environmental studies

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.

Students visit Yellowstone National Park for the program Environmental Analysis to study the unique geological and microbiotic conditions in the park.

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 rain forest, 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.

Ken Tabbutt talks about the geological structure of the cliffs in Yellowstone as Andy Brabban and Clyde Barlow hold a geological map. Due to Evergreen’s emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, you’ll experience many programs taught by multiple faculty.

Sample Program

Environmental Problem Solving

Offered Winter 2018–Spring 2018

The Pacific Northwest’s cultural and natural heritage form an unparalleled backdrop to your studies.

It is a common misconception in environmentalism that if you can educate people about a problem, they will automatically take steps to solve it. In reality, environmental problem solving is much more complex. It requires a good grasp of the ecological system involved, the structure of government, and public policy—as well as the ability to work effectively in groups.

This program covers basic ecology, political science, economics, and statistics in order to provide students with the necessary background to understand environmental problems. We will look at ecosystem structure, community ecology, population biology, and some of the ways in which human activities impact ecological systems. In the political science component, students will learn about the structure of government at several levels and the interaction of federal, state, and local government. We will take advantage of the proximity of the state legislature by attending committee meetings and observing the legislative process firsthand.

View this program in the catalog.

Students in Restoration Ecology and Freshwater Ecology take a field trip to the Elwha River to study the effects of the Elwha Dam and how nature is recovering after its removal.

After Graduation

Evergreen graduates with an emphasis in environmental studies 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 Master of Environmental Studies.

Facilities & Resources

Christopher Sabine, director of the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), talks about the global carbon cycle, climate change, and ocean acidification.

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), students and faculty conduct long-term scientific research. The college’s 3,300-foot shoreline offers a variety of ecosystems and natural features for students to investigate.

Students do a titrations lab in the program Environmental Analysis.

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.

The program Picturing Plants went on a field trip to Mima Mounds Glacial Heritage Preserve to identify and draw native prairie plants.

Rachel Carson Forum

Students in Evergreen’s Master of Environmental Studies program organize this annual event. Experts speak on environmental topics such as local sustainability and climate change.

Sustainability House

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.

