Following are examples of the wonderful organizations and their projects that WFFE helps to fund and has supported for many years.
Wenatchee River Institute (2017)
WFFE grant money helped the Wenatchee River Institute realize its goal of reaching more families in North Central Washington. Saturday, May 20th, 2017, was Family Discovery Day which took place at Barn Beach Reserve in the center of Leavenworth, WA. The day’s goal was to provide a free, family-friendly way to explore Bird Fest and connect with nature. Fostering connectivity and inspiring interest will hopefully translate into increased awareness and a desire to conserve, protect, and share. The event was a great success with over 300 attendees throughout the day and 20 vendors and exhibitors- all at no cost to families!
Grant money from WFFE enabled WRI to: (1) create a children’s activity booklet used to explore nature and educate on a variety of ecological items; (2) create signage, birding checklists, and maps for the eBird Citizen Science route; (3) offer music; and (4) provide a Leave No Trace snack wagon and take-home Leave No Trace cards in English and Spanish, as well as a bi-lingual migration activity for families.
Pacific Education Institute (PEI)(2017)
In 2017, WFFE funding helped PEI offer a “train the trainer” event, during which participants were taught how to facilitate their own Project Learning Tree (PLT), Project WET, and Project WILD curriculum workshops. The training was attended by over 30 educators from all over Washington State. These educators represented a variety of organizations such as: Wenatchee River Institute, Sound Salmon Solutions, National Park Service, conservation districts, and city park districts. The newly trained workshop facilitators will continue building the ever-growing network of educators prepared to deliver PLT, WET, and WILD workshops and materials to communities around the state. When considering how many more educators these new facilitators will train, and the students they will ultimately reach, it is truly inspiring.
North Cascade Institute (NCI)(2016)
North Cascade Institute used its WFFE grant to sponsor a Youth Leadership Summit. More than 100 diverse youth participated in a one-day event at the Mountaineers in Seattle on October 22, 2016. Students connected with peers, mentors, and resources to help them on their path to becoming the next generation of environmentally informed young leaders. The purpose of the summit was for youth to: (1) reconnect and reinforce experiences they had during summer outdoor leadership courses; (2) enhance their leadership, communication, and group cooperation skills; (3) meet and connect with other students, partners, supporters, and regional service organizations; and (4) set goals regarding future opportunities to engage, including service, jobs, internships, college, and summer programs.
Highlights from the 2016 summit student evaluations include the following quotes:
“The Opportunity Fair was exactly what I hoped it would be. I made lots of connections and found lots of ways to stay involved.”
“The experience was regenerative for me. Sometimes you forget your own strengths, and it is within times like these that you see just how capable you are.”
“I left the summit with all my questions answered and a plan for future employment with one of the organizations represented there.”
Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group (HCSEG)(2016)
In June, 2016, with the aid of WFFE funding, the HCSEG sponsored a GreenSTEM Summit. The conference brought together 240 students from school districts in Mason, Kitsap, and Jefferson Counties to engage them in field-based learning and share projects that students had worked on throughout the year. Topics ranged from ocean acidification to sustainable agriculture. This annual event held at the Salmon Center helps make an impact on the local community and helps to form the next generation of environmental stewards.
Sierra Club (2016)
In 2016, with help from WFFE funding, the Sierra Club was able to continue its mission of ensuring that low-income Seattle youth have the opportunity to explore nature and experience wilderness first-hand. WFFE grant money assisted the “Inspiring Connections Outdoors” program with transportation, appropriate gear, permits, and healthy food for several trips. In 2016, the focus was on trail maintenance and back-packing trips to the Olympic Peninsula.
Capitol Land Trust (CLT)(2016)
In 2016, WFFE sponsored CLT’s “Outdoor Exploration Series” in which community members were invited to 10 outings in Thurston and Mason Counties covering a range of habitats (and topics) across South Puget Sound and the Black River Watersheds. The fieldtrip destinations represented some of the 5,500+ acres protected by Capitol Land Trust and gave participants a better understanding of the importance of CLT’s work in preserving natural areas as well as ideas for taking personal stewardship action. Fieldtrips included a birding trip to Twin Rivers Ranch, a Kayak tour of Eld Inlet, a tour of the Henderson Inlet shellfish farm, and seven other excursions involving several hundred people.
The Mountaineers (2016)
In 2016, A WFFE grant helped the Mountaineers distribute their booklet, The Sasquatch Seekers Field Manual, which describes local lore as well as 17 hikes in the Pacific NW where one might “encounter Sasquatch.” In addition, it lays out a rigorous protocol for citizen science activities including, how to interpret footprints, collect scat, interview eye-witnesses, keep a meticulous field journal, and more. WFFE funding helped launch a campaign to let educators receive a copy of the guide and then enter a contest by submitting their curriculum ideas for integrating the guide into their classroom studies. Curriculum ideas will be posted online.
The Sasquatch Seeker’s Field Manual is using the iconic Sasquatch to design a contest-driven curricula for citizen science.
Cascade Forest Conservancy (CFC)(2016)
In 2016 WFFE funds aided CFC with 3 new volunteer stewardship projects which included revegetation in post-fire areas of Mr. Adams, meadow restoration, and GPS mapping of old growth forests. Volunteers helped to reseed 85 acres of burned area, reclaim 48 acres of meadow habitat, and map areas at risk of fire, insect damage, and disease in old growth forests.
Friends of the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge (FNWR)(2015)
In the spring of 2015, 650 students participated in the “Eye on Nature” program during a classroom presentation and a visit to the Billie Frank Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge where they took part in citizen science activities. Funding from WFFE paid for transportation for 4 classes. Trained guides worked with small groups of students to collect and upload data on eBird, where, over the spring visits, students identified and recorded 94 species. One student remarked: “I feel like this is the most important thing I’ve done in school all year,” and another: “This place should be protected forever!”
Bellingham School District (2015)
In 2015, WFFE supported the Bellingham School District’s Salish Sea Experience. In June, 27 classes of fourth graders boarded a WA State ferry, their destination being Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan Island. There they explored the rocky coast, learned all about Orca whales and whale identification from guest experts, and took part in whale watching. A number of schools saw Orcas, and one saw a humpback. The trip pulled together weeks of classroom studies and included a strong component on stewardship actions for students and their families to embrace.
The organizations below have received grants from The Washington Foundation for the Environment. An important aspect of our work involves environmental issue slams which are held each year on Earth Day.
546 fourth graders from the Bellingham School District traveled to San Juan Island to learn about Salish Sea ecology, particularly how our daily actions impact the health of Orca whales and other sea creatures. The field trip, co-sponsored by WFFE, included the trip on Washington State Ferries, presentations on Orcas, tide pool explorations and whale-watching at Lime Kiln State Park.
Cascade Forest Conservancy (2015) used WFFE funding to carry out its invasive species hikes in 2015. These hikes are part of their EDRR- early detection rapid response- of forest managers and conservation groups addressing the negative impacts of invasive plants on native plant populations. The GPTF also developed its field data collection system used to gather and store data and photographs in the field using I pads. This grant dovetails well with related invasive plant work undertaken by the Pacific Northwest Invasive Plant Council (PNW IPC). WFFE funded the Council’s broader work to expand training.
In 2015, the PNW IPC partnered with 25 organizations and led 10 free invasive plant trainings to the public. Two hundred and ninety seven people attended trainings and 120 new volunteers were recruited. Volunteers contributed over 2,000 hours of service documenting and eradicating invasive plant species from national forests and other public lands in Washington and Oregon State. Volunteers conducted 178 surveys and over half of the surveys documented priority invasive plants. Volunteers surveyed 576 miles of hiking trails and surveying 1,768 acres of public land. PNW IPC volunteers and partner organizations led 21 organized group hikes to monitor and eradicate invasive plants that drew 84 participants.
