Scholars Build Personal Connections and Environmental Stewardship for the Local Environment

As part of the annual Storming the Sound with Salmon program, a partnership between the City of Federal Way and Federal Way Public Schools, approximately 1,200 scholars from first through eighth grade had the opportunity to learn up-close about the salmon lifecycle and local habitats at West Hylebos Wetlands Park during field trips held on April 29, 30, May 1 and 2. This program, which is in its seventh year, provides Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) scholars with hands-on, science-based learning around sustainability, storm water education, and how to protect our environment from the impacts of storm water pollution.

Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell shared, “I think the content they’re learning is much more engaging when they learn the science and see how it applies in their local environment. Scholars may also choose to have careers in this area, and they’re starting to experience and explore these careers early on.”

At the event, scholars participated in different activities including a nature walk, touring historical cabins, and learning about animal adaptations. Students were most excited for the salmon release station, where each scholar released one salmon fry into Hylebos Creek.

“My favorite activity was the salmon release. Salmon are a keystone species in life and if they die, a lot of other things will die as well. The rivers will not have nutrients, trees would not have nutrients and orcas especially would not get the salmon, ” shared one sixth-grade scholar from Sacajawea Middle School.

This year, 32 out of 37 school sites participated in the program with 25 schools represented at the salmon release event. Throughout the school year, scholars have been monitoring salmon eggs in tanks at their school to learn about the lifecycle of salmon, the impacts of surface water pollution and how to prevent it. These release activities are the culmination of the Storming the Sound with Salmon program and provide opportunities for scholars to build personal connections and learn about environmental stewardship.

Katherine Straus, the Surface Water Public Education and Outreach Coordinator for the City of Federal Way shared, “The City is proud of our partnership with Federal Way Public Schools and the work we’ve done to expand and improve upon the Storming the Sound with Salmon program year after year. This event is so special because it brings to life the connections between salmon, stormwater, and the impact of our everyday actions in Federal Way. We hope students leave inspired to think critically about the role they play in protecting salmon and preventing stormwater pollution.”

Thank you to the following organizations for contributing to Storming the Sound:
• King County Wastewater Treatment
• Puget Sound Energy

Presenting Organizations:
• City of Federal Way
• The Orca Conservancy
• Lakehaven Water and Sewer District
• Federal Way Historical Society
• MaST Center
• Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
• Puget Sound WildCare
• Long Live The Kings
• SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve
• PowellsWood
• EarthCorps
• Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center

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