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About Water World

Grades 5 - 6 | Spring 2024

Water World, a dynamic collaboration between Centrum and the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, is filled with activities and projects that expand and enhance elementary students’ experience of the marine world through the lenses of both science and art. In collaboration with artists, scientists, and peers from across the state, students integrate scientific investigations with creative writing, movement, and visual art. The result is a multi-faceted, holistic learning experience.

“Water World was amazing because the aquatic learning involves art, movement, and writing allowing for the interests of all of my students. They leave charged up and excited about the learning.” – Stephanie Agnew, teacher, West Valley City School

youth exploring the shore of Salish sea

Attend The Next Session

Water World Workshops

Water World Youth Program

  • Centrum’s most popular Youth program, in partnership with Port Townsend Marine Science Center
  • Students enjoy "Expedition Day" - an entire day exploring and studying ON the beach and IN the forest
  • Combination arts and science instruction helps students build a personal connection with the natural world
  • Students get up close and personal with a variety of marine animals
  • Learn about: field sketching and writing, whales, invertebrates and plankton

Experience Water World

Students work in small groups that rotate through activities in the field as well as in performance studios, museum and aquarium exhibits. Each day offers a mix of both scientific and artistic workshops. The group size is small to allow for maximum personal attention and minimum impact on fragile environments.

Evening programs include storytelling, activities at the Marine Science Center, and a student presentation on the final night, showcasing new learning about marine ecosystems and sharing artistic creations.

2023 Class Descriptions

Environmental Learning Through Song and Dance:
This class, led by longtime performer Billy B, give students an opportunity to integrate environmental facts and concepts through movement. Students will sing along and rock out to Billy’s original environmental education music hits!

Drift: Investigating Our Shoreline Through Visual Art
During this class, students make their own accordion sketchbooks and use them to collect and display their work as we investigate and record what washes up along the waters edge (both natural and man-made). Along the way, we experiment with a wide range of media, such as line drawing, watercolor, and alternative printmaking techniques to help us capture our observations and tell the stories behind what we find and the forces that brought them to our shoreline.

Experiments Writing in the Field
Inspired by marine science—its methods, creatures, plants, and stories—the Vis-à-Vis Society uses observation, games, and improv theater to generate creative writing in many forms. We explore the landscape of Fort Worden to find words and characters and use our scientific discoveries to fuel our imaginations. Founder and charter members of the Cephalopod Appreciation Society, Sierra and Rachel have been collaborating as writers and performers for over 15 years and are excited to share some of their playful and unusual techniques that bring writing to another level! Ask them about becoming members of the Cephalopod Society!

Gray Whale Articulation
Students work together to articulate the skeleton of a gray whale and learn the story of its stranding, how marine mammals are specially adapted to survive and thrive in the ocean, and how human activities have impacted gray whale populations in the past as well as current efforts to protect them and other marine mammal species.

Introduction to Invertebrates
Marine invertebrates make up some of the most interesting and colorful members of marine life in the Salish Sea. Students explore aquarium tidepool tanks filled with local invertebrates, observing the adaptations these organisms have for feeding, movement and protection. From their observations, students define the basic characteristics of four major invertebrate groups. Finally, students use their invertebrate knowledge and artistic skills to invent an invertebrate that could thrive in a Salish Sea habitat of their choosing.

Plankton Lab
During this inquiry lab, students become scientists working together to collect a sample from the Marine Science Center’s pier and then use microscopes to discover, identify and draw the life teaming in a drop of water. Much of what they will discover in the sample is plankton, which is the basis of the marine food web in the Salish Sea and oceans worldwide. Discussions touch on the role of plankton in marine food webs, plankton adaptation, local factors affecting the abundance of plankton, including how human activities in and near the water both affect and are affected by plankton in the Salish Sea.

Science in the Field
During one full day outdoors, students explore three different aquatic environments—a freshwater pond, a brackish lagoon, and the shore of the Salish Sea. Through observation of plants and animals, water quality measurements, and group discussion, students learn to recognize the characteristics of each habitat. In the process, they also develop a deeper awareness of the importance of wild, undisturbed habitats, and the best ways to live in harmony with nature. Other class content will integrate current issues, sustainability, and scientific research of the Salish Sea.


