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Rainier Beach High School students go on Elwha excursion
A group of 30 Rainier Beach High School sophomores were given the opportunity to spend five days at the Olympic Peninsula with the Nature Bridge Program. Biology and life science teacher, Louise Wong, was awarded a $10,000 grant from the STEM Education Coalition, which paid for the trip.
“The students had been working on a wetlands project on Lake Washington across the street from the high school but hadn't had a chance to look at larger areas, such as the Elwha River watershed,” said Wong.
During the trip, students studied a changing ecosystem, applied their knowledge of trigonometry, and reflected on the beauty of nature.
One high point was getting to explore the picturesque Lake Crescent by canoe. Students also attended a Lower Elwha tribal forum about tribal hatchery salmon and learned to take precise scientific river measurements.
They measured the concentration of dissolved oxygen and silt at various points in the river. The experiments are designed, in part, to determine how safe the river is for salmon. An ongoing debate about whether farmed salmon should be allowed into the river ensued.
Feven Tadesse, a 15-year-old exchange student from Ethiopia said she plans to take her knowledge of basic river ecology back to her home country, according to a Port Angeles newspaper article about the students and Elwha project in the Peninsula Daily News.
Photo of Rainier Beach High School students and their teacher at Elwha River