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Students work to clean up Sammamish Slough
The students in Rob Turner’s Estuaries In Trouble summer course probably had no idea their classroom would take the shape of a floating garbage patrol on the Sammamish Slough. But Turner said the best way to learn is by doing.
“I want the students to understand how pollutants from the land around the Puget Sound are causing its degradation,” said Turner, who teaches at UW Bothell.
The slough runs from Lake Sammamish, which borders Bellevue, through Redmond and Bothell.
Turner found a hands-on learning opportunity through a community partnership with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. Their mission is to protect and preserve the waters of Puget Sound by monitoring, cleaning up and preventing pollutants from entering its waters.
On Friday, Aug. 9, class was in session at the Park at Bothell Landing. A local kayaking company outfitted the students and taught basic river safety and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance explained the morning’s river mission as students were armed with nets and monitoring devices.
Mycole Brown, a biology major said he expected to find plastic, oil, and knowledge.
“I hope to gain a better understanding of the health of rivers and of the various instruments we use," he said.
Turner says he wants this experience to have a long lasting impact on the students and the environment.
“I hope the students will be jazzed at doing this type of citizen science that can have an impact on the quality of the water,” he said.
He added that he also hopes the students will volunteer again. And Puget Soundkeeper Alliance could use the help. The Sammamish River is sixth in their clean-up quest of 12 Rivers in 12 Months.
Haley Duke, a senior majoring in environmental studies, said this first-hand experience won’t be her last and she issued an invitation.
“I hope to help today and I encourage everybody in the community to do this work.”