Salish Sea Expeditions Programs
Sea Investigators offers students and their teachers a 3-5 day research expeditions aboard a 61' sailing research vessel. Students are engaged in all aspects of their trip, from developing a scientific prediction to designing a research plan and selecting and preparing meals. On board the students learn to deploy research equipment and collect and analyze data, as well as to sail and navigate the boat. Students alternate sleeping on board the vessel and camping in local marine state parks.
Sound and Source combines our Sea Investigators program with a follow-on, in-depth research project in a local watershed. Upon completion of the sailing research expedition, students repeat the cycle of inquiry by studying their local watersheds (the "source" of water running to Puget Sound). The watershed research project can engage students who did not participate in the boat trip, and strengthens the learning experience for boat-going students who can now serve as mentors for their peers.
Salish offers two unique vehicles for young student scientists to share their research. The Salish Sea Student Science Symposium provides the only public forum in the region featuring the scientific work of 5th to 12th graders. The young scientists present their research to peers and professional scientists. The Journal of Student Research on Puget Sound is an online compendium of student research papers and presentations; the reports are reviewed by a volunteer team of professional scientists.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Salish was one of five inaugural PNW recipients under NOAA's Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant program. With these funds we launched Sound & Source, combining our successful boat-based program with an onshore watershed research project and engaging over 450 students in its first year. In conjunction, we launched the Salish Sea Student Science Symposium; over 70 students from 11 research teams came together with teachers and professional scientists to share their findings.
At Salish, we turn science from a noun to a verb, engaging students in the process of inquiry and investigation, analysis and problem-solving. By committing to serve primarily public school students (75%) and further ensuring that 25% of schools are traditionally underserved, we believe that we are opening up career doors and stewardship perspectives to all youth. Through generous public, foundation and corporate support we can continue to offer these programs to a diverse group of students.