salish sea sciences
Contact us to save your place for 2018! Salish Sea Sciences is a 26-day immersive research adventure for motivated science students ages 14-18. In partnership with the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories, students learn what it takes to be effective collaborators with working scientists, including a 5-day expedition in the great inland ocean called the Salish Sea.
Journey to the San Juan Archipelago on the Pacific Rim.
Engage in research with working scientists — in the field and in the lab.
Learn scientific best practices and marine stewardship.
Collaborate with professional scientists, illustrators, and photographers.
Connect with new friends who share your passion for science.
This summer, the UW Friday Harbor labs will host nearly 200 scientists from around the world with research interests in diverse fields including genomics, biomechanics, ecology, physiology, water chemistry, epidemiology, and megafauna—to name just a few. Many of these scientists are looking forward to sharing their research with advanced high school students whose questions and supervised projects could spark new directions for inquiry. Is the scientific life for you? This could be your chance to find out.

A local scientific treasure
For over 20 years, students living in the San Juan Islands have benefited from educational outreach provided by the UW Friday Harbor Laboratories, US National Parks Service, and other locally based scientific organizations. Some students even go on to participate in real-world research through pre-college internships with working scientists at the Friday Harbor Labs.
Now a global opportunity
Salish Sea Sciences extends this incredible opportunity to students everywhere, offering motivated high school science students the chance to work with real science and scientists in a range of hands-on projects toward possible high school credit.
Real time social networking
The program offers emerging scientists ages 14-18 a rare chance to meet working researchers on a personal level as colleagues, sharing meals, conversations, career directions, field work, and findings.
Living science
Students will live as scientists, contributing to a variety of on-going marine research projects directed by scientists at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories, the US National Parks Service, and other research organizations based on San Juan Island.
Scientific best practices
Throughout the experience, students will develop field notes. During the last phase of each program, students will have the opportunity to develop their own pilot project and present their work for review by mentor scientists.
Develop scientific and environmental literacy.
Learn from world-class research scientists.
Participate in ongoing research projects.
Experience the daily routines of the scientific life.
Trawl for specimens on UW FHL vessel, R/V Centennial.

For 6 days and 5 nights students will hoist sails, row in synchrony, and man the tiller as they journey in longboats through the great Inland Ocean called the Salish Sea. Students will immerse themselves in maritime skills, local lore, and the marine sciences while adventuring—as crewmates and as friends—within the San Juan Islands National Monument.

Nautical experience
In collaboration with the Northwest Maritime Center/Wooden Boat Foundation of Port Townsend, Washington, students will pull together as crewmates of longboats, replicas of the type used by Captain George Vancouver's crew when they explored the North American coast from what is now Olympia, Washington to Glacier Bay, Alaska during the summers of 1792-1794. Rowing and camping together, students learn not just about the islands, they engage with each other as fellow adventurers and friends. US Coast Guard licensed longboat captains and mates have successfully lead voyages of discovery in the Salish Sea for the Northwest Maritime Center since the late 1980s.
Exploration and discovery
Marine data collection will continue during the longboat voyage, but there is so much more! Sea life and seashores take on a new perspective when observed from the water. New islands, each with their own unique history and natural wonders await exploration. Row and sail among seals, porpoises, sea lions. A breaching orca. A bald eagle soaring high overhead. Come to the shore and set up camp, go hiking, scramble over rocks, find fauna and flora you have never seen before. The rich diversity of island life and experience awaits.
Other activities
Whether on land or water, students will engage in scientific endeavors every day. The longboat voyage adds another dimension for students to grow as individuals, team members, and nascent scientists. Evenings will often be convivial opportunities to get to know research scientists and their work well, however the long light of summer evenings also afford opportunities for additional adventuring activities such as kayaking, outrigger canoeing, swimming, folk dancing, and whale watching. We will also take advantage of local museums such as the Whale Museum and the Island Museum of Art, and the summer production of professional theater company, Island Stage Left.
Camp, hike, swim, sail, row.
Follow water currents and weather patterns.
Read nautical charts and tide tables.
Collect geological, botanical, and zoological data.
Make lifelong friends.

Science and Art derive from a common foundation in a willingness to experiment, fail, and try again. Science and Art equally depend on similar skills of observation and inquiry. As the distinguished biologist Louis Agassiz once said: "The way you understand an organism or solve a problem is by drawing it." Or, as one classroom teacher succinctly put it: "Knowing isn't just telling something back as we receive it; it means transformation and change." That transformation becomes all the more meaningful with its communication, both for the professional community as well as the lay public. Under the expert guidance of researchers, illustrators, photographers, writers, and science communicators, students will strengthen their observational, analytical, and presentation skills.

