Sustainability Super Heroes: Inspiring young environmental stewards

Elizabeth Wing, third-grade teacher, is our Sustainability Super Hero! On a daily basis she inspires her third-graders to become great stewards of the environment at Carnation Elementary School, about 30 miles from Seattle, in the Snoqualmie Valley. We met Elizabeth in 2015 at a Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Earth Day event at Tolt McDonald Park in Carnation. Her students were working with the Tribe to restore salmon habitat along the Tolt River. Elizabeth came up to our information table, picked up a rain garden pamphlet and declared, “I want our third-graders to build a rain garden at our school!” It just so happened that Stewardship Partners recently learned about a new grant program that would provide funds to do just that. We let Elizabeth know that we’d be interested in partnering on a project with her students and the rest is history.

The school now has a brand-new rain garden as of January 2018. Students helped to install the rain garden with the Stewardship Partners’ Snoqualmie Stewardship restoration crew and the Snoqualmie Tribe’s Environmental and Natural Resources program staff. A team from Aspect Consulting, who designed the rain garden, volunteered to help with the install.

         Snoqualmie Stewardship crew with 3rd grade students and Ms. Wing

The goal is for generations of students to learn about, care for, and maintain the rain garden. An additional part of the vision was to connect students with mother nature’s larger rain gardens; habitat buffers. As part of their science program, the students that installed the rain garden later joined Stewardship Partners and Nature Vision at Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center to help maintain and plant native trees and shrubs in our beloved “Alder Grove” buffer.

“The rain garden and restoration opportunities allowed students to develop a connection to the community, unique ecosystems, and to develop a sense of place. Elementary students learn best and remember important learning targets through project-based learning and inquiry field studies. They take their stewardship learning and share their insights with their families. All students see themselves as citizen scientists with powerful voices.”
— Elizabeth Wing

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