Planned offerings for 2017–18
Class Standing Quarters Offered Credits
A Writer's Paradise FR-SR
  • Summer
8, 16
Advanced Research in Environmental Studies JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Andean Roots: Linguistics and Ecological Agriculture SO-SR
  • Fall
12, 16
Andean Roots: Linguistics and Ecological Agriculture in Peru SO-SR
  • Winter
16
Astronomy and Cosmology: Stars and Stories FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 8, 12
Botany: Plants and People FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Bryophytes and Lichens of the Pacific Northwest JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Climate and Ecosystem Change in the Anthropocene FR-SO
  • Winter
16
Climate and Ecosystem Change in the Anthropocene FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Conserving Wildlife JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Coral Reefs: Ecology and Entrepreneurial Endeavors JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Countertextual Ecologies: Eco-Music FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Countertextual Ecologies: Eco-Poetics FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Countertextual Ecologies: Gastropoetics FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Countertextual Ecologies: Political Ecology FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Counting on Soils: Precalculus and Soil Sciences FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Creating Community and Health Through Gardens: Intensive FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Decolonizing in an Era of Climate Change and Denial FR-SR
  • Spring
8
Ecological and Environmental Economics JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Ecology of Perennial Agricultural Systems FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Environmental Challenges and Solutions FR-SR
  • Summer
12
Environmental Problem Solving FR-SO
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Environmental Sociology: Nature, Society, and Equity (at Grays Harbor) SO-SR
  • Fall
4
Farmers of the Global Majority: Resilience, Resistance, and Transformation FR-SR
  • Summer
8
Field Ecology JR-SR
  • Spring
16
Foundational Skills in Desktop Geographic Information Systems (GIS) FR-GR
  • Summer
4
Foundational Skills in Web-Based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) FR-GR
  • Summer
4
General Biology: Cells, Populations, and Ecosystems FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Geology and Ecology of Land-Ocean Margins FR-SO
  • Fall
16
Imperative Change: Earth, Food for the Future SO-SR
  • Spring
8
Impossible Objects: Literature, Creative Writing, and Environmental Humanities FR-SR
  • Winter
16
Indigenous Food Sovereignty JR-SR
  • Winter
2
Integrated Natural Science FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Introduction to Environmental Studies: River Resources SO-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Introduction to Natural History of the Pacific Northwest FR
  • Spring
16
Introduction to Scientific Illustration FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Learning About Learning in Nature FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Living Well: Anthropology and Sustainability FR-SR
  • Summer
8
Marine Biology of the Pacific Northwest FR-SR
  • Summer
8
Marine Life: Marine Organisms and Their Environments JR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Models in Biology SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
12
Northwest Forests: Biogeochemistry and Management JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Portland: Researching Neoliberalism in Local Neighborhoods FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 8, 12, 16
Photography from Above FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Plant Biology FR-SR
  • Summer
6
Practice of Organic Farming: Culture and Agriculture FR-SR
  • Summer
16
Practice of Organic Farming: Culture and Agriculture (Spring, Summer) FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Practice of Organic Farming: Fall FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Rivers of Clay SO-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Salmon, Raven, and Whale: The Pacific Northwest in Art and Science FR-SO
  • Fall
16
Science Seminar: the Universe and You FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Seeds of Change: Food, Culture, and Work FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Statistics and Research Design: An Introduction FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Student-Originated Studies: Environmental Science SR
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture FR-SR
  • Winter
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Summer
16
Student-Originated Studies: how to do things with words JR-SR
  • Spring
16
Summer Ornithology: Birds in the Hand FR-SR
  • Summer
8
Tears of Duk'Wibahl: Exploration of Customary and Contemporary Indigenous Arts FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 8, 12
Technical Writing in the 21st Century SO-SR
  • Winter
16
The Nature and Culture of Natural History FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
The Political Ecology of Natural Disasters and Climate Justice JR-GR
  • Summer
4
Tiny Homes, Earthships, and other Innovative Buildings: Design Principles for Low-impact Homes. FR-SR
  • Summer
8
Undergraduate Research in Scientific Inquiry SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Wilderness First Responder FR-SR
  • Summer
4
With Liberty and Justice for Whom? JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Planned offerings for 2018–19
Class Standing Quarters Offered Credits
Advanced Research in Environmental Studies JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0
Analyzing the World with Math and Science FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Birds: Inside and Out JR-SR
  • Winter
16
Botany: Plants and People FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Caring for a Living Planet: Ecology and Ethics SO-SR
  • Fall
8
Climate Justice SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Ecological Agriculture: The Science, Justice, and Policy of Food Systems SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Ecology of Grazing and Grasslands in the Pacific Northwest FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Environmental Analysis SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Environmental and Social Justice Successes: How to Grow Hope in the Dark FR-SR
  • Winter
12
Environmental Health, Public Health and Toxicology SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Environmental Science Foundations FR-SO
  • Fall
16
Evolutionary Processes from DNA to the Fossil Record JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Forests and Farms: The Systems that Sustain Us FR-SO
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Gardens as Creative Non-Fiction FR-SR
  • Spring
12
Geopolitics, Energy, Economics, and Stewardship of the Pacific Northwest SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Global/Local Realities and Alternative Visions JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Integrated Natural Sciences (INS) FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Introduction to Environmental Studies FR-SO
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Invertebrate Zoology JR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Living With Climate Change SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
8
Models in Biology SO-SR
  • Winter
8
Nature and Nurture: Human Development and the Environment FR
  • Winter
16
Nature and Nurture: Human Development and the Environment FR
  • Spring
16
Political Ecology of Land: Urban Planning, Property Rights, and Land Stewardship JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Practice of Organic Farming: Culture and Agriculture (Fall) FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Practice of Organic Farming: Culture and Agriculture (Spring, Summer) FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Riding the Carbon Cycle from the Mountains to the Sea SO-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Social Entrepreneurship and Development: Management, Sustainability and Finance FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
8
Student-Originated Studies: Environmental Community-Based Learning and Action JR-SR
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Winter
16
Student-Originated Studies: Food and Agriculture SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Science and Environmental Writing for the General Public JR-SR
  • Spring
16
Studio Projects: Land and Sky FR-SO
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Symbiosis JR-SR
  • Spring
16
Teachings of the Tree People: American Indian Culture FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
The Fungal Kingdom JR-SR
  • Fall
16
The Science Behind the Headlines: What's the Truth? FR
  • Fall
16
The Science Behind the Headlines: What's the Truth? FR
  • Winter
16
Time Past: Earth Processes and Human History FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Undergraduate Research in Scientific Inquiry SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
0