Tuition, room and board, per student: $600

Chaperones: free

Scholarships are available for those who are not able to otherwise attend. If the full tuition is a significant financial burden to you, please select the scholarship/work-trade registration type. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served; and as-needed basis. Apply online as you register.For this program, students sign up in groups of 4 to 6 with an adult chaperone. Tuition plus room and board are free for chaperones, but each chaperone needs to be registered. Meals are served at Fort Worden Commons.

Don’t wait until the deadline to register – Water World fills up quickly!

The safety and comfort of your children is our highest priority. Meals at Fort Worden State Park are served on campus at the Fort Worden Commons. Students are housed in historic fort buildings renovated as dormitories.

Scholarships are available for those who are not able to otherwise attend. If the full tuition is a significant financial burden to you, please select the scholarship/work-trade registration type. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served; and as-needed basis. Apply online as you register.

The deadline to apply for a scholarship is March 17, 2023.

What to Bring & What Not to Bring
Cell phones and electronic devices are not allowed at Centrum Youth Programs. In case of emergency, Centrum's program manager and staff carry phones and will notify you as soon as possible. You may leave a message for your student at any time with Program Manager Alyssa de Leon (360) 385-3102 x120. You will receive contact information in an email prior to the start of the program.

Please bring these items:

• An extra blanket (it can be cold)
• Warm clothes (including a warm jacket)
• Rain gear
• Clothes you can get messy in (paint, etc.)
• Soap & shampoo
• Day Pack
• Water bottle or canteen
• Hat (such as a baseball cap)
• An alarm clock
• Flashlight
• Spiral notebook or journal
• Pens, pencils and erasers
• Clothes you can MOVE in for dance, theater, etc. (not jeans)

• Musical instruments
• Camera
• Quarters and soap (to do laundry)
• Healthy snacks (Centrum provides three meals a day, as well as light evening and afternoon snacks. Students are welcome to bring additional snacks, however we strongly discourage sending students to Centrum with large amounts of sugary snacks).
• Linens are provided in the dormitory, including pillows, sheets, blankets and towels, but an extra blanket can come in handy.
• Bathing suit, if you are bashful. You may want to bring a suit for when you take a shower, although there are individual shower stalls for privacy.

Please go through this list carefully, and call if you have any questions. Providing extra care in helping your student prepare for the week will enhance their experience greatly. Thank you for your help!

If you have any more questions about Water World, please contact Alyssa de Leon at 360-385-3102, x120, or adeleon@centrum (dot) org.

Find more answers - Centrum FAQs

Margie McDonald


Margie McDonald is the artistic director for the Port Townsend Wearable Art Show now heading into its sixth year.
Margie’s work in Wearable art and sculpture has been exhibited in the New Zealand World of Wearable Art Exhibition, Bainbridge Island Art Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Northwind Arts Center and Simon Mace Gallery.

Sadie LeDonna and Shawn Kellogg

Sadie LeDonna and Shawn Kellogg have been teaching and performing together for over 7 years. They have organized festivals, summer camps, and workshops together and have created and performed in several independent full-length shows as well as with their own acts for a variety of events.
Sadie and Shawn founded Pop-Up Movement in 2019. Throughout the pandemic, they designed and built their gym in the Port Townsend area.…

Sierra Nelson and Rachel Kessler

Sierra Nelson and Rachel Kessler have been writing, performing, and creating installations together for over 15 years as co-founders of the literary performance groups “The Typing Explosion” and “Vis-à-Vis Society.”
Rachel Kessler is also a poet, essayist, and comics artist.
Poet and essayist Sierra Nelson has taught creative writing at University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Marine Labs.

Hannah Viano


Hannah Viano is an adventurous artist, educator, and mother living and creating in the Pacific Northwest. Her artwork is done in a variety of media, all starting from sketch studies in the field and then moving to the studio, using simple tools to create graphic images and capture the essential lines of a place or subject.…

Carolyn Woods


Carolyn Woods is the Education Coordinator at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. In her many different roles at the Marine Science Center she has led education programs on a variety of Salish Sea marine biology topics from plankton to sea birds, in addition to responding to the occasional stranded seal pup or diving deep into dissecting a beached gray whale.…

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