It's been a terrific 2013-2014 school year with our 7 participating schools! We've worked with over 325 students, facilitated over 60 in-class lessons, and conducted 35 field trips to places like Mt. Spokane, Liberty Lake County Park, Lookout Pass, Heron Pond Farms, Fishtrap Lake, Upriver Dam, Spokane County Hatchery, Liberty Lake Water Reclamation Facility, Hayden Lake, Dishman Hills, and more!
|The Community School
||Lake City High School
|Post Falls High School
|St. Maries High School
Welcome to Project SUSTAIN!
Our goal is to restore the connection between youth and nature by enabling
students to get outside, practice field science, be physically-active, and
become better environmental stewards.
Recognizing the challenges that school districts face in
funding field trips for high school science classes, TLC partners with local
businesses and foundations to fund school field trips that engage students in
hands-on, science-based educational activities and community service projects
to enhance their classroom learning.
field trips encourage active outdoor recreation activities including hiking,
canoeing, kayaking, cycling, and snowshoeing; and community service projects
such as tree plantings and stream/lake clean-ups. It is our intention that Project SUSTAIN
will-on a local level-begin to help reverse the so-called "nature deficit
disorder" trend found in American kids today.
Funding covers field trip
transportation costs, lesson plan materials, activities, curriculum development
and planning, and other associated expenses throughout the school year, giving
kids a chance to apply what they learn in the classroom in an outdoor
setting. This outdoor learning component closely aligns with state
standards, school curricula, and individual teachers'
preferences, and incorporates Lands Council programs focusing on forests,
water, wildlife, and sustainability as appropriate.
TLC provides teachers with an
extensive menu of local field trip options and in-class lesson plans, teaches
the classes, and facilitates the activities.
Participating SUSTAIN schools in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area are
entitled to funding which covers expenses associated with 4 field trips and up
to 10 hours of TLC-led in-class lessons during the school year.
Project SUSTAIN field trips are carried out through in-kind donations
from the following partners: Idaho Department of Fish & Game, IdaH2O Master Water Stewards
Program, Gonzaga Outdoors, ROW Adventures, Heron Pond Farms, FLOW Adventures, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, City of Spokane Parks & Recreation, Spokane Fly Fishers, Dishman Hills Conservancy, Spokane County Hatchery, Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Spokane County Parks, SCD/WSU Green Zone, Spokane Riverkeeper, Spokane County Water Resource Center, Fighting
Creek Landfill, Coeur d'Alene Wastewater Treatment Plant, Upriver Dam, Lookout
Pass Ski & Recreation Area, Turnbull NWR, USDA Forest Service, City of
Spokane Waste to Energy Plant, and Bureau of Land Management.
Project SUSTAIN gives students in our community the unique
and worthy opportunity to break
out of the traditional classroom setting and create meaningful connections with
the natural world. By
getting kids outside, we strive to empower
the leaders of tomorrow with the knowledge and passion to become-and
remain-good stewards of the environment we're working so hard to protect today.
Our vision is that through Project SUSTAIN, kids will
develop lasting relationships with the natural world and acquire skills that
they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. By transferring our appreciation
and respect for our forests, water, and wildlife to our community's youth, we
are directly investing in the future of our environment.
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013-2014
The Confluence Project
We've cultivated an exciting
partnership with the University of Idaho's Waters of the West
program. Students at Lake City, Post
Falls, and St. Maries High Schools just completed a year-long local water
resources unit called "The Confluence Project," which focused on the water quality of the Lake Coeur d'Alene and Twin Lakes watersheds. This
comprehensive unit compared input, storage, and output water quality both
within and between the two systems.
