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Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
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Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Amusing Monday: Students create environmental art

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

This week, I’d like to share some student artwork from two contests.

One is a local event in which 10 Kitsap County students are honored in the Kitsap Recycles Day contest, sponsored by Kitsap County Public Works. The other contest is for students anywhere in the country. Called the Keep the Sea Free of Debris contest, it is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Li-Nelshin Co, a fifth grader at Esquire Hills Elementary School, created one of the winning posters for Kitsap Recycles Day.

Li-Nelshin Co, a fifth grader at Esquire Hills Elementary School, created one of the winning posters for Kitsap Recycles Day.

The first poster featured on this page is by Li-Nelshin Co, a fifth grader at Esquire Hills Elementary School, located in East Bremerton and part of the Central Kitsap School District.

Li-Neishin wrote this about the poster:

“Recycling is important because we are saving the world for future generations. My favorite thing to recycle is PAPER because this way we are not only recycling, we are also saving the trees that gives us fresh air, shade, preventing soil erosion.”

Other winning posters can be viewed on Kitsap Recycles Day webpage.

A couple years ago, the Kitsap Recycles Day poster contest was moved from November to February and expanded into a broader educational program. The delayed contest allowed teachers and/or parents to provide more information than could have been completed by America Recycles Day, celebrated in November. A new activity book, “Close the Loop” (PDF 16.7 mb), is part of Kitsap’s expanded program.

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see the influx of posters we see on Kitsap Recycles Day,” said Kitsap County Recycling Coordinator Christopher Piercy in a news release. “You can tell each student has a passion for recycling, reducing waste, and the environment. It is especially fascinating to see the grasp they all have on the value of ‘closing the loop’ — not just recycling, but buying recycled content products.”

The other winners are Libby Parker, kindergartener at Gateway Christian Schools, Poulsbo; Natalie Oathout, first grader at Emerald Heights Elementary School; Jeddison Miller, second grader at Crosspoint Academy; Kelsey Derr, third grader at Hilder Pearson Elementary School; Saige Herwig, third grader at South Colby Elementary School; Charlotte Halbert, fourth grader at Gateway Christian Schools, Poulsbo; Blake Warner, fifth grader at Crosspoint Academy; Drew Moar, sixth grader at Manchester Elementary School; and Gia Acosta, eighth grader at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic School.

The second poster on this page, a winner in the 2014 Keep the Sea Free of Debris contest, was drawn by Jessica D., a fourth grader in New York.

Jessica commented:

“Keep the sea free of debris. Debris is garbage, marine debris is garbage in the sea. Marine debris is very bad. Marine debris is mostly plastics, fishing gear and litter. Marine debris is very harmful and dangerous to undersea creatures. This pollution can ruin habitats. Marine wildlife can get hurt by marine debris. It also can cost a lot of money to fix. But you can help fix it by just cleaning beaches and not littering.”

The contest is sponsored by NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, which asked contest entrants to create their “vision” of marine debris. All 13 winners and their comments can be seen on a Gallery Page on the Marine Debris Blog.


Amusing Monday: Student art reflects on water

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Students at Walton High School in Marietta, Calif., created the winning mural in the first “Water is Life” Classroom Mural and Art Challenge, sponsored by the Wyland Foundation.

Students from Walton High School in Marietta, Calif., created the winning mural in the "Water is Life" contest.

Students from Walton High School in Marietta, Calif., created this winning mural in the “Water is Life” contest. (Click to enlarge.)
Photo courtesy of Wyland

The mural, at right, shows a great deal of creativity and artistic ability. Earth is featured in a center panel, with other panels picturing a freshwater stream and sea creatures. Kathleen Petka is the classroom teacher. The judges noted:

“Prismatic effect provides unique view of water-based ecosystems, shows how water supports life in so many ways. The rendering itself was stunning and beautiful. The mural shows tremendous forethought and pre-planning and a clear objective.”

Winning entry from Northern Elementary School in Lexington, Ky.

Winning entry from Northern Elementary School in Lexington, Ky.
Wyland photo

Other top winners are Northern Elementary School in Lexington, Ky., in the kindergarten through fourth-grade category (teacher: Kimberly Vaca), and East Grand Middle School in Grandby, Colo., in the fifth- through eighth-grade category (teacher: Katrina Larson).

