From: (John Gallagher)
Subject: WSTA
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 15:42:58 -0800

WSTA's 1996 Fall Conference was a tremendous success!  Hosted in Port
Angeles by the North Olympic Peninsula School Districts, the conference
attracted over 1200 participants, presenters and exhibitors. The planning
committee from Port Angeles High School, Sequim and Forks were thrilled to
see 14 months of planning come together for such a tremendous weekend.
Even the weather was perfect.
        The conference began on Thursday evening with a welcoming social.
This was a conscious effort on the part of the planning committee to hold
events which bring all workshop attendees together.  It also allowed time
for registration, alleviating some of the Friday morning rush.  This social
was hosted by the North Olympic Timber Action Committee, which showcased
its educational timber products displays while Ross Hamilton presented a
slide show of the Olympics and Elaine Grinnell presented stories and crafts
from our region's Native American heritage.
        Friday was a complete day of field trips and workshops.  The Port
Angeles School District funded the transportation for all of the field
trips.  Transportation Director Jerry Eldred and all of his drivers did an
incredible job of planning bus schedules, not only for field trips all over
the peninsula but also for shuttles to and from airports and hotels!  It
was an amazing thing to watch as several hundred people boarded their buses
for their field trips and even more exciting to see their exuberant faces
as they came back home.  The field trips were an exciting real-life
education in the spirit of the Essential Learnings.
        Vern Burton Center was transformed into a scene from the Olympic
backcountry for the annual banquet featuring salmon and other Northwest
delicacies.  Dr Rowland Tabor gave a keynote speech "Hiking Where Tectonic
Plates Collide: Rocks and Rain in the Olympic Backcountry" which showed us
all a little of our local geology.  Christian Swenson thrilled the crowd
with his "Human Jazz" -- performance art with a science theme.
        Saturday was full of educational 50-minute presentations from all
areas of science.  The planning committee gave deliberate thought to
developing strands so that at least one presentation each hour would
highlight a different topic. These presentations were designed for teachers
by teachers and showed that Washington educators have a lot to be proud of.
Good things are being done in our classrooms!
        Featured Speakers were brought in from our universities and out of
state to highlight national science education efforts and the latest in
science research.  Tom Gates from NASA, Richard Shope and Jackie Giuliano
from Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ken Edgett from Arizona State
University's Mars K-12 Educational Program informed audiences of the latest
in space research and how to bring space into your classroom.  Uri
Haber-Schaim, author of IPS and PSSC Physics, helped translate national
goals into classroom realities.  Veronique Robigou discussed the latest in
hydrothermal vent research and a program which involves classroom teachers
in this research.
        Keynote Speaker Dr. David Suzuki was for many the highlight of the
conference!  His presentation was fantastic and really started teachers
thinking about what we can do differently to help effect real changes in
the world as we enter the new millenium.  His presentation included a video
of a speech from his daughter which summarized things in a dramatic way
from our children's point of view.
        We were especially impressed by our volunteers.  Throughout the
conference they helped make everything run smoothly.  The students were
incredible and finely represented their high school.
        One week later, things have gotten back to normal here in Port
Angeles.  As far as our science department goes, we have caught up on our
sleep -- 4 hours a night during the conference was a challenge -- and our
grading.  We look back at all of the work we put into the conference since
our first planning session in August, 1995 and we look at the conference
that was created and we are very proud. The feeling of teamwork and
comaraderie developed in our department and with our colleagues in Sequim
and Forks is an added unexpected bonus.  Thanks for the good time!