salish sea sciences
Salish Sea Sciences connects high school students with mentors and peers across a range of disciplines in a stunning maritime setting, forging career pathways that take students where they want to go.
Field & Lab Science ▾ 
June 23 - July 19, 2019 · 16 students · Inquire · Details
Each year, the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories hosts 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 motivated high school students whose questions and supervised projects contribute to active inquiries.

A local scientific treasure...
For over 20 years, local high school students have had access the UW Friday Harbor Laboratories, the DeaDoc Society, Northwest Maritime Center, US National Parks Service, and other scientific organizations investigating the incredible water, land, flora, and fauna of the Salish Sea. a global opportunity
Salish Sea Sciences extends this opportunity to motivated science students everywhere, offering a rare chance for high school students to participate with real science and working scientists in a range of hands-on projects—the equivalent to over 200 instructional classroom hours in leadership training, environmental science, and biology.
Develop your scientific literacy.
Learn from working research scientists.
Participate in active investigations.
Experience the scientific life.
A three-phase program
Phase one: scientific processes
Activities include interactions with scientists, data-collection on the FH Labs' research vessel Centennial, and exposure to an array of research disciplines, projects, field sites, labs, methodologies, and data sets.
Phase two: 5-day/4-night longboat expedition
Students practice leadership and collaboration while navigating the inland waters of the Salish Sea, exploring island habitats only accessible by small crafts or by private invitation.
Phase three: independent project
Students design their own investigations, combining their ideas and analyses of data collected earlier in the program to create pilot study posters for presentation to their peers, mentors, and guests at the end of session barbecue bash.
A typical day
7:00 - 8:00am · Wake up & breakfast
8:00 - 12:00pm · Field research, intertidal zone
12:00 - 1:00pm · Lunch
1:00 - 3:00pm · Scientific drawing workshop
3:00 - 3:30pm · Break & snack
3:30 - 4:30pm · Intertidal data analysis
4:30 - 5:00pm · Personal time
5:00 - 6:00pm · Evening prep
6:00 - 8:30pm · Dinner w/guest presentations
8:30 - 9:00pm · Discussion; blogging
9:00 - 10:00pm · Evening activities
10:30pm · Lights out
Way beyond the classroom
Throughout the program, our team of instructors and mentors encourage students to build on their knowledge toward new observations with potential to open new lines of inquiry. Our experience over the years proves that motivated high school students, under the guidance of mentors, ask questions that can open new inroads to scientific knowledge.
...I learned more about science and the acquisition of knowledge in those 26 days than I did throughout middle and high school. Furthermore, the knowledge I now have about the diversity of foci in the realm of science has helped me choose a school and delve into what I truly wish to study. —Eric S.

Ecology & Bioacoustics ▾ 
July 21 - Aug. 17, 2019 · 16 students · Inquire · Details
The Acoustic Session is a 26-day residential mashup of bioacoustics and marine ecology operated in conjunction with the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories, the SeaDoc Society, SMU Consulting/University of St. Andrews, professional musicians of the Archipelago Collective, Kaigani Voyaging/Wayfinders, the Whale Museum, and internationally recognized acoustic and electroacoustic composer and ocean advocate Alex Shapiro.

A common language
Most animals, humans included, rely on a wide spectrum of sound, producing and receiving audio waves for endless uses, from the echo-locating clicks of orca on the hunt to the hair raising thrill of a rock ballad as it crashes into a stadium of cheering fans. Such sensitivity can also pose a threat, as noise interferes with the reception of transmitted sound, leading to confusion, lost opportunities, malnourishment, and chronic irritation and stress.
New tools for understanding and expression
Growing out of the interests of Salish Sea Sciences field and lab students from past years, this exciting new opportunity for motivated students explores bioacoustics as a scientific discipline and pathway to understanding the ecology of the Salish Sea—the equivalent to over 200 instructional classroom hours in leadership training and environmental science.
Hydrophone recordings of San Juan waterways
Ship noise impact and mitigation
Capturing sound: approaches and technique
Fine-scale sound at the seafloor
Field recordings and interpretation
World-class mentors
A three-phase program
Phase one: the acoustic world
The session begins by going outside and listening to the sounds of the Salish Sea, from the Lime Kiln hydrophone array, the pips of orca on the hunt, and the winds of the shifting tide to the background roar of passing container ships. As students acclimate to the listening environments of the wooded and prairie island areas, they study the physics and morphology of natural sounds and learn to make high quality audio recordings from above and below the water's surface, collecting sounds electronically.
Phase two: 5-day/4-night outrigger canoe expedition
Midway through, the cohort takes to the Salish Sea on a 5-day/4-night paddling/sailing voyage led by Salish native Matt Wickey—in outrigger and tribal canoes used for centuries by the Salish people and their Hawaiian counterparts—discovering habitats accessible only by human-powered craft. During this journey, we seek to honor the connection between canoe and land through the lens of sustainable food security, stewardship of our island natural resources, traditional knowledge systems, outdoor and maritime skills, rites of passage, and peacemaking.
Phase three: independent projects
Returning from their paddling excursion, students enter the world of acoustic and electroacoustic music making with members of the Archipelago Collective, breaking into smaller groups to work with Alex Shapiro in her professional project recording studio, learning how to use the latest digital sequencing and audio editing tools to connect humans with nature, layering sounds on sounds, creating melodies and harmonies, producing their own inventions. Alternatively, students may engineer designs that mitigate or produce sound in novel ways. The program concludes with a celebratory presentation of student work with family members and collaborators at the farewell barbecue bash.
A typical day
7:00 - 8:00am · Wake up & breakfast
8:00 - 12:00pm · Field recoding in the intertidal zone
12:00 - 1:00pm · Lunch
1:00 - 3:00pm · Scientific acoustic workshop
3:00 - 3:30pm · Break & snack
3:30 - 4:30pm · Intertidal recording editing
4:30 - 5:00pm · Personal time
5:00 - 6:00pm · Evening prep
6:00 - 8:30pm · Dinner w/guest presentations
8:30 - 9:00pm · Discussion; blogging
9:00 - 10:00pm · Evening activities
10:30pm · Lights out
Into the mix
Often, tonight's dinner guest will be tomorrow's field or studio host, making it easy for students to engage with professionals on a person level, as colleagues, sharing conversation, meals, career directions, field and studio experience, and asking questions in an informal low-pressure context.
Thank you again for feeding our daughter's passion at Salish Sea Sciences. Salish was the highlight of her summer. I think it also gave her the confidence to get herself an internship at UCSB Marine Science Institute this year. She fell in love with the San Juan Islands and everything she did there. As a result, we were in the Northwest doing college tours! —Parent

