Olympia Park Parks Stewardship

The Park Stewardship Program hosts weekly, year-round volunteer work parties, family-friendly events, and environmental education programming designed around specific ages, curriculum, or interest. Our staff works primarily in City of Olympia parks, schools, and neighborhoods. Our mission is to help create meaningful experiences, particularly in parks.

Sample Activities

  • Junior Ranger Adventures
  • Earth Day Event
  • National Trails Day
  • Outreach at Arts Walk and other City events/festivals

Volunteer Opportunities:

Park Stewardship hosts weekly volunteer work parties all year. Our work parties are on our website. To inquire about planning a customized volunteer work party for your neighborhood, organization or school, please call 360.753.8365 or email us at . Depending on the season, the work parties revolve around habitat restoration, trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, and beautification projects.

City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation
Jennifer Gessley Gayman
Email
Phone
Website

Taylor Shellfish Farms

Shellfish farming has a long history in Puget Sound; in Washington it pre-dates statehood. Learn how shellfish are farmed in Puget Sound, and what happens to them once they are harvested. Field trips and tours can take place at the main headquarters/processing plant in Shelton, shellfish hatchery in Quilcene (Hood Canal), or a variety of farms throughout South Puget Sound.

Tours are customized based on the needs of different groups and can include topics such as: biology, history, environment, economy, water quality, current events, culinary uses, habitat, etc. Programs can be adapted to any grade level. 

Taylor Shellfish is a 5th generation family company based out of Shelton, WA with farms throughout the state. Shellfish produced in Puget Sound include manila clams, a variety of oyster species, geoduck and mussels. Tours, field trips and classroom visits are available free of charge on a first come, first served basis.

Contact:
Jennifer Whipple
(360) 481-2417
jenniferw@taylorshellfish.com

 

Thurston Climate Action Team

Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT), founded in 2009, is the leading grassroots nonprofit in Thurston County promoting practical action to address the climate crisis. Our mission is to bring our community together to reduce climate disruption, resulting in a healthy, just, and prosperous future for all.

Exhibits
TCAT has a traveling exhibit that describes the climate crisis, its effects in Thurston County, and local actions being taken to address it. This is suitable for community or learning events. Contact us if you’d like to include our exhibit and related literature in one of your upcoming events.

 Educational Programs
TCAT uses a two-pronged strategy to educate the community and drive change in Thurston County.

First, through our Carbon Free Thurston (CFT) initiative we were a leader in bringing the Cities of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater, along with the Thurston County Commissioners, together to engage in joint, coordinated climate mitigation planning. TCAT has continued involvement by participating in and/or attending committee meetings, providing expert input and public testimony, keeping the broader environmental community updated and informed about opportunities to impact the process, and meeting individually with the jurisdictions to address concerns and motivate early action.

Our second key strategy is to raise community awareness and build a community consensus for bold climate action through outreach, education, coordination, and action groups. This includes:

  • Bi-monthly convening of the Thurston Climate Action Coordinating Council composed of over 20 entities working on climate issues in our region to share information, leverage resources, and coordinate activities;
  • Education and outreach events including an annual conference and monthly workshops;
  • Coordination of Climate Action Groups focused on taking concrete action around specific topics, including Advocacy (Carbon Free Thurston), Energy, Food & Agriculture, Green Buildings & Cities, Transportation, Trees, Youth Education Community Outreach (YECO), 90-Day Action Teams; and
  • Maintenance of a Speakers Bureau, with speakers who give presentations about a range of climate-related topics.

Each of these activities is an opportunity for organizations and ordinary residents to learn about climate change-related issues and actively engage as part of the solution.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
Sign up to volunteer and subscribe to our e-newsletter under the “Engage” tab of our website:

  • Volunteer with TCAT to help with Event Planning, Public Outreach, Local Government, Fundraising, Writing Articles, Legislative Hearings, Database Management, Website Updates, Graphic Design.
  • Join one of our Climate Action Groups, which are focused on taking concrete action around specific topics.

Contact
Thurston Climate Action Team
Lynn Fitz-Hugh
(206) 713-0497
Email
Website

Thurston County Public Health

We provide workshops, presentations, and on-site trainings for residents, businesses, and groups on environmental health topics.

Educational Programs
The Education and Outreach Program is available for presentations to your workgroup, classroom, or community group. Talks can be tailored to your timeframe and audience.

