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 rainforest, 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.
Earth Dynamics: Climate, People and History
Offered Fall 2014 - Winter 2015
The Pacific Northwest’s cultural and natural heritage form an unparalleled backdrop to your studies.
Earth’s environment has been shaped by human activity for hundreds of thousands of years. This program will examine how these changes facilitated or necessitated human adaptations or evolutions.
We’ll ask how human practices changed not only local environments, but large-scale global processes, noting patterns of interaction between people and Earth over time. We'll study natural and human drivers of climate change, including Sun-Earth interactions, volcanoes and greenhouse gases. We’ll consider science’s changing role in providing the understanding required for people and planet to thrive together, as well as the role of modern consumer societies in hastening and/or slowing the dangerous direction in which resource use is driving our planet’s ecosystem. Is global warming a disaster, an opportunity or both? How do we adapt to the most dramatic change to the Earth system in human history?
Our work will include lectures, discussions, workshops, labs, quantitative homework, expository essays, responses to peers’ essays, teamwork and field trips.
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 Microbial Seascapes: An Introduction to Animation and Marine Biology
Programs for Juniors and Seniors
- Adventure Travel and Ecotourism: The Businesses and Their History
- Change Agents: Creating Pathways in Uncertain Times
- Field Ecology
- 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
- Temperate Rainforests: Genetics and Biogeochemistry
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)
- 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)
- Evolution and Ecology Across Latitudes (Sophomore - Senior)
- Home on the Range (Sophomore - Senior)
- Introduction to Environmental Studies (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)
- Science Seminar in Energy Systems and Climate Change (Sophomore - Senior)
- Shaping Place (Sophomore - Senior)
- Sustainable Work and Workplaces (Freshmen - Senior)
- Terroir: Chocolate, Oysters, and Other Place-Flavored Foods (Freshmen - Senior)
An Environmental Studies degree from Evergreen 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 graduate program on the environment.
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) project, students and faculty are conducting long-term scientific research. The college’s 3,300-foot-long 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 The Graduate Program on the Environment 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.