The Science and Math Institute (2015) part of Tacoma Public Schools, used WFFE funding to build a submersible to survey biodiversity on creosote pilings vs. concrete pilings. The students are analyzing the effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which are found in creosote. PAHs are implicated in a wide range of adverse effects on fish. The Institute students also visited Mason Middle School and led a workshop focusing on the effect of robots and submersibles generally and more specifically, in relation to their project.
Friends of Nisqually Wildlife Refuge (2015) was able to transport four classes, or 100 students, to participate in the Eye on Nature Program due to WFFE funding. Eye on Nature is a partnership between the Refuge, the Friends of Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, The Chehalis Basin Education Consortium and the Nisqually Reach Nature Center. This program serves a particularly important role as it supports and serves underserved populations of students. The students took part of citizen science activities on site. One student remarked “I want to live at this Refuge.”
In 2015, WFFE was also happy to support the Wenatchee River Institute which delivered a two day training called Flying WILD. This nationally renowned curriculum contextually links birds with topics in biology, language arts, science and math. This contextual approach creates greater resonance of the importance of birds as an indicator and enriches analytical skills and approaches to problem solving.
We supported a physical Kiosk for the West Hills STEM Academy in Kitsap County (2015). The kiosk will display student work created in Scientific Illustration class, Graphic Design class and the SUCCESS program. Physical objects like kiosks are effective, free-standing interpretive tools for visitors, acting as a permanent docent to explain what people are experiencing and seeing.
The North Cascades Institute (2015) was also funded to help bring to fruition its 2015 Youth Leadership Summit. The goals of the conference were to help students:
– Reconnect and reinforce their experiences in the backcountry
– Enhance their leadership, communication and group cooperation skills
– Meet and connect with other students, partners, supporters and regional service organizations
– Find opportunities to engage through service, jobs, internships, college and summer programs
– Create an Action Plan to continue engaging with service, leadership and/or the outdoors
– Make plans to fulfill service learning or senior project graduation requirements
– Connect with mentors who can help them fulfill their goals
These are students who are typically underrepresented in outdoor education.
The Pacific Biodiversity Institute engaged in a conservation leadership course which strengthened formal education with experiential field work.
WFFE’s Fabulous Grantees
Academy Schools (Tukwila)
Adults for Lil Sprouts
Bainbridge Island High School
Bellingham Public Schools
Capitol Land Trust
Cascades Carnivore Project
Cascade Forest Conservancy
Chimacum Middle School
Columbia Gorge Institute
Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition
Environmental Education Association of Washington
Environmental Science Center (Burien)
Fauntleroy Watershed Council
Franklin Conservation District
Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery
Friends of Nisqually
Friends of Pierce County
Friends of Skagit County
Garfield High School
Hazan High School
Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group
Hood Canal Watershed Project
I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition
Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources
Kent Parks Foundation
Kittitas Environmental Education Network
Project: Get Intimate with the Shrub Steppe
Kittitas Environmental Education Network
P.O. Box 687
Ellensburg WA 98926
Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
North Cascades Institute
North Central Audubon Society
Northshore School District
Northwest Natural Resource Group
Olympia High School
Pacific Education Institute
Pacific NW Invasive Plant Council
Partnership School for the Sciences
People for Puget Sound
Project Seawolf Coastal Protection
RE Sources for Sustainable Communities
Restore America’s Estuaries
Salish Sea Expeditions
Sammamish High School
Save Habitat and Diversity of Wetlands
Seattle Audubon Society
Project: Finding Urban Nature
Skagit Conservation Education Alliance
Snoqualmie Valley Farm Stewardship Program
South Sound Estuary Association
South Sound Green
Spokane Parks and Recreation Department
Project: Reforest Spokane
Spokane River Forum
Tacoma Public Schools
The Lands Council
The Whale Trail
United Way of Pierce County
Vancouver Watersheds Alliance
Washington Green Schools
Wenatchee River Institute
West Hills STEM Academy
YMCA Earth Corps