Apply Now: UW Population Health + EarthLab Team Up for Next Round of Pilot Research Grants

For the third year in a row, EarthLab has partnered with the UW Population Health Initiative to offer a pilot research grant of up to $50,000.

The grant is intended to encourage the development of new interdisciplinary collaborations between investigators and community partners for projects that address critical challenges to population health and the disproportionate impact of climate change on health in vulnerable communities. Applications for are due on January 29, 2021.

Timeline for the winter 2021 application period was as follows.

Application Period Opens: January 4, 2021
Application Deadline: January 29, 2021 (11:59 p.m. Pacific)
Awardees Notified: mid March, 2021
Period of Performance: May 1, 2021 – April 30, 2022

Learn more about the RFP and key dates here

Learn more about our previously funded projects:

Ethnoforestry: Applying Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Ecosystem Sustainability on the Olympic Peninsula (2019)

Environmental and Human Health Impacts of a New Invasive Species in Madagascar (2020)

Introducing the new WOAC website!

View website

Although the Washington Ocean Acidification Center (WOAC) is based in EarthLab at the University of Washington, it serves the entire state. Since its creation in 2013, WOAC has been charged by the State Legislature to lead the state in priority areas of ocean acidification research.

Thank you to the College of the Environment web team for design and development of this new site. Check back often for news and updates regarding ocean acidification and its impact on our region.

Learn more about WOAC


Meet the Ocean Nexus Indigenous Ocean Ecologies Fellows

Ocean Nexus is proud to welcome five undergraduate student fellows and one graduate student fellow in Indigenous Ocean Ecologies, a new program created in partnership with the UW Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies (CAIIS) and Department of American Indian Studies. This year-long research fellowship is focused on the intersections of sovereignty, wellbeing, and environmental justice among Indigenous coastal communities, especially in the Pacific Northwest.

Undergraduate fellows are enrolled in a year-long two-credit micro seminar where they will meet with community mentors who are recognized leaders in Indigenous ocean science and governance. They will also design their own engaged research projects, culminating in a public symposium this spring. In addition to Ocean Nexus, the program has received funding from CAIIS’ Native Knowledge at UW fund and the Research Family peer mentor program. Each undergraduate fellow will receive a stipend of $2,000 over the course of the 2020-21 academic year.

The program was created and is facilitated by P. Joshua Griffin, assistant professor in American Indian Studies, the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (SMEA), and a Nexus principal investigator. Izzi Lavallee, a Nexus graduate fellow and SMEA MMA candidate, serves as a teaching assistant and project co-facilitator. 

“It’s truly an honor to work with this remarkable group of young scholars,” said Griffin. “Each project in some way addresses the complex entanglements between Indigenous self-determination, cultural resurgence, and ecological resilience. Our fellows’ commitment to community–including to one another–is an inspiration.”

The Nippon Foundation and UW EarthLab launched Ocean Nexus Center to create a future where oceans benefit people equitably in a culturally-relevant manner. Science shows that human activities are creating the environmental changes in oceans and coastlines, which are widening the inequality already felt among those who are benefiting from oceans and those who are not. Working in partnership with scholars and institutions around the world, Ocean Nexus Center aims to transform ocean governance so it is socially equitable and prioritizes the diversity of current and future relationships that exist between people and the ocean.

Meet the Fellows



Autumn Forespring, Undergraduate Fellow
Nákʷs, my name is Autumn Forespring and I am a Cowlitz Tribal Citizen. I am a senior working toward my B.A. in American Indian Studies, with a minor in Environmental Studies. After graduation I plan to work with my tribe to incorporate Indigenous knowledges and place-based healing into mental wellness programs for Indigenous women in the PNW. It will be an honor to collaborate with my Indigenous peers during this fellowship.



Sesilina Lane, Undergraduate Fellow
Hi! My name is Sesilina Lane and I am a sophomore at the University of Washington. I am currently majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies, and I hope to also declare for Environmental Studies! I am a Tongan-American and I am passionate about issues impacting both Indigenous and Pacific Islander communities.


Izzi Lavallee, Graduate Fellow
Izzi Lavallee is a first-year graduate student at the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs working towards a Masters in Marine Affairs (MMA) and certificate in American Indian & Indigenous Studies (AIIS). Previously, she received an interdisciplinary degree in ‘Coastal Marine Watershed Resilience’ from WWU’s Fairhaven College. Izzi has worked to cultivate change as a student organizer, research diver in Quintana Roo, Mexico, environmental educator at the Padilla Bay NERR, and underwater cinematographer for Children of the Setting Sun Production Films: “Salmon People” & the award-winning “Women of Journeys – Finding Our Medicine”. Beyond an innate passion for marine flora & fauna, Izzi is eager to dive deeper into Marine Affairs & AIIS as they strive towards unsettling & (re)imagining our relationship to water.


