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LIFRC Weekly Community Update                    

November 21st, 2022

Happy Tuesday! 

As you may know, November is Indigenous Heritage month. 

The important contributions of Native people extends far past a mere 30 days of the year.  This month provides an opportunity for us all to reflect, acknowledge and celebrate the original inhabitants of these lands.  As well as express deep gratitude for the rich ancestral knowledge they have shared, and continue to share, with us. 

This week's spotlight showcases one of our newest programs that both recognizes and honors indigenous expertise.  


--The LIFRC Team

In the Spotlight
LIFRC’s Mentoring is honored to be one of seventeen programs chosen by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) for its inaugural Outdoor Learning GrantsLIFRC’s project, Youth Outdoor Learning Opportunities: Salish Sea (YOLO: Salish Sea), is a dynamic collaboration which incorporates experiential learning that aligns with classroom instruction and indigenous ecological knowledge/innovation to provide environmental education, land stewardship activities and outdoor leadership skills for LISD students grades 6-12. The project is coordinated by the LIFRC and advised by a committee that includes Coast Salish tribal members, WA State Parks, and Lopez Island School District (LISD) staff.  
The primary goal of YOLO: Salish Sea is to provide students who do not regularly have access to skill-building on public lands with experiential learning that both honors Coast Salish tribes’ sovereignty and stewardship of this place since time immemorial as well as provide direct connection to WA State Park’s interpretive education. School-based learning is expanded to state park lands throughout the Salish Sea including Deception Pass, Spencer Spit, Lime Kiln, Moran, Jones Island and Sucia Island.  
The Washington State Legislature funded the Outdoor Learning Grants program, administered by the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), with the goal to develop and support outdoor educational experiences for students in Washington public schools. Sheila Wilson, OSPI’s Program Manager for Outdoor Education elaborates: The Outdoor Learning Grant that supports YOLO: Salish Sea was made possible by HB 2078. The passage of this legislation is a pivotal moment for outdoor education in our state, an acknowledgement of the real need for students to connect with their communities and learn outdoors within the context of the life-sustaining ecosystems that support us all. LIFRC’s project is an excellent example of a program that is reaching students traditionally underserved in science, centering indigenous ecological knowledge, inspiring academic engagement, and stewardship of our natural world.” 
The collaboration across agencies, school and tribal partnerships is a big step forward for our community. YOLO: Salish Sea enables many of us who have been searching for a way to strengthen our work together to harness our collective effort 
Aurora Martinez is LIFRC’s Youth Outdoors Coordinator-Tribal Liaison and a member of Samish Indian Nation. Her contributions shape our lessons and enhance every aspect of the program.  It’s significant that this project’s focus is to provide accurate information from tribes. By including indigenous people in the educational sessions, youth get to learn about indigenous history from indigenous people. More opportunities like this should exist so that today’s generation understands not just the past and stories, but also tribal innovations, science, and modern stewardship.”   

State parks connect all Washingtonians to their diverse natural and cultural heritage and provide memorable recreational and educational experiences that enhance their lives. As part of our partnership, Washington State Parks will provide one half of the educational component for the student groups at each park, the other half being provided by the local tribal members.  
Kristen Ryan, LISD’s middle and secondary teacher of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Woodshop described this collaboration as a key moment to expanding the impact of LISD’s outdoor leadership course, “We have all these dreams at the school but the reality is, financially, they aren’t always feasible. What the LIFRC did was not only bring funding to make it happen, they also brought in people to support the learning.” 
At the end of October, YOLO: Salish Sea held its first capstone session at Deception Pass State Park, hosted by WA State Parks and Samish Nation. The topic was Deception Pass: Gateway to the Salish Sea. Samish Nation led a lesson on the Maiden of Deception Pass and how indigenous knowledge relates to watershed management. WA State Parks led a lesson on public lands management and working with state parks. High schoolers from LISD’s Outdoor Leadership class arrived one day prior to the capstone session to complete a high-ropes course and practice outdoor camping skills with teachers Kristen Ryan and Jesse Hammond. 8th Graders studying Pacific Northwestern History with Issac Berg met for the day session 
“My high school leadership kids have been developing and practicing leadership skills in class. But they were able to welcome and lead the 8th graders, putting to practice a real-life application of their developed skills. That kind of education can only happen in that medium and these kids got to see and feel it firsthand. We all did.” says Ms. Ryan.  
“The day went amazing, the speakers worked together and the youth stayed engaged.” Sam Barr, tribal facilitator (and former Lopez Lobo) “It’s important connecting kids to history, the Salish Sea, the mainland, and a local tribal community who comes from all of it.” 
All upcoming sessions will be based in WA State Parks located in San Juan County. Spring 2023 capstone events will include overnight camping with high school and middle school cohorts. YOLO: Salish Sea is a vital program to help build the next generation of youth who will be a part of our land and sea stewardship in the San Juans.  
Hobbes Barber, Parks Interpretive Specialist II, San Juan Area explains, “This type of program is directly in line with the mission of Washington State Parks. LIFRC’s program creates an amazing opportunity for youth to experience the incredible traditional, cultural, and scientific wealth of the lands around them and to make accessible the possibility of working for organizations that help preserve natural spaces.” 
Updates and Reminders
Teen Night Glow Up was a complete hit! More than 38 teens turned out for glow volleyball, delicious snacks, board games and multiplayer video games. 𝘼𝙡𝙡 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙣𝙣𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙩𝙚𝙚𝙣𝙨 𝙩𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙚𝙚𝙣𝙨. To join the planning committee, please contact
Our friends at North Sound Accountable Community of Health, (North Sound ACH) shared some wonderful learning resources about Indigenous Heritage Month. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did! CLICK HERE to access the learning resources. 
Ways You Can Collaborate
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P.O. Box 732  Lopez Island, WA 98261
(360) 468-4117 

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