Ryan, a Pre-K Student at Rising Star Elementary, with a Science Showcase poster.

Between 2021 and 2023, IslandWood, through ClimeTime funding, has acted as a responsive thinking partner to assist Rising Star Elementary School staff in achieving their academic goals including teaching district-required science curriculum and fostering literacy development in early grades.


The goal of the partnership has been to foster community-centered environmental stewardship in a neighborhood historically furthest from environmental justice due to its close location to Boeing Field/King County International’s airport, the Duwamish River, and the I5 highway. IslandWood has provided ongoing STEM training, curricular support across grades, and mini environmental education action project support to more than sixty Rising Star Elementary staff members.


Our partnership culminated in a recent Science Showcase and celebration where teachers from all grades at Rising Star shared student work originating from ongoing place-based science projects in the schoolyard. Two hundred teachers, students, and families recently attended the Science Poster Showcase to participate in student-led tours of the greenspace, as well as view a slideshow of this year’s “Photography in the Wetland” workshop with Rising Star’s nature club students.


Grade-level posters shared some of what the students have been doing this year, including:

                      • Weekly wonder walks and playful phenomena-based investigations (PreK)
                      • Planting for pollinators and designing student-led vegetable gardens (Kindergarten + Third Grades)
                      • Creating science-based Haiku poems connected to planting, observing, and taking care of native seeds that also honor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (Second Grade)
                      • Learning about soil and rocks in the greenspace and local water quality at the Duwamish River (Fourth Grade)


It was really inspiring to be out in the green space as students of all ages brought their families to see what they had done and what they had learned. I saw many a proud preschooler showing their family members the poster their class had created with pictures of students in the greenspace and then lead their family outside to share their favorite places.” – Brad Street, IslandWood Senior Manager of Professional Development


This partnership would not have been possible without the dedication of Rising Star’s leadership to foster community-centered environmental stewardship. Students had the opportunity to see how classroom learning connected to their local places and to foster sustainable change in the community through science learning and student-led environmental action.


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