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 2023
Thursday, January 19th
We are planning to host this year’s conference in person.
Now Accepting Presentation Submissions for 2023
Extended deadline: One presenter slot still available. Please submit proposal by 12/31/22
The planning team is ready to receive your session proposals for this year’s Storming the Sound. Sessions will be 70 minutes, with plenty of time for discussion and reflection.
What excites you? What concerns you? What would you like to share or discuss?
This is your regional conference, centered around you, the participants. We’ll set up the space for discussion, thinking, inspiration and sharing. We’ll feed you wholesome, local food. We’ll move chairs and tables and displays. 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 hearing what your colleagues are doing? Want to share music or art or poetry? Consider formats that avoid PowerPoint and focus on interaction and sharing.
Please send your session proposals to Susan Wood, with title, a short description, presenters’ names and affiliation, and AV needs.
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 can get substitute teacher reimbursement by applying here.
Registration is now open. Please register HERE.
Storming the Sound has brought environmental educators together for inspiration, hope, and professional development for over 20 years at almost no cost to participants, thanks to contributions from kind sponsors in our community.
Become a proud sponsor of the 2023 conference and help keep this heart-warming event an ongoing success.
2023 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.
2023 Storming the Sound Presentations
8:30 Doors Open
9:00 Welcome Address and Keynote Speaker – Auditorium
Description: Members of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community will share their clam garden project at Kukatali Preserve and the history of clam gardens among indigenous people. The 13 Moons community gardens promote food sovereignty and improve the health and well-being of indigenous people at Swinomish.
Presenters: Joe and Alana Quintasket and Myk Heidt, Swinomish Tribal Community
10:20 Session 1
Title: What is a “Just Transition:” Green Jobs for the Next Generation (Methodist Church – Upstairs)
Description: We will explore the concept of “Just Transition,” how Just Transition programs address environmental justice and how such programs can help our society make the shift away from fossil fuels and fossil fuel heavy industries.
Presenters: Sharon Abreu & Michael Hurwicz, Irthlingz Arts-Based Environmental Education
Title: The 7 Layers of Water Conservation (Garden Club)
Description: After an overview of the layers of a landscape, participants learn how to assess ground soils, develop a microclimate, learn what, when and how to plant, and 3 methods to reduce watering. People can bring a picture of their own yard to get tips for beautification!!
Presenter: Kathy Anderson, Water Ecologist and Consultant with Bountiful Landscapes Consulting
Title: Let’s Talk Trash (Maple Hall Downstairs)
Description: Where does our mixed recycling go? How can compost help clean the water for salmon? How can we make our recycling and composting systems work better? Does plastic really get recycled? What can we all do to reduce plastic and other waste in the Salish Sea? Get the answers to these questions and hear the latest updates about recycling and composting in Northwest WA. Learn how you can help make the systems work better at homes, schools, and businesses, with plenty of time to discuss these topics and more.
Presenters: Katie Fleming, Solid Waste Coordinator with San Juan County’s Department of Environmental Stewardship, and Carolyn Moulton, Government and Community Relations with Lautenbach Recycling
Title: Illuminate Skagit STEAM presentation and art session (Methodist Church – Downstairs)
Description: Learn about the Skagit Watershed Council’s STEAM Luminary art program while doing some art of your own! This will involve a short presentation about a school program that teaches about the salmon life cycle through art, open dialog, and plenty of time playing with luminary art supplies. Participants will be invited to keep their artwork for the upcoming Illuminight Winter Walk or donate it as a decoration for the event. This event is a luminary-lit procession in downtown Mount Vernon on Friday, January 27th. More information about the event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/Illuminate.Skagit
Presenter: Holli Watne, Skagit Watershed Council
Title: Seaside School – the possibilities are endless! (Maple Hall Upstairs)
Description: We have Mountain School, but is it time for Ocean School, as well? Or Seaside school? Or. . . . Join us for an EE community conversation about the possibility of Ocean School, a residential outdoor school for public school students. All students deserve the opportunity to experience the incredibly rich bioregion that makes up our backyard- the Salish Sea. We invite you to come share your wisdom, thoughts, dreams, and ideas, and maybe even help make this dream come true.
Facilitators: Amy Eberling and Salish Sea School staff, Mira Lutz and Amy Keiper of Pacific Education Institute
Title: The Pathway to 100% Clean Energy Involves all of Us (Auditorium)
Description: Puget Sound Energy is committed to reducing emissions from electric and gas operations and electric supply to net zero by 2030. By 2045, PSE will have 100% carbon-free electricity. Achieving these lofty goals requires partnering with customers and industry to reduce carbon emissions across sectors, scaling up renewable energy offerings spanning from the customer to the regional level, modernizing energy delivery systems, and being more intentional about energy use during peak periods. Learne about where PSE is at, where we are going, and where students and the general public can plug in!
