Storming the Sound
Educating for the Environment
— ideas, problems, solutions and resources to restore our world —
Storming the Sound is a conference for environmental educators in the north Puget Sound region, including the counties of Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Island, Jefferson and San Juan. Every January teachers, environmental organizations and students gather in La Conner to share their interest and expertise in environmental education.
Storming the Sound Conference 2020
Thursday, January 30th • 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Maple Hall, LaConner, WA
Seeking all presenters!
Do you have any cool new and relevant research you’d like to present? What about innovative and exciting curricula or activities you’d like to share? If you have presentation ideas, have topics that need discussing, or challenges that need solving, please send us a proposal!
Proposals can be submitted to Jenny Huntley. Please include your topic, a brief description for our website, and the name and affiliation of presenters. The priority deadline for presentation proposals is December 1, 2019; final proposal deadline is January 7, 2020.
Storming the Sound invites educators who are involved, interested and passionate about the environment to come learn from and share with one another. Formal and informal teachers, students, and regional organizations enjoy interesting and relevant workshop sessions, networking opportunities, and lively discourse at this annual, one-day conference.
Teachers – clock hours are available! Washington State Teacher Clock Hour Credits (7) will be offered for free. Just ask at the registration table when you arrive at Storming the Sound.
Need a substitute? Qualifying teachers are eligible for grant funds to cover the cost of your sub! Apply here.
Registration is now open. Please see below for more information.
Registration costs $10.
You will need to register through Eventbrite using the links below, but you have a choice to pay on-line with a credit card, or if you want to pay at the door with cash or check, just register using the”Pay at the Door” option.
Storming the Sound will be at Maple Hall in La Conner from 9:00 to 4:30 on Thursday January 30, 2020. Doors will open at 8:30. Please plan on arriving no later than 8:45 to avoid a bottleneck at the registration table.
Upon arrival, participants will be asked to select the sessions they wish to attend. To be prepared, please check out the Agenda (to be updated closer to event) and make sure you know What to Bring.
Storming the Sound is made possible with the generous support of our sponsors.
Please let us know if you would like to be a sponsor for our 2020 event! Please contact Izzi Lavallee for more information about sponsorships.
2020 Sponsors and Exhibitors
Storming the Sound will be held at Maple Hall in La Conner in Skagit County.
WHAT TO BRING
- Knowledge of what’s on the agenda. Be prepared to select the sessions you wish to attend.
- Name tag
- A mug or cup for beverages
- Snacks (lunch is provided, there are nearby bakeries and espresso cafes)
- Conference stuff (t-shirts, mugs, ect. that you have received from other conferences but don’t need) for the “SWAG Swap” (you put your unwanted stuff on the table and take something you want).
104 Commercial, La Conner, WA 98257
From the north
Take I-5 to Hwy 20 (just north of the Skagit River and Mount Vernon). Take Hwy 20 west toward Anacortes about 5 miles to the stoplight at the Farmhouse Inn Restaurant. At this intersection turn left (south) onto the La Conner-Whitney Road. In about 4 miles, at the roundabout, take a right (west) onto Morris Street. Take Morris all the way to the end at the water (Swinomish Slough). Turn left (south) onto First Street (the main north-south street in La Conner). Take First all the way to the south end and you’ll run into Maple Hall (104 Commercial).
From the south
Take I-5 to exit 221 (Conway, Highway 534). Turn west to go over the freeway then at the roundabout take the second exit for Fir Island Road. Stay on Fir Island Rd for about 5 miles and you’ll go over a bridge (after the bridge the road name changes to Best Road). From the bridge go 3 miles and turn left onto Chilberg Rd. Follow the signs to La Conner. You’ll find a roundabout as you enter La Conner. Continue straight on Morris Street (opposite side of the roundabout) about a half mile to the end at the water (Swinomish Slough). Turn left (south) onto First Street (the main north-south street in La Conner). Take First all the way to the south end and you’ll run into Maple Hall (104 Commercial).
