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Patricia Green and Cherie Briggs meet at Camp Brotherhood.

Camp Brotherhood is the home base for the Earthwatch team.
by Cherie Briggs, Earthwatch Teacher Fellow, Washington

Just before school was out this year, I heard about an opportunity to join an Earthwatch research team studying salmon and watershed restoration in the Skagit Valley . Wow! I had to apply. Science and community service are my passion, and this opportunity fulfilled both those passions. I would be able to become an active scientist with the hope of protecting the salmon and its environment. We would accomplish this by interviewing local people and recording their oral histories.

After driving five hours from south of Seattle, I arrived at Camp Brotherhood near Mt. Vernon, Washington. This is where I would spend my next two weeks with 12 strangers.

When I arrived, the cabin was dark and there was no one to be seen. There was only one other person standing at the door. This was Patti Green. Surprised to be alone, we both were wondering if we were in the right place. It was great to at least meet one of my team and I saw we would become friends. She was the one other teacher on the team from Washington State. Everyone else was coming from all over the country. We had teammates arriving from Illinois, Delaware, Washington DC, Massachusetts, and several other states.

It was good to talk with Patti. We were both wondering at that moment what we got ourselves into. When everyone arrived, I felt much more relaxed.

We were off to dinner in the camp cafeteria with the classic first night dinner at camp: lasagna. After some small talk it was time to return and begin our training. The evening had us listening to the historical problems of salmon restoration in the Skagit Valley and the views of the differing groups.

Photos courtesy of Earthwatch