Field notes
Each student receives a "Rite-in-the-Rain" notebook, pencils, a sharpener, and an eraser. Program leaders will guide students on the practice of keeping field notes and journaling; students will also see that the scientists they meet regularly keep field notes too. What may surprise is that field notes can be so much more than a repository for data. Those who have a history of keeping field notes will tell you that they go back again and again to their notebooks for knowledge and inspiration as well as raw data.
Students receive sketchbooks, pencils, and artistic guidance helping them transform life as they see it onto paper. The ability to draw specimens is both a practical alternative to photography and a tool for observation. Rendering an image accurately by hand requires a person to look very carefully at the subject in question.
Drawing and sketching, like other arts, also can be a deeply rewarding activity in itself. Interestingly, research shows that artistic activity stimulates the brain in ways that can alter a person's way of thinking. Many corporations today invite art consultants to teach employees to draw. Why? The arts promote skills for the future: visualization, creative thinking, imagination and invention. Science and Art belong together.
Cameras are ubiquitous. Young people are quick to learn the tricks but how many go beyond the snapshot? Under the guidance of seasoned photographers, students will have the opportunity to deepen their photographic sensibilities. One aspect of scientific photography is capturing the essential characteristics of one's subject in high-resolution images that can be used to catalogue a finding or communicate its properties in both paper-based and digital media.
Photography itself is an extension of the eye and the person behind the camera, not just a log of things and people in time. Out in the field, a person can discover a fresh way of seeing the world. Later, while reviewing and editing one's photographs, a person may come to discover not only what they saw, or didn't see, but something within themselves as well.
Writing & Speaking
It is rare for an advanced high school student not to write or speak reasonably well; what is rarer is the student who fully appreciates the nuances between different kinds of communications within a professional community or for different audiences and contexts. With the aid of instructors, students will have a chance to practice several written forms as divergent as personal reflections, blog entries, scientific hypotheses and synopses, online educational materials, and pilot project posters like those presented at professional scientific conferences.
Students will not only be guided towards successfully presenting their projects visually and orally, they will also regularly practice an array of networking skills such as greeting guest speakers, asking inviting, well-researched questions, and arranging table seating to encourage conversation.
Learn techniques of scientific illustration.
Polish photography and photojournalism skills.
Practice data analysis, management, and synopses.
Hone scientific journaling and journalistic writing.
Post blog entries.
Present pilot projects.
Practice networking skills.

What are the attributes of a leader? Listening. Questioning assumptions—especially one's own. Leaders are willing to take risks—whether social, physical, or intellectual—to meet challenges and exceed expectations. Sometimes a plan doesn't work out, calling for a new direction. Above all, a leader respects and enjoys cooperating with others, regardless of outcomes, and treasures the friendships such adventures bring.

Courage to listen, learn, and act
Working with scientists out in the field in on-going research provides students with a unique opportunity to live as professionals. In the company of these scientists and teachers, students learn by doing. And the practice of respecting mentors, methodologies, recording data, and discussing assumptions and processes, isn't just about science. It teaches a frame of mind that carries into a person's life as a whole. It is about teamwork, communication, and independent thinking. These are core qualities of leaders.
Surpassing expectations
Venturing into the unknown means taking risks. It also offers the opportunity of self-discovery. Taking a turn at the helm or plotting a course for the first time can be daunting. It isn't easy for everyone to ask questions, especially from distinguished persons. Doing so in a group can be even more intimidating. Discovering you have the power to overcome your fears, learn new skills, and realize camaraderie is powerful. It builds confidence and self-esteem. These, too, are attributes of leaders.
Following through
To live like a professional is to follow through with an idea, no matter where the data leads. To do so is to be willing to test an idea in public. Students regularly will have the opportunity to express their findings and points of view, but they also will do so formally in individual and group presentations to scientists. Students will know themselves as the scientists and adventurers they have come to be.
Leading every day
Salish Sea Sciences brings leadership principles and practices into the field, lab, van, boat, trail, classroom, and dormitory. Applying equally to personal and professional contexts, students are encouraged to take care of themselves and their things, exhibit consideration for others, collaborate well, communicate honestly and thoughtfully, and take reasonable risks in pursuit of new knowledge, skills, and friendships.
Leave no trace
The San Juan Islands archipelago is both a National Monument and National Wildlife Refuge. Suburu/Leave No Trace for Outdoor Ethics is a national organization dedicated to protecting the natural environment by teaching people to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. In 2014, they designated the San Juans as one of eight "hotspots." The San Juan County Council, in a move the first if its kind, and in keeping with Resolution No. 8-2004, designating San Juan County as a Voluntary Marine Stewardship Area, passed Resolution No. 45-2014, designating the county a Voluntary Leave No Trace Area. Students will take the lead and practice the principles of Leave No Trace.
Work as a team
Test assumptions
Meet personal challenges
Build confidence
Think critically