ECOSS is leading the Schools & Youth Programs strategy, one of the Targeted IC Strategies within the Fun to Catch, Toxic to Eat Program led by Public Health of Seattle King County as part of the Institutional Controls Implementation and Assurance Plan (ICIAP). The purpose of this strategy is to increase knowledge about the Duwamish seafood advisory among youth from priority fishing communities in Seattle and south King County. We aim to empower our youth participants by providing them with the tools, resources, and support they need to develop their skills, confidence, and agency to make positive changes in their lives and communities.  

In our summer pilot program in 2023, ECOSS worked with a cohort of 8 high school-aged youth through weekly learning sessions, site visits, and field trips. Through our curriculum, the youth learned about healthy seafood consumption practices and ways that environmental justice affects their communities. They had the opportunity to interact with key community leaders such as Community Health Advocates who shared their knowledge on fishing. ECOSS partnered with guest speakers such as Samara Almonte, host of podcast Raices Verdes, and the SeaPotential team who delivered workshops such as storytelling and tidepooling at the beach. This pilot was impactful in creating all of these new experiences for the cohort – to learn about the Duwamish River, environmental justice issues, connect with new peers, and build skills in community engagement.  

One important part of the project was supporting youth in creating final projects to demonstrate their knowledge and practice engaging with the community. The program culminated in a community gathering in which the youth presented their final projects and inspiring personal stories to community stakeholders within the Fun to Catch, Toxic to Eat program, including representatives of King County Public Health and Community Health Advocates. For many of the youth, this was their first experience in this type of environmental summer program. After the program’s completion, the ECOSS team continued to build relationships with the cohort which have led to a few of the youth taking action to be involved in other projects at ECOSS.  

Our work was featured in the International Examiner September 2023 issue, check it out!

This program is funded by Public Health – Seattle & King County.