Three UW researchers to present & attend 2022 UN Ocean Conference on assessing global ocean equity

Next week, UW will be sending researchers to the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference, which will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, from June 27-July 1. This five-day conference will seek to advance momentum around science-based innovative solutions related to global ocean action within the UN Sustainable Development Goal #14: “to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”

In partnership with the UW Office of Global Affairs, three researchers from The Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center and the Washington Ocean Acidification Center – two EarthLab member organizations within the UW College of the Environment – will be presenting their research in real time (both virtually and in-person) at the conference.


Virtual webinar on ocean equity from Ocean Nexus Center

On Monday, The Ocean Nexus Center’s Director Dr. Yoshitaka Ota and team will gather virtually and present at the UN Ocean Conference to introduce new frameworks for developing and conducting such ocean equity studies.

The free event begins at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Click here to register.

Ocean Nexus is a transdisciplinary international network of over 30 research institutes and 100 ocean researchers focused on bringing social equity to ocean governance. This network is built on a 10-year partnership between the Nippon Foundation and the University of Washington.

“We are committed to building relationships at the global scale to deepen our understanding of social equity in the context of ocean management and collectively address systemic injustices, such as racial and gender discrimination and post-colonial hegemony,” said Dr. Ota, who is also a Professor of Practice at the UW School of Marine & Environmental Affairs. “Traditionally, ocean issues are treated separately from social issues, but our team believes that sustainable ocean development must include evolving evidence measurements and innovative performance indicators for a procedural and just transformation of oceans.”

The Ocean Nexus-led side event will introduce a new framework to showcase the development and transmission of Procedural Key Performance Indicators (PKPI), that guide sustainable development efforts in oceans to contribute to reducing social inequity and inequality. Eight Nexus fellows and postdoc researchers within the Ocean Nexus network will present their work on feminist epistemology, ocean’s climate justice, social impacts of marine conservation, racial history of US fisheries and ocean plastic policy in Italy.

The event will open by explaining the co-development processes behind the PKPI creation, how researchers are adapting the framework to specific ocean equity contexts, and will conclude by inviting collaborating researchers, government officials and decision-makers into a moderated Q&A. This session is free and open to the public. UW post doc researchers Jessica Vandenberg, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, and Rebeca de Buen Kalman,  Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, will be presenting their work as a part of this Ocean Nexus side event. Grant Blume, associate teaching professor at the Evans School, will also be attending the conference on behalf of the UW.

Watch the recording here.


In-Person event on access to data moderated by Washington Ocean Acidification Center

On Thursday afternoon, Dr. Jan Newton (WOAC Co-Director, Senior Principal Oceanographer at UW Applied Physics Laboratory and UW affiliate Professor of oceanography) will moderate an in-person panel discussion in Lisbon entitled “Ocean Acidification: Co-designing data connections to underserved communities for equitable outcomes.”

The Washington Ocean Acidification Center was established in 2013 following the recommendation of the Washington state Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. Based within EarthLab at the University of Washington, WOAC serves the entire state as a regional research hub that monitors, studies and trains the next generation of scientists, managers and decision-makers to face the challenges posed by ocean acidification.

This in-person UN side event will highlight how global programs – such as the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network’s UN programme Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) and the Nippon Foundation’s Ocean Nexus Center at UW – can give visibility to local voices, especially those of Indigenous, Small Island Developing States and other underserved communities that depend on ocean-based economies for their survival.

“We need to consider the importance of local ocean acidification efforts conducted within effective global coordination, to take action at both of these scales,” said Dr. Newton. “It is critical to conduct local scale observations co-designed with communities, assuring that connections are made for their local data usage. At the same time, the value of doing so within a global context should be recognized– both for how these data can inform global assessments, like the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.3, and for how global programs can give visibility to local voices. That is where we can make a real difference.”

Through a moderated panel discussion, presenters from Indigenous and Small Island Developing States backgrounds will explore how local partnerships between researchers and Indigenous communities can be supported within global coordination programs to build more resilient communities in the face of climate change as it relates to ocean acidification.

By informing global scientific assessments through local-scale research that is co-designed by both ocean scientists and communities, these collaborative adaptation strategies can better provide future scientific tools and programming to build more resilient communities worldwide.