Topics we offer for adult audiences:

  • Protect Kids from Toxins — Children have more exposure and are more sensitive to common toxins such as solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals found around our homes and yards. Learn basic, low-cost steps you can take to protect children from toxins, so they can reach their fullest potential. Presentations can be geared to childcare staff (Stars credit is available) or parents.
  • Common Sense Gardening — How to make your garden thrive without using chemical products; how to use integrated pest management to control weeds and pests in your yard, garden, and lawn.
  • Household Hazardous Waste 101 — How to read labels and choose safer products for your household. Can include making a multi-purpose “green” cleaner to bring home.

Topics we offer students:

  • Get Out of My Hair: Toxins in Personal Care — grades 6-adults Learn about health concerns, how to read labels, helpful websites, and safer alternatives. Students will make an all-natural lip balm to take home, to remind them they can keep looking and smelling good without toxic products!
  • Hazards on the Homefront — grades 6-12 Learn how to read product labels for toxicity levels and proper use, storage, and disposal of household products. A fast-paced bingo game teaches students about alternative products and an experiment comparing cleaners lets students determine first-hand whether less-toxic products are effective!
  • Used Oil Recycling — grades 9-12 Recycling used motor oil is one way that drivers can maintain their cars, as well as protect the environment. Information on transportation alternatives, as well as carpooling, trip reduction, and hazardous materials disposal is presented in an interactive 35-minute presentation.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities

Volunteer and internship opportunities are available and can be custom-tailored.

Email
Phone: 360-867-2674
Website

The Nisqually River Education Project

Nisqually River Education Project offers hands-on environmental service-learning to students grades 4-12. Schools in Thurston County, North Thurston Public Schools, Wa He Lut Indian School, and Yelm Community Schools may be eligible for participation.

We offer:

  • Bi-annual water quality monitoring field trips.
  • Eye on Nature field trips to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Habitat restoration work-revegetation, invasive species removal, salmon carcass tossing, etc.
  • Annual Student Congress with 400 students from 40+ schools around South Puget Sound to analyze watershed health and learn new skills.
  • Annual Summer Teachers Institute with clock hours, stipends, curriculum resources and networking with community professionals.
  • Logistical support for community service and education outreach projects.
  • Ongoing teacher training and resource sharing.
  • Funding for field trips and water quality monitoring equipment.

Contact:

Sheila Wilson
360-561 0203
sheila@nisquallyriver.org

Website
Facebook Page

NW Eco Building Guild

The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is a community of builders, designers, suppliers, homeowners, and partners concerned with ecological building in the Pacific Northwest. The Guild empowers people through education to transform the built environment for long-term sustainability. There is an Olympia Chapter.

Our Mission is to support through education the progressive work of our members in the Pacific Northwest in order to improve the relationship between our communities and our built environment.

We provide open-source educational materials to the construction industry and the general public in order to encourage building practices that dramatically reduce carbon emissions, are self-sustaining, contribute to local economies, and create optimal conditions for human health and community. We consider the needs of the seventh generation in all that we do and encourage inclusive discourse to that end.

There are many member benefits including monthly events, education and training, Green Pages listing, website exposure, annual EcoBuilding Conference, and community involvement.

Contact
NW Eco Building Guild
Website
Email

Master Recycler Composter Volunteers

The Master Recycler Composters of Thurston County is a volunteer service program. Master Recycler Composter (MRC) volunteers are trained on how to reduce waste and increase public awareness of opportunities to prevent waste, recycle and compost in Thurston County.

Course graduates agree to give a minimum of 25 hours of yearly service as they put their new skills to use. They work with local organizations, community members, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, or at special events encouraging waste prevention, recycling and composting. MRC’s can design their own projects or work existing ones. On-going continuing education opportunities are provided.

Contact
Master Recycler Composter Volunteer
Cori Carlton, Program Coordinator
Email
360-867-2162
http://ext100.wsu.edu/thurston/mc/

Thurston County Stream Team

If you enjoy rushing streams, clean air, the smell of rich soil on your hands and the camaraderie of other people who like to make a difference, then get involved with Stream Team!

