May 14, 2020
Dear IslandWood Community,
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all of our in-person programs & events are suspended until further notice. We are running our graduate program, teacher professional development, and a handful of community events virtually.
But, discovery never stops. For younger and older, in cities and in suburbs, there is always something new to discover about the world around us.
That’s why we’re excited to share how we’ve been working to adapt existing programs and create new opportunities for discovering, exploring, and learning together. Specifically, we’ve been focused on opportunities to support teachers, our current graduate students, and our community.
While we stay at home, protecting our communities, teachers are still hard at work facilitating learning for kids and families. As a part of the OSPI ClimeTime project, our Urban School Programs Team is developing multiple opportunities to support teachers in this work.
26 teachers from 15 school districts have joined us for our new online teacher professional development course, which will run for four sessions throughout the month. This free course is designed to provide educators with the resources they need to help students engage with science at home in meaningful and locally-relevant ways.
In partnership with Seattle Public Utilities, we are leading a virtual workshop for Seattle teachers on May 20. This free workshop will support teachers in uncovering the often-hidden stormwater systems in Seattle, identifying stormwater phenomena, and sharing best practices in at-home science learning. Teachers will also get the chance to collaborate on ways to explore stormwater phenomena with their students remotely.
We were thrilled to present several workshops at this statewide virtual conference on April 27th and 29th, hosted by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Our workshops focused on using local phenomena found in gardens, schoolyards, and stormwater sites for learning. Click here to learn more!
Supporting Our Community
Though we can’t gather in person, we have been working hard to create fun and informative opportunities for people of all ages to explore, learn, and connect.
Even though our in-person programs are currently on pause, we are still committed to bringing a sense of discovery to our community each and every day. After all, the more we discover about the world around us, the better equipped we are to care for it – and for each other. That’s why we were excited to bring you 50 Days of Discovery! Whether it’s a tip, a fact, an activity, or another opportunity to explore, each day will bring something new!
Typically one of our most highly-anticipated events of the year, we couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the world of Amorous Amphibians with you – even from afar! Check out this video presentation from IslandWood naturalist Christina Doherty to learn more about native frogs, their calls, and habits. Then, discover how you can find breeding frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and their eggs in your backyard or nearby frog-filled wetland, pond, or puddle.
We’re excited to announce our new series, Phenology Friday! Each week, one of IslandWood’s educators will be sharing a phenological highlight – an example of seasonal change that they are noticing in the natural world. Watch the video of their explorations and then share your own observations with us using #PhenologyFriday!
Our Bainbridge Island campus may be quieter than usual, but it’s far from empty. Check out this video to see 13 species (spotted on our fixed forest cameras) who have been roaming our woods over the past few weeks!
We were thrilled to partner with the Bainbridge Island Land Trust to bring the annual City Nature Challenge bioblitz to Kitsap County for the first time! Over 100 participants made 808 observations of 300+ species over the four-day challenge! These observations help scientists understand the incredible biodiversity of our region. In the coming year, we hope to host additional iNaturalist workshops in preparation for next year’s City Nature Challenge bioblitz!
Supporting Our Graduate Students
We have been busy transforming our graduate program to be entirely online for spring quarter. In collaboration with our partner, the University of Washington, our faculty and staff have developed alternative methods of learning that still honor our goals and values. Weekly community Zoom check-ins have been helping keep our cohort connected!
Meanwhile, our Class of 2021 is starting to fill up, and we look forward to welcoming an exceptional group of students to our program in the fall! Want to learn more about the graduate program? Join us for an online information session on June 17!
Now, more than ever, we need your help to keep us strong. If you’re able, please consider giving to IslandWood today. Thanks to a generous donor, from now through May 31st, gifts over $100 will be doubled and gifts over $1,000 will be tripled, making your impact even larger!
We continue to closely monitor the evolving situation and will announce any further changes to our programs as they happen. Please contact us via email at [email protected] with any questions or concerns. Responses may take longer than usual, but we are checking! Also, stay in the loop by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. In this challenging time, community is more important than ever, and we are so grateful to be a part of yours.