The science curriculum used in public schools addresses a wide variety of environmental issues; however, the growing recognition that stormwater plays a critical role in the health and recovery of the Puget Sound necessitates that this topic be discussed more directly in the classroom.
Recently, the Surface Water Management division (SWM) applied for, and was awarded, a Washington State Department of Ecology Grant of Regional or Statewide Significance to develop a stormwater education curriculum which can be easily folded into science education that is already being taught in Washington state classrooms.
The program, "Storming the Sound with Salmon" will provide local municipalities the opportunity to expand their stormwater education and outreach programs into the public schools within their jurisdictions, create and expand working relationships with school districts and create more opportunities to get the public involved in stormwater related activities.
More specifically, the program will combine stormwater education with the "salmon in the classroom" concept to create an engaging, hands-on, highly visible stormwater education program that schools will be excited about.
The City of Federal Way will coordinate with the Federal Way Public Schools, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Salmon Education Alliance to develop, implement and package this educational program for use throughout the region. An educational display (including an aquarium to raise salmon eggs), classroom curriculum and assessment materials will be developed as the vehicles for integrating stormwater issues and impacts into our student’s environmental education. The program will be designed to be implemented on an annual basis through ongoing collaboration between the jurisdiction(s) and the school district(s).
During the winter of 2012-2013 the City will role out a test program within the Federal Way Public Schools. This test program will be used to assess the effectiveness of the program and make improvements/modifications as necessary. Up to 11 schools in the Federal Way School District will participate in the program development and be supplied with program kits and displays next year.
Surface Water Management is excited about the opportunity to bring stormwater education to one of our most important target audiences in the community. Storming the Sound with Salmon, will help raise environmental awareness and instill the importance of environmental stewardship in today’s schoolchildren.