Sakai fifth-graders school the city council

Eleanor Collins introduces her classmates and the concerns surrounding the Murden Cove watershed at Wednesday
Eleanor Collins introduces her classmates and the concerns surrounding the Murden Cove watershed at Wednesday's city council meeting.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

Bainbridge Island fifth-graders dropped some knowledge on the city council Wednesday night.

The students at Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School have taken advantage of a stream that runs behind their school. The stream is part of the Murden Cove watershed, and the students have been studying and taking measurements of the stream as part of a partnership with the city.

In turn, the students have also made a series of animated videos that have been posted on the school’s website. The online shorts provide an overview of the watershed and the problems around it.

But on Wednesday, the students showed the council what they know in person.

“The city’s state of the island’s water report from last year said that our watershed was the worst on the island,” said Eleanor Collins, a fifth-grader at Sakai.

Her classmates followed, each taking the podium and providing a piece of information about Murden Cove.

“Our class created 15 short videos that talk about the problems that effect the watershed,” Emma Brundige said, and noted the  videos are currently online for viewing.

“So far our page has been visited by 380 people,” she said.

Visitors to the site can also take a survey to share their views on taking action for a better environment.

“The people who have taken our survey so far say that people have an impact on the Puget Sound and they are willing to make small changes to improve the health of our watershed,” Emma added.

Students told the council that they have been testing the stream for two months and have some initial data to share.

“PH, temperature, dissolved oxygen and turbidity is all normal (in the stream),” said Cole Walker. “The flow of the stream is good. Nutrient levels are a little bit higher than they should be, especially phosphorus.”

His classmate helped bring the information into perspective.

“Higher levels of nutrients mean that fertilizer, horse manure and failing septic systems could be affecting our stream,” Alison Boden said.

The students videos can be viewed online at

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