Students participated in a water quality and water quantity field trip, a
water-related service learning experience, and a culminating youth water summit
at the University of Idaho in Moscow in April, at which they presented
findings of individual research questions studied during the year. Schools shared data with each other via live,
interactive video-conferencing through the Idaho Education Network, and
students maintained individual portfolios of the year's activities. The Lands Council-in conjunction with our
north Idaho education partners, including the University of Idaho, North Idaho
College, Coeur d'Alene Tribe, and local high school teachers-is hoping to
expand this model in the future to schools throughout the Idaho Panhandle.
Check out The Confluence Project's blog!
Read this story in the Spokesman Review about The Confluence Project's snow science trip to Mt. Spokane with Post Falls HS!
Pass the Potato
Our "Pass the Potato" project got students in Idaho, Wisconsin,
and Bulgaria outside: learning about and appreciating their region's unique
natural wonders; swapping their experiences with each other; and sharing with
local elementary schools via student-filmed field videos and a traveling "Mr.
Potato Head!" While participating
in outdoor, science and recreation-based school field trips that focused on activities such as snowshoeing, geo-cashing, orienteering, hiking and rock climbing, students filmed their experiences and created videos that they shared with each
other via YouTube. This helped foster the students' pride in their own natural
surroundings, in addition to an enhanced knowledge and motivation to be outside.
The innovative video exchange allowed them to learn about and be motivated to
visit and participate in outdoor activities in other regions. Our students also
helped increase participation in outdoor recreation by educating local elementary
school children about the outdoors and getting them excited about outdoor
recreation activities unique to their region.
How'd we do it? After learning snowshoeing technique, students from Post Falls, Lake City, and St. Maries High Schools snowshoed up a
mountain, dug snow pits, and measured snow water equivalency (SWE). While on
this field trip, students from Post Falls HS filmed their experiences and created
a video about north Idaho's recreational opportunities and shared it with
classes in two "sister schools:" an 8th grade class at the Fall
River School in Fall River, WI and the Anglo-American School of Sofia in Sofia,
Bulgaria. The Fall River class visited the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in nearby
Monona, WI and studied geo-caching and orienteering, and the Anglo-American
School students participated in a "Week Without Walls" adventure where they
explored Bulgaria's nature and culture.
A "Mr. Potato Head" (inspired by Idaho's potatoes) accompanied all three groups on their field trips, and
completed his circuit from ID to WI to Bulgaria and back to ID. All three groups created videos of their respective outdoor adventures. This real and virtual outdoor learning exchange fostered students' pride in their own natural surrounds, taught them about the outdoors, and motivated them to get outside...whether in their own region or another part of the country or world!
Check out these videos on our Pass the Potato YouTube site!
In an effort to get the "next generation"
excited to be outside, Post Falls HS students took the project a step
further by creating additional Prezi/PowerPoint presentations and sharing them
along with the video to two local elementary school classes. These students also
created surveys which were completed by students in Ponderosa and Prairie View Elementary Schools in Post Falls before and
after they viewed the video/presentations. Data was analyzed using a chi square
statistical analysis at a 95% confidence level. Surveys showed that the video helped them view science in a less negative way, see that science can be
studied outside, and understand that Idaho is more than just a location: it's a
place of available natural resources that provide fun outdoor activities.
This project was made possible by a grant from The Outdoor Foundation.
Each year, we hold
an essay contest and ask students to-in 750 words or less-describe how Project
SUSTAIN has impacted their education and their lives. Following are excerpts from essays written by
this year's SUSTAIN students:
to The Lands Council and Project SUSTAIN, this year I've learned a ton of new
things about the outdoors that I've never thought I was interested in! I have
found a new passion. –Amanda
SUSTAIN has really opened my eyes to a lot of things and forever changed the
way I treat the world around me. I'm so
thankful to The Lands Council and Project SUSTAIN for giving me the
opportunity. I wish that Project SUSTAIN
will be around for a long time so that lots of other students can also have
some amazing adventures like I've had.
with Project SUSTAIN has truly opened my eyes to water quality. I had never
really given water quality any thought until this project. I understand now how
important it is to keep our water safe and clean for both drinking and playing.
