About The Northwest Discovery Lab
Northwest Discovery Lab is an education non-profit dedicated to providing a variety of hands-on arts and sciences classes, workshops, and labs.
The lab grew out of a collective group of parents who saw a need for technology education in Jefferson County and beyond. While the bigger cities in the Puget Sound had ample opportunity for classes on programming, robotics, engineering and digital art, the small towns of the Olympic Peninsula were lacking in this specific area. The parents who recognized this gap and wanted to make a difference, began pooling their resources to make 2,250 square feet of lab, workshop, classroom and meeting space a reality.
The NWDL philosophy is based on 3 key components.
- Kids learn best when they’re engaged in a project.
- Learning requires the right tools for the job.
- Education is a community effort.
Educators can tell you, time and again, that learning takes place when the whole child is engaged. In a classroom environment, this means that we strive to give youth the whole experience of learning; from listening, to doing, to reviewing.
Anyone can learn science and art anywhere, from at home to at school. But so much of today’s science and art involves tools, supplies and equipment that the average person doesn’t have access to in their home, or often even at school. Whether it’s spinning wheels for yarn, or 3D printers, we will always work to bring those necessary items to the NWDL so that everyone can use them for real life application.
It truly does “take a village” to raise a child in today’s society. Our philosophy is based on the community’s involvement. As such, we encourage parents to be involved and participate through the learning process. Classes and workshops for youth may be ‘drop off,’ but they can be a cooperative effort with parents learning alongside their child.
What We Do
The NWDL is dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Computers and Art. Our grand opening was July 1st, when we will be introducing classes, workshops and open labs in a range of subjects for people from Kindergarten to Adults.
It began with seeing a need in the community for youth education, and the realization that the main hurdles to overcome in providing these opportunities were funding and location. With pooled resources and a community effort, we began remodeling a 1,000 square foot garage and office space, to be used as a workshop and a computer lab. But then we noticed the need for meeting spaces, and began converting the neighboring 1,250 square foot house into a community house complete with a conference table, toddler play area, kitchen, private meeting room, and office. All of this is centrally located at 62A Tanglewood Lane, off Cape George Rd. Just 10 minutes from Port Townsend and Chimacum.
After the logistics of providing a location for the NWDL, we began the process to file for 501c)3 status, and an extensive fundraising effort was launched. The NWDL cannot function without help from local sponsors, community support, and volunteers who appreciate the value in youth education.
The classes and workshops that we envision are broad, and we believe that sciences and arts are as varied and full spectrum as one’s own imagination. Because of this, we can only begin to articulate the programs that we will provide at the NWDL. We will strive to provide opportunities in all manner of sciences and arts. From environmental science to Arduino programming, and from digital photography to spinning yarn.
Our first partner in this endeavor is the Discovery 4-H Club, which became chartered in May 2016, before the NWDL was even completed. It will provide summer programs for Lego Engineering and Robotics, and will continue the Lego experience into the fall with Jr. First Lego League (Jr FLL) and First Lego League (FLL) teams that will run September through December. From that point, the Discovery 4-H Club will be truly youth led, and the youth members will decide which directions they choose to go in.