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 2022
Thursday, January 27 and Friday, January 28th
This year’s conference will be held virtually.
Now Accepting Presentation Submissions for 2022
Seeking all presenters!
What excites you? What concerns you? What would you like to share or discuss?
This year, we plan to center the conference around you, the participants. We’ll create an online space for discussion, thinking, inspiration and sharing. You’ll provide the ideas, issues, and excitement.
Want to talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice? Excited about something you’ve learned this year? Interested in the nitty gritty details of virtual teaching? Want to share music or art or poetry?
Proposals for a virtual session can be submitted to Susan Wood. Please include your topic, a brief description for our website, and details about the format for your session (presentation, interactive session, facilitated discussion, any Zoom features you will need to set up).
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.
Registration for Storming the Sound is free this year.
Please register online here.
2020 Sponsors and Exhibitors
Most of the information below is for our info for in-person events which we hope to host in the future. Our 2022 event will be hosted virtually. Registrants will receive login info prior to the event.
Information for in-person events (NOT 2022)
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.
2022 Storming the Sound Presentations
|THURSDAY 12:30-1:00||Welcome Remarks|
|1:00-2:10||Virtual Reality education program, Jess Newley, Friends of the San Juans
Friends of the San Juans has implemented an education program that uses Virtual Reality as a tool to engage students in science education, specifically underwater ecosystems that are otherwise difficult to explore. In this session participants will watch the 360 video online (with the option to purchase cardboard VR headsets ahead of time to turn the 360 video into virtual reality); discuss the strengths and weaknesses of using this technology in the classroom and brainstorm ideas for the future use of the program with program coordinator Jess Newley.
Cardboard headsets (optional) : Can be found on Amazon here.
Please see instructions for making a cardboard headset.
Presenter: Jess Newley is a passionate SCUBA diver and underwater photographer with a deep love for the Salish Sea. She has an undergraduate degree in Business and Marketing and a Master’s degree from WWU in Environmental Education. After sailing across the Pacific Ocean for 5 years, she has found roots in the San Juan Islands where she works as the Community Science and Education manager for Friends of the San Juans, working to educate boaters on best practices to protect sensitive habitats, conducting community field science projects and implementing education programs in and outside the classroom.
|1:00-2:10||Eelgrass Emergency! (as Told by Simon the Salmon), Meg Chadsey, WA Sea Grant
Native eelgrass (Zostera marina) is critical to Puget Sound health. These bountiful tidal grasslands capture carbon, buffer seawater chemistry, and support a wide range of species, from tiny fish and invertebrates to our iconic seabirds, salmon and orca whales. Overall, Puget Sound eelgrass beds have been relatively stable since 2000, but some areas have seen significant declines in recent years, and the combined stress of climate change and eelgrass wasting disease may be pushing these ecosystems closer to the brink. Find out what local scientists are learning about eelgrass health (as told by Simon the Salmon in ’Seagrass Wars: The Spots Awaken’), and come away with online activities to share with your students!
Presenter: As Washington Sea Grant’s Ocean Acidification Specialist, Meg Chadsey serves as a resource on ocean acidification science, policy and outreach for tribes, government agencies, academic institutions, marine industries and the public. She also serves as Sea Grant’s liaison to NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab, a unique appointment created to facilitate the flow of NOAA’s world-class ocean acidification research to the greater scientific community and the public.
|2:20-3:30||New ways to explore climate solutions with students, Susan Wood, Padilla Bay NERR
Understanding the causes and effects of climate change is important, but only when that knowledge leads to solutions. We will collaboratively explore two activities that use Project Drawdown resources and an online simulator to make a climate change plan.
Presenter: Susan Wood is education coordinator at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. This presentation is part of the statewide ClimeTime teacher professional development initiative through OSPI.
|2:20-3:30||Indigenous Science, Trees and Reciprocity, Jen Willup and Dean P. Dan Jr., Swinomish Department of Environmental Protection
Between Two Worlds Indigenous Science program was created by the Swinomish Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2019. The DEP saw a need within the Swinomish community to strengthen cultural and scientific proficiencies, starting with our youth.
Jen Willup, of the Swinomish tribe, was born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest which heavily influenced her academic and professional work. After graduating from Northwest Indian College with a Bachelor’s degree in Native Studies Leadership, Ms. Willup began work at the tribe’s Department of Environmental Protection as an environmental education instructor and in curriculum development. Alongside developing Indigenous curriculum, she works on several projects around traditional ecological knowledge, plants, and place-based knowledge.
