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Students Solve Polluted Shorelines

Grantee: Kwiaht Center for the Historical Ecology of the Salish Sea – San Juan Islands, WA / 2013
Project Title: Fabulous Filtering Fungi
Grant Type: ecoSolution

Description:  As a result of increased tourism and vehicular traffic, motor oil was washing off of roads, into the fragile shoreline systems surrounding the islands, and out into the Puget Sounds. High school students on the island were challenged to find a solution.

Working with the Kwiaht Center for the Historical Ecology of the Salish Sea, the students identified, collected, and analyzed the oil absorbency of various local mushroom species. Then they inoculated straw bales and wood chips with the most effective mushrooms to create a filtering barrier between the road and the ocean to absorb motor oil before it reached the shoreline.

Continuous impact / Community engagement: This project and the students were featured in an 2014 episode of PBS series This American Land.  Watch the story and download the teachers guide here.