Scientific Diving ▾ 
July 21 - Aug. 4, 2019 · 16 students · Inquire · Details
Starting in summer 2019, Salish Seas Sciences will offer a scientific diving course designed specifically for high school divers with a recreational certification. Upon completion of all requirements, students will be certified as an American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Scientific Diver and can receive Verification of Training at their present and future institutions. Diving course students will reside with a cohort of Salish Sea Sciences students, investigators, and instructors participating in related programs.

A comprehensive approach
The Salish Sea Sciences scientific diving course is a fast-paced, comprehensive field experience, teaching not only scientific diving techniques, but also team coordination and remote operation logistics. The course is a balance of practical methods application and academic instruction led by experts in a small and relaxed class environment. Students gain real-world exposure to ongoing projects through access to scientific, ecological, and cultural sites.
This course is designed to teach and develop underwater scientific diving skills for high school students. Therefore, the following requirements must be met before the commencement of the course:
Open Water certification
50 logged open water dives post certification
Recently passed a diving physical exam
Scuba gear (cylinders & weights provided)
Travel insurance & DAN diving insurance
Adherence to AAUS safety standards
Two intensive weeks
The scientific diving course runs for two weeks with intermittent dry days scheduled to minimize the risk of decompression sickness. Most days will consist of academic lectures and/or field excursions to local sites. Students will be taught diving safety protocols and expected to strictly follow all measures. Divers may abstain from any dive without reprimand and given a new "dry" task with no detriment to their course outcome (although a minimum number of 12 dives is required for certification as an AAUS Scientific Diver). Students will be expected to update dive records and an ecological field notebook with observations daily.
A scientific skill set
Students will learn numerous practical scientific diving and experimental methods. Navigation/search and light salvage techniques, habitat quantification, invertebrate and fish population assessment, deeper diving and night diving considerations, enriched air nitrox, blue water diving protocols, and equipment operation and repair are included. Students will gain hands on experience conducting surveys at a variety of ecological sites. We will also certify students in the Divers Alert Network Diving First Aid for Professional Divers, which includes First Aid, CPR, AED, Hazardous Marine Life, and Emergency Oxygen administration.
Academic coursework will include diving physics and physiology, decompression theory and planning, emergency dive accident management, enriched air nitrox, coastal ecology, and oceanography.
Students will be evaluated based on skin and scuba diving skills, a Rescue and Nitrox exam, a final exam, a presentation, and (most importantly) attitude. Completion of all required skills and exams is necessary for certification as an AAUS Scientific Diver.
A typical day
7:00 - 8:00am · Wake up & breakfast
8:00 - 10:00pm · Academic session: Diving physics
10:00 - 10:30pm · Break & snack
10:30 - 12:30pm · Academic session: Diving physiology
12:30 - 1:00pm · Lunch
1:00 - 5:00pm · Open water session:
Habitat structure and quantification
5:00 - 6:00pm · Gear clean up and evening prep
6:00 - 8:30pm · Dinner w/guest presentations
8:30 - 9:00pm · Discussion; dive logging
9:00 - 10:00pm · Organism identification/readings
10:30pm · Lights out
Designed for high school students
The course is an extension of Salish Sea Sciences programs connecting high school students with expert mentors in the San Juans. Students live and work together as a cohort, forming personal bonds under the supervision of instructors and resident advisors. Graduates leave the experience with life long friends and colleagues. Home-style cooking and round table discussions with notable divers and experts convey the warmth of community and lifestyle expectations for students' post-secondary aspirations.
Thank you for facilitating such an AMAZING learning experience for our daughter. She was transformed by her time with you. I knew it was going to be a remarkable experience, but had no idea it was going to be that remarkable! —Parent

