For the past five years, Lower Elwha KIallam Tribe youth have been immersed in the science and ancestral culture of the river and its surrounding areas. In September, students watched history unfold as two dams on the Elwha River, which altered the riparian ecosystem for more than a century, began to come down. Through the Elwha Science Education Project, tribal youth engaged in the history, science, and impact of the dams. Now, as the river begins to run free, they have an even greater opportunity to engage and discover a new ecosystem. They have a chance to connect to this place like never before—to uncover a place that tells stories of the past, present, and future.
We know this project is a valuable community asset, and we continue to hear about the positive impacts on students, parents, and teachers.
“Families ask about the program, thank us for the positive changes they have seen in their children, and anticipate when their younger children get to attend,” said Latrisha Ollom-Suggs, assistant director Elwha River restoration.
If you are not familiar with this program, I encourage you to take a moment to read Preparing for a New River from Smithsonian magazine—the story eloquently captures the essence of their experiences.