7th Grade Trip to the Mount Rainier Institute

by Wendy

This week the 7th grade class spent three days in the shadow of Mount Rainier deepening our understanding of forest and mountain ecology, the Nisqually tribe and how to snowshoe. Monday afternoon was spent doing field studies in research teams, collecting data in both managed forest and old growth forest. Here students posed research questions, offered hypotheses and collected data on tree density, carbon storage, nurse log diversity and the presence of lichen. After free time and dinner students played a predator and prey game and enjoyed songs and skits around the campfire (with Bre playing a memorable role)! 

Tuesday we spent most of the day in Mount Rainier National Park, first exploring the forest around Longmire and then snowshoeing above the Paradise Visitor Center. The skies cleared just in time! In the evening we met with Hanford McCloud of the Nisqually tribe, who shared how this land was the hunting and fishing grounds of his people for millennia, and how land takings and fishing restrictions have violated treating rights guaranteed in 1854. They’ve had to use their own funds to buy back their land. A continuing issue for the tribe is the impact of climate change on salmon populations - down from five to two species of wild salmon making it back to spawning grounds annually.

On Wednesday students met to present their team’s research at an SGS ‘symposium,’ sharing their findings and taking questions from other students. Students were each confident in their own knowledge but felt free to expand on each other, explaining the equipment they used to measure, procedures, potential shortcomings of the experiment, and more. Just like different trees and the ways diversity of species makes a forest healthier and more resilient, such is true for our own community. This trip was a way to learn more about our individual strengths and shared challenges. Here is photo evidence of the learning, the FUN and the magic of the mountain.
Located in the Central District, Seattle Girls' School is an independent school for girls and gender nonconforming students in grades 5-8. Our mission is to inspire and develop courageous leaders who think independently, work collaboratively, learn joyfully, and champion change.