FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2009
Fourth-Graders visit Tahuya State Forest to learn about stewardship
North Mason School District participates in 14th annual ‘Students in the Watershed’
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) welcomed 200 fourth-grade students to the Tahuya State Forest for Students in the Watershed. Yesterday, North Mason High School students developed outdoor presentations to teach local fourth-graders about forestry, wildlife, stewardship and cultural history.
“These students are the future stewards of our lands,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “Today we had a wonderful opportunity to teach students about the connection between our forests and clean water and a healthy Puget Sound.”
Students in the Watershed is the result of a long-time partnership with DNR, the North Mason School District, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, Hood Canal Institute, Washington State Parks and the Belfair community. Recognized internationally, Students in the Watershed is a model for teaching students how to collect data that is verifiable and reliable enough to be used by scientists and resource managers. Throughout the school year, the high school students work with natural resource professionals to study streams, forests, recreation, and timber sales.
High school students are applying what they’ve learned in their classes and, in turn, are sharing their new-found skills and knowledge with fourth-graders from Sand Hill Elementary and Belfair Elementary schools. By developing their presentations, the high school students get the chance to share what they know, and the fourth-graders enjoy learning outdoors and being taught by teens.
“Over the past 14 years, more than 4,400 students have participated, many of whom have come full circle and have become teachers at the high school level. Many have gone on to college and careers that may have been determined by their participation in this program,” said Neil Werner, executive director of the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. “There is no better way for young people to become responsible adults than hands-on learning and teaching experiences.”
DNR – managing and protecting your natural resources
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR manages more than 3 million acres of state-owned trust lands, including forests, range, agricultural land, conservation lands and commercial properties. These trust lands earn income to support schools, universities and other state institutions; and they help fund local services in many counties. Trust lands provide habitat for native plant and animal species, protect sources of clean water, and offer public recreation and educational opportunities statewide.
DNR also is steward of more than 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, including many beaches, the bedlands under Puget Sound, the coast, natural lakes, and navigable rivers. These are managed on behalf of all Washington State citizens to protect fish and wildlife, and to facilitate commerce, navigation, and public access.
Peter Goldmark is Washington’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889, and the first commissioner from Eastern Washington.
Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Outreach and Education, 360-902-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org .
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