Collaboration Powers Student Curiosity and Learning at StormFest

Students’ firsthand experience with StormFest helps them understand water pollution and overall impact on their ecosystem.

This June, more than 1,200 sixth-grade students from Highline School District discovered creatures on the beach and learned about stormwater pollution prevention strategies in beautiful Des Moines Beach Park.

Since 2018, the City of Burien, City of Des Moines, City of SeaTac, City of Normandy Park, King County, Environmental Science Center, and EnviroIssues have hosted curious students for a full day of fun and learning. Over three days, sixth graders from across Highline School District are invited to an outdoor learning experience. They have the opportunity to engage with professionals, retirees, City staff, and even former Highline students to gain understanding and practical knowledge about how their daily actions — and those of their communities — impact stormwater and our surrounding water bodies.

A long line of students in the distance walk along a rocky beach near a pier.
Students walk along the beach at StormFest 2024.

This incredible event would not be possible without the staff and volunteers that make it happen. We’re grateful to all of the municipal staff, committee members, volunteers, teachers, and school administrators that have made StormFest an incredible event full of fun and education year after year.

More than 50 Burien community members offered their time to help teach the next generation of environmentally conscious individuals.

“It was such an enriching experience for me to participate in StormFest as an educator,” said Jabes Otieno, StormFest station educator and City of Tukwila employee. “The students were supposed to look for the small creatures and place them in petri dishes matching with the type of macro-invertebrate. Then they followed a mathematical formula that determines the tolerance of the small creatures to indicate how the water is polluted.”

“Overall, I had a great experience being an ambassador and educator to our future generation by teaching them ways to prevent pollution into our waterways. It was great to see how the students were so diverse. The staff, volunteers, and other educators were so friendly and welcoming.”

Two students lean over a table with containers full of water and drop liquid in petri dishes.
Students participate in a stormwater science activity with petri dishes at StormFest 2024.

Being relatively new to the city, and this being my first time experiencing the event, I am feeling so inspired after watching not only the volunteers and teachers who were so engaged and dynamic, but also watching the students share and explore their curiosity for the world around them. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Learn more about StormFest and how to participate next year at burienwa.gov/StormFest.

Sustainability Manager at City of Burien
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