Salish Sea Semester ▾ 
Spring Semester 2020 · 16 students · Inquire · Details
The Salish Semester provides motivated high school juniors interested in science with an opportunity to step away from regular school into an in-depth semester-long journey to learn from the Salish Sea, its creatures, and its people. Based at the UW Friday Harbor Labs and conducted in concert with local scientists, students can dive into marine science while keeping up with coursework in their other subject areas.
Slated for 2019-20—inquire to learn more
Limited to 20 motivated high school juniors
Based at UW Friday Harbor Labs
Science emphasis with support for all subjects
Expeditions on longboats and a tall ship
Salish Sea Sciences is pleased to have partnered with the Northwest Maritime Center and Sound Experience to help students learn outdoor leadership while practicing ship-based scientific inquiry. For three weeks at the heart of the semester, students will visit areas of scientific significance and collect data while learning from the Salish Sea and its peoples aboard the century-old National Historic Landmark tall ship, Adventuress.
Real research, real relationships
The curriculum is interdisciplinary, immersive, and experiential, mentored by semester-school staff in coordination with professionals in multiple areas of inquiry, careers, and points of view. The touchstone of the program is the life sciences, with a focus on the marine sciences particularly. Students situate their scientific work within the larger scope of the place, learning the history and culture of the Salish Sea and how to assess and potentially mitigate the "wicked problems" of human impact. Block scheduling facilitates this in-depth, blended approach.
Critical thinking, analysis, and problem solving
The semester program follows an arc from exposure to expertise: throughout the semester, students share a common course structure, thematic content, and research opportunities. By week five, each student will have identified a core question for individual pursuit. That question will drive the remainder of their semester's work, leading them to complete a scientific research paper and project poster, a paper providing historical, political, economic or cultural analysis of a related issue, a TED talk-styled community presentation, and a communications, educational or other form of public engagement as related to the student's interest.
Empowering the leaders of tomorrow
The core of the program is research, whether in field or lab science or in the social sciences and humanities. That research includes the opportunity to work alongside professional scientist mentors and learn the basics of statistics, meet with and interview city, county, and state representatives and learn from stakeholders representing such diverse interests as housing, fisheries, energy production or conservation, and discover the diverse and rich history of the peoples of the coastal Northwest.
Marine Field & Lab Science (Science)
Wicked Problems: Humans in the Maritime Environment (History)
The Salish Sea: Cultural Perspectives (English)
Math Maintenance (Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, AB/BC Calculus)
Spanish Maintenance (Spanish 3, Spanish 4, AP Spanish)
Partial credit in Leadership
Partial credit in Physical Education
Additional courses
Support for select Advanced Placement courses (APs), including AP Environmental Science and AP US History, maintenance of languages other than Spanish, college and career counseling, guidance for individual capstone projects, and support for other academic areas will be arranged on an individual basis per session with staff, qualified local tutors, and sending school.
Co-curricular and after school activities
Other activities include theater, kayaking, hiking, beach walking, bonfires, sailing, canoe paddles, ice cream outings, Farmer's Market Saturday, Pelindaba Lavendar Farm, Visits to Roche Harbor, Contra Dancing, pick-up sports, jogging, music, jigsaw puzzles, card games, and board games.
Sep. 1 · Arrival: UW Friday Harbor Laboratories
Week 1 · Orientation: Semester begins
Week 2-3 · Coursework; Core question: Project definition
Sep. 26-29 · Outdoor leadership: Longboat-based science
Week 4-5 · Coursework; Core question: Project development
Oct. 1 · Adventuress: Embark
Week 6 · Adventuress: Science and tall-ship maritime skills
Oct. 10 · Olympic National Park: Sol Duc Resort & Hotsprings
Week 7 · NatureBridge: Elwa River Restoration
Oct. 16 · PSATs
Week 9 · Adventuress: ports of call, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia
Nov. 1 · Adventuress: return to Friday Harbor
Week 10 · Roundup: Data and analysis
Week 11-13 · Coursework; Core question: project development
Nov. 25-29 · Thanksgiving break
Week 14-15 · Coursework; Core question: project completion
Week 16 · Conclusion: presentations, celebratory dinner
Dec. 16 · departure

Journey to the heart of the Salish Sea.
Engage in real investigations with expert mentors.
Learn best practices—in the field, studio, lab, underwater.
Collaborate with world-class experts and instructors.
Express your knowledge and experiences effectively.
Connect with new friends who share your career interests.
Salish Sea Sciences does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender identity, sexual identity, or sex in administration of our educational policies, admissions policies, and other school-administered programs and activities. Salish Sea Sciences is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization (EIN 82-3307581) and as such donations are tax-deductible within the guidelines of US law. Charitable contributions allow us to grow our programs and to provide scholarships for students from groups underrepresented in STEM fields.