Science shares with Art a common foundation of curiosity for the wonder and recognition of beauty—often where unexpected. The Spring Street International School Summer Program in Inland Ocean Studies invites young scientists and adventurers ages 14-18 to three sessions in which to learn about marine science and stewardship in the beautiful San Juan Islands. Juniors and Seniors, in the Inland Ocean Semester, can earn a full year's worth of science credits (140 contact hours) studying the ecology and environmental science of the great "inland ocean" called the Salish Sea.
Learn from world-class research scientists.
Gain scientific and environmental literacy.
Participate in ongoing research projects.
Write, illustrate, photograph, observe and discover.
Complete research projects for school credit.
Tour the University of Washington in Seattle.
The San Juan Archipelago, situated in the center of the Salish Sea, is home to a unique and precious marine environment. Program participants will live as naturalists and scientists, contributing research data to projects directed by scientists in an array of biological subdisciplines at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories, the National Parks Service, and other island-based marine research organizations.
Invertebrate Zoology
Marine Mammalogy
Biological Oceanography
Experiential Journey and Teamwork
Directed by a team of marine scientists, Outward Bound specialists, naturalists, and teachers, paticipants will experience three weeks of classroom and field study in marine science and stewardship. Activities will include interaction with scientists based at the Labs, data-collection on the Labs' research vessel R/V Centennial, and a 6 day/ 5 night longboat voyage—replicating the experiences of Captain George Vancouver and his crew when they first charted the waters of the archipelago in the 1790s—led by educators associated with Northwest Maritime Center/Wooden Boat Foundation in Port Townsend, Washington.
Putting it All Together
Upon returning from the longboat voyage to the Spring Street International School campus in Friday Harbor, Summer Program participants will have the opportunity to contribute data and samples collected during the previous two phases to Lab scientists for use in real-world research. Participants will also have the opportunity to create works incorporating individual notes, drawings, photographs, and reflections.
Professional and College Awareness
Participants will learn from scientists engaged in diverse aspects of marine science. Each program will culminate with a visit to the University of Washington campus in Seattle to observe the university's science and engineering facilities and take a campus tour as well as enjoy Seattle's world-famous waterfront.
Spring Street International School's Inland Ocean Semester offers rising 11th and 12th graders an immersive, seven-week course of study in the natural environments of, and human interactions with, a temperate inland sea and its islands.
Students use the pristine habitats and rural settings of the San Juan Archipelago as a classroom for developing skills and perspectives that will be carried beyond their brief stay in Northwest Washington State. Each program's emphasis on scientific process and problem solving leaves students with a confidence in their ability to think as well as in what they know. Each participant enrolls in two classes in Maritime Ecology/History of the Salish Sea/Humans in the Maritime Environment and is granted one semester (70 contact hours) of credit on the successful completion of each by Spring Street International School.
In both classes, we strive to develop abilities in critical thinking, personal organization and accountability, and effective communication of ideas through writing and speaking.
Maritime Ecology
Science is a process and not simply a body of knowledge. This course explores that process using the interactions of organisms and their non-living environment to illustrate the scientific method. When the glaciers receded from northwestern Washington State and the waters rose 10,000 years ago, they left behind shorelines and islands scraped to the bedrock and devoid of most forms of life. The forests, marshes and grasslands that we see today are ecologically young and, where undisturbed, are locally diverse and still developing. By contrast, marine fishes, invertebrates and algae retreated with water and quickly recolonized. Guided by Program instructors and professional researchers from our partner organizations, students use the forests, shorelines and tidelands as a classroom for observing, identifying and testing hypotheses about the distribution and abundance of species.
Through daily field work, discussions, formal lessons and independent research projects, our participants develop skills in:
observation of natural systems
local species identification
pattern recognition and hypothesis development
survey/experiment design and techniques
metrics for data collection
data analysis and summarization
critical evaluation of data and data interpretation
oral and written communication
critical evaluation of self and others
Assessments come in the form of discussions during nightly dinners with local scientists, written assignments, oral presentations and identification quizzes and a final project presented to professional researchers, resource managers, community stakeholders and other interested community members.
Living History of the Salish Sea
As long as there has been an ecosystem, there have always been people in the Salish Sea. From the First Peoples that followed the developing seaways after the retreat of the glaciers to the European fur traders, fishermen, farmers and soldiers that homesteaded the region, to the global tourists that visit the region, people have been coming to the San Juan Archipelago for a very long time. This course invites students to explore the stories of the people that now live here because their personal histories are the outcomes of centuries of interactions of cultures and nations. Our participants engage in conversations with locals from a variety of different communities. They learn how to ask insightful questions, evaluate perspective and bias, develop empathy for differing points of view and in the process become a conduit for history through balanced presentations to the community.
Through field trips, informal conversations and formal interviews, our participants develop skills in:
considering of bias
identifying locally relevant topics
posing well-considered questions
evaluating responses in the context of one's own bias
evaluating and summarizing useful information
weighing opposing viewpoints
critically evaluating one's own beliefs
identifying common themes
combining information to present articulate stories
Humans in the Maritime Environment
"You have to be more careful with an island," a local bumper-sticker reads. The remote nature and limited resources of island life mean the environmental challenges which humanity faces are often exaggerated in these places. Where does the food come from? Where does the waste go? Is there enough water for the huge population increase this summer? This course examines some of the ways that people interact with their natural environment using skills drawn from a variety of life science and social science disciplines. Our students learn to recognize environmental challenges, consider potential solutions to them and listen to opposing points of view on local issues. Over the course of the semester, each participant identifies an issue relevant to the island community, convenes a committee of experts to advise them and develops and manages a project that studies the issue critically. Working with local farmers, fishers, construction workers, water managers, waste managers, transportation coordinators and electrical workers (among others), our students develop an understanding of just how much goes into life as we know it and how much it affects our environment.
Through formal conversations, job-shadowing, independent project design and presentations, our participants develop skills in:
identifying and solving environmental challenges
posing well-considered questions
evaluating responses in the context of one's own bias
evaluating and summarizing useful information
weighing opposing viewpoints
critically evaluating one's own beliefs
species identifications
considering alternative means of resource use
independently developing and completing projects
To learn more about the science, adventure, expressions, and leadership aspects of each program, or to view the calendar, please see those pages.