Students in Montesano are environmental stewards

The Nisqually River Education Project, South Sound GREEN and Chehalis Basin Education Consortium are offering the first ever Climate Resiliency Fellows. This program aims to build a dynamic community of engaged teachers committed to engaging their students in learning about and taking action in local climate change issues and climate resiliency projects. The Fellows program is offered as a part of a 3 year, environmental literacy program supported by NOAA. Teachers in the program meet quarterly to receive curriculum support and brainstorm ideas for action projects that address local issues. Tina Niels is a participant in the program this year, and has be actively engaged in getting her students outside! Learn more about the many projects her classroom has completed. Thanks, Tina, for sharing your work with us!


My name is Tina Niels and I teach 4th grade in Montesano.  I have been busy this year (like everyone) inside and outside of school.  So I thought it was time that I told you all some of the things that my class has been doing this year.

First one of my goals for my students is to teach them about the environment and hopefully foster empathy for our world that we live in.  I try real hard to include the five Ecoliteracy principles into everything.  

This year my students have enjoyed going out to our school forest and pulling invasive species as well as just weeds.  They learned a great deal and felt sadness for the snowberry bushes that had morning glory all over them.  They worked hard and learned a great deal about English Ivy and Morning Glory plus the native plants that they were taking care of.  We went to the Chehalis Discover Trail and pulled for the Bats and planting trees.  My students are becoming real stewards of their environment.

They published a book about trees and shrubs of the Pacific Northwest.  They researched their tree or shrub and wrote as if they were the species.  The books are lovely.  

Water testing is a great experience for students and we are gearing up to go again at the end of the month.  At our first test, one student informed me that she had Never been that close to a river before.   Wow!  

Currently in class, we are learning about erosion and the importance of a riparian zone.  They are designing ways to protect their streams from erosion and will test their ideas this week.  When we are at the river, I will have them look for evidence of erosion.  

There is always something to learn (and teach) so the students understand the effects of climate change and how it is affecting habitats, rivers, forests, weather and etc.

Tina’s class planted trees along a river to protect water quality and salmon!

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