At Clark County Green Schools, our staff are part of the Clark County Nature Network, a group of local organizations that work to get kids and families outdoors and embracing sustainability at school and at home. The information was written by Ashley King, StreamTeam Program Coordinator at Clark Public Utilities where she coordinates volunteers and plans volunteer and outreach events for the environmental restoration program. She is also a member of the Clark County Nature Network where she works alongside members of Clark County Green Schools.
You may have heard about any of a number recent studies showing that contact with nature is essential to children's health, happiness and emotional well-being. It can improve self-esteem, concentration, creativity and combat obesity. Yet, you've also probably noticed that today's children are spending more and more of their time connected to smartphones and tablets and not going outside and exploring nature like you may have done at that age.
StreamTeam is working to reverse that trend. Through its school planting program, children experience nature via hands-on stream restoration and monitoring activities in local habitats. Not only do the field trips get kids outside learning and having fun, but they actively improve both water and air quality.
Students have the opportunity to participate in multiple stages of the restoration process, including plant propagation in our outdoor nursery, native tree planting at one of our streamside projects, and water quality and wildlife monitoring. We typically include a lesson on salmon habitat needs and how the trees planted by students help improve it, but this can be tailored to fit your class's needs.
The Battle Ground Public School students of River HomeLink teacher Susan Remmen have participated in both tree planting and tree potting events for several years.
"My students have benefited from participating in this real-life service project which gives them an opportunity for civic engagement through working to improve their local stream habitat. Students asked if they could do it again."Susan Remmen
River Homelink teacher
School plantings and pottings are typically held on weekdays November – February, but we also have Saturday volunteer events that are open to the public. You can sign up for the Saturday events on our website, www.StreamTeam.net.
If you want to get your classroom involved in a weekday restoration event, contact StreamTeam Program Coordinator Ashley King at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-992-8585. StreamTeam is a volunteer-based stream restoration and environmental education program of Clark Public Utilities working in the Salmon Creek and East Fork of the Lewis River watersheds.