Temperate Rainforests
Fall 1997
(Updated at the program's end on 19 December 1997)
Program Overview
Temperate rainforests are highly valued ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the world. They support a complex and interconnected web of life that encompasses a tremendous diversity of biota, including humans.  We strove to understand how to understand such ecosystems, using contemporary information-gathering tools and approaches.  We looked at the social forces that affect these unique resources via the methodology of public policy analysis.

Our focus was twofold.  We worked to understand the ecology of temperate rainforests, with a concentration on the regional ecosystems of the Olympic Peninsula.  Second, we studied the process of policy formation and analysis in order to understand the forces that shape human claims on the peninsula’s forests.  We conducted original research on snag density in forested regions and compiled the data into a comprehensive report.  We gathered and interpreted information concerning the social and cultural aspects of temperate rainforests, particularly the use of forest products and the public policy behind decisions that affect,temperate rainforest management.

Skill-building workshops included plant identification, field ecological techniques for vegetation classification, public policy analysis, and the use of computers for bibliographic searches and information retrieval.  We also exchanged information and ideas outside of class time using e-mail and Internet based conferencing software.  Optional sessions on creating web pages on the Internet were also accomplished.

Students took two field trips to the Olympic Peninsula to gather primary information on
ecological and human aspects of temperate rainforests.  The second one was done
independently by smaller student teams.  Appreciation of the aesthetic aspects of rainforests was fostered through art, photographic images, an aerial flight, and river raft trip.  Students kept journals that chronicled significant insights, and sketchbooks that fostered personal close observations and aesthetic explorations.  Knowledgeable professionals from a number of different fields also lectured as guests adding new and different perspectives about the forest.

After data analysis and synthesis, we held a student organized and moderated three-day mock hearing on the practice of Salvage Timber Harvesting on the Olympic Peninsula.  Teams of two researched and represented key constituent groups with a stake in the health of the peninsula’s ecology and communities.  Reports, testimony, and recommendations were presented.  The drafting of a joint resolution on the issue by all of the groups was also done in order to explore the difficulties and rewards of consensus building.  All reports, policy memoranda and resolutions were placed on the program’s web page. Final recommendations were prepared by a student panel who also represented individuals with specialized knowledge.

Course Equivalencies:  16 credits
    7 credits of forest ecology
    6 credits of forest policy analysis
    2 credits of information retrieval and data analysis
    1 credit of visual arts

The Daily Schedule Assignments

The Reading List


Our Faculty Team

Our Students

On-line Program Discussions

Field Trips

Final Project


Our Covenant
- Special Notices! -
Special notices of interest to all students where displayed here throughout the quarter-long program.


Prepared by Lee Lyttle - lyttlel@elwha.evergreen.edu
First Published May 1997