The Environmental Studies (ES) planning unit offers broadly interdisciplinary academic studies within and across three distinctive thematic areas outlined below. Evergreen's unique approach to environmental studies emphasizes hands-on, experiential learning in the field and surrounding communities. Many programs include extended field trips within the U.S. and several programs include fieldwork in Central America. Human Communities and the Environment addresses environmental policy, ethics and human relations with, and ways of thinking about, the natural world. It includes community studies, ecological agriculture, environmental communication, environmental economics, environmental health, environmental history, environmental law and policy, geography, land-use planning and policy, political economy and sustainability.
Natural History focuses on observation, identification and interpretation of flora and fauna using scientific field methods as a primary approach to understanding the natural world. It draws upon botany, ecology, entomology, herpetology, invertebrate zoology, mammalogy, mycology, and ornithology to explore issues in biodiversity.
Environmental Science deals with the underlying mechanisms and structures of natural systems, both living and non-living. Environmental science can involve laboratory and field work, including biogeochemistry, biology, chemistry, climatology, ecology, evolutionary biology, forest ecology, geology, hydrology, environmental analysis, marine biology and oceanography as well as issues of global environmental change.
Programs in each of these three thematic areas will be offered each year, although there may be overlap among them. Programs are listed in the following pages, grouped by thematic area. Students should also consider programs in political economy, physical science and mathematics. Any of the Environmental Studies faculty can advise students. Students should feel free to call or e-mail faculty to seek advice. Another advising resource is the Environmental Studies coordinator (contact Academic Advising, (360) 867-6312), who will be aware of catalog updates.
For students who intend to pursue graduate studies in environmental studies or environmental science, a minimum of one full year of undergraduate study in biology, chemistry, and statistics is recommended. These subjects may also be prerequisites to some of the advanced environmental studies programs. Students can gain research experience by participating in Advanced Research in Environmental Studies, which can serve as a capstone experience during the senior year.
Environmental Studies offers both repeating and one-of-a-kind programs that respond to unique combinations of interests, events, and synergy. Repeating programs are offered every year or every other year and may vary in content, depending on the particular faculty or foci each year. Conversely, some faculty teach the same topic in different programs each year. For example, introductory plant biology is taught roughly every other year often in interdisciplinary programs of different titles that integrate art, history, non-fiction writing, or economic botany. Two programs, Introduction to Environmental Studies (IES) and Practice of Sustainable Agriculture (PSA) are offered every year. IES is intended for sophomore and transfer students who are new to environmental studies; it is also open to well-prepared freshmen. PSA combines academics with hands-on farming experience. Programs focusing on human communities and environmental policy are also offered every year, although the program titles change. Programs offered in alternate years include Animal Behavior, Ecological Agriculture, Hydrology, Marine Life, Plant Ecology and Taxonomy, Temperate Rainforests and Tropical Rainforests. The Master of Environmental Study (MES) program shares faculty with the undergraduate curriculum and MES electives, which are taught in the evenings, frequently allow advanced undergraduates to enroll.