About the Program

2017 Salish Sea Expeditions’ Student Science Symposium
Monday, June 12th

University of Washington, Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, 98105

Thank you to our students, teachers and partners who helped to make our 2017 Symposium a great success. Please enjoy this clip of student scientists presenting their research during the event:

The Salish Student Science Symposium brings together student scientists, teachers, and scientists, and resource professionals in a day to share, explore and discuss research on local watersheds as well as the marine waters of Puget Sound.

  • This is a forum for students from any school to share their investigations and/or projects from the school year.
  • Participants from Salish programs are invited to use this event to share the science results of their projects from the school year.
  • For teachers, it’s an opportunity to learn and share new approaches to facilitating inquiry-based science education.
  • Community members are invited to celebrate learning and inquiry by the youth who will become tomorrow’s scientists and innovators.

2017 Keynote speaker – Dr. Thomas Pool

Dr. Pool is an aquatic community ecologist focused on studying the interaction between native and non-native species within freshwater and marine ecosystems. His interests include community ecology, invasion biology, biogeography, freshwater ecology and conservation biology. To explore these topics, he uses a combination of empirical experiments, field surveys, spatial modeling methods, and quantitative techniques. He is currently teaching ecology courses at the University of Washington, Seattle University, and the University of Puget Sound. He is also studying food web structure and fish population dynamics in the Mekong River and associated marine systems around Southeast Asia.

Event Schedule

Doors Open at 9:50 and the event begins at 10:00
After brief introductions, the keynote speaker, Dr. Thomas Pool, will weave a story of how Salish Sea Expeditions experiences have imparted influence in his career and share his observations of impacts on other students.

This year there will be student presentations from Dimmitt Middle School (Renton), Eton School (Seattle), Alderwood Middle School (Lynwood), North Kitsap Options School (Kingston) as well as schools represented from Colorado (Peak to Peak Academy) and Alaska (Pacific Northern Academy).

Eighteen schools participated in Salish Sea Expeditions SOUND Programs this past spring season from mid-March to early June. There were 65 program days which ranged from single day trips, to extended 3-5 day adventures. The students will reflect on the observations they made and reveal the results of their science investigations.

It’s terrific to once again partner with the Seattle Aquarium Citizen Science Program and their partner schools in the region. For the last ten years Citizen Science students have collected data on the physical makeup of local beaches in the same locations using consistent methods to allow for year-to- year comparisons. In addition to collecting this long term data, the students develop questions based on their own interests that they then investigate in their time on the beach.  This requires students to develop their own unique data collection methods and carry out the study from start to finish. Several of the presentations represent the culmination of these student projects.

Attendees will also hear presentations from professionals demonstrating the value of studying and learning about the marine waters of the Salish Sea:

A representative of Conservation Northwest will share about their Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project, one of the largest citizen science initiatives in the nation.

A representative of NANOOS (Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems) will provide insight into the network of marine assets constantly measuring physical and biological properties of the marine water and providing the resultant data online near-realtime.

A representative of Taylor Shellfish will share how scientists, policy makers and the shellfish industry are working together to address changing water chemistry due to ocean acidification, a result of global climate change.

There will also be a host of organizations present to share their involvement in science, engineering and technology.

The event concludes at 2:00.

The public is welcome to join us for a great day of students sharing their experiences in science and maritime adventures.

Teacher’s Guide

Presentation Guidelines

The Symposium is open to 5th – 12th grade students interested in presenting the results of their research project from the school year.  Even though the event has been designed around schools participating in Salish programs, we also invite groups that have not participated in Salish programs during the school year.


Presentations can include either a 5-10 minute PowerPoint presentation, or a poster or tri-board display. Salish will offer a template for presentation content which includes the experimental design, methods, field locations, results, conclusion and evaluation.
Presenters should also prepare a brief summary of lessons learned, ideas for the future, reflections on the fieldwork experience, and relevance to the Puget Sound ecosystem and/or community.

Presenters are requested to also send a brief (up to 500 words) summary of research to the Salish organizing staff. This abstract is then printed in the Science Symposium program.

Sample Student Presentation

Sample poster presentation


What is Salish Sea Expeditions?

Salish Sea Expeditions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to provide an opportunity for students to design and conduct real scientific research from the decks of a sailing vessel on Puget Sound.

What is the Salish Sea Student Science Symposium?

The Symposium is a day to spotlight and celebrate the work of student scientists! It provides an opportunity for students from around the Puget Sound region to convene and share the results of their student designed research to peers, professional scientists, policy makers and the community.  The all-day event hosts oral and poster presentations as well as hands on learning sessions from professional scientists.  Each year there is a keynote speaker who is also conducting or participating in research around the Puget Sound and has a passion for research and education.

Who can participate?

Students in grades 4-12 who have designed their own science research or field work utilizing the scientific method.

What is the maximum/minimum number of participants?

Student groups or individuals are welcome.  Teachers can bring the entire grade level, their class, or a delegate of students.  For presentations we ask that no more than six student scientists present.

Why should I participate?

  • To share what you learned using PowerPoint or a poster.
  • To meet other presenters.
  • To support young student scientists.
  • To talk to professional scientists who are working in fields related to your research.
  • To add to your resume of academic achievements.

What will happen during the day?

Presenting students and teachers will arrive before other guests to set up. Salish Staff will be assigned to help your group prepare and practice. Student presentations will follow throughout the day, with breaks for lunch, professional scientists’ presentations, and time to review the work of other students and local organizations in our exhibition hall. Additionally, several workshops, addressing a range of topics particular to the Puget Sound region and facilitated by regional scientists and environmental stewards will be available for students up to 12th grade to attend.

Does my project need to be about a certain topic?

No. Any original research question or field science project is welcome at the Symposium.

What type of presentations?

There are two categories for presentations, oral and poster.  Oral presentations can be in the format of a PowerPoint, Prezi, storybook, etc. and are not to exceed 10 minutes in length.  Poster presentations are on trifolds, poster board or large scientific poster.

When and Where?

Every year the date changes to accommodate the end of year testing at schools.  Typically the event is in Seattle during the first week of June.  Please check our website for location and date.

How do I register to attend?

Only presenting groups need to register, all audience members can just register at the front desk on the day of the event.

As a teacher what do I need to do?

  1. Register your group by filling out a group information form.
  2. Arrange transportation.
  3. Arrange a substitute (if needed).
  4. Submit oral presentation/s at least one week before the Symposium.
  5. Ensure that students bring a bagged lunch.
  6. Sit back and enjoy your hard work in action on the day of the Symposium.

Who will be there?

Students, teachers, professional scientists and interested members of the public will be there to hear presentations.

For students, this will be the culmination of their research projects, giving them the opportunity to share their findings and receive feedback from both professionals and peers.

For teachers, it will be an opportunity to learn and share new approaches to facilitating inquiry-based science education.

And for the community, it will serve as an opportunity to celebrate learning and inquiry by the youth who will become tomorrow’s scientists and innovators.

Are there scholarships or mini grants available?

There is a possibility that there may be funding for transportation fees and or substitute fees.  If these funds are available, it is on a reimbursement basis.

If you have questions at any time, please contact our Education Director at (206) 780 7848 or email


Program Details

Symposium Date: 11 June 2018
Location: TBD

Grade Levels: 5th -- 12th grade
Registration Deadline: June 2nd
Registration is open to all students interested in sharing original marine science research focused on Puget Sound.

All are welcome to attend this free, educational event as an audience member; no pre-registration is required.

Photo Gallery