Limited parking is available on the street so we recommend using the city lot that is on Moore Street (about two blocks east of Maple Hall). When you are at Maple Hall look to the east and you’ll see the “Parking” sign. If you place the “Event Parking Pass” on your dashboard, parking is FREE for registered participants. Click here for your parking pass.
2020 Keynote Speaker
STEM Education Outreach Coordinator, Salish Sea Research Center, Northwest Indian College
Born and raised on the Navajo Reservation, Thayne Yazzie is a Native American artist, musician, and educator. His mission is to create an awareness of environmental education by blending both science and art into an array of learning content that includes digital media, games, stories, and interactive design.
Over the past 3 years, Thayne Yazzie has helped develop and implement Pre-K and K-12 Environmental Education and Outreach materials for the greater Washington state area. Thayne is the STEM education outreach coordinator for the Salish Sea Research Center (SSRC) located at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, WA. The SSRC is a research lab that focuses on environmental issues in the Salish Sea, including topics on harmful algae blooms, and local shellfish and fish populations. The SSRC provides students and faculty with a learning environment to combine cultural, traditional, and non-traditional scientific methods to question, observe, and understand the natural environment.
This presentation will focus on STEM Education and Outreach events facilitated and conducted by Thayne Yazzie and the Salish Sea Research Center. These events include water quality and ocean acidification labs, DIY water filters, DIY plankton tow nets, UAV rovers, and marine food web activities. Additionally, the SSRC has partnered with the Lummi Natural Resources to bring shellfish and salmon curricula into the Lummi Nation School classroom. Through these curricula, students are able to visit local shellfish and fish hatcheries as well as raise young salmon in the classroom and release them back into the Nooksack River. Thayne Yazzie will also share his experience working with tribal communities in Washington state, such as his summer outreach trip to Quileute Tribal School, and share his goals for continuing science education through an Indigenous perspective.
2020 Storming the Sound Presentations
2020 Presenters will include, but are not limited to, the following talks. Please check back soon for a full list of presentations and the updated agenda.
Plastics – Reducing the plastic problem in the Salish Sea
Marisol Diaz, Zero Waste Washington
Plastic pollution is increasing in the Salish Sea and the sources are primarily from land. Come find out the current problems and what is being done to solve the problem including research and statewide bills and local ordinances.
Bridging the gap: connecting teachers to research through STEM clock hours
Cindy Elliser, PhD Research Director Pacific Mammal Research
Bringing scientific research into the classroom is an exciting way to connect students with real-life experiences. But researchers can’t go to every classroom, so how can we increase our ability to reach students? Pacific Mammal Research’s answer: take the teachers into the field, and let them share their experiences with the students! We also provide real data that teachers can use in their classroom to simulate what students would collect in the field. From field work to in-class instruction, learn about how PacMam helps teachers bring research experiences into the classroom while accruing valuable in-service STEM clock hours.
Geospatial Tools for Educators
Suzanne Shull, Padilla Bay
Enhance your students’ learning through exploration and visualization of environmental science content using online maps. Topics include:
- ‘GeoInquiries’ (i.e. understanding ocean currents and gyres of marine debris curricula using online maps)
- Mapping applications with rich local environmental data
- Story maps and Web apps – what they are and how to build them If available bring laptop and login for ArcGISOnline – but definitely not required.
