A few random thoughts about reporting and environmental science – Chris Dunagan

Chris shares his thoughts on 35 years of environmental reporting. I know that he has been an inspiration to my work on this blog since I started it in 2007.

Christopher Dunagan, who retired from daily reporting at the Kitsap Sun and now blogs, wrote of his 35 years of reporting: … “I grew up believing that science was a particular set of facts that explained the workings of nature. For the longest time, I failed to see that the most important thing about science was formulating the right questions about things we don’t know….While there is much work to do, we’re at a point where we can expect Puget Sound residents to limit their damage to the ecosystem and become part of the restoration effort.” (Watching Our Water Ways)


North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center Natural Resources Program – An open letter for support

From supporters of the program:

Dear supporters of the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center Natural Resources program,

Your efforts leading up to and at the 4/28 Skills Center Administrative Council meeting allowed us to turn a corner in our effort to retain the Skills Center Natural Resources program.  Today saw encouraging developments in that the program has been verified as profitable (~$37K profit for 2014-15), and the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is willing to help the Skills Center fix some minor compliance issues with the current Natural Resources program delivery model.

Today, 5/6 at 1 pm at the Skills Center, the Administrative Council meets to vote on the future of the program.

Your attendance and participation in the most clear, respectful and civil way possible will help ensure the program’s survival and success.

To learn more, please visit http://nrprogram.weebly.com and read the following points:

  • The program has now been demonstrated to be a net revenue producer.  This fully addresses the most widely alleged shortcoming of the program.
  • Multiple other alleged concerns have either been determined to be completely unfounded, or have been identified as easily resolvable.
  • Appropriate staff at OSPI have already indicated a readiness to assist in addressing any of these residual compliance and administrative concerns—including appropriate minor adjustments required to ensure proper alignment of the course structure & content with the instructor’s credentials.
  • There is extensive community support for continuation and expansion of the program, as demonstrated in two Administrative Council meetings, two PASD board meetings, and numerous other contacts and expressions of support.  The NOPSC and the respective school districts can count on increased involvement and assistance from existing partners, the program advisory committee, and the broader constituency that has shown its support.

Given all the above:

  • There is no logical reason to discontinue the program.
  • To the extent that Skills Center finances are a driving concern, it is clear that this program is a significant positive component in the Skills Center’s overall bottom line, with every reason to expect further growth.
  • Particularly in the financial context, it would be completely counterproductive to discontinue a program with a positive revenue stream, an established curriculum and constituency, and extensive community attention and support, only to try substituting any new program that would be starting from scratch.
  • The program has significant potential to expand in several ways, including closer relationships with existing partners, addition of more partners, and potential development of curriculum continuity into college-level content.
  • The remaining compliance and administrative issues, acknowledged by agency staff as being easily resolvable and in no way program-threatening, are essentially no different than the sort of periodic administrative and compliance issues that all Skills Center programs are accountable for or called upon to address in the normal progression and evolution of educational programs.

In spite of the above, it is possible that a resolution may be introduced to fully or partially lay off teacher Dan Lieberman or discontinue the NR program.  Please come to Wednesday’s meeting with the above information in mind.

Working to save the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center Natural Resources Program

Ed Chadd has sent this out and I thought I would share it with our readers. Please help save this great program that is educating kids in our natural resources.


Dear supporters of the NOPSC Natural Resources program,

It appears that there will be one final and very reasonable chance to save the Skills Center Natural Resources program at the upcoming NOPSC Administrative Council meeting:

Tuesday, April 28 at 9 am at the Skills Center (905 W. 9th St., Port Angeles)

You can do any or all of the following:

1. Attend the meeting and invite as many other people as you can.

  1. Be prepared to speak if the opportunity presents itself.
    3. Write statements in support of the NR Program and email them to Tara Morrow (tmorrow1008@gmail.com– cc’d here). Please include your name and physical address.
    4. Send those same statements directly to the NOPSC Administrative Council and PASD School Board (email addresses below).

    If you have any questions or time to contribute in ways beyond the items listed above, please respond.

Some interesting recent developments include these:

* The State AG’s office has informed PASD and NOSPC that the Administrative Council meetings should but have not been following the Open Public Meetings Act. One penalty is that all actions taken at out-of-compliance meetings are null and void.
* This upcoming week, PASD’s Business and Finance Director plans to produce the official Natural Resources program financial report and have it available at the 4/23 PASD School Board meeting in case any School Board members ask to see it (she has never been asked to create a financial report for the NR program).
* A very reasonable solution that could be pursued, if decision makers are willing, is to run the NR program as “CTE Instructional Worksite Learning” instead of “Alternative Learning Experience (ALE).” The current program structure fits both of these sets of state rules, but in 2010, NOPSC decided to run the NR Options and NR 2 classes through the ALE rules.  Changing to CTE would address a concern about ALE, namely that CTE is funded at a higher rate than ALE, and it would allow all parties to compromise while still offering this valuable program.

Thanks, Ed Chadd

EVENT – Oct 7 – Community Forum on Ocean Health


Please join us for a free evening event featuring guest speakers Dr. Simone Alin, Supervisory Oceanographer at NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Lab; and Betsy Peabody, the Director of Puget Sound Restoration Fund. You’ll learn about changes in the marine waters of Puget Sound, and what’s being done to address them by some of the amazing people who live and work here.

Tuesday, October 7

6:30 PM-8:00 PM (Doors open at 6 PM)

Northwest Maritime Center

Maritime Meeting Room (2nd floor of yellow building)

Port Townsend, WA 98368

This event is sponsored by the Northwest Straits Commission, Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), and Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

All are welcome.