The event, scheduled for 1:30-3 p.m. local time, was recorded and can be viewed here. To learn more about Dr. Newton and the Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability programme within the UN Ocean Decade, click here.

 

 


Q&A with Amy Snover, outgoing director of the UW Climate Impacts Group


DDCSP@UW Announces 2022 Cohort & Internship Partners

The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Washington (DDCSP@UW) is a multi-summer, undergraduate learning experience that explores conservation throughout the Pacific Northwest. By connecting conservation to cultural identities, biodiversity, and environmental justice, DDCSP@UW supports emerging leaders to develop and contribute understandings, skills, and perspectives needed to transform the conservation field.

This year, DDCSP@UW is excited to resume in-person field immersion programming for the summer, with scholars engaging across a range of projects with conservation partners. See below for the list of incoming scholars and internship partners!

Meet the 2022 Scholars

Abigail Garcia
Kenyon College, Biology

One of my main goals is to decolonize and diversify the field of conservation biology and biology in general. I want to focus on the intersections between cultural anthropology and biology in order to learn about and implement a wide range of conservation practices. My goal is to work on bettering the living conditions of low-income BIPOC communities, specifically migrant communities like my own in the San Fernando Valley in California. Outside of classwork, I enjoy swimming and working on nail art.

Nia Richardson 
Howard University, Fisheries and Wildlife & Environmental Science

My name is Nia Richardson and I am a first year Environmental Science major at Howard University. I enjoy hiking, playing piano, and meeting new people. I grew up in Arizona where my love for nature bloomed, I mostly enjoyed watching the sunset with friends. When it comes to conservation, I have been most interested in food security. I would love to learn more about botany and ecology in order to create sustainable farming habits.

 

Kareli Mora Ayon
Heritage University, Environmental Science

Hello everyone! I was raised in Stockton California and moved to Washington my freshman year of high school. I am very passionate about our water conservation and our beautiful wetland environments and all the amazing wildlife that is within them. I reside in Sunnyside at the moment, and I have grown to call this my new home. I attend Heritage University which I completely love. My hobbies include biking, watching anime (Naruto) being my favorite, reading and hiking.

Isabella Chung
Wellesley College, Biology & Environmental Studies

My name is Isabella Chung, and I am from Honolulu, Hawai’i. Having grown up surrounded by nature, I am really passionate about making the environment accessible to everyone, and especially communities of color. Since both of my parents are immigrants, I care a lot about preserving cultural traditions and connections with land. I also really want to learn more about different ways to support food sovereignty, particularly in urban areas. I believe helping children and young adults to engage with nature is really important to creating a more sustainable future. Above all, I am committed to the decolonization of science and the environment, and hope to make these spaces more inclusive!

Jasmine Strickland
Warren Wilson College, Conservation Biology & Creative Writing

Despite being from a busy city I grew up wanting to experience the environment and help the natural world thrive. As I got older I got into creative writing and wildlife sciences and developed a joy for teaching others as much as I could. I enjoy reading, horseback riding, aerial dance, and sports photography. In the future, I would like to partake in a career that will make use of my artistic talents, appreciation for nature, and love of learning new things. I’m generally interested in predatory animals due to watching loads of documentaries about them when I was younger, but I wouldn’t mind working with other animals as well. I hope to broaden my knowledge and experiences with humans, animals, and their environments to properly teach others the importance of conservation.

Carley Bishop
Centre College of Kentucky, Environmental Studies & Studio Art

I am an adopted Chinese-American from Frankfort, Kentucky. I have lived my entire life surrounded by the arts, nature, and advocacy. I hope to pursue an interdisciplinary approach to the environmental field with visual art. I am currently interested in educational and corrective measures within environmental justice, but I love researching and being in the field. In my free time, I love reading, glass blowing, painting, skateboarding, and exploring or learning new things. I have always held a deep love and connection to water and the ocean, and I want to do what I can to protect it.

Kamryn You Mak
Middlebury College, Environmental Justice

I’ve had the privilege of growing up in San Francisco, CA with heavy emphasis on place-based learning and access to natural spaces and outdoor recreation. From this love of being outside, I’ve learned more about and gotten experience in conservation and stewardship. I’m majoring in Environmental Justice and am really interested in connecting more people with the environment and their surroundings, especially those who have been purposefully excluded, through education, food, and recreation. Outside of conservation and justice work, I also enjoy playing games and sports, outdoor rec, and reading and writing.

