Natural Resources

The Natural Resources Department is charged with preserving, protecting, and restoring natural resources important to Samish Tribal Citizens for now and future generations.


As the COVID-19 situation in Washington State continues to evolve, the Samish Indian Nation is monitoring it closely and taking appropriate steps to keep our citizens and staff safe. We will be updating our home page and using the Tribe's social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram) to keep our community connected.

Here are some ways for people of all ages to stay connected to plants, animals, and more in Samish Traditional Territory while staying safe and staying home. From the skies to the depths of the Salish Sea, use these resources to learn about and enjoy our amazing wildlife and habitats in a safe and healthy way during this difficult time.

ESRI StoryMaps

With our ESRI StoryMaps you can learn about some of our projects and how Samish DNR is working to heal and protect Samish Traditional Territory, from cleaning up marine debris to mapping kelp beds using a combination of GIS and Samish knowledge. Check them out using the links belowin the sidebar.

The Science of a Seed

Bri Castilleja, Samish Tribal Citizen and Environmental Education Coordinator for Seattle's Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, gives us the underground scoop on seeds and how they sprout and grow. How does a seed know which way to grow roots and which way to grow shoots? Watch this video to learn the answer to this question and many others--it's amazing!

science of seed

All My Relations

The term sovereignty is an important one for Native nations in many aspects of law and life; in this thoughtful, smart and laughter-filled podcast from All My Relations, the podcast hosts and guests explore the concept of food sovereignty as they talk about the importance of reclaiming traditional foods. Culture, history and natural resources are woven together in the discussion here. 


Braiding Sweetgrass

A person can only stare at screens so much, and in our fast-paced world it is easy to forget about books. This book is written by Robin Wall Kimmerer, an elder of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and a professor of botany. In it, she tells the story of her tribe's relationship with plants and how that informs her scientific questions, and in turn how her scientific knowledge enables her to translate that story for people without her cultural heritage. It is beautifully written and fun to read. The cultural values behind her stories--gratitude, generosity, humility, respect for elders and for nature--will be familiar to Samish readers. The book can be purchased online, and we also have at least one copy in the Samish library; when your local library opens up, it's also available there or you can request it!


Langley Whale Center

The Orca Network provides a wealth of information about orcas and other whales, including updates about sightings, whale facts, information about how we can help whales and so much more. Their social media feed is quite informative and nice, and features activities such as this step-by-step tutorial on how to draw an orca. This page is public, so you don't have to log into facebook to enjoy the content.


Distance Learning - The Bird School Project

Since we missed out on our Youth Bird Trip, these resources will have to do for now--and while they are no substitute for looking at birds together, they are fun! The Bird School Project is a wonderful group of passionate outdoor educators. These actvities guide you in the process of observation, answer common questions about birds, and show you how to help save birds in trouble as a community scientist with eBird. (There are dates on some of the activities as part of a recommended curriculum--but you can do the activities whenever you like!)



Gardening and Local Nature Activities

This website is curated by LifeLab, a California-based program that has provided school garden education for 40 years. It features science activities for ages 2 and up that can be done in a garden, yard, public park or any little bit of outdoor space, as well as indoor activities. Simple recipes, scavenger hunts, art, mud pies, bug races--there's something for everyone. A great reminder that not all learning is done in a classroom and that play and learning are often the same thing, especially for young children!




Enjoy archived footage of salmon, bears, birds, and a wild river from the wildlife cams at Alaska's Katmai National Park. The River Watch cam has an especially nice look at a bear family...turn on your sound for some much-needed wild wind and water music.


Ranger Rick Magazine

Ranger Rick Magazine, from the National Wildlife Federation, is offering 3 months of free access to its online activities, jokes and other fun stuff. Get the most ridiculous nature riddles to share with your friends and learn while you're at it. Most of the activities are geared towards younger children.


Restore America's Estuaries Special Newsletter

We know our restoration community is facing many challenges during these uncertain times. Clean-ups have been cancelled, plantings postponed, and field trips suspended, but we're also seeing positivity and hope spread online!

The RAE Alliance, made up of 10 organizations across the country, are jumping in to provide resources and tools to see us through this difficult time. Now that we're staying home, why not learn about ospreys on the Chesapeake Bay, all the way from the Puget Sound?

If you've got little ones at home in need of some fun education, or are simply looking for a few minutes of relaxation, check out this link!


All About Birds

Even if you live in a city, you can count on seeing birds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is an incredible resource for almost anything you might want to know about our winged friends. You can find games, educational resources, videos, nest cams (the only safe way to see baby bald eagles up close!) cool facts, ways to feed and help birds, and tons of help with bird identification.

all about the birds


BirdNote is another great resource if you're into birds--they tell 2- or 3-minute stories about birds all over the world. Bonus: amazing bird sounds.


Junior Sea Doctors

If you're a young person interested in learning more about the Salish Sea, then this page is for you. Our friends and family at SeaDoc Society have put together some awesome and inspiring videos, games, and stories about the Salish Sea and the amazing creatures that live there--and what scientists, teachers and youth are doing to help. There are also resources for teachers. Check out the Creature Feature, and the sea lion video!


Hakai Magazine

Hakai Magazine is published by our neighbors to the north in British Columbia. They offer articles, videos, podcasts, and stories of Indigenous and Western sciences working together to solve environmental problems from our own coast to New Zealand. The videos are stunning for people of any age; the articles are geared more towards adults and older youth.


National Phenology Network

The National Phenology Network is a citizen (community) science network that uses data from regular people to study how the world is changing in response to climate change. You can download an app on your phone and put in your observations about when plants are flowering or when certain birds return, for example. Even putting in data about when your lilacs bloom helps. This does require some prior knowledge about the plants and/or animals you want to report on. You can see what they've done with the data, and get involved, at their website. This could be a great project for a high school biology student, or anyone who is interested.


The Salmon Challenge

In this salmon challenge activity, pick a salmonid species to represent and answer questions correctly to survive a salmon's perilous journey upstream to spawn. The questions are good--your natural resource technician learned something new! The Native Knowledge 360 program at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian hosts this and many other resources by and for Native students and teachers.

Salmon Challenges

Samish Department of Natural Resources

We are involved in environmental monitoring, protection and restoration in marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. Our projects include a wide range of activities from stormwater monitoring, plant and animal population studies and climate change analysis to full scale beach and river restoration projects and marine debris removal. We use traditional ecological knowledge and insights from Tribal members to influence our work to ensure availability of traditional use materials and native foods for current and future generations. The department also provides mapping services for the entire organization and participates in outreach events on behalf of the Tribe.