SPP Lecture Series Update
by Graduate Research Associate Brittany Gallagher, Education & Evaluations Coordinator
The SPP Science and Sustainability Lecture Series has been up and running at Stafford Creek Corrections Center and Washington Corrections Center for Women since 2009. Every month, inmates at each facility have the option to attend a lecture given by a community-based scientist, university researcher, organic farmer, or other teacher well-versed in one or more topics related to science, the outdoors, and environmental sustainability.
Thanks to the cooperation and enthusiasm of staff at Stafford Creek and WCCW, up to 50 inmates are able to attend each presentation, which may take the form of lecture, multimedia presentation, or workshop. Recent lecturers and topics have included:
- Ingrid Tohver, a scientist from the UW Climate Impacts Group on Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest and Worldwide
- John Richardson, a biologist at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Fish, Frogs, and Fire
- Jessica Moore, an educator from Northwest Trek Wildlife Park on Identifying Animal Tracks
- Steve Verhey, a contingent faculty member at The Evergreen State College on Energy and Biofuels
- Dana Coggon, a specialist from Kitsap County WSU Extension on Noxious Weed Control
- Adam Oswald, a biologist and Black Soldier Fly hobbyist on this insect’s contribution to waste management
- Anna Thurston, president of Advanced Botanical Resources, Inc. on Identifying Native Plants and the Native Plant Salvage Alliance
- Lydia Beth Leimbach from Left Foot Organics on organic farming and Community Supported Agriculture
Inmates who attend lectures are asked to complete surveys designed to measure changes in environmental knowledge and attitudes, as Lecture & Evaluations Intern Jaal Mann discussed in his blog post this spring. Many inmates make it a priority to attend the lecture series, with one writing recently “Thank you for providing these lectures. I look forward to them every month.” Lectures often pique the interest of several inmates each month, who use the surveys to ask for more information on the day’s topic. Others take more general lessons away, with one inmate noting “I learned that I should look outside at more things, and that things I’ve never thought about are interesting.”
Surveys also give inmates an opportunity to request lecture topics. Recently requested topics include green building, aquaponics, urban farming, Mt. Rainier, geothermal systems, mammals, restoring biodiversity and a host of others.
SPP is always recruiting lecturers willing to visit a prison and share their time and knowledge with an inmate audience. If you or someone you know would like to lecture as part of SPP’s Science and Sustainability Series, please contact Brittany Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-867-6765 for more information.