About the program
The Inspiring Kids Preserve program is a 3rd grade FieldSTEM outdoor education program that takes place at our 108-acre Inspiring Kids Preserve in Thurston County. This program is a collaboration with North Thurston Public Schools, Pacific Education Institute, and Puget Sound Estuarium. By using Inspiring Kids Preserve as a teaching tool, students see real world connections to school topics like Science, Social Studies, Math, and Language Arts. School topics aren’t the only things developed during field experiences! Being on the land fosters curiosity and relationship building.
Students visit Inspiring Kids Preserve in the spring during their 3rd grade school year. Students engage in four hands-on lessons about saltmarsh and estuary ecology while experiencing local conservation and restoration efforts. The lessons are designed to support classroom lessons and align with Next Generation Science Standards.
We piloted this program with one school from North Thurston Public Schools in 2019 and are in the process of expanding with the goal of serving all 13 elementary schools in North Thurston Public Schools. Check out this short story from the 2019 field experience!
Volunteer with us
Be part of our dedicated team of community volunteers! Volunteering with this program involves attending a required 5-hour field training, and we ask that our volunteers sign up for at least one field experience. On field days, volunteers lead lessons and encourage curiosity to a small group of students. Field experiences are a 5.5-hour commitment.
Let’s stay in touch!
Quotable moments – Students
“We got to look around and explore the world and feel like an animal. I loved it.”
“I learned about ecosystems in class and learned even more about them at the field trip.”
“I learned that you don’t want to touch stinging nettle and woodpeckers live in snags to get bugs.”
Quotable moments – Teachers
“The volunteers were amazing! They were very knowledgeable and patient. The bugs station was my favorite!”
“The students in my group were engaged in every single activity! To find that many different activities that the students found interesting is very hard to do! I also enjoyed how knowledgeable the volunteers were.”