Stream Team offers a fun and rewarding way to protect and improve local streams, rivers and Puget Sound. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds can get involved. Love the outdoors? Join us at tree plantings or stream-bug monitoring sessions. Are you a bird watcher? Build a bird nest box, attend a shorebird field trip or help monitor purple martin nest boxes. If you enjoy talking with other people, you might want to become a Salmon Steward. Or perhaps you’d just like to attend workshops and learn more about what you can do to protect our water resources. Stream Team welcomes any level of involvement you choose to take.

Stream Team events are free and open to everyone. You can participate individually, or bring your family, friends or members of your community group.

Stream Team Website
Facebook Page

 

In Lacey Contact:
Emily Watts
ewatts@ci.lacey.wa.us or (360) 438-2687

 

In Olympia Contact:
Michelle Stevie
mstevie@ci.olympia.wa.us or (360) 753-8336

 

In Tumwater Contact:
Meridith Greer
mgreer@ci.tumwater.wa.us or (360) 754-4148

 

In Thurston County Contact:
Anne Marie Pearce
pearcea@co.thurston.wa.us or (360)754-3355 ext. 6857

Thurston County Solid Waste

Thurston County Solid Waste – Your waste prevention and recycling resource!  We provide a wide variety of programs, resources, information, and technical assistance.

Youth Programs

  • Classroom presentations
  • Food to Flowers school composting program
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (RRR) Patch for scouts and other youth groups
  • Presentations to after-school programs, groups, and camps.

Volunteer Program 

Do you have a passion for recycling, composting, and waste prevention? If so, then apply to become a Thurston County Master Recycler Composter (MRC) volunteer! MRC volunteers are trained over a five week period on how to reduce waste and increase public awareness of opportunities to recycle and compost in Thurston County.

Community Outreach 

From the Waste Less Food campaign to the Where Do I Take My…? website, there are a number of community education programs and resources to help Thurston County residents reduce waste. Visit the website for more information.

Thurston County Solid Waste
(360) 867-2280
Email
Website

Pacific Education Institute

Our mission is to advance science literacy and deepen student engagement by empowering educators to teach real-world science outdoors. PEI values equity, integrity, stewardship, authenticity, and creativity while offering formal and nonformal educators professional development, mentorship and resources to engage students in locally-relevant, career connected and field based learning.

 Educational Programs

  • FieldSTEM – Integrated model to support student learning in locally relevant, career- connected field-based learning experiences.
  • ClimeTime – Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines (SOLS) to support climate science learning for K-12 students.
  • Educator workshops – A variety of workshops for formal and nonformal educators including FieldSTEM Notebooks, Schoolyard Investigations, Field Design, Project Learning Tree, Project Wild and Climate Science Storylines.
  • Teaching resources – A variety of guides, lessons and resources to support formal and nonformal educators with science, outdoor learning, career connected learning and integration of content areas.

 Volunteer & Internship Opportunities

  • Nonprofit Exploratory Internship – Unpaid or State Work Study
  • Environmental Education Internship – Unpaid or State Work Study

Contact
Pacific Education Institute
(360-705-9291)
Email
Website
Facebook

Earth Gen

Schools across Washington are working together to make their communities greener and healthier.

Formerly known as Washington Green Schools, Earth Gen provides schools with the support and resources to empower the next generation of environmental leaders. Through our programs, students can certify their schools, learn important 21st century skills, and conserve resources. Washington Green Schools wants your school to meet its education and resource conservation goals. We ensure this through:

  • Classroom Resources – lesson plans, curriculum enhancements, and educator guides
  • Hands-On Support – our staff is always available to answer questions or provide consultation
  • Trainings and Workshops – we host trainings throughout the year to prepare educators and schools for a successful certification process
  • Recognition – when you certify, we present an awards ceremony at your school, create press releases, and share your success story with our statewide network

Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT)

The Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT) is dedicated to educating the community about dam removal and estuary restoration. The mission is to foster broad participation in estuary restoration by a community that understands and appreciates the beauty and value of the environment.

In addition to tabling at events, giving presentations or writing for the newsletter and social media, volunteers will also have the opportunity to use their creative abilities to come up with new education projects and programs to improve the health of the Deschutes watershed.

Contact
Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT)
Email
DERT Website
DERT Facebook Page

Sound Experience

Sound Experience is a Puget Sound-based environmental and youth leadership organization that uniquely delivers its programs aboard the 133′ historic wooden schooner Adventuress. we reach more than 4,000 young people and adults each year, inspiring in them a greater understanding of the complexity of our marine ecological systems and stronger commitment to the stewardship of our waters. Aboard Adventuress, on day or overnight programs, participants experience the majesty and vulnerability of Puget Sound – and why the future of our marine environment matters to all of us.

