Raft down the Grand Canyon. Shape environmental legislation. Climb the slopes of Mount Rainier. Collect algae in the Puget Sound. Survey the giant forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Getting out in the field is easy when you have the field right outside the classroom. Students in environmental studies benefit from Evergreen’s natural learning labs: our 1,000-acre rain forest, open shoreline, and organic farm. Our location in Washington’s capital city makes getting involved in environmental politics easy. Students live and learn where policies are created. The surrounding community’s high level of environmental consciousness and the Pacific Northwest’s cultural and natural heritage form an unparalleled backdrop to your studies.
Environmental studies offers introductory and advanced work in a wide array of laboratory and field studies that incorporate social sciences, environmental justice, biology, geology, chemistry, climatology, evolution, ecology, hydrology, and oceanography. You can also work independently with support through independent contracts, internships, and research. You’ll have the opportunity to work along with faculty in real-world research, publish papers, attend conferences, and develop new techniques to answer novel questions. The mixture of an interdisciplinary approach and hands-on research allows you to make a transformative impact.
Join us in an education that doesn’t just change your life — it gives you the tools to change the world.
Extremophiles and EcosystemsOffered Fall 2015 - Winter 2016
The Pacific Northwest’s cultural and natural heritage form an unparalleled backdrop to your studies.
This program focuses on the biology, ecology, and physiology of extremophiles: microorganisms, fungi, plants, and animals that call extreme environments home. Specifically, we examine the various behavioral, physiological, and morphological adaptations they’ve developed to live in places we would not expect to find life, including deep-sea vents, hot springs, polar regions, deserts, clouds, lava fields, caves, salt flats, and other extreme habitats around the globe. We also explore the unique environments parasitic organisms inhabit and their interactions with host species. We study some of these environments with laboratory exercises and field trips.
Our studies of extremophiles are paired with studies of climate instability and how humans will need to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Seminar discussions of our readings provide students with a deep understanding of the range of responses humans and other living things have to extreme environments. We engage with topics in evolutionary biology and natural selection and discuss assisted migration and ecosystem restoration.
Students have the opportunity to undertake group research projects and focused study to develop skills that are useful in the life sciences and apply hands-on experience to understanding morphological and physiological adaptations and designing scientific experiments.
Offerings Proposed For 2015-16
As a student at Evergreen, you'll select from programs like the ones listed here to build your own education. While there are no specific course requirements, you can choose to develop an Area of Emphasis with help from advisors and faculty.
Programs for freshmen and sophomores:
- Extremophiles and Ecosystems (Freshman-Only Program)
- River Reciprocity (Freshman-Only Program)
- Time Past: Earth Processes and Human History (Freshman-Only Program)
- Visualizing Climate Change
- Visualizing Microbial Seascapes: An Introduction to Animation and Marine Biology
Both upper and lower division students may take these programs:
- Biodiversity Studies in Argentina (Sophomore - Senior)
- Biogeochemistry: Microbes, Rocks, and Soils (Sophomore - Senior)
- Branching Out: An Ethnobotanical Garden in Community (Freshmen - Senior)
- Bryophytes and Lichens of the Pacific Northwest (Sophomore - Senior)
- Caring for a Living Planet (Sophomore - Senior)
- Civic Intelligence Laboratory (Sophomore - Senior)
- Ecological Agriculture: Healthy Soil, Healthy People (Sophomore - Senior)
- Ecological Agriculture: Crop Botany and Plant Genetics (Sophomore - Senior)
- Ecology of Grazing and Grasslands in the Pacific Northwest (Freshmen - Senior)
- Energy Systems and Climate Change (Sophomore - Senior)
- Engaging with the Endangered Northwest (Freshmen - Senior)
- Environmental Geology (Sophomore - Senior)
- Environmental Health: Science, Policy and Social Justice (Freshmen - Senior)
- Evolution and Ecology Across Latitudes (Sophomore - Senior)
- Fundamentals of Plant Biology (Freshmen - Senior)
- Health vs. Wealth (Freshmen - Senior)
- Introduction to Environmental Studies (Freshmen - Senior)
- Living Well: The Anthropology of Sustainability (Freshmen - Senior)
- Local Knowledge: Building Just and Sustainable Communities (Sophomore - Senior)
- Plant Ecology and Physiology (Sophomore - Senior)
- Practice of Organic Farming: Fall (Freshmen - Senior)
- Practice of Organic Farming: Spring, Summer (Freshmen - Senior)
- Resource Rebels: Environmental Justice Movements Building Hope (Sophomore - Senior)
- Snow Ecology (Sophomore - Senior)
- Sustainable Work and Workplaces (Freshmen - Senior)
- Terroir: Chocolate, Oysters, and Other Place-Flavored Foods (Freshmen - Senior)
- Undergraduate Projects in Critical and Creative Practices with A. de Marcken (Sophomore - Senior)
Programs for juniors and seniors:
- Adventure Travel and Ecotourism: The Businesses and Their History
- Change Agents: Creating Pathways in Uncertain Times
- Conserving Wildlife: Landscapes, Habitat, and the ESA
- Ecological and Environmental Economics
- Field Ecology
- The Geography of Polar Regions
- Marine Life: Marine Organisms and Their Environments
- Picturing Plants
- Political Ecology of Land: Urban Planning, Property Rights, and Land Stewardship
- Student-Originated Studies: Community-Based Learning and Action
- Taking Care of Business: Developing Creative Options for Livelihood
- Temperate Rainforests: Genetics and Biogeochemistry
Evergreen graduates with an emphasis in environmental studies prepares you for graduate studies and careers in the field. Our graduates are leaders in ecology, environmental health, natural resource management, conservation, forestry, wildlife biology, politics, economics, and global sustainability movements.
You also have the option of continuing your studies with our Master of Environmental Studies.
Facilities and Resources
The Organic Farm
Students of all levels have access to science labs with a full range of equipment and high-tech tools.
At the Organic Farm students can explore sustainable agriculture, agro-ecology, and environmental sciences. In addition to three acres of certified organic fields, the farm’s facilities include a food-grade laboratory, the student-designed and -built Organic Farmhouse, and the student-run Demeter’s permaculture demonstration site and Community Gardens.
The Evergreen State College Forest & Campus Shoreline
Evergreen’s 1,000-acre forest is ideal for studying a lowland Puget Sound second-growth rainforest. Through the Evergreen Ecological Observation Network (EEON), students and faculty conduct long-term scientific research. The college’s 3,300-foot shoreline offers a variety of ecosystems and natural features for students to investigate.
Labs, Gardens, & Collections
Students of all levels have access to science labs with a full range of equipment and high-tech tools. You can study some 27,000 specimens in the college’s zoological, botanical, and mycological collections. Evergreen’s campus is also dotted with a variety of teaching gardens.
Sustainability in Prisons Project
The Sustainability in Prisons Project trains inmates and correctional staff at local prisons to carry out ecological research and conservation projects.
Rachel Carson Forum
Students in Evergreen’s Master of Environmental Studies program organize this annual event. Experts speak on environmental topics such as local sustainability and climate change.
The Sustainability House is a living/learning option for returning and transfer students. Residents commit to an environmentally conscious lifestyle, social justice, sustainable agriculture and activism.