Environmental Studies

Merge the natural and social sciences.

Chart your course to a future in environmental work through hands-on experiences, mentored research, community outreach work, and other opportunities with a supportive learning community behind you.

By gaining practical skills and making deep connections, Evergreen students become world leaders in environmental problem solving, marine science, ecology, conservation, and more. Join us and start your journey.

Path concentration examples

The Environmental Studies Path offers programs in a variety of fields of study that you can mix and match. These are some areas of emphasis you can pursue on this Path. 

Ecosystem science 

Programs in ecosystem science focus on the movement and distribution of matter and energy, and major global environmental issues like climate change. Learn to utilize math, chemistry, biology, and science communication to tackle some of the greatest environmental issues facing the planet.

Organismal biology 

Get hands-on with field-based studies in animal behavior, biodiversity, and natural history. Working with plants, fungi, fish, birds, mammals, and more, you’ll connect the molecular and biochemical worlds to the evolutionary process and learn to analyze lifeforms from land and sea. 

You’ll gain skills in identification, taxonomy, systematics, natural history, and survey techniques to prepare for careers and graduate studies.

Natural resources

Discover how human and earth systems are connected by studying forestry, conservation biology, sustainability, and more. Explore problems such as the climate crisis, species extinctions, and pollution with practical tools from different disciplines.

Through hands-on experiences like field work and internships with environmental organizations, you’ll learn to think about systems in a comprehensive way to tackle environmental issues on a large scale while gaining real skills to launch your career in the field.

Highlights of this Path

Build skills to launch your future

Whether you want to work in forest conservation, explore the complexities of marine life, become an expert on environmental policy, or anything else related to environmental science, this Path will set you up with the skills you’ll need after college.

On this Path, you’ll chart your course through an incredible array of programs and other learning opportunities that will prepare you for how environmental work happens in the real world. You have the freedom and support to tailor your education to your passions. 

Undergraduate research and publication

As an undergrad, you’ll have the chance to dive deep into a topic and learn the scientific process through hands-on work in programs and labs. With the guidance of faculty, many students on this Path have published findings in peer-reviewed journals. This can be a game-changer that helps you kickstart your career or land a position in a competitive graduate school program.

Field studies

Evergreen’s location in the heart of the Pacific Northwest gives you easy access to mountain ranges, rainforests, the Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean, and more. Programs on this Path regularly take advantage of world-class natural destinations to provide hands-on experiences you’ll never forget.

Many Evergreen programs also put you in conversation with Native nations and tribes of the Pacific Northwest to learn from them about the land, waters, and treaties of the region.

Get hands-on with scientific instruments

The independence and support you get as an undergrad scientist at Evergreen is a one-of-a-kind experience. In programs on this Path, you’ll learn to prepare and run your own samples and get to know advanced scientific instruments well enough to put them on your resume.

Graduating with skills in using these instruments will give you an edge over competition when applying for graduate schools, research opportunities, and jobs in the field.

Learn more about the instruments.

Campus forest and beach

Evergreen’s campus isn’t just a breathtaking natural setting, it’s a living laboratory you can learn from every day. The 1,000 acres of campus forest is the perfect place to learn how to measure the forest ecosystem and how to manage and conserve these vital natural areas.

Evergreen’s beach gives you amazing opportunities to get hands-on with marine biology and aquatic sciences. You’ll learn to identify and analyze marine life and gain an understanding of human impacts on the shorelines and oceans.

The Organic Farm 

The Organic Farm is a five-acre living laboratory that has helped launch countless student careers. The farm serves many programs from both the Environmental Studies Path and the Food and Agriculture Path.

Skills you can gain on the farm include: 

  • Organic growing methods 
  • Crop botany 
  • Planting, maintaining, and harvesting crops 
  • Animal husbandry (chickens and bees) 
  • Permaculture design process for food, water, and energy systems     
  • Sales, marketing, and business 
  • Creating value-added products 
  • Integrated pest management 
  • Teamwork, leadership, and communication skills 

Learn more about the Organic Farm.

Internships and independent learning contracts

Faculty on this Path are passionate about helping you study what you’re most interested in. Sometimes that means letting you step out of the classroom for an independent experience such as internship or a learning contract of your own design.

Every year, Evergreen students take on life-changing internships with local environmental organizations or government institutions such as the Washington State Legislature. An opportunity like this could launch you into a career in the field where you can make a lasting impact on environmental work in Washington state and beyond.

Natural history museum and herbarium

Evergreen’s Natural history museum and herbarium contain a wealth of knowledge on the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. There are thousands of specimens on display, including insects, bone collections, mammals, fungi, plants, marine animals, and more.

The natural history museum and herbarium are the perfect places for you participate in research, collect and curate specimens, and answer questions that will advance our knowledge about natural history.

State-of-the-art labs

Get hands-on experience in chemistry and biology labs where you’ll learn the collaborative and analytical skills professional scientists use every day. In programs on this Path, you’ll have access to labs for:

  • Molecular biology
  • Organic chemistry
  • Water quality analysis
  • Environmental analysis
  • Computer applications
  • and more

Campus gardens 

Students on this Path are passionate about working in the earth. You’ll find lots of opportunities to work with fellow students, staff, and faculty while learning about the many types of gardens on campus. 