Maxine Haspel
University of South Florida Tampa, Geography

I am currently studying Geography at the University of South Florida, with plans to develop a professional path that centers GIS technologies and urban greenspace in conservation. I consider Atlanta, Georgia to be my home. It was there I began to understand the importance of urban greenspaces in uplifting marginalized communities, though it was in an Urban Planning course at USF that I first drew the connection between cultural and environmental conservation that I plan to center in my future work. As I work toward my professional goals, I will draw on my experiences working on public lands, traveling, and the knowledge I gain from my academic courses in order to contribute to a sustainable and equitable future.

Lexis Meza
University of Arizona, Biology & Latin American Studies

I’m currently living, working, and studying in the Sonoran Desert as an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona. I incorporate my own experiential knowledge as a first gen Mexican American into my passions surrounding conservation and community development with the intention of making the outdoors a more inclusive and welcoming space for underrepresented communities. Beyond the classroom and the outdoors, I volunteer with various student organizations, student clubs, and online communities to contribute to their efforts in conservation, education, and community engagement. In my sparse free time, I can be found tending to my houseplants, watching TV, or thinking about my next hike.

Amoreina Espinosa
Fort Lewis College, Biology

My name is Amoreina Espinosa I am Indigenous Mexica-Nahuatl and Anishinaabe from Red Lake. I was born and raised in Minnesota. My major is Biology with a minor in Physics. The land we live on is essential for life, I am interested in cultivating the environment we live in and making it better for future generations. I am co-founder of the International Indigenous Youth Council-Twin Cities Chapter, I am an active chapter representative. I enjoy dancing, I am apart of Traditional Mexica-Aztec group, Kalpulli Yaocenoxtl in Minnesota. I also enjoy the outdoors and swimming where I can find a spot.

Anisa Lopez-Ruiz
Pomona College, Biology

I am passionate about conservation and centering decolonial perspectives in science. I seek to understand the complicated networks of interactions between organisms and the ways in which the wellbeing of humans is inextricably linked to the health of other organisms. I grew up in the Houston area, but my family is from a Zapotec pueblo in Oaxaca, Mexico. I am on a lifelong journey to learn my native language and practice my culture. With these commitments to a decolonial praxis, I aim to help create a future that is equitable for all peoples.

Helena Thompson
University of Washington, Environmental Science and Resource Management

I am a sophomore and Environmental Science and Resource Management major at UW! I am interested in studying rivers, riparian ecosystems, and their connections to human communities. Eventually, I want to help improve communities’ access to clean water. I am particularly interested in how improving public engagement with environmental science and conservation can help communities exercise more agency over their water sources. Besides the environment, I love theatre, playing piano, and my pets.

Arjun Ramachandran
Iowa State University, Environmental Science

I am interested in urban communities and water ecosystem conservation. India and the Midwest are home to me. I love photography, music production and film in addition to my passion in conservation and environmental science.

 

 

Gabriel McMillen
University of Washington, Oceanography

Hi! I am passionate about renewable energy, and learning how climate change is shaping our future. As an oceanography major, I am also very interested in the way the ocean works and the way climate change is impacting marine ecology. I am a local Seattleite having grown up and gone to school here my whole life. A few hobbies of mine are hiking in the North Cascades, distance running, and dancing.

 

K’Lona Lofton
United Tribes Technical College, Environmental Science & Research

My major is in Environmental Science and Research at United Tribes Technical College. I am a Lakota member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Growing up with an indigenous background, I have always known there is a deep connection to the land and all living things. I pursue this inner knowing through my career interests in soils, plants, water, and wildlife. My passion surrounds the integration of Indigenous Knowledge into Western Science. I aim to recognize Indigenous Knowledge as a vital approach to land restoration, sustainability, and conservation practices.

Mikayla J. Agbamuche
University of Florida, Natural Resource Conservation

I am an avid nature lover who is passionate about plants and the relationships people have with them. Specifically, I am interested in cultural preservation through plant conservation and encouraging members of underserved communities to reconnect with nature through urban gardening and public education. My future goals include promoting the inclusion of minorities in outdoor recreational settings and decolonizing the history behind national and state parks.