Volunteer Opportunities:
Sound Experience relies on the dedication and commitment of our community volunteers from throughout the Puget Sound area. We encourage volunteers to participate both with shipboard and off-ship opportunities. Off-ship duties include fundraising events, festival booths, committee work, Board of Directors, office help, and public relations. All volunteers must be current Sound Experience members and have an application on record. Our volunteers who will be working on our youth programs must also pass a background check.

Internships:
Join the crew for one month or longer during the sailing season. These volunteer positions include food and lodging aboard Adventuress. Interns become active members of the crew. On-the-job training is provided. Interns will take part in all aspects of the programs gaining valuable experience in environmental and marine science education, as well as sailing and vessel operation. Specific duties will include teaching, cleaning and maintenance of the ship, assisting in the galley and more!

Interns must be over 18 years old, have an interest in and desire to teach program areas of ecology, environmental awareness and sailing; live in close shipboard environment; take part in all aspects of operating the program and vessel; work with youth and adults; and be interested in pursuing a career related to environmental education or teaching.

Contact:
Sound Experience
(360) 379-0438
Email
Website

Puget Sound Estuarium

The Estuarium is a marine life discovery center featuring aquariums and interpretive exhibits. Outside our facility, we can be found on local docks and beaches connecting people of all ages to our delicate and vibrant estuarine ecosystem. The Estuarium also provides K-12 education resources and field trips to local schools. Our volunteer program offers unique hands-on opportunities to explore intertidal life and inspire community members to take better care of our shared natural resources.

Exhibits
Our facility is home to saltwater aquariums and a diverse specimen collection featuring amazing intertidal and subtidal estuary plants and animals. Our hands-on interactive exhibits include a video screening station, microscopes, rotating arts and crafts projects and more. The Estuarium highlights topics during our rotating exhibits complete with special activities! Rotating exhibits often feature special guest speakers, dissections, and demonstrations led by our lead interpreters. Exhibits include:

  • Ways to Make a Difference Exhibit
  • Plastic Pollution Exhibit
  • Cultural Exhibit
  • Rough Skinned Newt Tank
  • Shellfish Tank and Exhibit
  • Eelgrass Tank
  • Asteroidea Tank
  • Estuary Predator Tank
  • Microscope Station
  • Movie Station
  • Estuary Inspired Arts and Crafts

Programs

  • Meet the Beach – During our Meet the Beach program our dedicated team of volunteers, called Beach Naturalists, connect beachgoers with our unique estuarine ecosystem by identifying intertidal life during summer low tides.
  • Pier Peer – Year-round our trained staff and volunteers run our popular Pier Peer program on local docks after dark in Thurston and Mason Counties. Our trained team provides underwater lights that attract spectacular estuary creatures for you to scoop up and observe.
  • K-12 Education: The Estuarium offers extensive educational programming and a variety of estuary and marine ecology topics for Pre-K through 12th grade students. Our programs offer students unique hands-on activities and are linked to the STEM standards, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and Ocean Literacy Frameworks.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
The Estuarium relies on our dedicated volunteers to help run our programs and facility. Estuarium volunteers are encouraged to participate during field trips, Pier Peer and Meet the Beach events, assisting in animal husbandry, and serving as interpreters during our weekend open hours. Internships are periodically offered at the Estuarium. Interns are invited to learn a wide range of skills from nonprofit management, animal husbandry, K-12 education and more. Please contact our Program Coordinator to learn about our current internship opportunities.

Teacher Resources
The Estuarium offers School Estuary Kits for local K-12 teachers with 3rd – 12th grade students. All kits include enough materials for a group of 30 students and the content is designed for age-appropriate learning. The School Estuary Kits support current NGSS educational standards.

Rentals
Do you have a group you think would enjoy a private Meet the Beach, Pier Peer, or Estuarium tour? Please email us to inquire about private programs, rentals, and Estuarium birthday party packages.

