Note: The Workshop Series is currently suspended at all facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our goal to resume the regular workshop schedule and reschedule canceled workshops once it is safe to do so again. For a short period of time in 2020, we adapted the Workshop Series to deliver content remotely, via presentations and videos on closed-circuit televisions (available to the vast majority of incarcerated residents) at one facility, Stafford Creek Corrections Center. Program students who mailed in reflective, responsive writing on the topic were able to be tracked and recognized with program certificates. Learn more about program transitions and changes in a recent blog.

Environmental Engagement Workshop Series

SPP has delivered a lecture and workshop series since 2009. The program is currently hosted by three prisons: Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, Washington Corrections Center in Shelton, and Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women in Belfair, Washington. We facilitate many additional presentations and workshops at other Washington state prisons. To date, we have offered more than 300 lectures and workshops to more than 4,000 incarcerated students. We have awarded roughly 1,000 program certificates to students for workshop attendance and participation.

SPP Workshop Coordinator and student pose during a certificate award at Washington Corrections Center. Photo by that workshop’s guest expert.

More than 250 guest scientists and practitioners from more than 140 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 more facilities.

A group of students shows off their work during a climate resilience workshop at SCCC. Photo by Erica Benoit.

Typical workshops last about 90 minutes. Topics have included climate change, energy and biofuels, animal track identification, wetlands, environmental justice, green building, native plant identification, butterflies, composting, and scientific illustration, just to name a few. We advertise each topic ahead of time so that students can prioritize attending the sessions most interesting to them.

Students talk with guest expert Dr. Barb Toews during a workshop on the value of contact with nature. Photo by Erica Benoit.

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’d like more guidance on developing a workshop, please see SPP’s guidelines for prison workshops.

Once we are able to re-start the program, available workshop dates will be displayed in green in the table below. If you are interested in sharing your time and talent with our students, take a look at the available workshop dates below, and sign up for a workshop here.

Mission Creek
Corrections Center for Women
Stafford Creek
Corrections Center
Corrections Center
1st Friday of the month 9:00-11:00 am, Belfair 3rd Thursday of the month 9:30-11:00 am, Aberdeen 4th Wednesday of the month 2:30-4:00 pm, Shelton

To learn more about the workshop series, please contact

SPP blogs on the Environmental Workshop Series:

Workshops in the COVID-19 Era (2020)

(Before COVID19): Octopus Kicks off the Workshop Series at MCCCW (2020)

When Nature Meets Art (2019)

Origin Story of a Compost Program (2019)

Rethinking the Landscape of Incarceration (2019)

Wolves: More like Humans than You’d Think! (2018)

Cross Pollination: Violet Program Presents in the Workshop Series (2018)

Astrobiology for the Incarcerated – Washington (2018)

Workshop series expands to WCC! (take two) (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)