Dean P. Dan Jr., is an enrolled member of the Swinomish Tribe and works for the Swinomish Department of Environmental Protection. His journey to higher education began at Northwest Indian College where he obtained his Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees. He is currently enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, College of Law, Master of Legal Studies-Indigenous People’s Law. Dean inherited a love for the natural world from many of his family members, who chose to share with him their inherent knowledge of the land. It is through this love for the natural world that he continues to carry forward the legacy of his great grandparents in education and for the youth in our community.
|3:40-4:50||Reaching for the STaRS: training the next generation of marine conservation scientists, Cindy Elliser, Amy Eberling, Katrina MacIver, Pacific Mammal Resesarch and Salish Sea School
Summary: Empowering middle and high school students to conduct their own scientific research projects will help to build the next generation of marine conservation scientists. The student training as research scientists (STaRS) program aims to stimulate interest in marine conservation science careers, provide opportunities for active field research and data collection/analysis, and train young students in research techniques. This year-long program provides small groups of students the opportunity to be mentored by active research scientists and hone their skills in scientific exploration and communication. In this talk learn more about how local nonprofits are collaborating to provide this unique program and how we are engaging young students to prepare them for careers in marine science and to be leaders in conservation.
Presenters: Cindy Elliser, Pacific Mammal Research, Amy Eberling, Salish Sea School, Katrina MacIver
|3:40-4:50||Promoting Natural Climate Solutions in Whatcom and Skagit Counties, Jessa Clark and Sarah Parker, Kulshan Carbon Trust
The Kulshan Carbon Trust (KCT) is a Washington-based nonprofit implementing collaborative natural climate solutions in Whatcom and Skagit Counties through landholder engagement, market incentives, and workforce training. Akin to land trusts working with private landowners to protect conservation values, the KCT aims to promote land use practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry, and land use change and increase carbon sequestration on these lands.
This session will provide an overview of the role that natural climate solutions – such as biochar and agroforestry – play in building a more climate resilient future, introduce how the KCT is supporting the mainstreaming of natural climate solutions, and engage session participants in conversations about how they can support these solutions in their own work. Attendees should come to the session ready to connect with others and brainstorm how their work can help protect existing carbon reserves and rebuild carbon stockpiles in soils and plants for the public interest and on behalf of future generations.
Presenters: Jessa Clark is co-founder and secretary of the Kulshan Carbon Trust and Sustainability Consultant at Peak Sustainability Group. Jessa has a M.S. in Sustainability Science & Practice from Stanford University. She co-founded the KCT because she sees natural climate solutions as a key leverage point for positive environmental, economic, and social impact. Jessa works to engage diverse stakeholders in collaborative solutions and support leaders with the tools and knowledge needed to create meaningful change in their sphere and beyond.
Sarah Parker is Program Manager at the Kulshan Carbon Trust. She is also a Climate Consultant at Peak Sustainability Group in Bellingham, Washington. Sarah graduated from Western Washington University with a M.A. in Environmental Policy and a Certificate in Energy Policy and from Lewis & Clark College with a B.A. in Biology. In her work, Sarah strives to engage communities in envisioning and implementing equitable climate solutions that serve the interests of many and help secure a resilient future for people and the planet. She brings her experience in community engagement and environmental education, knowledge of environmental policy and climate solutions, and excitement about natural climate solutions to the Kulshan Carbon Trust.
|FRIDAY 8:30-8:40||Welcome to Day 2|
|8:40-9:50||Volunteer Monitoring in Anacortes, Wayne Husby and Tim Gohrke, Friends of Skagit Beaches
Come learn how Friends of Skagit Beaches and (20) extremely dedicated volunteers are working with the City of Anacortes to identify stormwater pollution “hotspots” so corrective actions can be taken. According to the Puget Soundkeeper’s website, “polluted stormwater runoff is the number one source of toxic pollution to Puget Sound and surrounding waterways”. The Nature Conservancy says, “an astounding 75 percent of the toxic chemicals that enter Puget Sound come from stormwater runoff”. It is a top 3 Strategic Initiative of the Puget Sound Partnership. Despite the obvious threat, most cities and municipalities lack the resources to effectively monitor their outfalls for harmful contaminants. Find out how regular citizens are making a difference in our community.
Presenters: Wayne Huseby is a native Washingtonian growing up next door to Deception Pass State Park. He graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Sciences and a minor in Math in 1969. His career as a Telecommunications Engineer/Planner spanned over 30 years and with stops in Durham, NC, Coeur d’Alene, ID, Everett, WA, Irving, TX, and Bellevue, WA.
Tim Gohrke joined the Friends of Skagit Beaches board in October of 2019. In 2018 he moved to Anacortes after thirty-five years of work life in Seattle. He retired after selling his last business that imported and distributed Swiss-made technical paper.
Chris Wood grew up along Lake Michigan and fell in love with all things water. She studied freshwater biology at the University of Michigan, and worked assessing stream health for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. My work took me all around the state assessing stream health. As a State Park Naturalist, Chris had her first experience with citizen science, training volunteers to identify the mating calls of 13 species of frogs and toads for a wetland monitoring program. Chris moved to Anacortes 15 years ago with husband Jeff and twins Giulia and Calder. She is helping Friends of Skagit Beaches with volunteer coordination, data entry and communications for the their Anacortes Stormwater Monitoring Project.
|8:40-9:50||Art for Change, Joan Green, Green Art Labs
No matter what cause you’re passionate about, you can make a difference through art. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll connect your creative voice to passions you care about, and make your own art for change. Joan Green will empower you to take action through artistic advocacy – which you can then share with your students.