Project SUSTAIN has taught me that it is our job to give future Spokane
residents the water they need. –Karlin
trips helped me get new experiences I couldn't even imagine I would have had
we care about water quality? How does it pertain to our everyday lives? I
didn't know and didn't care until Project SUSTAIN made learning fun. What I
learned this year is that it's never too early to start making a difference in
the environment and even the world.
In every activity we did I learned something
new. Now I have a whole different
perspective on the environment and I watch what I do and try my best not to
harm our waters. –Sadida
This trip was one of my favorite trips all
year because it mixed the outdoors, exercise, learning, and all around
most meaningful portion of the trip for me was a combination of all the
elements in our adventure. The fact that twenty-something students were all
actively learning through hands on experiences while being surrounded by
passionate and driven individuals. The
opportunity presented to us through Project SUSTAIN is of a rare kind and I am
incredibly grateful to be able to be a part of it! –Kassidy
This trip has built more structure in
teamwork and I feel this has brought me closer to my fellow students. –Dakota
really couldn't imagine this year without these field trips. I really hope that
other grades get to experience this too because these are probably where we made
our most memories, and our favorite memories! Science has never been so
learned of Fair Trade it changed how I look at the food that I ate. Companies that support Fair Trade are in my
mind doing what's right. I now go to
Brews Brothers or Thomas Hammer to but my coffee because they support Fair
year has been the only one that taught me something that I will want to
remember and talk about. I am not going
to throw my trash in the river and make sure that I try not to waste water when
I do not need it. –Haylee
trust? Trust is assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth
of someone or something. Project SUSTAIN has given me the chance to have trust
in my classmates. On our last trip, a
fellow student who at the beginning of the year despised me was pulling me out
of the water and giving me emotional support better than a therapist. Throughout this journey I've learned that my
classmates are not just my classmates. They are heroes, survivors, supporters,
and most of all my friends. I wouldn't know how amazing these students are if
it weren't for Project SUSTAIN. –Neva
SUSTAIN has inspired me to change and show others that it is the right thing to
From last year's SUSTAIN students:
"I really enjoyed
this activity because it made me feel like I participated in something bigger
than myself and really gave back to the environment." -Micah
"Project SUSTAIN activities
have helped me to realize my love for being outdoors, and better respect the
nature all around us." -Alyssa
"I have found out
through Project SUSTAIN that I, as a teen and when I become older, can help
contribute to my community's sustainability."
has impacted my life in such a positive way.
I am now able to say I have gone ice fishing and snowshoeing which I had
never had the chance to do before."
taught me that if I ever plan on building a house or starting a business, I
should do it in a way that can be as sustainable as possible." -Isaac
made water quality matter."
"I can tell you
from my personal experience that if kids had more opportunities like the ones
that The Lands Council provides, education would not be something that children
felt forced into, but rather happy and maybe even excited for." -Dustin
"I can truly say with confidence that the two
field trips The Lands Council has funded for our class have taught me more real
life information than the past four years of science classes combined." -Tanner
greatest part of Project SUSTAIN is the fact that as a student and someone that
is trying to develop their own environmental philosophy, I have been able to
take a different outlook on how I live my life and what roles the environment
and local ecosystems play in it."
"This has been one of
my most treasured years and it is all because of Project SUSTAIN." -Julianne
has had the greatest, most extensive impact on my education to date." -Richie
Read about the collaborative project three of our North Idaho schools are taking on this year in an article written by science teacher, Jamie Esler from Lake City HS here.
For more information on this project, contact Kat Hall, Conservation Programs Director, khall (at) landscouncil.org, or call 209.2403.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for this project, contact Kate Burke, Director of Development & Communications, kburke (at) landscouncil.org
Congratulations to Kat Hall and her team from Post Falls High School!
were one out of three groups out of 14 to win $1,500 for project
SUSTAIN at the Outdoor Nation summit in Seattle! Great job team!