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Our mission is to inspire a passion for exploring, understanding, and respecting the marine environment through hands-on scientific inquiry on Puget Sound.

Using Inquiry Based Learning as a central strategy, we don't just teach students about science - we provide an opportunity for students to become scientists, studying the marine environment in the same way a professional scientist might.  Our floating classroom, the 61' sailing research vessel Carlyn, provides an ideal platform for the learning expeditions of a lifetime.  Click here to view a program in action.


In 4th grade, the same percentage of girls and boys are interested in science.  By 8th grade, only half as many girls as boys remain interested.
Our existing science programs help girls retain an interest in and confidence about science, and our women scientists and crew act as role models for girls and boys alike.

13-year old Destany Franklin proudly wields her freshly-caught plankton sample in the ship's lab below decks (that doubles as a dorm room at night and a galley at mealtime!)  Destany joined 20 of her Rainier Scholars classmates for a Salish Sea Expedition.  Rainier Scholars is a nonprofit that cultivates the academic potential of talented and motivated young scholars from ethnic minority backgrounds to increase college graduation rates and develop new generations of leaders.  Of her experience with Salish, Destany said (more than once!):  "I never thought it would be this cool to be out on the water!"


Salish was founded to provide our youth with tools to address some significant educational challenges.
Only half of all Washington 10th graders passed the science portion of the Washington High School Proficiency exam (HSPE) last year.  Research shows that hands-on inquiry-based learning experiences like those that Salish provides are the best strategy to teach science.

Aisling and Stephanie of the REACH program of carefully examine the results of their Eckman Dredge sample from the floor of Bowman Bay near Deception Pass State Park.  Just to the left of the dredge sample are plankton samples which help these students determine the relative amount of plakton from various research sites.  The Camano Stanwood School District students were seeking to answer their  research question which hypothesized that there would be fewer zooplankton where nitrate levels were elevated.

BHS Chartwork

Significant gaps remain between science test scores of the affluent and poor, as well as between white and minority students.
Salish provides significant tuition subsidies to ensure that 25% of all our programs are from schools that serve low income students.  When students engage in hands-on activities they become inspired learners.  Now more than ever, we must encourage creative thinking.  We must prepare all students for jobs that require problem solving skills as well as developing habits of mind that can last a lifetime.

Captain Nancy Israel shows Bainbridge Island High School students how to set a course and navigate. 

                                               stanwood winch

12 year old Peter Holmes of Stanwood Middle School uses the winch to tighten the jib sail, helping his team compete and win a tacking contest to see who can turn the boat into the wind the fastest!  Peter's class set sail with Salish from Anacortes and took samples and dropped anchor near Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez Island and Jones Island State Park, just NW of San Juan Island.

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