October 17, 2018

We went to high school and wound up in a zoo

Pierce County WA economic development EDB investor briefing

October Investor Briefing focuses on workforce of tomorrow

Several times each year the EDB invites its Investors to attend an update on our recruitment, retention, and outreach efforts.

But the real attraction is always the unusual venues which serve as our hosts. The October 17, 2018 Investor Briefing was no exception to that rule.

We joined forces with Metro Parks Tacoma, the Tacoma Public SchoolsScience & Math Institute (SAMi), and the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the unique partnership and learning environment of this one-of-a-kind high school.

Our gracious hosts shared examples of applied learning outside the classroom: Spanish language learners translate and guide tours of the zoo, and students participate in the coordination of annual biodiversity data collection in the 700-acre park. These skills transfer into the workplaces of tomorrow, giving students real-world experiences that are both meaningful and impactful.

  • Alan Varsik, Director, Zoological & Environmental Education, Metro Parks Tacoma
  • Shon Sylvia, Executive Director, Metro Parks Tacoma
  • Joni Hall, Co-Director, Science and Math Institute, Tacoma Public Schools

Special thanks to the students who led tours of the incredible Environmental Learning Center and talked about why they love going to school there.

SAMi floor plan: courtesy TPS

Our visit concluded with a tour of the newly opened Pacific Seas Aquarium, led by Chief Aquarist Marc Duncan. Thanks to Marc, we now know that there will soon be 5,000 herring in a donut-shaped tank, and that Buddy the male sheepshead fish is 15 years old and loves people-watching.


Pacific Seas Aquarium, Baja Bay: courtesy PDZA


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