Once again, Friends of Camano Island Parks (FOCIP) and Camano Island Sound Water Stewards (SWS) came together to host Second Grade Nature Discovery Days for three Stanwood School District schools. On May 14 and 15 the weather, scheduled to be sunny, was certainly that.
Started by FOCIP in 1999 for second graders, the event has continued each year in the month of May. Because there are so many repeat or new FOCIP and Sound Water Stewards’ volunteers, this much-appreciated program has continued and grown stronger each year. Each of the schools had the opportunity to welcome Tamara Neuffer and her assistant Rainer Luhrs from the Stillaguamish Tribal Education and Outreach Program in their classrooms the week before this event to set to prepare students for their trip to the park.
Suzie Gaffney, Nature Discovery Days Coordinator and Camano Island Sound Water Stewards Coordinator and Deannie Dunbar, SWS member, and Carol Triplett, FOCIP Board Member, helped with each day’s organization and adjustments. The big change this year was to put all the hikes together (forest, canyon, and marsh) as one and to arrive at the beach for lunch. It was lovely to see all the students with their teachers or parent chaperones “picnicking” here and there across the beach.
After lunch, Elaine Chan (SWS) and Tamara and Rainer Luhrs made Estuary Soup for their second grade charges. Yum! Estuary Soup is an educational activity that introduces children to the “ingredients” that make up the diverse habitat of our shoreline estuaries. Students then headed out to beach activities where Ranger Jeff Wheeler gave a short talk on beach etiquette and how to keep critters safe and healthy. We appreciate the support and involvement of the Washington State Park staff. The Stewards’ beach rotations included microscopes and plankton, barnacle feeding, beach exploration, and seining for little fishes.
Nature Discovery Days had new additions to the ranks this year…6 students from Lincoln Hill High School were interns to different presenters and generally helped move things along with our younger students. Lexi, Jack, Cas, Michaela, Robert, and Sophia…thanks for spending the day with this project. Thanks to all the FOCIP volunteers who were there one or more days and to all Stewards who organized and manned the different stations. These two days bring over 180 students and 65 parents to CISP with over 60 volunteers from FOCIP and CSWS together to experience and learn more about one of the Island County’s most precious resources.