Marine & Environmental Science

Foss Waterway Seaport Image

Environmental sustainability is an urgent priority in today’s education system. In 2009 Foss Waterway Seaport convened an Advisory Group of Puget Sound K-20 educators, curriculum advisors and environmental stewardship organizations to guide plans for our new Learning Laboratory and our vision for community-based education.

We continue to refine and update our curriculum and our plans for expanded educational offerings in the "new" Seaport by partnering with the region's outstanding educators.

Advisory Group

“If you build it, will they come?” That’s the question the Seaport asked about updates for our historic facility, the region’s most unique waterfront environmental education venue. Today our collaborations with school districts and higher education institutes help ensure that our field trips, classes, summer science day camp, and boat-based educational experiences expand learning beyond the classroom.

Looking ahead, we gathered over 40 of the region’s top educators and learning experts to identify compelling new hands-on features for the physical design and technological scope of the Seaport, including plans for a new Learning Laboratory to be used by the region’s school groups.

The Advisory Group’s guidance and continued involvement also helps ensure that the Seaport’s Education Program activities and learning spaces support the region’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning objectives for school districts, private schools and home schools.

Learning Laboratory

Architectural design work is underway to incorporate comprehensive permanent improvements and exciting new learning areas in the Seaport, including a Learning Laboratory.

Based on the Advisory Group’s insights, the Seaport anticipates creating an approximately 5,000 square foot Learning Laboratory and classroom facility where students and community members can conduct hands-on scientific study of Puget Sound’s animal and plant life and shorelines.

The new Learning Laboratory and other improvements will be part of the Seaport’s construction upgrade over the next two years. For more information about our new education facilities, please contact jan [dot] adams [at] fosswaterwayseaport [dot] org (Jan Adams).

Boat-based Education

Foss Waterway Seaport’s boat-based educational programs link students and educators with on-the-water explorations of Puget Sound that complement and expand classroom learning. Research expeditions ranging from 3-hours to multiple days combine exploring the long-term effects of our working waterfront history with marine science experiments in the Central or South Sound region.

Our boat-based education strives to:

  • Strengthen science, math + social studies programs
  • Ignite learning + environmental stewardship passions
  • Provide service + leadership learning
  • Provide resources + curriculum for additional marine science activities
  • Link with district + state education standards

For more information, please contact jan [dot] adams [at] fosswaterwayseaport [dot] org (Jan Adams).

Summer Science SeaCamp

The Seaport's SeaCamps allow “Young scientists” to immersed themselves in “scientific inquiry” to explore marine wildlife and conduct hands-on marine science activities on board a marine research vessel.

“Our grandson so enjoyed every aspect of the SeaCamp. He really got into it. In fact, he asked us if he could do it again next year!”

Campers studied Puget Sound watershed and water quality issues; learned through creative water-related games; analyzed liquid samples on an imaginary planet; and investigated local water quality treatment stations near Tacoma's downtown waterfront.

“After the last day of SeaCamp my daughter taught me on a beachwalk that not all jellyfish sting and showed me which species of sea stars eat other sea stars. She keeps thinking about science and ecology and wishes she could 'do something.' Hopefully, SeaCamp will help her get a good grade in science next school year!”