Advocating for All of Washington's Children

Advocating for All of Washington’s Children

In February, the Washington Outdoor School Coalition held their annual retreat at IslandWood. This powerhouse group of outdoor and environmental education organizations has been hard at work advocating to ensure ALL Washington children have access to meaningful outdoor learning experiences.


In the 2022 legislative session, the group successfully advocated for historic legislation that established a statewide Outdoor School program for Washington’s children. While this was cause for a huge celebration, the work is not yet done.


Last year the WA legislature directed up to $10 million to school districts to send students to outdoor schools like IslandWood. But for all of Washington’s 5th graders to attend outdoor school would require an estimated $50 million per year.


The benefits of outdoor school are numerous and clear, yet currently most BIPOC and low-income students lack access to these programs.


And that’s what the Washington Outdoor School Coalition members are working on now – advocating to fully fund outdoor school experiences for every child in the state.


Thank you to everyone, and to all our elected officials, who join us in supporting and fighting for these essential experiences for our state’s children. As Governor Inslee said last year, “I appreciate the legislature’s support for expanding outdoor schools in WA state. This is an important opportunity for our kids to experience quality instructional time outdoors, and it may even inspire them to pursue exciting careers in earth science and land management, which will help prepare our state for the challenges of climate change.”


(Back L-R) Cortney Suderman, Outdoor Schools WA; John Hayes, Mount Rainier Institute; Jami Ostby Marsh, West Valley Outdoor Learning Center; John Haskin retired VP of Education, IslandWood; Catherine Endicott, North Cascades Institute; Chase Buffington, Cispus Learning Center; Jef Nobbe, Camp Solomon Schechter; Talia Schmitt, IslandWood; Jackie Jeambey, Waskowitz Outdoor Education Center; Greg Barker, WA School Principals’ Education Foundation; Ray Yurkewycz, Mount St. Helens Institute; Shelley Barker, Outdoor Schools WA; Roberta McFarland, Association of WA School Principals; Jeff Giesen, North Cascades Insitute; Meredith von Trapp, Waskowitz Outdoor Education Center; Sonja Rosas, Cispus Learning Center; Scott Gjertson, YMCA Camp Seymour; (Front L-R) Canuche Tarrenella, Wenatchee River Institute; Jen Kidder, Nature Bridge; Jenny Huntley, Sound Experience; Megan Karch, IslandWood; Robin Dein, Campfire Central Puget Sound; and Avari Tawater-Tiedemann, Campfire Central Puget Sound


If you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the know about blog posts, news, and events!

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *