Connecting Students to Nature

SCD's Restoration Project Coordinator (WCC), Ashley Shattuck demonstrates tree planting to a group of students.

“This is a Sitka Spruce that can live to be about 500 years old. If you plant one of these it might be here for a long time” said Ashley Shattuck, SCD’s Restoration Project Coordinator (WCC), as she instructed 15 elementary students on how to plant a tree this past Wednesday.

The YMCA Casino Road Scholars from Horizon Elementary spent part of their spring break planting trees. The fourth and fifth-graders visited, 2016 Conservation Leader of the Year, David New's property where a tributary of the Pilchuck Creek has been restored in partnership with Snohomish Conservation District. 

After some instruction and a lesson on shovel safety, they were off to work! Students and chaperones planted a buffer of trees with the goal of providing shade to keep water temperatures cold and dissolved oxygen levels high for spawning Coho salmon.

After lunch, students did a study of the benthic macroinvertebrates of the tributary to determine the water quality of the restored stream.  They were happy to find caddisfly larvae and stonefly larvae—both indicators of great water quality.

Through our youth education program, Sound Education, the Casino Road Scholars received lessons about salmon and macroinvertebrates prior to their field trip. This field experience allowed students to gain first-hand experience with the concepts they’d learned while performing a valuable service by planting 90 trees, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.

By Lily Cason, Youth Educator | From Volume 28: Issue 1 of The Nexus