Aquatic Noxious Weeds in Skagit County and the 19 years to eradication
Joseph Shea, BSc Noxious Weed Coordinator, Skagit County Noxious Weed Control Board
Skagit County Noxious Weed Control Board has been working to control Japanese Knotweed and Spartina Anglica in Skagit County since the early 2000s. In general, Spartina and Knotweed species are considered highly invasive and some of the most aggressive worldwide. Spartina and knotweed both displace native species, destroy wildlife habitat, interfere with recreational activities and is difficult and expensive to control. Spartina is a perennial grass native to estuarine and salt marsh habitats in Europe and the US Atlantic Coast. However, Spartina is extremely invasive on the US Pacific Coast as it outcompetes native vegetation in a variety of habitat types, including sandy beaches, cobble beaches, mudflats, and salt marshes. Knotweeds (Polygonum spp.) are broadleaf, perennial, shrub-like plants typically forming dense monoculture stands and often growing over 10 ft. tall, knotweed can be found outcompeting native vegetation along flood plains, rivers, creeks, roadside ditches, and even beaches. These species not only diminishes plant diversity but reduces habitat for wildlife, including various species of invertebrates, commercial shellfish, juvenile fish, shorebirds, and waterfowl.
Multiple agencies within Skagit County currently conduct surveys and treat S. anglica and Polygonum spp. infestations including the Skagit County Noxious Weed Control Board (SCNWCB), Swinomish Tribal Nation, Washington Conservation Corps (WCC), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), and Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (PBNERR), Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group, the Sauk Suattle Tribe, Upper Skagit Tribe, Skagit Land Trust and more. This presentation will go over our collaborative efforts in Skagit County as well as take a glance into the future of Noxious Weed Control in Skagit County.
Phenomena Based Climate Science Instruction
Hattie Osborne, South Sound FieldSTEM Coordinator, Pacific Education Institute
How do we engage all students in climate science topics? Through phenomena and place based instruction! In this session, learn how phenomena based climate science teaching empowers students to create solutions, solve problems and connect to place while meeting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Participants will examine best practices, make climate science connections to the NGSS and take part in a phenomena walkabout. This session is geared towards anyone that works with K-12 learners or has an interest in learning more about science instruction for climate solutions.
Between Two Worlds: Swinomish indigenous environmental science program for tribal high school students to learn environmental stewardship from a scientific and cultural perspective
Todd Mitchell swəlítub, Karen Mitchell, Nicole Casper, Shannon Stewart, Lindsay Logan, Jen Willup, Dean Dan Jr, Andrea Pitz, Swinomish Tribe
In 2019, the Swinomish Tribe developed the Between Two Worlds Indigenous Science Program for their high school youth. This program has been tailored to incorporate modern scientific practices with cultural and place-based knowledge. Curriculum is created to teach the students about the technical sciences practiced on Swinomish land, such as water quality testing, salmon population, air quality, archaeology, groundwater, macroinvertebrates, and much more. Swinomish instructors also teach cultural and traditional lessons relevant to the content, such as language, oral traditions, and Swinomish technology. The goal of this program is to help students develop scientific proficiency, earn high school science credit, provide the tools and resources for them to enter the science field (in or outside of the tribe), and to learn to be effective stewards of their homeland. This presentation will provide an overview of the project and examples and activities from our curriculum.
How can students help the Southern Resident orcas?
Amy Eberling, Executive Director/Captain, The Salish Sea School
The power of every student is immense, their potential limitless, and they have what it takes to transform the planet. We need their hearts, their imagination, their voices, their courage, their joy, their laughter, their creativity, and their compassion now more than ever. The Salish Sea School exists to engage and empower youth to influence their world. We are dedicated to creating student leaders in marine conservation by delivering boat-based programs that connect students to the ecosystems of the Salish Sea in a school without walls. They will collect data as citizen scientists, gain skills to empower them to protect the oceans, and emerge as leaders. The first student program to launch Summer 2020 is called Guardians of the Sea from Anacortes, WA. Learn more at TheSalishSeaSchool.org. Come join the conversation!
