VI. Preparation

After two successful years launching the Elwha Project as a long-range service-learning project for Eagle Harbor High School, we are now ready to institutionalize the project by pairing the beginning Biology class with an AP Environmental Science class for our older students.

We want to provide opportunities for students to transfer the training they have received at OPI, working on measuring the health of the Elwha River watershed, to local water issues on Bainbridge Island. We also want to raise the bar on the depth of their academic pursuits in science. We are in the process of developing a partnership with Islandwood, an environmental learning center on Bainbridge. We will contract with one of their naturalists, one day a week, to engage our students in field science activities around the island and in Puget Sound.

We will block-schedule the AP Environmental Science class to create a chunk of quality time, in the field, for hands-on learning. The Islandwood naturalist’s job will also involve creating contacts in the community for further service-learning opportunities not only for Eagle Harbor students but for the entire Commodore Options Program, which involves Odyssey 1-6, Odyssey 7-8, and Home School.

As another offshoot of Year Two’s Elwha Project, plans are underway to offer another film class, separated from the Elwha focus, partnering again with Bainbridge Island Television to use their excellent mentors and professional equipment with our students.

And of course, we will again spend another magical week next April at Olympic Park Institute, helping scientists measure the conditions in the Elwha watershed before the removal of the two dams. This meaningful service-learning experience allows students to not only come in touch with nature. In their own reflections, they understand they are coming in touch with the interconnectedness of all living things, including themselves. In his book Last Child in the Wood – Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, futurist and journalist, Richard Louv laments a culture that is increasingly isolating children from nature. Eagle Harbor High School hopes it is doing its part to reverse that trend.

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