Speedy the geoduck is Evergreen’s mascot. The geoduck has been called every name in the book: weird, versatile, baffling, even a delicacy, but Speedy represents the essence of Evergreen’s charm.

Geoducks athletics logo

What the Heck is a Geoduck?

Despite the name, a geoduck is not a geode, nor is it a duck. In fact, it’s pronounced like gooey-duck. Clearly, nothing is quite as it seems when it comes to the geoduck.

Geoduck by Brian Teutsch

Photo by Brian Teutsch.

The geoduck is among the world’s largest clams, weighing three pounds on average. It’s so large, it can’t fit into its own shell. Omnia extares, indeed!

Speedy logoGeoducks will live longer than you or I. Geoducks have an average lifespan of 147 years. Technically, that makes them supercentenarians, but we’ll settle with just super.

The word geoduck comes from the Lushootseed word gʷídəq, meaning “dig deep.” Geoducks stretch their siphons out from over three feet beneath the sand. Get out your clam-diggers.

Geoducks are only found in the Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Pacific Northwest represent!

Geoducks, having a savory flavor, are a delicacy in some countries. There are many ways to prepare a geoduck: serve it raw as sashimi, or turn it into a pie.

The Geoduck in Pop Culture

3 Feet Under, a duckumentary directed by Justin Bookey.

Speedy appears as BuzzFeed’s 2nd-weirdest college mascot, and has been featured on several other similar lists:

Speedy is one of just two non-insect invertebrate college mascots. The other is Sammy the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slug. Just don’t call ’em spineless.

Geoducks have been featured in Dirty Jobs, No Reservations, Iron Chef, and many other TV shows.

Speedy likes you, and you can like Speedy back on Facebook. Or follow Speedy Q. Geoduck on Twitter.

From the Seashore to the Sidelines

The geoduck is a symbol of the essence of Evergreen: accessible to all who are willing to dig deep.

At Evergreen, the Geoduck represents more than team members and fans. Founders of the college wanted a mascot that epitomized the difference between traditional schools and Evergreen’s innovative ideas. It had to be the opposite of all the snarling, fierce, aggressive mascots typically seen in athletics.

It is a symbol of the essence of the college: accessible to all who are willing to dig deep—stable, yet flexible, and the antidote to departmental thinking and design that is the standard in most colleges and universities. And since Evergreen is devoted to sustainable and environmentally conscious practices, the geoduck—a integral part of the Pacific Northwest ecosystem—is the perfect representative. Geoducks are the most abundant marine animal in the south Puget Sound, with each adult clam filtering about 30 gallons of water every day.

The clam uses a tiny foot to burrow into the seafloor as it grows. Its shell can end up several feet down, with only its neck poking up into the water. Called siphons, these necks, double-barreled like a shotgun, dimple the sand like rows of wheat. Geoducks feed by drawing microscopic creatures called phytoplankton down one side of the neck, and they expel filtered water through the other. Once buried, a geoduck’s shell remains sedentary. While other clams move to avoid predators, a geoduck, when approached by a hungry crab or spiny dogfish, retracts its siphon, like a turtle withdrawing its head.
Smithsonian.com, “Geoducks: Happy as Clams”

The Humble Origin of Speedy

The Evergreen State College’s Geoduck represents the spirit of the college, chosen at a time when Evergreen’s experimental concepts were viewed as revolutionary:

  • Versatility & flexibility—Evergreen can change to fit the needs of its students.
  • Vulnerable & non-aggressive—Evergreen does not use competition to push academic achievement. Instead of grades, we have evaluations and an environment that encourages students to help each other rather than compete for the highest rank and grade. The opposite of big sports obsession at traditional colleges.
  • Permanence—Evergreen is like a rock. It won’t go anywhere. Geoducks are rooted to the same spot forever.