Capitol Land Trust

Capitol Land Trust
Capitol Land Trust’s mission is to conserve essential natural areas and working farms in southwest Washington. Since 1987, we have grown from a volunteer organization to a professional and accredited land trust. With the help of our supporters and partners, we have successfully conserved over 6,000 acres of land on nearly 80 properties in Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor, and Lewis counties. The land we conserve is protected forever.

Visit us
We have a small working office in Lacey, WA. We don’t offer any programs or exhibits at our office location. As of 2020, we have four preserves that are open for public use. If you plan a visit to one of our nature preserves, be sure to visit our website for the most current information. In general, our walking trails are mulched or dirt trails and vary in elevation and length. Walking on our trails, you’ll pass many Pacific Northwest ecosystems including wetlands, forests of varying ages, marine shoreline, open oak woodland, and fish-bearing streams. Please contact us if you plan to park a vehicle larger than a 12-passenger van on a property because some sites have space restrictions.

Educational Programs

  • Guided nature walks
  • Land Stewardship and Restoration – Learn how to identify native and invasive plant species and keep our ecosystems healthy. These activities include removing invasive species, planting native plant species, and addressing other needs the land may have.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
Volunteers are essential to our mission, and we strive to create a volunteer experience that is both meaningful and enjoyable. As a Capitol Land Trust volunteer, you further our mission by stewarding natural landscapes, educating the next generation, and connecting people with our conserved lands. With your help, our area continues to have thriving natural habitats and green spaces to enjoy.

  • Stewardship Work Parties – Weekly stewardship work parties occur year-round between October and July, and typically include activities like planting native plants, mulching, removing invasive species or debris, and maintaining trails.
  • Environmental Education – We work with several schools and youth-serving organizations to provide field experiences for youth on our conservation properties. Most of the activities that take place during these experiences are run by volunteers. We provide a volunteer training for our 7th grade field experience and our 3rd grade field experience.
  • Trail and Land Stewards – Trail Stewards and Land Stewards make sure our properties are safe and healthy!

Contact:

Capitol Land Trust
Mary Birchem
360-943-3012
mary@capitollandtrust.org
Website
Facebook Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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