Puget Sound Estuarium
Email
(360) 915-0773
Website
Facebook

The Commons @ Fertile Ground

The Commons @ Fertile Ground is a Washington State non-profit focused on demonstrating urban sustainability and resilience on a neighborhood scale in Downtown Olympia, Washington. In the midst of commerce and state workers, we maintain a large garden, chickens, compost bins, a Community Supported Agriculture drop-off shed and many other not-so-visible activities that support our mission.

We offer a range of programs including Preschool Garden Time, Seed to Table Summer Camp, the Food Nook, workshops, Fertile Ground Guest House and EcoHouse. The facilities are open daily to visit.

Volunteer & Internships
We need your help. We don’t just need money to make this happen. We also need allies, ideas, research, networking, artists, children and just plain volunteer energy. We need people who understand the sharing economy and want to add their gifts. I Check our website for volunteer opportunities.

Contact:
The Commons @ Fertile Ground
Corner of 9th & Adams
911 Adams St and 311 9th Ave SE
Olympia, Washington 98501
Website

 

OSPI– Science, Environment, and Sustainability Education

Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) – Science, Environment, and Sustainability Education
The Environment and Sustainability Education (ESE) program is part of the Learning and Teaching Section at OSPI. OSPI’s goal for environment and sustainability education is to support academic success and life-long learning, and to develop a responsible citizenry capable of applying knowledge of ecological, economic, and socio-cultural systems to meet current and future needs.

Visit Us
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is in the historic Old State Capitol Building. It is open for tours or walkthrough visits. Art from high school competitions is featured throughout the building. However, the Environmental and Sustainability Education office is not part of the tour, nor does the building feature environmental or sustainability exhibits.

 Educational Resources

  • The ESE Program Supervisor supports the implementation of the state’s K-12 Integrated ESE Standards, Washington’s Environmental and Sustainability Literacy Plan, and the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • The ESE Program at OSPI works with Educational Service Districts, Community Based Organizations, and other partners to support professional learning opportunities for formal and informal educators. Each year, the Environment and Sustainability Program offers a series of free trainings for informal science educators. These are promoted through the ESE OSPI Bulletin, which the public can receive by signing up through the ESE website.
  • OSPI offers an ESE Bulletin (announcements sent via email or text). To sign up to receive the Bulletin, visit the OSPI Environment and Sustainability web page, then click the box near the upper right-hand corner to sign up for text or email alerts. The ESE program can also inform Bulletin subscribers of your high quality, free professional learning opportunity, or opportunities for students including field trips, contests, etc.
  • The ESE program coordinates school and school district nominations for the US Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program.
  • The Science, Environmental and Sustainability Education Team coordinates the selection of two high school seniors for the National Youth Science Camp.

Contact:
Environment and Sustainability Education Program Supervisor, 360-725-4976
Website

Pacific Shellfish Institute (PSI)

Pacific Shellfish Institute (PSI) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization with an office and laboratory in Olympia, WA. Our education mission is to provide the community with science based, hands on learning opportunities related to shellfish, water quality and Puget Sound stewardship. We are available for classroom presentations, field trips, teacher trainings, workshops, and community events. Our range encompasses Lewis, Mason, Thurston, and Mason Counties.

Education Programs:
PSI offers an assortment of K-12 classroom presentation and field trips related to locally relevant water quality issues such as ocean acidification, nutrient and bacteria pollution, and ocean plastics. Our programs are unique in that they are provided by research scientists working right here in Puget Sound. Our presentations and field trips target NGSS Science and Engineering Practices, field sampling techniques, water quality equipment, invertebrate/plankton identification, engineering solutions and personal actions. Our most popular offerings include:

  • Ocean Plastics – Matter out of Place
  • Eutrophi…what? – Nutrients and Phytoplankton in South Puget Sound
  • Acids, Bases, and Calcification Races – The ABCs of Ocean Acidification
  • The Olympia Waterfront Tour (in partnership with LOTT)

PSI will work with you to tailor presentations and field trips to meet your individual needs.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
PSI offers volunteer and internship opportunities by request and as needed. We also host citizen monitoring events and local cleanups throughout the year.

Contact:
Pacific Shellfish Institute
Aimee Christy
360-754-2741
Email
Website
Facebook

Washington State Department of Ecology

Our mission is to protect, preserve, and enhance the environment for current and future generations. We balance the resource demands of today’s growing population and economy, preventing and cleaning up polluted places, and planning for future generations of people, fish, and wildlife.  The employees in our environmental programs exhibit leadership in scientific research, creative problem-solving, complex project management, and innovative partnerships.