In this workshop we’ll talk about many ways to make art for change, and then we’ll make one: artful letters to legislators. Since we’ll be writing physical letters to our legislators, get your art supplies ready, Our letters will stand out with ART! Think color, shapes, lines, designs. No artistic experience necessary. Use supplies you have at home: don’t buy new. We look forward to getting creative with you!
Presenter: Joan Green, Whidbey Island environmental artist, educator, activist and founder of Green Art Labs
|8:40-9:50||Explore the Salish Sea Curriculum spreads, calling on a sea of environmental educators, Mira Lutz Castle, The SeaDoc Society
We all feel it in our bones that bringing kids outside for environmental learning awakens spirits, builds self-confidence, and inspires gratitude and reciprocity for the natural world. All while meeting multiple learning standards. But few classroom teachers, with curriculum and testing requirements piled high, feel this. That is, until introduced to a community-supported, restoration-based curriculum that breaks boundaries for authentic science experience. Explore the Salish Sea is finding success, thanks to estuary experts like you! Thanks to the weaving in of traditional knowledge, it is also growing gratitude for the richness of life gifted by the Salish Sea, pride within indigenous students, and respect for indigenous classmates’ cultures. Because Explore the Salish Sea culminates in a restoration, or “Salish Sea Heroes” project, there is nothing short of an army of sea-healing children growing from Olympia, WA to Campbell River, BC. Is it spreading in your community, too? Join the fun of supporting 5th graders near you.
Presenter: Mira Lutz Castle is Education Coordinator The SeaDoc Society
|10:00-11:10||Environmental education internships through an equity and justice lens, panel discussion
Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Western Washington University staff discuss improving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice for Internship and AmeriCorps positions. Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association has taken action to create paid internship opportunities. Western Washington University has made an effort to support equitable and inclusive internship opportunities. Along with short presentations, there will be ample time for discussion and questions for panelists.
Panelists: Sarah Brown, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association; Britta Eschete, WWU, Angelica Lucchetto and Corinne Gardner, Padilla Bay NERR
|10:00-11:10||Replacing single use plastics, Heather Trim
The public is becoming more and more aware of plastic pollution impacts on wildlife and also getting frustrated by excess waste. Actions are happening in Washington and across the US to tackle the problem. In this workshop, we will discuss voluntary and policy steps and what you can do in your own community or with your students. At both the local level and at the state level, bans on problematic plastics, improvements to our recycling system, litter reduction, and efforts to incentive reuse (and bring your own container) are underway. Critically, we also working to document the litter in our public places so that plastic can be designated as a pollutant in Washington.
Presenter: Heather Trim, Executive Director of Zero Waste Washington. Heather has more than 25 years of experience in environmental work ranging from zero waste to toxic chemicals and habitat issues. At Zero Waste Washington, her focus has been on reducing upstream sources of waste and addressing downstream impacts, getting toxic chemicals out of products, eliminating plastic pollution, and building on the organization’s signature producer responsibility policy initiatives. Previously, at Futurewise, she worked to prevent runoff from entering our waterways and improve shoreline management practices and policies. Heather was at People for Puget Sound for over ten years where she focused on protections for the marine environment. Earlier, she was staff scientist for the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council and worked for the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board on water quality standards, regulatory permits, pollution assessments, greening the LA rivers and habitat renewal. In addition to policy work, Heather has conducted extensive education and outreach projects.
|11:20-12:30||What’s keeping people from making good climate decisions, Maribeth Crandell, Island Transit
We have the best intentions. We know the facts. We understand the consequence. So why don’t we make good climate decisions? Why can’t we make changes that will reduce our carbon footprint? Essentially, we’re asking what are the barriers to changing behavior? Whether we use our phones while driving, forget to floss, or take an extra double fudge chocolate brownie when no one’s looking. There are so many behaviors that we’d like to change. Some with dire consequences for us personally, some for the planet. Wouldn’t we be better off if we did? Wouldn’t the world be a better place? Wouldn’t future generations be grateful? What keeps us from doing so? Let’s look at what motivates people to change behavior. What are the barriers? I’ll offer a few examples of community campaigns that have been successful. Share your successes, too, whether you were training a dog, tricking yourself into exercising more, or getting a class full of students to reduce waste. Let’s inspire each other. It’s a New Year! Let’s resolve to make a change. Hopefully, our own experiences will encourage others.
Presenter: Maribeth Crandel is the Community Outreach Specialist for Island Transit
|11:20-12:30||Maple Sugar in the Pacific Northwest: a sustainable harvest
Presenter: Devin Day from Neil’s Bigleaf Maple Syrup
|12:30||Wrap-up and reflection/networking rooms|
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!