Caroline Gibson    –    Marine Program Manager

Northwest Straits Commission

431 Water Street

Port Townsend, WA 98368

360.385.1153 (PT office)


New environmental short videos by John Williams

Kitsap based filmmaker John Williams has added a group of his latest short films to the Pacific NW Environmental Video channel on Vimeo. Check out his work, especially if you have young children.


Job Opportunity! – NOSC hiring two positions

NOSC is also hiring an “Education and Outreach Assistant” WCC Individual Placement Intern and 5 WCC Crew Members for October 2013-September 2014.

Applicants must be 18 to 25 years old at the time of hire (age restriction may be waived for recently returned military veterans).  Applications due Friday, August 2nd.  To apply, visit www.nosc.org

NOW HIRING: WCC Individual Placement – Education and Outreach Assistant (1 position) 

Description: This position assists in leading a service learning education program, looks over a native plant nursery, runs summer chum and Coho spawner surveys, helps with monitoring on current and past NOSC projects, and assists with volunteer coordination and producing outreach materials.

For application instructions please read the full job announcement:
Edu & Outreach Assistant at NOSC, WCC IP position 2013-2014


Crew Supervisor: Owen French
Telephone: 360-470-0004
Location: Port Hadlock
Email: Owen.French@ecy.wa.gov

Description: This crew is based in Port Hadlock, working for the North Olympic Salmon Coalition (NOSC). NOSC is one of 14 Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups (RFEGs) in the state of Washington. The crew implements projects for NOSC and partnering organizations, such as conservation districts, other RFEGs, Tribes, land trusts and WDFW. Projects primarily consist of riparian/estuarine restoration which involves; native plantings, noxious weed control and site maintenance (includes brush cutting, mowing, and herbicide application). Corps members will be expected to test for a Washington State Pesticide Applicator License. The crew will occasionally assist with salmonid and habitat monitoring. The work week is generally Monday-Thursday, 7:00AM-5:30PM. View the crew’s blog.

To apply for this opportunity visit the WCC website and select CREW- PORT HADLOCK/NORTH OLYMPIC SALMON COALITION on WCC’s online job application.

Please visit the Washington Conservation Corps Website for more information:  http://www.ecy.wa.gov/wcc/recruitment/counties/jefferson.html


Openings Still Available for Two-Week Summer Teen Program at NatureBridge

This just in..

NatureBridge still has a few open spots for the Summer Field Research Course at its Olympic National Park campus. This two-week immersive backcountry expedition will give high school students the opportunity to conduct rigorous field science investigations in one of the most ecologically diverse national parks in the country.

Modeled on the successful program at NatureBridge’s Yosemite campus, the course offers an intensive teen summer science adventure. High school students will work with National Park Service scientists, using cutting-edge technology to produce their own ecological research project.  The research will be included with a backpacking trip across the Olympic Mountains and ending at the Elwha River, where the largest dam removal in U.S. history is underway.

“Our teen participants will learn critical thinking skills and improve their scientific literacy and confidence,” said Jen Kidder, course director. “The course is student-centered, inquiry-based scientific learning at its most adventurous. Students learn field research skills that can transfer to high school, college and beyond.”

“We appreciate the many opportunities that NatureBridge provides for students and youth to learn about Olympic National Park,” added Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.

The Summer Field Research Course will take place July 14-26, 2013. Students interested in the program are encouraged to contact NatureBridge at 206-382-6212 extension 13 or olympicfieldresearch@naturebridge.org or register online at naturebridge.org/discoversummer.

About NatureBridge

Founded in 1971, NatureBridge provides environmental field science education for students in the world’s best classrooms—our national parks. Through residential education programs, NatureBridge connects students to the wonder and science of nature and inspires the stewards of tomorrow. As the largest residential education partner of the National Park Service, the organization serves more than 30,000 students each year and offers programs in six national parks: Yosemite National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Olympic National Park, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Channel Islands National Park, and Prince William Forest Park. NatureBridge also offers professional development opportunities for teachers and family and youth programs. NatureBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  More information is available at www.naturebridge.org.


Call for sessions – Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

The next Puget Sound Georgia Basin Research Conference (renamed Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference) has the date set and the call for sessions is out:

Many Voices, One Sea
The Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference is the largest, most comprehensive scientific research and policy conference in the region. The 2011 conference, co-hosted by Environment Canada and the Puget Sound Partnership, presents the latest scientific research on the state of the ecosystem. The conference also shares information on recent management actions and best practices to protect and restore the Salish Sea Ecosystem. Through these dialogues, the conference emphasizes the importance of collaboration among scientists and policymakers to solve complex environmental issues that cross political borders.

Join us in furthering our collective understanding of the unique and precious ecosystem that is the Salish Sea. Together, we will explore the state of the science, build our management capability, and reinforce our strong foundation of research of policy. The exciting, dynamic program creates opportunities for peer-to-peer interactions, cultural celebrations, knowledge transfer, and practical collaborations. Enjoy workshops, special sessions, field trips, keynote speakers, and other engaging events throughout the conference.

For more information, please visit www.salishseaconference.org
Call for Sessions
The Conference Steering Committee is inviting proposals for sessions for panel presentations, interactive sessions, and facilitated panels that will encourage interdisciplinary and transboundary collaboration and networking among scientists, policy-makers, students and other stakeholders. For more information, please click here.

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