Environmental Health
Healthy Home Environment
  Education & OUtreach  
  Who We Are  l  Speaking/Presentations  l  Displays  l School Programs  l  Contact Us  

Who We Are

The Education and Outreach Program is dedicated to helping protect the health of Thurston County residents in ways that are affected by their environment. In a typical year, we carry out programs on:

  • toxic materials in the home and yard
  • septic systems
  • wells and drinking water
  • watershed protection

We offer presentations and guest speakers on a variety of topics, school programs, and displays (see below for descriptions). We also provide numerous publications, visit the Environmental Materials webpage for a list.

Speaking Presentations

The Education and Outreach Program is available for presentations to your workgroup or community group. Talks can be tailored to your timeframe and audience.

The following is a sampling of topics we offer:

  • Protect Kids from Toxins — Children have more exposure and are more sensitive to common toxins such as solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals found around our homes and yards. Learn basic, low-cost steps you can take to protect children from toxins, so they can reach their fullest potential.
    Presentations can be geared to childcare staff (Stars credit is available) or parents. Handouts such as lead-test swabs, Mr. Yuk stickers, and refrigerator wipe-off message boards are included.
  • Common Sense Gardening — How to make your garden thrive without using chemical products; how to use integrated pest management to control weeds and pests in your yard, garden, and lawn. Handouts include Common Sense Gardening guides.
  • Household Hazardous Waste 101 — How to read labels and choose safer products for your household. Can include making a multi-purpose “green” cleaner to bring home.


The following displays are available for loan at your public place, school setting, or retail area. We can also staff these displays at educational events. Click on the display names to see a photo:

School Programs

Are You Bugged by Bugs? Lending Tub — grades K-3

Meet "Lucy the Ladybug" and her friends in a puppet show that explains the important role insects play in our environment. Learn about these beneficial insects and how they help keep our yards and gardens healthy and beautiful.

Program includes:

  • Make your own ladybug craft
  • Stories and a sing-a-long

To help prepare your students for this presentation, the video "Bugs Don’t Bug Us" is available with the tub. The video introduces the concept that many insects really are our friends. The video is geared for pre-school aged kids, but the craft and puppet show have been popular up to grade 5.

Get Out of My Hair: Toxins in Personal Care — grades 6-12

Teens are a primary target for sale of personal care products – yet some ingredients used to make cosmetics, lotion, deodorant, shampoo, and hair dye have been linked to cancer and may cause reproductive and environmental harm.

Join us for a 55 or 75-minute presentation on toxins in personal care products and alternatives teens can choose to protect themselves. We’ll learn about health concerns, how to read labels, helpful websites, and safer alternatives. The students will make an all-natural lip balm to take home, to remind them they can keep looking and smelling good without toxic products! We request groups of 10 to 30 students and are happy to schedule multiple presentations to accommodate everyone.

Hazards on the Homefront — grades 6-12

Learn about hazards of common household products to people and the environment. This 55-minute class teaches students how to read product labels for toxicity levels and proper use, storage, and disposal. A fast-paced bingo game teaches students about alternative products and an experiment comparing cleaners lets students determine first-hand whether less-toxic products are effective! We request groups of 10 to 30 students and are happy to schedule multiple presentations to accommodate everyone.

Budd Inlet Treatment

Plant Tours — grades 6-12
LOTT treatment plant tour groupThe LOTT wastewater treatment plant offers tours where students learn where wastewater goes, how the treatment process uses bacteria to help clean water, what reclaimed water is, and how students can help by conserving water.

This tour reinforces the Thurston County classes (above) by making the connection between what students put down the drain and what ends up in Puget Sound. Tours are 90 minutes long. For a limited number of classes, bus and teacher costs may be reimbursed.

Used Oil Recycling — grades 9-12

Invite a speaker to come into your classroom and discuss ideas for environmentally-friendly driving. Recycling used motor oil is one way that drivers can maintain their cars, as well as protect the environment. Information on transportation alternatives, as well as carpooling, trip reduction, and hazardous materials disposal is presented in an interactive 35-minute presentation. Key chains and bumper stickers are provided.

Contact Us

We are available to talk with you Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Our phone number is 360-867-2674 (TDD for the hearing impaired is 360-867-2603).

Contact us by email with your comments, questions, or requests.

We are located at the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department:

412 Lilly Rd. NE
Olympia, WA 98506-5132

map/driving directions [PDF]

Our mailing address is:

Thurston County Environmental Health
412 Lilly Rd. NE
Olympia, WA 98506-5132

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Open Friday through Tuesday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Gates close at 4:45 p.m. daily

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This page last updated: 08/11/14