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During the week of April 18th, 2020, 26 teachers from across Eastern Washington attended an online workshop series, Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Wildfires in Washington, with Pacific Education Institute’s FieldSTEM Coordinators Megan Rivard and Mike Nepean along with PEI faculty, Michelle Townshend. The workshop began with an explanation of cultural perspectives and the Salish language as a common link for regional tribes by Warren Seylor, Former Tribal Chair and Cultural Historian of the Spokane Tribe of Indians. Seylor also shared an indigenous perspective on fire and the historic use of prescribed burns by Washington tribes.

Participants engaging in distance learning using Flipgrid

Educators received climate science content about wildfires, the science of fire, the fire triangle and the value of prescribed burns as a management tool. The series included a presentation from Randy Burke, a Landowner Assistance Forester for Department of Natural Resources; Burke shared information about the role of prescribed burns, fire as a forest management tool, and the impact of suppression.

Finally, educators learned more about teaching science through phenomena and were introduced to PEI’s Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Wildfires in Washington to teach climate science in developmentally appropriate, locally relevant ways. PEI was happy to make this workshop and resources available to a wide audience online during these challenging times.