Biology and Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

Winter 2022
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
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This program incorporates Greener Foundations. Greener Foundations is Evergreen’s 2-quarter introductory student success course, which provides all first-year students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive at Evergreen. First year students will get 14-credits from this program, and 2-credits from a Greener Foundations course. First year students will need to register for the 14-credit program CRN PLUS Greener Foundations (CRN 20001). 

The Pacific Northwest is a diverse landscape that includes cold oceans, temperate rainforests, arid scrublands, and alpine, tundra-like communities. Human communities are also part of this landscape, representing an array of cultures and languages. The effects of climate change on the biology of plants and animals living in these communities are complex and result from an interplay of physiology, behavior, and ecology. Problem solving around these effects requires an understanding of the underlying systems and processes, and communication among communities and across languages. In this program we will bring together the science of biological systems, the linguistics of cultural landscapes, and the responses of these complex systems to climate change.

Our study of biology will cover the evolution and physiology of plants and animals and how that is reflected in the structure and function of ecological communities. This foundation will be used to examine how these organisms and systems respond to climate change, including changes in air and water temperature, rainfall, and ocean acidification. In support of our science studies, we will also spend time each week on quantitative skills that are used in the study of ecology, biology, and climate change. Topics in quantitative reasoning will include mathematical modeling, applied algebra, and quantitative literacy. Our study of linguistics will cover topics around language and landscape in the Pacific Northwest, including language contact and historical linguistics. These topics will also be examined in light of a changing environment, climate, and cultural landscape.

Class time will include lectures, fieldwork, and regular workshops in linguistic analysis and quantitative reasoning. Assignments will include field notebook entries, essays, and short research papers that are designed to encourage students to pull together concepts they are learning in class. The key learning goals of this program are to develop a foundation in biology and linguistics, develop and refine students’ quantitative thinking skills and communication skills, and bring together ideas from different fields to develop a deeper, interdisciplinary understanding of climate change.

First-year students will participate in Greener Foundations while sophomore to senior students will participate in a final project on predicting landscape changes due to climate change. 


Winter 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 20097
Fr (14): 20100

Academic details

Preparatory for studies and careers in

Biology, ecology, environmental science, linguistics, education

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$100 for admission to a museum or aquarium and required lab fee


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting



Date Revision
2021-11-16 Student fee increased to $100 (was $50, required lab fee added)