2019 Community Impact Awards, Youth: IslandWood

Plus: Silver Award winner Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association
STEWARDSHIP: Islandwood CEO Megan Karch is focused on breaking down barriers to promote more cooperation in caring for the planet.

This article appears in print in the November 2019 issue. See more about the winners of the 2019 Community Impact Awards here. Click here for a free subscription.

Bainbridge Island

IslandWood takes the classroom into the great outdoors.

The environmental education nonprofit serves as an outdoor educational center for more than 12,000 students annually between the third and eighth grades at its 250-acre campus on Bainbridge Island, in Seattle neighborhoods and schools, and at the King County Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Plant near Woodinville.

Half of the students in IslandWood’s School Overnight Program come from low-income households. Many don’t have easy access to nature. The nonprofit’s Community Waters Science unit engages fourth-graders in science and engineering, helping them develop solutions to real-world stormwater runoff problems. Its day programs connect classroom learning to real-world environmental challenges.

It also works with more than 800 current and future educators annually to help them connect classroom science instruction to students’ lives and communities, and organizes more than 20 free or low-cost public events focused on the environment.

IslandWood’s support helped pave the way for $4 million in state funding for teacher training and support in science.

“Now more than ever, we need to eliminate the barriers — like fear — that prevent us from working together to care for the planet and our communities,” wrote CEO Megan Karch in the nonprofit’s 2018 annual report.

Silver Award

Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association

The mission of the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association is to integrate art, nature and neighborhood in southwest Seattle’s Delridge neighborhood. It accomplishes this through its multi-arts hub, the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, its urban forest restoration program and Delridge Wetland Park, as well as the seven affordable-housing sites it operates that provide 144 units for more than 330 individuals at below-market rates along the Delridge corridor. It also operates a summer youth program in partnership with several Seattle Housing Authority properties. Delridge expanded its reach three years ago after a merger with its longtime partner, the Nature Consortium, which has led to “substantial” growth. 

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