Response for project 199405900: Yakima Basin Environmental Edu

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The proposed budget is adequate to continue the Yakima Basin Environmental Education Program (Program) at its current level. However, the Program is receiving increasing requests for classroom and field presentations, equipment loan, coordination, technical assistance, and related items from teachers throughout the Yakima Basin. As these requests increase, the cost of addressing these requests also increases, through increased staff milage, equipment purcahses, and related costs. To help meet these increasing requests, the Program continues to explore opportunities for cost/share partnerships with various entities. During the 04-05 school year, the Program has formed a partnership with the Pacific Education Institute and Northwest Service Academy. At minimal cost to the Program, an AmeriCorps person has been assigned to the Program, which has significantly increased Program capabilities. Future partnerships are very possible, but require a small cost share from the Program. A modest increase of $10,000 would cover increased mileage costs and provide for additional partnerships to meet the increasing requests from Yakima Basin teachers.

Accomplishments since the last review

# of people reached in each of 3 classes (T/S/G): Teachers, Students, General public04-05 school year: Students-8,000; teachers-200; general public-1,000 03-04 school year: students-6,000; teachers-160; general public-1,000 02-03 school year: students-4,000; teachers-130; general public-1,000

During the 2002-03, 03-04, and 04-05 school years, the Yakima Basin Environmental Education Program (Program) (1)offered relevant, hands-on curriculum to teachers and their students; (2) provided teachers and students with necessary equipment and materials to participate in local environmental education activties; (3) supported teachers and students who have participated in the Program; (4) fostered community partnerships to improve both education and the environment; (5) stimulated student interest in science and the environment as possible career choices; and (6) restored and enhanced local habitat. During the 03-04 and 04-05 school years, the Program initiated salmon carcass dissection in the classroom, which has been very popular with both teachers and students. Over 2,000 students participated in salmon dissection during the current school. In addition, the number of fish tanks and chillers in Yakima Basin schools has more than doubled over this three year timeframe. These tanks are used as part of the Salmon in the Classroom program. Over 2,000 students observed incubating salmon eggs and raised and released salmon fry into local streams. During the current school year, the Progarm formed a partnership with Heritage University and was able to offer bi-lingual (English/Spanish) capability to teachers and students in the Yakima Basin. This is a pressing need in light of the fact that approximately 25% of the students in the Yakima Basin are enrolled in ESL classes and not fully functional in English.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

# of people reached in each of 3 classes (T/S/G): Teachers, Students, General public05-06 school year: students-8,000; teachers-200; general public-1,000

The Program goals for the 05-06 school year include: 1. Teacher training is organized in a two-year cycle and includes eight field trip training sessions for participating teachers, including such topics as water needs and uses, stream hydrology, salmon life-cycle and spawning requirements, etc. Teachers are provided relevant training materials and equipment to take to their classrooms to replicate their hands on natural science activities with their students. Individual mentoring and classroom presentations & field trips are also included. 2.Coordinate with various community agencies and with students and teachers for greater involvement in the classroom and field trips, and for cooperative projects and in-kind donations. 3. Participate in public events to educate the public about the local environment and about possible involvement in the program. 4.Develop and maintain teacher communication tools, equipment inventories, activitiy & resource databases, and accounting records. The Progam will continue its core efforts of offering field-based, hands-on, interdisciplanary, relevant science and environmetnal education opportunities to teachers and students in the Yakima Basin. In addition, the Program will continue to build partnerships with federal, Tribal, state, local, and private entities to maximize environmental education opportunities in the Yakima Basin.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

The Yakima Basin Environmental Education Program is fully consistant with and supportive of the 2004 Yakima Subbasin Plan. Education at all levels is essential to the successful implementation of the Plan and the resotration of fish and wildlife populations. The Progarm assists students and the general public gain a greater understanding of natural processes, fish and wildlife habitat requirements, life cycles, the importance of key ecosystems, such as wetlands, streams, and lakes. The Program also promotes and assists students and others in participating in habitat restoration projects. The importance of education is recognized by the Yakima Subbasin Summary, prepared pursuant to the 2000 Fish and Wildlife Program. Specifically, Goal 4 states: "Increase the information and knowledge needed to restore and manage fish and wildlife and their habitats."

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

Program goals are consistant with and surpportive of the priorities contained in the 2004 Yakima Subbasin Plan. The Program assists students and the general public gain a greater understanding of the requirements for priority fish and wildlife species, such as steelhead and bald eagles, as well as priority habitats, such as wetlands, riparian zones, and streams.

Other comments

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