Along with other programs within the Suquamish Tribe’s Fisheries and Natural Resource Department, the Shellfish Program is continually involved in an array of outreach and education projects. Suquamish Shellfish Staff have been involved in education programs for young people from Kindergarten to the 12th grade. Some of these programs and projects include the Citizen Science Program, Beach Habitat Monitoring by local students, Species Identification workshops, and week-long summer school science projects.
Within recent years the Shellfish Program has become much more involved in Ocean Acidification (OA) awareness. This effort has been aimed toward all ages, and for very good reason since only approximately 7% of the population has heard of OA nationwide. OA research is important so we may learn how to adapt, but it is equally if not more important to spread the word about what causes OA and the associated environmental concerns. We already know from best available science that the ocean is becoming more acidic at a faster rate than ever before, and it is already affecting marine ecosystems and coastal economies. Because of the Shellfish Program’s outreach and education efforts, it is now easier for teachers to find materials about ocean acidification. The Shellfish Program is currently collecting OA information and curriculum so that it may be on an internet database where teachers can search and find materials appropriate for their classrooms.
The Shellfish Program has been active in helping juniors and seniors of the Chief Kitsap Academy send two delegations of students to represent the Suquamish Tribe and the Pacific Northwest Region at the Coastal America Student Summit. Along with already busy high school curricula, the students researched and studied the causes of OA and presented posters and videos at the summit in Washington DC in 2011 and 2013.