Get Involved
You can shape environmental decisions that impact your community. Visit our website for a schedule of upcoming public comment periods, hearings, meetings, workshops, and open houses in your community. Find links on how to report a spill or air quality issue and get household tips for cleaner land, air, and water. Find information on recycling. Explore employment and volunteer opportunities. Request a guest speaker.

Programs and Resources
Ecology provides a range of programs, tools, and resources.

  • Washington Conservation Corps is an AmeriCorps program for young adults that creates future leaders through community involvement and mentorship.
  • Ecology Youth Corps hires teens and young adults to pick up litter on our state’s roads and highways.
  • 1-800-Recycle is both a hotline and an online tool connecting you or your business to recycling services for a wide variety of items.
  • E-Cycle Washington is a free program for Washington residents to recycle their broken or obsolete electronics at recycling locations across the state.
  • Our BEACH Program monitors the safety of saltwater swimming beaches, provides tips on keeping beaches clean and safe, and posts closures and advisories with our map-based application.

Contact
WA State Department of Ecology
(360) 407-6000
Website
Facebook

Nisqually Reach Nature Center

Nisqually Reach Nature Center is a volunteer-run, membership-supported, nonprofit organization that promotes the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the Nisqually Estuary through education, interpretation, and citizen science.

Visit Us
We have three awesome salt water aquariums in the Nature Center with a wide variety of species from South Puget Sound including sea stars, sea cucumbers, anemones, and much more. We’re open to the public Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12pm-4pm. Other exhibits include over 30 bird taxidermies, fossils, animal pelts, and more.

Educational Programs
We encourage classroom teachers to bring their students to NRNC for activities and programs that will deepen understanding and awareness of the aquatic environment. Educational activities are available to all age groups, including preschool and up. Popular programs include fish seining surveys, crab surveys, and benthic invertebrate surveys.

  • Marine Science field trips: fish seining surveys, crab surveys, and benthic invertebrate surveys. Standard field trips are 2 hours. Field trips can be tailored to fit individual class needs.
  • Summer Marine Science day camps (ages 7-12)
  • Adventure Science camps (ages 12-17)

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
NRNC has a large team of volunteer community stewards who help monitor the health of Puget Sound by participating in community-driven science research. Volunteers are the backbone of NRNC and many different opportunities exist to get involved.

We offer spring and summer volunteer internships in either environmental education or research and monitoring. Internships can be tailored to fit specific interests.

Contact:
Nisqually Reach Nature Center
360-459-0387
Email
Website
Facebook

Center for Natural Lands Management

 South Sound Prairie Program

Our mission is:
To conserve native species, their habitat and functioning ecosystems in perpetuity;
To promote the conservation values of such lands through education;
To promote and facilitate uses of lands by the public that preserve the conservation values; and
To cooperate with public and private entities in their efforts to protect native species and their habitats for the public benefit.

Get Involved
We offer a variety of ways community members can get involved in our conservation efforts, from wild seed collection, classroom presentations, to invasive species removal. Our projects are family-friendly and suitable for most ages and ability levels.

 Educational Programs
We offer spring and summer workshops on:

  • Wild seed collection: Learn to identify local lowland wildflowers through our annual wild seed collection workshop. If you wish to learn more and get out into the field to hone your ID skills, there is opportunity to join our wild seed collection team that travels across our local prairies to help conserve local wildflower genetics.
  • Western Blue Bird monitoring: Each spring we offer a workshop training citizen scientists on monitoring our local bluebird population. Learn about all aspects of this charismatic bird.
  • Native Plant Workshops: Offered on a variety of topics offered each summer in our demonstration garden, topics have included: native prairie plant identification, growing native plants, seed cleaning, prairie ecology, habitat enhancement using native plants.
  • Prairie tours/field trips: Explore the plants, animals, and/or history of our local prairies.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
We are always looking for volunteers! We have regularly scheduled work parties each Tuesday and 2nd Saturday of the month, which are appropriate for most ages. For individuals and groups outside of our standing project days, contact us to schedule a project.

We offer seasonal internship/volunteer opportunities for students who are interested in helping us monitor and restore our local prairies.

