What’s at stake
As schools face constrained resources, curriculum that inspires active participation in environmental protection has become rare. Teachers are hard-pressed for time to develop compelling programming, and field-based educational opportunities are being taken off the table. Science education is more important than ever, yet our schools lack the most necessary resources to engage kids in science in the most compelling ways.
These shrinking resources come at a cost: as a generation of kids has less opportunity to explore the world around them in new and different ways, they can’t develop an awareness and passion for the environment. We believe the key inherent to countering this is to give kids the opportunity to learn what science looks like in real life.
Meanwhile, Puget Sound’s killer whales have been declared endangered, and the species continues to suffer from habitat degradation, prey depletion, and human-generated underwater sound. Immediate action is require to recover this population and ensure its long-term viability.
As inhabitants of the region, we all have a part to play in killer whale recovery. This immediate need, combined with the challenges faced by our education system, creates an ideal win-win scenario to teach children science and protect a species that is emblematic of the Pacific Northwest.
By introducing kids to those who have dedicated their lives to environmental work and creating a role for them to play in the scientific process, we ignite critical sparks that inspire a lifelong connection with the outdoors. Without this, we fear that fewer and fewer kids will serve as the environmental stewards of tomorrow.
Killer whales lend themselves spectacularly to science education. They are rooted in place, creating a tie to the schools we serve; killer whale social dynamics mirror humans in many ways, helping children relate; and, most importantly, the actions we take can have a direct positive impact on their survival. These factors in total present a perfect opportunity to introduce kids to environmental stewardship and action.