In October, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Maxwelton Outdoor Classroom!
Twenty years ago, educators, parents, and local experts collaborated to realize the vision of the Maxwelton Outdoor Classroom. What began as an idea to raise salmon in a classroom has grown to provide regular opportunities for hands on science and environmental education to K-8 students from Whidbey Island and beyond! The Classroom itself was dedicated in the Fall of 1997, and has become the vehicle to help educate more than 25,000 students since.
Event photos by photographer and volunteer, Gordon Marvin:
The Whidbey Watershed Stewards organization was honored to be highlighted by Thriving Communities in early 2016.
Please enjoy the wonderful video they created to tell our story. Share it far and wide, because as Thriving Communities says, “the ripples of energy and connection of hope and action throughout our bioregion and beyond has a catalytic effect.”
Many thanks to Ted Ravetz for an intimate Salmon Enchanted Evening at his Maxwelton Valley garden home! Music by Levi Burkle, hand crafted Midnight Kitchen hors d’oeuvres, Ott & Murphy wines, remarks by the lively Dyanne Sheldon, a delicious Janet Hall Pie Auction, and delightful guests combined for a memorable evening!
We’re very proud to announce that Whidbey Watershed Stewards’ Education Coordinator Lori O’Brien, who runs the Maxwelton Outdoor Classroom, was acknowledged by the South Whidbey School District’s three Parent Teacher Student Associations (PTSA) recently.
“Lori has helped raise and educate this whole school district,” said LMS PTSA President Shawn Nowlin in an email. “When we gave her the Golden Acorn Award, she was telling me about seeing the high school seniors and realizing that she has taught them from preschool at Trinity (Lutheran Church) all the way through to school graduation.”
We are so grateful to Lori for her outstanding dedication to environmental education!
Click to read the full South Whidbey Record article.
Salmon Enchanted Evening Invitation Highlights 2015
Smith and Minor Island Aquatic Reserve
We are facilitating a Community Science Research/Outreach Program in Whidbey Island’s own Aquatic Reserve. Funded by the Department of Natural Resources, the study investigates the effect recreational harvesting has on the largest Bull Kelp Forest in the Puget Sound.
Completed Smolt Count in the Maxwelton Watershed. May is the month we set up a sluice box in the stream and collect, count, measure and release the young Coho yearlings as they begin their trek to the sea.
Freeland Wetland Preserve
WWS took full ownership of the Freeland Wetland Preserve early in 2015. Next step, work-up a comprehensive restoration/outreach plan. So far we know that restoration will inform outreach which will include lectures, guided hikes, hands-on educational experiences which will instruct the participant of the methods and science of restoration.
Kicked-off our summer/fall education series, Wetland Wednesdays, at the Freeland Wetland Preserve which enriches participants’ knowledge of the science of restoration and informs them of available opportunities in the future.
Reinstated by Island County for another 3-years as stewards of the Robinson Beach County Park. We have removed most of the scot’s broom and planted shore pines. We are planning another planting later in summer, early fall.
Salmon in the classroom program linked with year-long Outdoor Classroom Field studies
K-7 teachers through WWS Environmental Education Programs
Langley Middle School Marine Science
Six-month oceanographic time series by 6th and 7th grade students at the Langley Marina collecting oceanographic data investigating the relationship of the living and non-living elements of the ecosystem.
In the classroom 7th graders analyzed their ocean data working with visiting oceanographers from University of WA, NANOOS & Orca Network. Culminating oceanographic cruise out of Langley collecting, analyzing and interpreting data with the UW experts!
Coordinated 23 local scientists share their expertise with K-5 students—Students’ favorite day of the year!
These poems were written to the salmon by the school children who had raised them. Many were shared on the shore as the salmon swam off:
Their scales shimmer bright
First the river then the sea
Brightly colored orange
Shiny silver scales
Amongst your darting tail fin
Beautifully you swim
I watched you grow up
and now you’re freedom is near
Goodbye my fish friend
listen close in the forest
Salmon swim, swim, swim
Salmon swim softly
Peaceful, quiet and hungry
Patient to find prey
Salmon we watch grow
Swim up the stream now, freedom
See you soon, small friend