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.