Salish Sea Expeditions

Salish Sea Expeditions inspires youth to connect with the marine environment through boat-based scientific inquiry and hands-on learning, instilling curiosity, confidence, and critical thinking.

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Address: 1257 Patmos Ln NW
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110-1741
Phone Number: 206-780-7848
EIN: 91-1688662
Salish Sea Expeditions opens up a world of science to youth, grades 5-12, by engaging them with hands-on marine science and STEM-focused programs, maritime skills training and leadership development aboard a 61-foot sailing research vessel on the waters of Puget Sound. Students design and conduct experiments, deploy oceanographic equipment, gather and analyze data, plot a course for data collection, handle sails and boat navigation, and work as a team to better understand the environmental health of the Salish Sea and its connected waterways. At least 75% of our students attend public schools, 25% come from under-served schools, 40% of our programs receive financial assistance and we have an 80% annual return rate.

Students return from Salish trips as scientists eager to explore the world in which they live. Nat Smith, a teacher at North Kitsap Middle School Options Program in Kingston, WA describes Salish Sea Expeditions as a "right of passage" for his students. Having been on three Salish Sea expeditions over the last 5 years, Nat and his students have searched for and found microplastics in the San Juans, sought correlation between turbidity and pH, and studied the varying effects of copper on phyto vs zoo plankton. "We've been with Salish through sunny skies, gale force winds and sideways rain." So why do Nat and his students keep coming back? Nat appreciates how the Salish educators visit the classroom before and after the voyage. He is grateful for the opportunity for meaningful field study that is compelling in ways that books and labs cannot touch. At the Salish Student Symposium, students present science to a community of scientists and peers, and get a chance to step into the shoes of a scientist. Georgia, a shy, quiet student who was on Nat's first trip exploring micro-plastics, credits her Salish experience for her interest in applied science, and inspiring her to join her school's sailing team. Georgia is graduating from high school this spring and will be pursuing a degree in engineering on a merit scholarship. One of the biggest challenges for students like Georgia is exposure to professional scientists as role models, or field-based science learning experiences. Public schools have decreasing budgets for field study. Salish Sea Expeditions is committed to making programs available to a wide audience. There is a kind of magic that takes place when students like Georgia are asked to take charge of their learning experience. Thanks to the generous support of community members like you, adventurous learning with real impact is possible for students like Georgia.