Aug 26

Salishan Eco-Camps Get Kids Outside and Env. Edu Updates

Posted on August 26, 2021 at 10:03 AM by Allan Warren

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Salishan ECO Camps Get Kids Outside

In July we resumed our summer ECO Camp with kids from the Salishan neighborhood of east Tacoma. Over the course of two weeks we trekked into Swan Creek Park to look at stream bugs, visited community gardens in the neighborhood, practiced rock climbing near the Eastside Community Center, and went on more outdoor adventures. It was great to get the kids outside in the nice summer weather and explore some of the interesting features that neighborhood has to offer. 

Garfield-Palouse Claims Envirothon Title

Conservation districts from across the state joined forces to host a virtual State Envirothon competition this spring. A total of 11 high schools, including 3 from Pierce County, competed in this new format to test their natural resource knowledge. When the dust settled, Garfield-Palouse emerged as the top finishers (Tacoma’s Science and Math Institute placed 3rd overall). The team of 5 high schoolers earned the right to represent our state at the North American competition held in July. Congratulations to all those who competed, especially the 2021 champions from the Palouse!

Leika Hansen Completes Memorable AmeriCorps TermLeika

This summer marked the end of Leika’s term with PCD as our Conservation Education Specialist. If you’ve seen some of the videos and pictures we’ve featured over the past year, there’s a good chance it was thanks to Leika. She brought her photography, videography, and storytelling skills during a time when those were especially valuable. It’s safe to say we would not have created a fraction of what we did without Leika’s contributions. She left a huge impact on the environmental education program and we wish her the best in the next phase of her blossoming career.

Jun 01


Posted on June 1, 2021 at 11:56 AM by Allan Warren

Salmon release photo

Salish Sea Heroes Project Wraps Up

There was a sense of accomplishment as we watched the salmon fry dart to the edges of Swan Creek after being dropped into their new home. They had been raised at the Foss Waterway Seaport from the time they were eggs as part of the Salish Sea Heroes project with Tacoma Public Schools. Community partners, including Pierce Conservation District, teamed up with 5th grade classes to deliver remote lessons about salmon and the Salish Sea, and how the plight of resident orcas can be tied to the health of local salmon runs. We also collected data on Swan Creek and provided it to the students to determine the best spot to release the salmon. After learning about native and invasive vegetation, macroinvertebrates, and stream health, the students cast their votes. 

Progress with Glacier Middle School Volunteers

The final wheelbarrow full of mulch signaled the end of a hard yet productive shift for the volunteers from Glacier Middle School. We had placed heaps of burlap and mulch over the recently planted area in an effort to keep the blackberry canes at bay. The area along the White River has been transformed over these past several months thanks to the dedicated teachers and students during regular work parties. Our conservation crews have also been a key part of our early success, and we’ll look to keep momentum going over the summer as we clear more room for planting later this year.Poster Contest logo

Forest Poster Contest

Are you a student artist, or know someone who is? Check out this year’s NACD poster contest – Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities!

Feb 26

Work Continues Along the White River & Remote Learning Resources

Posted on February 26, 2021 at 3:16 PM by Allan Warren

After a bit of a hiatus (what with the pandemic and all), we picked back up with our partnership with Glacier Middle School. We put together some blackberry-clearing work parties with a small but dedicated group of teachers and students this fall and winter. We also benefitted from the efforts of an AmeriCorps crew during their rotation with Pierce Conservation District. Once we made a dent in the blackberry patches, we set our sights on putting some native plants in the ground in February. These will help improve habitat along the White River, as well as serving as an outdoor learning opportunity for the school and community. There’s plenty of work still to be done but it’s great to see some progress!

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We’re glad to see kids returning to school safely, and we can’t wait to resume class visits and field trips when the time comes. In the meantime, we’ve been adding to our remote learning resources. You can watch a stop-motion stormwater video, look at soil organisms up close, and explore other environmental science activities. Check out our Environmental Education at Home page for these and others to help meet your remote learning needs.