Here’s what the judges said about the mural by the younger students from Lexington:

“Great message. Not only is the water issue important locally, but what we do locally affects us nationally … and worldwide. Love the variety of sea life, especially the blow fish who is looking straight at the viewer, almost imploring us to ‘get’ the message and take it to heart.”

And for the middle school students from Granby, the judges had these comments:

“Excellent brush technique for the grass. Excellent blending of colors to show the current in the river. Beautiful trout rendition; mammals and birds are great — moose, deer, mallard, fox. Great perspective … foreground, middle ground, background.”

Winning entry from East Grand Middle School in Grandby, Colo. Wyland photo

Winning entry from East Grand Middle School in Grandby, Colo.
Wyland photo

More than 9,000 students from 46 states reportedly participated in the contest exploring the human connections to water and emphasizing how water shapes the world. For individual winners and runners up, go to “2013 Classroom Mural Results” on Wyland Foundation’s website.

“Many of the artworks were heavily nature-based,” state’s the description on the website. “Others made personal statements about mankind’s connection to these resources, while still others were more figurative.”

The mural contest is being planned again, with entries to be submitted toward the end of this year, possibly a little earlier than last year.

The Wyland Foundation, started by environmental artist Robert Wyland, is dedicated to helping people understand the importance of healthy oceans and waterways. The nonprofit foundation has worked with more than 1 million children since its inception in 1993.

Efforts include public art programs, classroom science education and other events, including the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. Bremerton was the 2013 winner of the water challenge in the category for cities with populations from 30,000 to 100,000. See Water Ways, May 3, 2013.

If you’re wondering why this entry is a day late, it is because I had the day off yesterday with some technical issues in getting the information together.


Students ride the wind during salmon kayak tour

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

When 60 students from Central Kitsap High School took off in double kayaks to look for jumping salmon, they had no idea how the changing weather would make the trip more exciting.

Bill Wilson, who teaches environmental science, organized Tuesday’s trip on Dyes Inlet near Silverdale. Lead guide Spring Courtright of Olympic Outdoor Center shares the story in her words.

Reminder: Free stream tours from land are scheduled for Saturday. See the story I wrote for Tuesday’s Kitsap Sun.

Wind pushes the kayaks along, as 60 Central Kitsap High School students return to Silverdale Tuesday after watching jumping salmon. / Photos by Spring Courtright

By Spring Courtright
Program Director, Olympic Outdoor Center

At 9 a.m. on election day, anyone peering through the fog at Silverdale Waterfront Park would have seen 35 bright kayaks lined up on the beach and 60 high school students preparing to paddle.

Central Kitsap High School environmental science students study salmon in class, then are given the option to paddle with jumping salmon on an annual Salmon Kayak Tour with the Olympic Outdoor Center (OOC). For the last two years, 60 students have jumped on the opportunity.

This trip started about 10 years ago with about half that number of students. I have been one of the lead guides for nearly all of these tours. It’s always an adventure, but this year was one of the more memorable trips because of the beautiful clouds and quick change in weather.
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Salmon in the Classroom survives in Central Kitsap

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Central Kitsap’s Salmon in the Classroom program been going on longer than the one sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. So when I heard that the state’s Salmon in the Classroom program was being eliminated for budget reasons, I had a hunch that it might not affect Central Kitsap schools.

“The program was too important to us to have it rely on the vagaries of state funding,” Tex Lewis told me for a story in today’s Kitsap Sun.

In March 2009, sixth-graders at Woodlands Elementary School observed a two-headed salmon hatched in an aquarium as part of the Salmon in the Classroom program.
Kitsap Sun photo

Lewis is a leader with the Clear Creek Task Force, which took over the program when the Central Kitsap Kiwanis Club disbanded. (See Brynn Grimley’s July 7 story in the Kitsap Sun.)

Reporter Susan Gilmore’s article in the Seattle Times described how the state was eliminating its Salmon in the Classroom program to save more than $200,000 a year for Fish and Wildlife. The program involves environmental education for an estimated 40,000 students each year, she reported.

Paul Dorn, salmon recovery coordinator for the Suquamish Tribe, told me that the state’s program has supported a few aquariums in Kitsap County, and he hopes the tribe can pick up the cost for continuing and possibly expanding the program outside of Central Kitsap. Check out my story in the Kitsap Sun for details.
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"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist

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