Wade King Work Party at NSEA

In early May, more than 25 students, family and staff volunteers from the Wade King Elementary School community showed up at the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) site for a work party to help pot bareroot plants and to help organize the onsite native plant nursery. The schoolwide action project reflected a current unit of inquiry for Wade King third graders called Sharing the Planet in which the students learn about the rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things. The central ideas to this inquiry was to explore how human decisions to preserve natural habitats have local and global consequences and the work party at NSEA was a tangible way for students to help maintain habitat.

Analisa Ficklin, former principal at Wade King and current principal of Cordata Elementary, says applied understanding is a major component of an International Baccalaureate (IB) education. “One of the foundational beliefs of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program is that successful inquiry leads learners to apply what they’ve learned, often by taking action in some way,” Ficklin says.

“Our afternoon of planting with NSEA was an action that was planned by the PTA and staff at Wade King, and provided a fun and hands-on way for students to experience one of many forms that action can take. As they dug in the dirt alongside their parents, teachers, and NSEA crew, they were experiencing that very direct connection, when new learning leads us to make a difference in our community and our world.”

Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, commonly known as NSEA, has worked to restore streams in Whatcom County since the 1980s and has been a longtime community education partner in Bellingham schools.

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