Tracking and Tackling Stormwater Pollution using the Water Reporter App
Kirsten A. McDade, Pollution Prevention Specialist, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities
Stormwater contributes millions of pounds of contaminants into the Salish Sea every year but many people still have misconceptions about whether or not stormwater is treated or filtered before reaching the water. Stormwater contains contaminants that can pose serious health effects particularly to marine organisms; many of these contaminants bioaccumulate and biomagnify in the food chain. In fact, research shows that toxins from stormwater are contributing to the decline of the Southern Resident Orca Whales. RE Sources, an environmental and educational advocacy non-profit, launched the Water Reporter Program in Whatcom and Skagit Counties during fall 2019. The program is designed to educate local citizens about stormwater pollution and to provide them with an easy opportunity to be a part of the solution. Residents download the free Water Reporter App and join the North Sound Baykeeper group; they then become a member of a community that is keeping their eyes on their local waterways. People can post pictures of pollution, algal blooms, or stormwater problems and then be directed to the quickest way to remedy the situation. They can also pose questions about what is and what isn’t pollution. All observations are geo-referenced so pollution events can be located and tracked over time. This crowd-sourcing tool can be easily integrated into middle school and high school curriculum.
“Morning Activism” Coffee n’ Cards
Britta Eschete + guests
We know it’s effective –but how often do we take the time to handwrite a meaningful postcard to our elected representatives? Not sure what legislative district you live in or what some of the environmental priorities are? Attend this session to learn up-to-date information on the progress of environmental bills, convey your thoughts to representatives, and learn about ways for the Washington State Community to connect with legislators to support legislation they want to see become Washington Law. Coffee/Tea, scones (gluten/dairy), and cards/pens, provided!
Schoolyard Life in One Cubic Foot
Barb Bromley, Edmonds School District
How can people possibly study life in an ecosystem when there is so much of it? By building a cube with a volume of one cubic foot. David Littschwager, a National Geographic Photographer, designed such a cube to explore different ecosystems throughout the world. Every living thing that passed through the cube was recorded, collected, and photographed. After studying the specimens, all samples would be returned to where they were found. After completing ten lessons designed by Littschwager and myself, teams of four students will selected different areas on the school grounds. For five days, they have recorded their findings. In this hands on session, your will investigate areas around the conference. Expect your hands to get dirty!
Richelle Potter-Kypuros, Art and Science Educator, Skagit Watershed Council
Let’s go outdoors for Art and Science. With guidance we will experience nature journaling where it comes alive – outside in nature and in community. We will play with a pocket journal while learning different journaling approaches and Book Arts. It is easy, lightly physical and meditative to thought provoking. The plan is to experience La Conner’s sculpture walk to the butterfly garden and find views across the channel. Takeaways are outdoor breath and light, a pocket journal, surprisingly easy to use ink pen and ways of engaging for artists and scientists of all ages. If raining the walk will be brief and we will return indoors to apply color.
Draw a Picture of Nature: Assessing Early Learner Environmental Literacy
Hallie Sykes, Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center
Building relationships with nature is the foundation for environmental literacy, but how can we evaluate the effectiveness of environmental education for early learners? Oxbow shares their innovative assessment methodology and results, developed as part of an EPA-EE grant funded project which bridged formal & nonformal educational contexts to build environmental literacy and nature connection with Kindergarten students and teachers. Kindergartners were asked to draw a picture of nature and participate in interviews before and after an 8-month program. Based on Oxbow’s assessment methodology, preliminary results show that over 85% increased their environmental literacy score. Join this session to find out how we’ve transformed this qualitative data!
Please see 2019 Agenda below to get a feel for what our event in 2020 will look like. 2020’s Agenda will be posted as we get closer to the event in January.
8:30 Doors Open
9:00-9:15 Welcoming Address
10:15-11:25 Session 1
12:00-12:30 Poster Session
12:30-1:00 The Salish Sea – What’s in a Name? plenary
1:15-2:25 Session 2
2:40-3:50 Session 3
4:00 Closing Remarks – Glen Alexander
The first Storming the Sound was held at Padilla Bay Reserve in 1999. The idea caught on and now Storming the Sound attracts about 150 professionals. The conference primarily attracts environmentally minded educators and professionals from around the central Salish Sea region.
Check out our photo archive of past Storming the Sound conferences!