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On February 29th, educators gathered at the Environmental Learning Center right next to Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, to explore the subject of Urban Water Systems. This beautiful building is home to high school students from SAMi (Science and Math Institute), and its airy classrooms and natural design served our group’s learning experience well. We discussed the issues that arise from storm runoff, and how students could explore this issue to engage in their communities and contribute to environmental consciousness therein.

Matt Lonsdale, a teacher at SAMi, co-facilitated the workshop with IslandWood staff, and offered expertise in local water systems management. He gave the group a tour of the Point Defiance stormwater treatment system, which filters stormwater runoff from a 754-acre watershed to protect the Puget Sound from pollution. Educators were able to witness this feat of sustainable engineering and think about how to apply urban water systems management to their curriculum.