Many immigrant and indigenous communities in Seattle have fishing traditions, histories, and connections to the Duwamish River. The river is home to lots of marine life, but unfortunately is also heavily polluted, an EPA superfund site, making the fish unhealthy for human consumption. Salmon are the only fish that are safe to catch and eat from the Duwamish since they are migratory and do not solely reside in the river. Other species such as shellfish however, should not be consumed since they process large volumes of polluted water through their gills each day and can accumulate levels of bacteria that are dangerous for humans. In 2019, ECOSS partnered with the EPA and King County Public Health’s Community Health Advocacy teams to support communities and empower them with knowledge about the Duwamish to promote safe fishing practices.
In 2023, ECOSS is revisiting this project through a new partnership with Public Health – Seattle & King County, this time focusing on a program for youth who live near the river. This after-school youth program will consist of educational as well as immersive experiences centering the health of our waterways and communities. Cindy Anh Thu Nguyen, ECOSS Program Manager, shared more about her vision for the project with us.
The program will center the idea of forming connections to the land where the youth live and place-based learning. Field trips to immersive learning spaces like the Wing Luke Museum, as well as fishing trips, and other activities, will create opportunities for the youth to explore places they may have not been before. There is an emphasis on shared learning outside of the classroom, conversations with peers, and thinking about how they could play a part in promoting environmental change in their communities.
We want to hear from youth about how we can develop a program that is relevant and empowering. ECOSS will be holding two focus groups on February 15 and February 21 at the Duwamish River Community Hub (8600 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108) For more information and to view eligibility, visit this link.