Amber Smith
University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Environmental Science & Biology

Hi I’m Amber! I’m really interested in wildlife conservation and marine conservation mostly! I am excited to learn more and gain more experience so that I can progress in my career path. I’m from New Jersey but I live in Charlotte, NC for college currently. I came down last year when I started college in 2020. And for hobbies, I love to paint especially with acrylics and spend time in nature!

 

Isabella Villanueva
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Fisheries and Wildlife & Environmental Science

Hello! My name is Isabella Villanueva! I am from Lincoln, Nebraska and go to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am double majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife and Environmental Science. I am passionate about conservation biology, improving my community, protecting biodiversity, and learning. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, rock climbing, being outside, and meeting new people. In the future, I hope to travel the world and to gain experience with different environments and cultures.

Royale Pinassi
University of California, Berkeley, Conservation and Resource Studies

I am a community member of the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation. I am currently focusing on various subtopics and cultural relationships that intertwine with Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Fire and Land Stewardship, as well as Medicinal Ethnobotany. From here, I hope to find and discover nuances when it comes to fully researching ethnoecological practices that tie into each other such as adaptations to climate change, riparian restoration efforts, watershed management, wildland fire effects, cultural burning, and salmon biodiversity. Experiencing these issues as well as being very rooted within my culture has now led her to reclaim these narratives and bring awareness to the vast abundance of cultural knowledge and resources my People have held since immemorial. In doing that, I plan to further my education by working and researching within environmental management as I will be better equipped to stimulate a more unified tribal community as well as advocate for my community’s needs on an academic scale. It is an opportunity collectively for everyone by bridging the gap between traditional ecological knowledge and academic knowledge.

Travis Waters, Jr. 
Florida State University, Political Science & Environment and Society

Witnessing firsthand the effects of environmental disinvestment and the absence of critical infrastructure, I hope to bring greater attention to African American communities in the United States suffering from the injustices of unclean air, hazardous waste emissions, and unsafe water. I believe that the intersection of government and the environment is one that cannot be overlooked as a cleaner society and healthier Black community is one that can ensue from its advancement. My passion for environmental policy and service has led me to the Democratic National Committee as a Presidential Fellow, the Campus Election Engagement Project where I successfully expanded voter accessibility for thousands of Florida State University students, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Recently, I was named to the inaugural cohort of the John Lewis Scholars and Fellows Program, which aims to create positive societal change based on the revolutionary non-violent respective pioneered during the American Civil Rights Movement.


2022 Internship Conservation Partners

 

Learning from Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Marine Toxins in Clams
Coastal Communities and Ecology Lab at Western Washington University
Mentors Dr. Marco Hatch and Grad Student (and DDCSP@UW Alum!) Jackelyn Garcia

Scholars Eva Weddell and Celeste Lucero will be studying how people’s risk for paralytic shellfish poisoning may be influenced by the selective removal of certain parts of a clam before consumption, a traditional practice by Coast Salish Peoples to mitigate exposure to marine toxins.

San Juan County Marine Mammal Sightings and Strandings 
The Whale Museum
Mentors Alyssa Scott and Alexis Haifley

Scholars Kyra Tan and Henry Hua will be investigating mortalities, migratory patterns, and population health of marine mammals in the Salish Sea.

Long Term Environmental Monitoring on Yellow Island Preserve
Black in Marine Sciences and The Nature Conservancy
Mentors Salma Abdel-Raheem and Chris Mantegna

Scholars Luna Peralta, So Hess, and Taylor Umetsu will identify and contextualize abiotic shifts in and around Yellow Island Preserve that have impacted the broader intertidal community and study what their observations mean with regard to the health of the Salish Sea ecosystem.

Adaptive Management and Ecosystem Wellbeing on the Olympic Peninsula
Olympic Natural Resource Center
Mentors Courtney Bobbin and Eric Burres

Scholars Elizabeth Randolph and Nate Kinyanjui will be working on several forest ecology and management project on the westside of the Olympic Peninsula in order to study and develop forest management prescriptions that meet ecosystem wellbeing and promote conservation values.

Quinault Nation Olympic Cougar Project
Quinault Indian Nation Department of Natural Resources
Mentors Kristen Philips and Deidre Hayward 

Scholars Asa Samuels, Kiya Rahn, and Idris Tang will be studying the cougar population on the Olympic Peninsula to help develop a cohesive, broad-scale understanding of cougar population size, demographics, and dispersal patterns in order to help inform tribal management plans and guidelines to benefit predator, prey, and human communities.

