About Us


We inspire students to take responsibility for their environment and natural resources. We teach students to practice watershed friendly habits, engage the participation of their families and communities, and become engaged in scientific study. Today's children are the leaders of tomorrow. 

Our Philosophy:

  • Give students a big-picture concept of stewardship over the environment through personal connection, hands-on science and field experience.

Our approach:

  • Engage students, teachers, families, and community by teaching and modeling environmental responsibility.

Our strategies:

  • Provide resources to, train, and assist educators to implement Garden of the Salish Sea Curriculum.

  • Partner with community organizations that model environmental stewardship and career paths.

“Being part of a local data collection project made this experience so authentic for the students. It fit in beautifully with our unit on water and our unit about natural places.”

— Wade King Elementary School
“Both educators were willing to work with me and the curricular demands to support them and enrich my students by informing and empowering my students so that they felt like their actions matter.”

— Beach School
“My students enjoyed this experience, and they can see directly the importance of clean water in our community!”

— Blaine Elementary

Julie Hirsch - Founder & Director

Julie is an environmental scientist with more than 20 years water quality experience in northwest Washington. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Biology at Western Washington University and a Master's degree in Microbiology at Northern Arizona University. Julie managed water quality and education programs for the City of Bellingham before starting Hirsch Consulting Services, LLC. Since 1999, her efforts have focused on shellfish growing area recovery. Julie has partnered with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund 2001. In 2012, she began Garden of the Salish Sea Curriculum with grant funding from the Whatcom Community Foundation and the Alcoa Foundation. Julie sees shellfish studies as a means for empowering students to become leaders in environmental stewardship. Julie lives in Whatcom County Washington with her family.

Lindsey Parker - Education and Outreach Coordinator

Lindsey is a marine ecologist with experience in education, stewardship, and research in the Salish Sea. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Western Washington University. Lindsey loves to inspire students to be stewards of their environment so that they can better understand and enjoy the natural world around them for years to come. She has been always been passionate about PNW environment and Salish Sea, spending her free time scuba diving, hiking and camping.

Where We Work

We work in K-12 schools around Whatcom County, WA. If you are interested in our program materials or inviting us into your school, please Contact Us.

Map: Stephan Freelan 2009.

Map: Stephan Freelan 2009.

The Salish Sea

The Salish Sea is the trans-national watershed and marine ecosystem that includes the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, and the San Juan Islands. The Salish Sea hosts a rich  intertidal ecosystem that provides an important source of food for wildlife and humans. Shellfish are an example of  intertidal life that provide food and other ecosystem services such as reef structure and filtration.

Click here for more information about the Salish Sea (Puget Sound, Georgia Straits) basin ecosystem.