. To build their understanding of the values and significance of wetlands the participants had the privilege of hearing from Skokomish Chief Executive Officer Tom Strong, Secretary of the Skokomish Tribal Council and Habitat Biologist Alex Gouley and Skokomish Historic Preservation Officer Kris Miller. They shared the story of their river and its restoration.

The second session focused on providing a high level of content about wetland ecosystem benefits, wetland restoration, blue carbon and sea level rise. Content was delivered using Washington specific examples including the Snohomish Estuary, Duwamish Watershed, and the Theler Wetlands. Next, the teachers explored the “Investigating Sea Level Rise Using Read Data” dashboard from NOAA; participants worked in small groups and reflected individually to find their “golden nugget .” To wrap up the session, Executive Director of the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group Mendy Harlow shared the story of the successful restoration of the Union River estuary.

Wetland mapping activity

In the last session, educators learned about best practices for working with English learners and crafting three-dimensional assessments. The last hour of the workshop participants worked in small grade level groups exploring the wetland storylines and planning how to use these resources with students. After the workshop, a participant shared, “I will use the storyline on hazards in the fall then the wetlands in the spring. I’m very excited! I’m also going to link more of my science to Native Americans, bring in guest speakers, and use local phenomenon. Our school is starting a garden this next school year and I’ll use ideas from this workshop to implement my students learning and curiosity.”

PEI is grateful to the Skokomish Indian Tribe for their support of this opportunity! PEI will be publishing the Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Wetlands on the ClimeTime Open Educational Resource portal and the PEI website in June 2021.