GREEN Congress classes at TESC make water-wise kids

Classes such as salmon dissection teach area students about the aquatic ecosystems, culture of the South Sound

Staff writerMarch 21, 2014 

Thurston County students learn about the environment in a series of workshops and present their own solutions to environmental issues at The Evergreen State College.


About 400 students in grades 3-12 gathered Friday at The Evergreen State College in Olympia for the South Sound Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN) Congress.

The event hosted students from several school districts, including Olympia, North Thurston, Griffin, Tumwater, Yelm, Clover Park, Steilacoom and Eatonville.

“It’s really local,” said Rebecca Chamberlain, a member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College and one of the workshop presenters. “It’s based on understanding our South Puget Sound watersheds, habitats and ecosystems.”

During the event, students shared their research and action ideas for healthier watersheds. They also heard a presentation about climate change and participated in several hands-on workshops such as salmon dissection, Native American storytelling, shellfish cooking demonstrations and a microscopic look at stream bugs.

“I think it’s really cool,” said Aidan Winstead-Coby, 11, a sixth-grader at Nova Middle School in Olympia. “I think I learned mostly how our actions are impacting the earth and global warming.”

Alex Bell, an AmeriCorps member with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Lacey, led a dissection of a male coho salmon from the Quilcene National Fish Hatchery.

He talked about each of the salmon’s organs, including the heart.

“If I push on it, you see it pumps the blood,” he said. “It works just like our heart.”

Annie Rosser, 10, a fifth-grader at Lincoln Elementary School in Olympia, said the GREEN Congress was filled with a lot of useful information for young people.

She attended the salmon dissection workshop.

“It was interesting — and smelly,” Rosser said.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433

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