Building BIPOC Food Systems in Seattle
Black Farmers Collective
Mentors Hannah Wilson (DDCSP@UW Alum!) and Ray Williams

Scholar Dominic Ardazon will be working at Yes Farm and Small Axe Farm to support Food sovereignty and Black liberation efforts in the urban landscape of Seattle through land stewardship with our human and more than human communities.

Determining and Addressing Sources of Contamination in Urban Community Gardens
Dr. Melanie Malone’s Research Lab at the University of Washington Bothell
Mentor Dr. Melanie Malone

Scholars Kaytlen Cruz and Sierra Hurtado will be engaged in soil sampling, community research, and data analysis to explore the sources of, and ways in which, contaminants impact urban community gardens in Seattle.

Wolverines, Native Plants, Data Management, and Community Outreach Along the Greenwater River
Conservation Northwest
Mentors Laurel Baum and Jen Syrowitz

Scholars Tracy Mai and Minerva Rivera will be working on several projects relating to  restoration planning, actions, and outreach in the Greenwater River corridor. They will be working with the community through a community wildlife monitoring program and cleanup actions as well as developing skills in native plant and watershed restoration.

Urban Outreach and Coexistence
Beavers Northwest
Mentor Elyssa Kerr

Scholar Kyra Hanson will be studying urban beaver populations through implementation, monitoring, and maintenance of beaver management devices as well as leading public nature walks and community outreach campaigns to promote beaver coexistence as a tool for building ecosystem resilience and reducing human-wildlife conflict.


 

For more information on previous internship projects and program information please the the DDCSP@UW website.


2022 Innovation Grants Announced

UW EarthLab selects six community-led teams to solve complex challenges at the intersection of climate change & social justice that will make a positive impact on people’s lives and livelihoods

Today EarthLab announced that six transdisciplinary teams have been selected for the 2022-2023 Innovation Grants program. This signature initiative provides essential funding to newly formed applied research teams that are led by and with community partners. Now in its third iteration, this year’s Innovation Grants request for proposals looked for research at the intersection of climate change and social justice. Each team will receive up to $75,000 to generate equitable and actionable science and knowledge that make a positive impact on people and communities. The award period lasts 16 months and final products are due by September 30, 2023. 

Interest in the Innovation Grants program has continued to grow since its inaugural funding round in 2019. This year, for the first time ever, EarthLab was able to expand its Innovation Grants funding from $300,000 to $450,000. In this year’s application cycle, 33 teams submitted letters of intent to apply to the RFP, of which 15 were invited to submit a full proposal. Proposals were evaluated by an 11-member review committee that included faculty and staff from several disciplines and a community member from outside UW. 

“I have loved being involved with EarthLab’s Innovation Grants for the past three years,” shared Kristi Straus, Chair of the Innovation Grants Program Review Committee and Associate Teaching Professor through UW’s Program on the Environment. “EarthLab continues to optimize their approach to applied environmental research funding with this year’s focus on projects that center social justice and climate change. It was exciting to read the grant proposals and learn about so many transdisciplinary research teams and creative research approaches. Many of these projects are collaboratively designed by and with communities most impacted by climate change, which I think speaks to our collective desire to address human-environment mitigation and adaptation to climate change through both an intersectional and interdisciplinary lens.”

Project teams included faculty from a range of disciplines at the University of Washington, including public health, environmental and occupational health sciences, anthropology, civil & environmental engineering, law, marine sciences, landscape architecture, humanities, and more. Community partners include Tribal leaders, public agencies, community organizers and other universities.

In addition to the funds awarded, Innovation Grant recipients receive administrative and communications support throughout the award period. Teams connect as a cohort at workshop-style meetings which are designed to share resources on interdisciplinary and community-engaged research, create the opportunity for co-learning and networking, and to provide a structured space to work collaboratively on their projects.

“This year’s innovation grants catalyze community-led teams working with UW researchers and students on game-changing environmental research,” said Ben Packard, EarthLab Executive Director. “We’re thrilled to support the work being done by these six fascinating cross-disciplinary teams who are all generating critical, scalable solutions in the community.”

