Environmental Engagement Workshop Series

We have delivered a lectures and workshop series continually since 2009 at two prisons: Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor and Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen. And most recently the workshop series expanded to Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. Often, we are able to provide additional presentations and workshops at other Washington State prisons. We have offered more than 200 lectures and workshops to more than 2000 incarcerated students. Hundreds of students have received program certification for attending 5 or more.

Nearly 200 guest scientists and practitioners from more than 75 organizations have shared their expertise in the program: see our Thank You page for recent guest experts. Scientists and community members active in science and sustainability are invited to share their passion and knowledge with incarcerated individuals at one or both facilities.

In 2017, following the results of thousands of surveys and follow up discussions among students and staff, we updated the program name. For the full story, see our three-part chronicle.

SPP Workshop Series has been going strong at two prisons since 2009; a guest expert has the pleasure of presenting their topic to packed house every month. Photo by Liliana Caughman.

Workshops are about 90 minutes. Attendance ranges from 25-80 incarcerated-students, depending on the topic and prison. Topics have included climate change, energy and biofuels, animal track identification, wetlands, environmental justice, green building, a native plant identification workshop, butterflies, innovations in composting, and a workshop on designing a rain garden, just to name a few. The following topics have been requested by students:

  • green job opportunities / ways to get involved with sustainability efforts
  • environmental justice
  • Washington state resource management
  • renewable energy, particularly solar and wind
  • endangered plant and animal species / general information on animals
  • “green” building, construction and architecture
  • politics and economics of climate change
  • mycology
  • marine biology
  • wildlife reserves
  • native culture and sustainability
  • fishing industry and sustainable practices
  • sustainable food systems and farming
  • beekeeping
  • composting
  • waste water treatment
  • Mt. Rainier
  • salmon enhancement and recovery

The most successful and engaging workshops offer lots of time for discussion–our students ask great questions! Other welcome offerings include hands-on activities, specimens to examine, writing, diagramming, drawing, handouts, worksheets, audio or video clips, photographs, and demonstrations. Think about varied ways to share your own excitement for the topic, and be ready to challenge them and have a great time.

If you are interested in sharing your time and talent with our students, you can check out our online calendar and sign up:

To learn more about the workshop series, please contact Erica Benoit, SPP’s Workshop Series Coordinator, at 360-867-6765 or benoite@evergreen.edu.

Lectures and workshops for incarcerated technicians

SPP’s ecological conservation programs regularly offer lectures and workshops to program technicians. In some cases, these educational events may be made available to a wider audience, and cover a wider range of science and sustainability topics. Contact Program Manager Kelli Bush if you are interested in participating.

Lecture series students show off their SPP information sheets; we have recently increased our outreach inside Washington State's prisons. Photo by Tiffany Webb.

Workshop series students show off their SPP information sheets; we have recently increased our outreach inside Washington State’s prisons, so that we can make opportunities better known. Photo by Tiffany Webb.

SPP blogs on the Environmental Workshop Series

Astrobiology for the Incarcerated – Washington (2018)

Long Live the Kings! (2018)

Climate Change Symposium in Prison: Incarcerated people creating solutions (2017)

SPP, Allies, and Friends: Thank you and goodbye! (2017)

What do the students get from SPP lectures Part Three: Session at the Women’s Prison (2017)

What do the students get from SPP lectures? Part Two: Session at the Men’s Prison (2017)

What do the students get from SPP lectures? Part One: Surveys Say…! (2017)

Lecture Series Coordinators 1, 2, 3 (2017)

Creative Illustrations for Monarch Butterfly Conservation (2016)

Princess Remington and Pele: Royalty in a prison classroom (2016)

Nothing like an octopus in prison! (2016)

It was a Toad-ally Ribbiting Lecture with the Special Offenders Unit (2016)

Lecture Series Expands to Shelton (2016)

From Poop to Employment: Jonathan Jones-Thomas shares his experience returning to prison as a guest lecturer (2015)

Sustainability… in Prison? SPP Coordinator and MES Graduate Candidate, Tiffany Webb, shares her experience of working in prisons (2015)

WCCW Sustainability Workshop (2014)

WCCW’s Science & Sustainability Lecture Series: An Inmate’s Perspective (2013)

Beekeeping Behind Bars (2013)

Lecture Series Update (2012)

WCCW Winter Lecture Series a Success (2011)

Lectures Captivate Washington Corrections Center for Women (2010)