Sea Stars in the Community

After two months upon completing her graduate degree from Western Washington University, Rachel has been reflecting on her amazing experiences over the previous 18 months. Through her journey at the North Cascades Institute’s Graduate Residency program, her accomplishments and experiences have molded her into a passionate environmental educator. One of those experiences was incorporating her natural history project on sea stars into her leadership track at Concrete Summer Learning Adventures. 
By Rachel Gugich, graduate student in the institute’s 14th cohort.
For my natural history project I researched the current turmoil occurring with sea star populations with the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome.
I mainly looked at conditions off the west coast and Puget Sound region and what is being done to save this tide pool titan. Current research suggests younglings of sea stars are starting to appear and making a comeback. I have grown up exploring the tide pools and having witnessed up close on my explorations a sea star effected by wasting syndrome, I wanted to learn more about this crisis in the sea.

I had the amazing opportunity to co-coordinate the Concrete Summer Learning Adventures (CSLA) day camp program where students ages 6-12 from the Concrete School District spend five weeks experiencing the great outdoors, food shed education, literacy, camp activities and field trips including exploring the North Cascades National Park System.

Rachel (On the left with the black shirt) drawing with students during CSLA, 2015.

Another activity today was a presentation about sea stars. The children learned about sea star wasting syndrome and how to protect ocean wildlife. Finally, they drew their very own sea star and put them back home safely in the chalk ocean. -CSLA Blog, 8/8/2015


Sea Star Drawing at CSLA, 2015.

If you would like to find out more about CSLA, check out the CSLA blog/website and Tyler Chisolm’s, from C13, Chattermarks post about CSLA 2014.
Emily Baronich of C15 will be leading CSLA this summer and I look forward to seeing what natural history and adventures await these students!

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