Forests (Remote/In-Person*)

Fall 2020
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 25
16 Credits per quarter
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Forests are fundamentally important biomes for planet earth. We will explore forests from an ecological, biogeochemical, and environmental studies perspective. Students will learn: quantitative approaches and tools in forest measurements; transformative concepts in forest ecology and symbioses among forest organisms, plant identification, community types in forests of the northwest, responses of forests to changes in climate, and major concepts in forest biogeochemistry and the global carbon cycle. We will also read books that address human interactions with forests, and especially in the Northwest. The forest ecological science texts will cover forest ecology concepts, forest science and forest genetics, environmental history of Pacific Northwest forests, and global issues in forest management and conservation. Students will gain hands-on experience measuring forest attributes in Evergreen's 1000-acre forest reserve.   We will use local forests and The Evergreen State College Ecological Observation Network (EEON) to refine skills in measuring forests and detecting change using long-term data in forest ecosystems. Specifically, students will "adopt" a series of distinct forest measurement plots that they will observe and measure closely over the quarter. Student work will culminate in a final paper or video essay where they will use their learning and experiences to construct a detailed natural history of their individual forest plots. Student training in the field will be paired with forest-ecology-based training in use of GIS software and remotely sensed data. Finally, Students will use these experiences to form the core of their Scientific writing, quantitative skills, work with computer software, field skills, and communication skills.

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To successfully participate in this program, students will need a home computer, laptop, Chromebook, or iPad. Contact faculty for help if this is an obstacle. The program will include options for in-person video conferencing (approximately three hours per week), and multiple options using online technology for lecture content, group work, and coursework. Examples of remote technology that will be used include Zoom, Canvas, YouTube, iNaturalist, Google platforms, Excel, ArcGIS Online, Google Earth Engine, and Forest Visualization Software. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous (in person or remote) participation if conditions require.


*If conditions allow, the following activities will happen in person: outdoor, on-campus activities. 




One year (greater than 12 credits) of college-level biology, one year (greater than 9 credits) of college-level chemistry, and one year (greater than 9 cumulative credits) of college-level algebra, precalculus, and calculus or statistics. Students should also have previous credits in botany, taxonomy, and ornithology. Ability to use plant taxonomic keys is especially encouraged.

Fall 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (16): 10160

Academic details

Preparatory for studies and careers in

ecology, environmental studies, resource management, ecological restoration, conservation biology, and the liberal arts.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing
Upper Division Science Credit

Up to 16 credits of upper-division science credit may be awarded in forest science, biogeochemistry, statistics, and environmental science upon successful completion of the program objectives.


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting