Thanks to North Olympic Salmon Coalition’s Real Learning Real Work curriculum, 7th and 8th grade students from Clallam Bay School got to design and implement their own salmon habitat restoration projects at the Pysht River Conservation Area over the course of the 2023 school year.
The Real Learn Real Work program helps students build science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills through a series of in-classroom lessons and experiential field trips to restoration sites. Back in December, these students took their initial field trip out to the Land Trust’s Pysht River Conservation Area to assess the quality of the river for salmon and define an engineering problem.
After creating their own restoration plans in the classroom with the data that they gathered on their December outing, students returned to their restoration plots at the Conservation Area and had a chance to implement the solutions they came up with. Students planted native trees and shrubs in the floodplain area alongside the river to enhance the habitat for salmon.
Students returned to their restoration plots in June to see how things were going. Only two plants from the initial planting had died, and they chose to supplement it by adding ten additional plants. The grasses, which had been dormant on their previous field trips, had grown quite tall. Students cut back the grasses and invasive blackberry around their plots to help make room for their plants to grow.
Through the program, these students practiced leadership and decision making skills as they worked together to put their own restoration plans for a salmon-bearing river into action right in their own community. Thank you to North Olympic Salmon Coalition for facilitating these education opportunities and to the students for all of their hard work!