EarthLab is an initiative of the UW College of the Environment to solve the biggest problem of our lifetime – our changing environment. EarthLab works across the university to accelerate and focus UW’s broad expertise across multiple fields, amplify engagement between private, public, non-profit and community leaders, and spur the development of co-created, meaningful, science-based solutions to improve people’s lives and livelihoods. The Innovation Grants program is an annual initiative supported by newly raised funds. 

Learn more about the Innovation Grants program here and check back often for news regarding the 2019-20202020-2021 funded projects.

Funded Projects


New collaboration between UW and Seattle clean energy leaders seeks to increase diversity in the renewable energy industry through paid summer internship program

EarthLab and the Clean Energy Institute (CEI), two University of Washington (UW) environmental institutes, have announced a new partnership with LevelTen Energy, EnergyGPS, Google, and Steelhead Americas to bring more talented and diverse young professionals into the renewable energy industry by launching the Energy Scholars Mentorship Program. Undergraduate students are encouraged to apply by 5 p.m. PT on April 15, 2022.

Over eight weeks between June and August 2022, undergraduate students from across the country will come together for a work experience and cohort curriculum specifically designed to equip them with the resources needed to enter and flourish in the clean energy industry. For participating students, this comprehensive program includes mentorship and networking opportunities with leaders in the renewable energy sphere, as well as a paid monthly stipend, travel and free accommodation at UW.

“Investing in clean energy is a crucial step in addressing climate change– for the wellbeing of our economy and our communities,” shared Ben Packard, EarthLab Executive Director. “However, we know that not everyone has equal access to the mentorship, training and professional networks that so often open the doors for successful careers in this booming field. We’re thrilled to be part of an innovative collective that’s actively trying to reduce barriers to opportunity in order to nurture skilled and passionate young professionals into sustainable industries that will be necessary in order for everyone to thrive in the long-term.”

The goal of the Energy Scholars Mentorship Program is to provide students with a thorough understanding of wholesale energy markets and renewable energy technology through hands-on projects, as well as essential foundations in analytical techniques and business writing. By developing real-world experience, participating scholars will be able to build the skills and establish the professional network needed to succeed in the renewable energy sector upon graduation.

“CEI looks forwarding to sharing groundbreaking clean energy research and technology with these future leaders and helping them prepare for their careers in this critical field,” said Clean Energy Institute Director Dan Schwartz. “We’re eager to bring our experience running hands-on summer programs for undergraduate students looking to make an impact in clean energy science and engineering, as well as our work with industry at the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds, to this unique internship program.”

Contact earthlab@uw.edu with any questions.


About EarthLab

EarthLab envisions a world where nature and people thrive. Part research engine and part community catalyst, EarthLab engages public, private, nonprofit and academic sectors in a shared and ongoing conversation that converts knowledge to action. Together, we identify the places where life on our planet is at greatest risk and co-create solutions that make a real impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. earthlab.uw.edu.

About Clean Energy Institute

The Clean Energy Institute (CEI) at the University of Washington was founded in 2013 with funds from the state of Washington. Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of a scalable clean energy future that will improve the health and economy of our state, nation, and world. To accomplish this, CEI supports the advancement of next-generation solar energy and battery materials and devices, as well as their integration with systems and the grid. The Institute creates the ideas and educates the people needed to generate these innovations, while facilitating the pathways to bring them to market. cei.washington.edu.


GardenPro Wins EarthLab Community Impact Prize at Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge


EarthLab unveils new paid summer internships for UW undergrads

EarthLab has announced a new paid summer internship program for University of Washington undergraduate students who are passionate about addressing challenging environmental issues. Currently enrolled students (as of Spring 2022) from all UW schools, colleges and campuses are eligible to apply by 5 p.m. PT on April 15, 2022.

This year’s program will run for 10 weeks between June-August, with student presentations expected in the fall. Internships will be hosted within EarthLab member organizations. Although each project is unique, interns will engage with and learn from each other while attending required training sessions and other group activities. Each student will be provided with a faculty or research scientist mentor and will receive a weekly stipend based on the hours required for the project.

“We know that if we are going to effectively and equitably address environmental issues, we must rethink how we train the next generation of leaders, researchers and scholars,” said Ben Packard, EarthLab’s executive director. “We’re excited to offer this new opportunity for undergraduate students to build capacity for interdisciplinary, community-engaged environmental work.” 