Presenter: Karlee Deatherage (she/her), Community Engagement Rep for Skagit & Snohomish Counties, Puget Sound Energy
12:10 Poster Session
12:40 Session 2
Title: Washington State support for Environmental Education (Auditorium)
Description: This session gives a broad overview of state support for environmental education. Hear what is happening in the legislature to support environmental education through funding for ClimeTime, FieldSTEM, Bilingual Environmental Education, and Outdoor Education for All. Find out about OSPI’s work on ESE K-12 Learning Standards and culturally responsive education. Learn how to engage with E3 Washington’s Catalyst committee to promote ongoing and sustainable State support for Environmental and Sustainability Education.
Presenter: Elizabeth Schmidtz, Environment and Sustainability Education Program Supervisor, WA State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
Title: Stormwater Pollution – How Regular Citizens are Making a Difference (Maple Hall – Downstairs)
Description: According to the Washington Department of Ecology, stormwater is the biggest source of toxic pollution entering Puget Sound. Studies show that up to 75% of the toxic chemicals entering the Sound are carried by stormwater draining off impervious surfaces into our waterways via municipal stormwater systems. These pollutants negatively impact the water quality of the Sound causing great harm to its inhabitants, including marine mammals, waterfowl, invertebrates, and fish, including iconic salmon and orcas. This talk is about how Friends of Skagit Beaches, a local nonprofit organization, partnered with the City of Anacortes to engage, organize, train, and equip volunteers to make regular scientific measurements of the stormwater pollutants pouring into our local marine waters. The objective is to significantly augment the meager stormwater monitoring resources of the City of Anacortes freeing them to focus on cleanup and problem resolution.
The talk will include an update on Phase II of the Stormwater Monitoring Program which expands the program to the cities of Edmonds, Mukilteo, and Oak Harbor. A vision of how the program could be expanded to all of Puget Sound is discussed. Participation by the audience is highly encouraged!
At the conclusion of the talk, educators will be provided with resources to develop their own stormwater educational programs, both in the classroom and the field.
Presenters: Tim Gohrke, President and Wayne Huseby, Treasurer, Friends of Skagit Beaches
Title: Nature Sketching Basics (Garden Club)
Description: The source for inspiration is all around you. Take up your pencils and paper and learn to draw from observation. Focus your attention, deepen your ability to remember, build critical thinking skills and ask lots of questions. Invite your personal ideas and perspectives to influence how you draw. And learn how to bring nature Journaling and sketching to your students.
Presenter: Nicolette Harrington, Museum of Northwest Art
Title: Visualizing and Interpreting Data (Maple Hall – Upstairs)
Description: Wondering what to do with the scientific data your students have collected in a field investigation? How to visualize and interpret the data to answer the questions you sought to investigate with your class? This session will present a framework for visualizing and interpreting data to answer a scientific question. We’ll discuss and do hands-on practice of graphing for all grade levels, indoors and outdoors!
Presenters: Sylvia Yang, Research Coordinator, Padilla Bay NERR
Title: Music as a Fun and Effective Tool for Environmental Education (Methodist Church – Upstairs)
Description: Using our voices with confidence as we sing to express ourselves and inspire environmental action. This workshop is excellent for teachers who want to use music and singing as educational elements with their students.
Presenters: Sharon Abreu & Michael Hurwicz, Irthlingz Arts-Based Environmental Education
Title: Pollinator Diversity (Methodist Church – Downstairs)
Description: This presentation will introduce t the diversity of pollinators you can observe near plants and perennials around your homes, yards and gardens as well as on walks in more native habitats. Bob will bring his extensive pollinator collection.
Presenters: Bob Gillespie Skagit Conservation Education Alliance (SCEA) Board President.
2:00 Session 3
Title: Between Two Worlds (Auditorium)
Description: Over the last few years, Between Two Worlds has adjusted to the COVID safety protocols for staff and students alike. Classes changed from outside to inside to hybrid to limited inside and now able to again offer classroom and field trips for La Conner School District high school students. Staff faced questions like “how do we implement traditional Indigenous education through a laptop without losing nuance, traditional values, relationships, and experiences”? Follow along our journey, with the challenges and successes we found teaching a primarily hands-on traditional education through online and remote classes. Staff will also conduct a graphing exercise to practice critical thinking, data analysis, communication, teamwork, and using Indigenous values to plan for the future.
