Salmon, Raven, and Whale: The Pacific Northwest in Art and Science

Fall Open
Class Standing
Amy Cook
Alexander McCarty

Both art and science require close observation of the natural world and critical thinking about what you see. People have been making these close observations and analyses of animals, plants, and ecology for as long as people have been living in the Pacific Northwest. It has not been until relatively recently in our history that we have divided these activities into two separate disciplines. Despite this separation, certain Pacific Northwest animals—including salmon, ravens, and whales—have continued to capture the imagination of people in both disciplines.

In this program we will examine the natural history of the Pacific Northwest through the lenses of art and biology and compare and contrast these ways of looking at the world. We will emphasize close observation and critical and creative thinking around interpreting what we observe. Students will learn about the natural history of the region with an emphasis on ecology and animal behavior through lectures, workshops, and fieldwork. The program work will include significant time in the studio to develop drawing and 3-D art skills as well as students’ aesthetic sense and skills in peer critique.

Students are expected to spend time in the field refining their observation, field research, and art skills. In reading the work of artists and scientists who focus on the Pacific Northwest, we will look for commonalities and differences in their approaches both between individuals and between disciplines. We will critique both works of art and works of biology for their creative and scientific content. During winter quarter, in addition to classwork, students will develop an interdisciplinary project that demonstrates that they have learned information and skills in both art and natural history; projects will be shared in an end-of-quarter exhibition.

The goal of this program is to provide students with the opportunity to develop a good foundation in art and natural history and to practice interdisciplinary thinking with regard to these fields. Throughout the program we will come back to the three title animals to provide key examples of everything from capturing movement and form to ecological interactions. You do not need to have any prior experience in art or biology to be successful in this program.

This program incorporates Greener Foundations. Greener Foundations is Evergreen’s in-person 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 who register for 14 credits in this program will be placed into Greener Foundations for an additional 2 credits, totaling 16 credits. Once first-year students have been placed into Greener Foundations, they will receive an email confirming their registration status.


Signature Required

Students wishing to join the program in winter should have some experience with natural history and art. They should contact the faculty via email and be prepared to share their art portfolio or describe programs/classes they have taken that demonstrate this background.

Course Reference Numbers
So (14): 20140
Fr (14): 20141

Course Reference Numbers

So (14): 10059
Fr (14): 10175

Academic Details

art, field biology, and environmental studies


Fall: $125 for museum and event admission fees and art supplies and $50 for required sciences fees. $175 total. 

Winter: $25 for museum and event admission and $50 for required sciences fees. $75 total. 


In Person (F)
In Person (W)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details
SEM 2 A1105 - Lecture


Date Revision 2022-10-04 Student fee reduced each quarter