Other
Prairie Appreciation Day is our annual event celebrating our local bunch grass prairies. It is a free community event, held on the second Saturday of May (10 am-3 pm). This is the only day of the year that Glacial Heritage Preserve is open to the public, so please come out to explore and learn about this hidden gem of an ecosystem.

Contact
Center for Natural Lands Management, South Sound Prairie Program
Angela Winter
360-464-0540
Email
Website
Facebook
Prairie Appreciation Day

South Sound GREEN

South Sound Green (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network)

South Sound GREEN has provided comprehensive watershed education for teachers and students in Thurston County since 1992. The program works with 4th-12th grade students in the Olympia, North Thurston, Tumwater, Griffin, and Rainier school districts, as well as students in private schools, home schools, and local colleges and universities. South Sound GREEN is based within the Thurston Conservation District.

 Educational Programs

  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Nearshore Field Experiences
  • Action/Restoration Projects (including removing invasive species and planting native plants)
  • Student GREEN Congress (annual event coordinated with the Nisqually River Education Program)
  • Classroom Watershed Demonstrations and Salmon Dissections
  • Guided Salmon Spawning Field Experiences

 Professional Development/Teacher Support:

Teachers who participate in our programs can receive water quality testing supplies, field trip funding, and ongoing support in integrating watershed education into their curriculum. We offer teacher professional development through our annual Summer Institute for Teachers in late June, as well as other climate science education workshops and trainings throughout the school year.

Volunteer Opportunities:

We are always looking for volunteers to help with field experiences and Student GREEN Congress. If you are interested in helping us out, please send an email to Stephanie Bishop.

Contact:
Stephanie Bishop, Program Manager
360-754-3588 ext. 108
Email
Website
Instagram

Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll Youth Education Program

Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll program partners with schools and community organizations to offer activities that educate and encourage youth to walk, bike, and use public transit. The Walk N Roll program strives to create a healthier, safer, and more active community.

Educational Programs

  • Walk N Roll to School Events encourage youth and their families to walk or bike to school. The Walk N Roll program provides schools with the tools and coordination to make their events successful. We also help schools celebrate National Bike and Walk to School Days.
  • Rolling Classroom field trips provide school groups the chance to ride an Intercity Transit bus, tour our maintenance facility, and ride through the bus wash. Prior to the field trip, a classroom presentation is provided to prepare students for their bus riding experience.
  • Bike Rodeos teach youth real-world skills to prepare them to ride a bike safely. Intercity Transit helps schools and community partners organize bike rodeo events.
  • Earn-A-Bike classes teach middle school students basic mechanical and bicycle safety skills in the classroom and on the road. Upon completion of the class, students in need get a bike refurbished by our bike shop volunteers.
  • Bike MVP classes teach middle and high school youth how to overhaul and maintain a bicycle. Classes are split between a daily lesson and hands-on practice. After completing Bike MVP, graduates volunteer in our bike shop. Volunteer hours can be used for community service requirements.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
Volunteers can assist with bike education classes and events. They can also volunteer in the Walk N Roll Bike Shop repairing bikes used in our youth education programs. Bike mechanic skills are not required.

Field Trip Transportation with the Class Pass
Schools and youth groups can ride Intercity Transit’s regularly scheduled buses for field trip transportation. Let us know your group’s plans by requesting a Class Pass and we will help you plan your route. Intercity Transit buses are zero-fare, so you can ride for free!

Contact:
Walk N Roll
walknroll@intercitytransit.com
360-705-5855
Website
Facebook
Instagram

Thurston Conservation District

Thurston Conservation District, a non-regulatory agency, strives to conserve and sustain the beneficial use and protection of local natural resources through partnerships with the County’s rural, agricultural, and urban communities, as well as local, state, federal, and tribal agencies. Our vision is to create healthy, functioning ecosystems in Thurston County through advocacy, education, and technical assistance efforts; thereby empowering every citizen of Thurston County to be a steward of the environment.

 Educational Programs

  • South Puget Sound Envirothon – An environmental competition for high school aged youth
  • South Sound Green
  • Workshops
  • Native Plant Festival & Sale
  • Technical assistance

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities

  • Internships
  • Work parties
  • South Puget Sound Envirothon
  • Native Plant Festival

Other

  • Equipment Rentals
  • Soil Testing

Contact
Thurston Conservation District
Kiana Sinner
(360)754-3588 ext.105
Email
Website
Facebook

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and provides numerous recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. Whether boating, walking the trails, or participating in educational programs, visitors enjoy viewing the unique ecosystems and diverse wildlife. Regulation of recreation activities allows for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats. The Nisqually estuary was restored in 2009 by removing dikes and reconnecting 762 acres with the tides of Puget Sound. This is the largest estuary restoration project in the Pacific Northwest and an important step in the recovery of Puget Sound. Many visitors, especially birders and boaters, have found that it is best to plan a visit to the Refuge according to the tides. The highest concentrations of the estuarine bird species will be most visible within two hours of high tide. The Visitor Center includes The Nature Shop, an information desk, a view of the freshwater marsh, and interpretive exhibits.

Visit Us
Educational Facilities include the Refuge’s Environmental Education Center and four miles of flat boardwalk & gravel trails. The Environmental Education Center is open by appointment only. Educational groups Pre-K through college may request use of the Environmental Education Center and assistance from Refuge Educators.

Educational Programs
The Refuge’s Environmental Education Programming is designed to meet the needs of visiting groups. Please contact our education coordinator to plan your trip. Indoor activities cover a wide range of wildlife-related topics including:

  • Habitat
  • Animal Adaptations
  • Animal Tracks & Signs
  • Bird Identification
  • Developing Observation Skills
  • Citizen Science

Educator Training
Four field trip orientation workshops are conducted each year. We encourage all educators planning a trip to the Refuge to attend to get all the tools you need to confidently guide your students on a meaningful outdoor learning experience. You will be introduced to our hands-on indoor activities in our Environmental Education Center, hike the Twin Barns Loop Trail, and learn about one of the largest restoration projects in the Puget Sound! Refreshments will be provided. Dates can be found on the Refuge’s website.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
Volunteer & Internship Opportunities exist with the Refuge’s Environmental Education program as well as other programs at the Refuge. More than 42,000 people volunteer their time and ideas each year to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Whether they work on the land, in a visitor center, or with youth, they contribute to the conservation mission that reaches back more than a century. Become a volunteer to contribute your strength on behalf of America’s natural resources.

Contact:
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
100 Brown Farm Road
Olympia, WA 98516
(360) 753-9467
Nisquallyeducation@fws.gov
Website
Facebook

Master Gardener Volunteers

One of the easiest ways to increase your gardening knowledge is to enroll in WSU Extension’s annual Master Gardener course. For more than forty years, Washington State University Extension has been training Master Gardener volunteers in the science and art of gardening.  Volunteers who attend the comprehensive course will learn the latest information on how to successfully grow their favorite ornamentals, veggies, fruit, and a whole lot more.

The WSU Master Gardener course provides WSU research-based information on how to improve soil, identify common plant pest problems including insects and diseases and weed problems, as well as honing your gardening skills. “Hands-on” workshops provide advanced training on pruning, composting, plant propagation and a host of other practical gardening skills.

There is a perception that to become a WSU Master Gardener you must know everything about gardening.  This is unrealistic and untrue.  To be a WSU Thurston County Master Gardener you must have gardening experience, but more importantly, you must commit to sharing accurate gardening information with our community.

Contact
Cori Carlton, Program Coordinator
360-867-2162
Email
Website

 

WET Science Center

The WET Science Center is a fun, hands-on place to learn all about water. It is a part of LOTT Clean Water Alliance, a nonprofit corporation providing wastewater management services for the urban areas of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater. It’s free to visit and features interactive exhibits, family-friendly Saturday programs, wastewater treatment plant tours, and educational programs.

Exhibits
There are a variety of games and activities for all ages. Try an optional scavenger hunt to navigate through the science center. Information includes:

  • Water conservation.
  • Wastewater treatment, including the role of bacteria in the nitrogen removal process.
  • What not to flush or put down the drain.
  • Production and use of Class A Reclaimed Water.
  • Clean water careers.

Educational Programs
Programs are designed for students 5th grade and older. Programs are typically two hours long, and feature a presentation, a tour of the wastewater treatment plant or green-designed building, and time to explore the science center. All presentations align with Next Generation Science Standards.

Volunteer and Internship Opportunities
We offer volunteer opportunities assisting with our Saturday and community education programs. The positions can be designed to fit individual needs.

Contact:
WET Science Center
360-664-2333
Email

Website
Facebook Page