Presenters: Jen Willup and Morgan Brown, Swinomish Tribal Community Department of Environmental Protection
Title: Considering hope and agency in the face of climate anxiety (Methodist Church – Upstairs)
Description: If you are an environmental educator, you’ve likey learned and taught about climate change in a way that paints a dire picture of a future filled with ecological degradation, social injustice, and the end of the world as we know it. As a climate educator, you’ve also likely faced feelings of anxiety, grief and despair related to climate change. These emotional responses are common among educators, activists, and the general public, and especially salient among young people across the globe. In this session, we will acknowledge those emotions while also exploring what it might mean to shift the climate change narrative from one of despair to one of hope, resistance, adaptation, and change. This will be an interactive session with opportunities for self-reflection and discussion.
Presenters: Kate Darby, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Western Washington University
Title: Using real-time ocean data explorations to build climate and data literacy (Garden Club)
Description: Working with authentic data is an extremely valuable means of developing scientific literacy and capacity in students. Hundreds of real-time monitoring instruments – such as buoys, gliders, and deep water sondes – are deployed in the Salish Sea and provide constant flow of authentic ocean data. However, navigating the many data portals and bringing them into the classroom in meaningful ways can be overwhelming. This session will provide an introduction to the use of real-time environmental monitoring data to encourage student-led inquiry in the classroom. We will focus on data available through the National Estuarine Research Reserves System (NERRS) and share activities that engage students in exploration and inquiry using data. These activities are designed to support basic ocean and climate science concepts, such as the relationship between latitude and temperature, coupling of photosynthesis, respiration and dissolved oxygen, and natural and anthropogenic drivers of ocean acidification and pH. Participants in the session will leave with resources to take data into the classroom and begin including real-time data as part of transformative learning experiences in climate science. If you have a laptop or tablet, please bring it along!
Presenter: Dr. Jude Apple, Director, Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Title: Salmon Education – An NGSS Aligned Supplementary Curriculum for Upper Elementary (Methodist Church – Downstairs)
Description: In this interactive presentation, participants will build familiarity with the Students for Salmon curriculum materials developed in a partnership among Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA), WWU’s Science, Math, & Technology Education Program (SMATE), and school districts in Whatcom County. These materials are aligned to the NGSS, utilize the 5E Learning Cycle instructional framework, and provide opportunities for connecting to local watersheds and Indigenous communities. Participants will become familiar with a multi-faceted program led by NSEA staff, focused on getting to know the local watershed and the salmon with whom we share the watershed, along with developing scientific knowledge and environmental stewardship.
Presenters: Nathan Zabel, Education Manager, Mirah Heiderich, Environmental Education Coordinator, Sam Goetze, Environmental Education Coordinator, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association
Title: Foundations for Addressing Climate Change (Maple Hall – Downstairs)
Description: The three “foundations” for solving climate change: 1) pricing carbon to use a market-based approach to level the playing field between fossil fuels and clean energy, 2) the clean energy transition and electrifying the grid and our lives, and 3) democracy in action, the importance of communicating with our elected representatives to communicate our support for climate action and to urge them to support meaningful legislation. We will cover the climate benefits of recent legislation from the infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act and sources of information to help people with their own clean energy and electrification journey.
Presenter: Betty Carteret, Citizens’ Climate Education, Skagit Chapter
Title: Salish Sea Action Pack (Maple Hall – Upstairs)
Description: Join The Salish Sea School in taking our new Salish Sea Action Pack program for a test drive. Our goal is to bring Salish Sea topics to your classroom with a Fast, Fun, and Flexible curriculum, aligned with state standards.
We will be presenting our new Stormwater specific Action Pack, including a fun board game that you could bring into your classroom! We will also be asking educators how we can make this program a great fit for their school and classrooms.
Presenters: Amy Eberling, Elizabeth Drozda, Amanda Colbert, and Tiffany Waldner, The Salish Sea School
3:20 Endnote: Outdoor Education for All (Auditorium)
Description: Our state legislature passed HB 2078 last year to establish the Outdoor Education for All program, which includes $10 million for overnight and multi-day outdoor learning statewide. Learn how this program has rolled out this school year, what to expect from it in the future, and which funds are (potentially) still available.
Presenter: Sheila Wilson, she/her, Program Manager, Outdoor Education, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
4:15 Adjourn and Clean-up
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!