  • Evergreen community gardens near campus housing 
  • Demeter’s garden 
  • Ethnobotanical garden at the Indigenous arts campus  
  • Shellfish garden 
  • Medicinal herb garden 

Navigating Environmental Studies at Evergreen

This graphic shows prerequisites for advanced programs in the Environmental Studies Path. Programs are color matched to their required subjects. For example: Field Ecology requires one year of general biology (blue outline), one year of general chemistry (red outline), and applied precalculus (green outline).

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Pre-requisites for environmental studies

This Path can prepare you for careers in

  • Biodiversity analysis
  • Botany
  • Carbon cycle science
  • Climate science
  • Climate justice
  • Conservation Biology
  • Data Science
  • Ecology
  • Environmental law
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Environmental policy
  • Freshwater Science
  • Natural history
  • Marine biology
  • Mycology
  • Political ecology
  • Soil science
  • Sustainable Forestry
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Toxicology
  • Zoology

Graduate school opportunities beyond this Path

  • Conservation biology
  • Ecology
  • Environmental justice
  • Environmental social science
  • Marine biology
  • Master of Environmental Science
  • Master of Environmental Studies
  • Natural resource management
  • Urban ecology
  • Vertebrate biology
Faculty on this Path
Title Expertise
Bond, Robin analytical chemistry
Bowcutt, Frederica botany, ecology, environmental history
Calabria, Lalita botany, phytochemistry, systematics
Chin-Leo, Gerardo oceanography, marine biology
Cook, Amy ecology, vertebrate biology
Dirks, Clarissa biology, virology, molecular biology
Fischer, Dylan forest and plant ecology
Joshi, Shangrila climate justice, climate policy and politics, political ecology, environment and development
LeRoy, Carri freshwater ecology, quantitative biology, environmental education
Levenda, Anthony
Muehleisen, David sustainable agriculture, entomology
Przybylowicz, Paul ecology, biology, mycology
Scheuerell, Steven ecology, botany, plant pathology
Styring, Alison ornithology
Tabbutt, Kenneth geology
Thuesen, Erik marine science, zoology, ecophysiology
Yu, Pauline marine science
Catalog Offerings for 2021-22
Title Paths Class Standing Credits
Biology and Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Birds, Patterns, and Poetry
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8, 16
Botany: Plants and People
  • Junior
  • Senior
12
Changemaker Lab: Ocean Business and Science - Coral Reefs, Clams and Team Entrepreneurship
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Chemistry Counts!
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Counting on the Brain
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Counting on the Brain
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Exploring Other Worlds: Astrobiology & Instrumentation
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Field Ecology
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Fisheries in the Pacific Northwest: Biology and Political Ecology
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Food from the Sea: Biodiversity, Culture, and Justice
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
14
Forests
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Freshwater Ecology and Hydrology
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Indigenous Storytelling: Cultural Political Performance
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8, 12, 16
Integrated Natural Sciences
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Introduction to Environmental Studies: River Resources
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Marine Environments: Organisms and the Ocean
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Nature and Nurture: Human Development and the Environment
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
14
Nature and Nurture: Human Development and the Environment
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
14
Plant Ecology and Physiology
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Restoring Landscapes: Picturing Plants
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Rivers of Clay
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
8
Symbiosis
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Tiny House Design
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
12, 16
Undergraduate Research with P. Yu
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
2
Vertebrate Zoology: Animal Systems, Evolution, and Ecology
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Catalog Offerings for 2022-23
Title Paths Class Standing Credits
Botany: Plants and People
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Climate Farming Solutions: Regenerative Agriculture Research, Practices, and Entrepreneurship
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Computational Conservation Biology in R
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Decolonizing Climate Justice
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Environmental Analysis
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Field Ecology
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Field Plant Taxonomy and Biodiversity Conservation
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Integrated Natural Science
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Internship: Prairie Conservation and Ecological Restoration
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Introduction to Environmental Studies: Global Climate Change
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
14
Introduction to Environmental Studies: Global Climate Change
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
14
Marine Biodiversity
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Natural History of the Pacific Northwest
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Nature by the Numbers
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Salmon, Raven, and Whale: The Pacific Northwest in Art and Science
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
14
Science from the Inside Out
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
16
Statistics I and II: Accelerated
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
4
Temperate Rainforest Biogeochemistry and Ecophysiology
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
The Fungal Kingdom
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Tribal Marine Policy and Sciences
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Undergraduate Research with C. LeRoy
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
0
Undergraduate Research with D. Fischer
  • Junior
  • Senior
0
Undergraduate Research with L. Calabria
  • Junior
  • Senior
0

Programs Planned 2021-25

Exploratory

  • Art-Science programs
  • Environmental and Gender Studies
  • Integrated Natural Sciences (annual)
  • General Biology (annual)
  • Introduction to Environmental Studies (annual)
  • River Resources
  • Botany, Plants and People

Advanced

  • The Fungal Kingdom (2020-21 and every 2 years): mycology, taxonomy, ecology
  • Marine Biodiversity (2021-22 and every 2 years): taxonomy, organismal biology
  • Environmental Analysis (2020-21 and every 2 years): biogeochemistry, analytical chemistry, freshwater ecology, statistics
  • Forests (2022-23 and every 2 years): forest ecology, biogeochemistry, statistics, scientific writing
  • Freshwater Ecology & Hydrology (2022-23 and every 2 years): freshwater ecology, hydrology, GIS, statistics
  • Symbiosis (2022-23 and every 2 years): ecophysiology, organismal biology, research, scientific writing

Fields of Study related to this Path