In partnership with the Lake Washington School Districts Tesla STEM High School, the city has teamed up with 10 students to design and build a community project at Big Rock Park as part of Phase I development. Their challenge is to create an environmental education program, restore and enhance a riparian zone, promote renewable technology and design interpretive signage. The internship started in early February and will run through June with one week planned for project installation in early October.




Top: Ben Zabback, Rishi Ramesh, Sohaib Moinuddin, Emilio Toussaint, Atul Madhugiri,
Bottom: Sabreen Mohammed, Maya Gupta, Anna Miller, Amy Zhang, Nivida Thomas

Environmental Education

The Environment Education Team is tasked with developing an online curriculum “tool kit” to be used in the classroom and at Big Rock Park to teach how earth materials such as soil, water and gases shape and effect our ecosystems. Each tool kit will include a project description, outline, learning objectives, material list, instructional video, worksheets and online resources such as National Geographic’s Fieldscope to share observations and collected data.

The STEM internship team is researching and developing age appropriate classroom activities that meet the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and focus on 4th/ 5th grade level Earth System Structures and Processes (ES2). Topics currently being developed include:

  • Understanding Turbidity and Assessing Riparian Health
  • Measuring Velocity and Monitoring Erosion
  • Soil Hydrology and Assessment
  • Plant and Soil Health

Riparian Zone Restoration

Solar Power and Electric Vehicle(EV) Charging Station
In the City of Sammamish and neighboring cities, there has been a rapid increase of electric vehicles on the roads. This emphasizes the growing need to have more EV stations placed. The Green Technology Team is working to acquire an EV station and locate it within the new parking lot currently being designed as part of phase I development.

In order to promote sustainability within Sammamish, the team is researching and working to procure two solar panels to be installed on the existing park kiosk. The team believes there is a flawed perception in the Pacific Northwest that solar is extremely expensive, isn’t practical in a cloudy, rainy environment and has a long payback time. The implementation of solar panels on this kiosk will prove that solar is applicable and functions in our climate. Additionally, there will be a live monitoring system connected to the solar panels that will be presented through a database available to the public. This enables the public to understand how the energy the solar panel produces and translates that into the amount of carbon dioxide saved from emission.

Interpretive Signage
The Interpretive Design Team is tasked with creating park signage that provides educational content describing the value of riparian zones and the basics of solar power. Both interpretive signs will include three levels of detail, targeting those who want to stop briefly and for those who want to linger and peruse the content.

These signs will be resistant to weather conditions, abrasion and vandalism. Overall, the signage will provide both aesthetic and education value to Big Rock Park and will be a great component to educate the community about importance of restoring critical areas and renewable energy.

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