EarthLab is offering a live information session over Zoom on March 29 at 4:30 p.m. PT. Anyone interested in learning more about the program is encouraged to attend and ask questions. The session will be recorded and shared on the EarthLab website.

Register for the information session now.

While the available projects span a variety of subjects, experiences and time commitments, students may apply to more than one project. They should note that many opportunities will require some remote work and some in-person work, following all safety protocols. The number of hours per week include required mentor meetings, group discussions and professional development trainings hosted by EarthLab. 

2022 placements include:

Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE)

  • Climate Health Risk Tool Intern (15 hrs/week)
  • Grant Application Support Intern (15 hrs/week)

Climate Impacts Group (CIG)

  • Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative (NCRC) Intern (30 hrs/week)

Nature and Health 

  • Green Schoolyards Project Intern (30 hrs/week)
  • Forest Bathing Research Assistant (40 hrs/week)
  • Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) Intern (20 hrs/week)

Washington Ocean Acidification Center (WOAC)

  • Ocean Literacy Intern (15 hrs/week)
  • Ocean Acidification Intern (25 hrs/week)
  • Zooplankton Diversity Intern (40 hrs/week)

Learn more about EarthLab Summer Internships, including how to apply

Contact earthlab@uw.edu with any questions.


Our Top 10 Stories of 2021

In 2021, EarthLab welcomed new partners, strengthened our commitment to equity and justice work, and continued our work to inspire and incentivize innovative, community-centered environmental and climate justice research. Explore our top stories below.

10. EarthLab statement condemning violence towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community

EarthLab staff stands with the University of Washington and Nature and Health against the racially-motivated violence and hate crimes towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

9. For tribes, climate change fight is about saving culture

Meade Krosby, a senior scientist with the UW Climate Impacts Group, is working with the Tulalips to determine the impacts on tribally important plants. The Tulalips have been leaders in organizing meetings, conferences and workshops around climate change.

8. Innovative new prizes add to competition experience

EarthLab is proud to sponsor a prize at the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, presented by Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. The Community Impact Prize recognizes innovation in developing a product, solution, or demonstrated business model that mitigates or makes communities more resilient in the face of climate change while prioritizing equity and justice.

7. How to avoid cabin fever in WA’s pandemic winter

With each passing month, more and more Washingtonians are suffering under the physical, emotional and financial damages of enduring a lengthy pandemic. And as we find ourselves in the coldest, darkest days of the year during the worst-case surge yet, it can feel like a herculean task just to take a daily walk around the block. (Crosscut)

6. Project to create anti-racism education wins Mellon grant

Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, faculty advisor for EarthLab member organization Future Rivers and assistant professor in the School of Marine & Environmental Affairs, is part of a team of academics that was recently awarded $5 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund an interdisciplinary, multi-year project to advance anti-racist practices and pedagogy in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

5. EarthLab and Population Health co-fund pilot grant to improve communication around smoke exposure in rural and tribal communities

EarthLab and the Population Health Initiative have announced a new pilot research grant award to study how Tribal and non-Tribal communities in the Okanogan River Airshed Emphasis Area (ORAEA) receive and communicate information about smoke exposure.

A sunset

4. Burning Embers: Synthesis of the Health Risks of Climate Change

Additional climate change is projected to increase for heat-related morbidity and mortality, ozone-related mortality, dengue and Lyme disease from undetectable to severe risks as the planet continues to warm, according to new research published by the Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE) at the University of Washington.

3. CHanGE comes to EarthLab

New collaboration between UW Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE) and EarthLab will accelerate climate research, action and resilience.

2. EarthLab equity and justice reads: Minor Feelings: An Asian American reckoning

EarthLab has selected Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong for our equity and justice book club this quarter. This book was selected from several works written by and about the Asian-American experience.

1. Announcing the 2021 EarthLab Innovation Grants RFP

The Innovation Grants Program will invest in teams of community partners and academic researchers and students at the University of Washington (UW) who are interested in developing solutions at the intersection of climate change and social justice.


Nature and Health researchers publish new paper on the beneficial impacts of nature exposure for Amazon employees; results suggest stress reduction benefits


Nature and Health Researcher Kathleen Wolf featured in recent White House fact sheet