Stephanie Masterman, Undergraduate Fellow
Stephanie Masterman is a second-year transfer student at the University of Washington, working toward her Bachelors degree in American Indian Studies with a minor in Arctic Studies. Stephanie belongs to the Tlingit tribe of Southeast Alaska and was born and raised in Seattle, WA. Stephanie is passionate about Indigenous language and cultural revitalization, environmental justice, women’s rights and reproductive justice, and economic sustainability. Stephanie has served in leadership roles for her tribal community including as a Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Emerging Leader and Tlingit & Haida Seattle Community Council Youth Ambassador. She aspires to contribute to her community’s effort to strengthen their self-determination through engaging in policy and international relations.



Sierra Red Bow, Undergraduate Fellow
Háŋ mitákuyepi. Pheži Ĥóta Naĝí-wiŋ emáčiyapi kštó. I am an Oglála Lakȟóta student double majoring in American Indian Studies and Environmental Science & Resource Management. I look forward to advancing sustainability efforts that respect the sovereignty of Indigenous communities and feature intentional co-management for the seven generations.



Isa Kelawili Whalen, Undergraduate Fellow
Hafa Adai, my name is Isa Kelawili Whalen, I am a senior at the University of Washington, Seattle, majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Diversity and Oceania & Pacific Islander Studies. I look forward to exploring the changes in both social and environmental aspects by engaging with the experiences of our AAPI Community. After graduation, my goal is to take my knowledge and experience to expand the world’s view of Oceania through an indigenous academic lens, become involved with agencies that better the cultural programs for minorities in America, and tend to academic and environmental programs in our islands back home!

Application Now Open for Future Rivers 2021/22

There is an urgent need for scientists from a range of disciplines to work together in innovative ways to solve problems. The Future Rivers Initiative, an organization in EarthLab, aims to build a culturally-aware STEM workforce fluent in state-of-the-art quantitative approaches that will be necessary for sustaining food-energy-water (FEW) services in large river ecosystems.

Applications can be submitted anytime; however, to be considered for funding, please submit by January 22, 2021.

Apply Now

Pending Job Openings in Climate Variability, Change, Impacts, and Adaptation

The Climate Adaptation Science Center network is preparing for several positions to come available in the next year, focused on the impacts of climate variability and change on ecosystems, natural resources, cultural resources, infrastructure, tribal lands and waters, urban and rural settlements and economic development. The network is seeking contact information for scholars with experience and interest in these subjects, as well as in developing actionable science with stakeholders with demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Learn more about these positions and how to be contacted about official job postings.

Meet NW CASC’s 2020-21 Research Fellows!

The NW CASC is excited to welcome our 2020-2021 Research Fellows as they kick off their Fellowship activities this fall. These 13 Fellows represent each of our consortium universities across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Throughout the Fellowship year, each Fellow will conduct research in close collaboration with regional natural resource managers and decision-makers to produce relevant science on climate change impacts and adaptation actions, while receiving training in the principles of actionable science. Through their innovative research, which includes investigating how receding glaciers are affecting fish habitat, exploring how local knowledge of rangelands can inform flexible management, and identifying forest management actions that enhance habitat and biodiversity while buffering climate impacts, these Fellows will help advance the mission of the NW CASC in delivering science to help fish, wildlife, water, land and people adapt to a changing climate.

Meet the Fellows and Learn About Their Research

This was originally published on the NWCASC news webpage.

Phil Rigdon Joins EarthLab Advisory Council

Phil Rigdon is the superintendent of the Yakama Nation’s Department of Natural Resources

Phil Rigdon, superintendent of Yakama Nation’s Natural Resources Department, has joined the EarthLab Advisory Council. Chaired by former Interior Secretary and REI CEO Sally Jewell, the council guides and advises the EarthLab executive director on strategic objectives and connects EarthLab with organizations, people, resources and ideas outside of the university.

Rigdon is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation and grew up on the Yakama Reservation in south central Washington state. In his current role, he co-manages and protects the Yakama Nation’s ancestral, cultural, and treaty natural resources. He represents the Yakama Nation on many regional environmental committees and groups, including the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan Executive Committee, Yakima River Basin Watershed Enhancement Project Workgroup & Conservation Advisory Group, the Washington State’s Columbia River Policy Advisory Group, Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, and the Hanford Natural Resource Trustee Council. 

Phil’s decades of experience bringing tribal, state and federal agencies together for the betterment of natural resources brings an important perspective to the EarthLab Advisory Council. Many of EarthLab member organizations and Innovation Grant teams work with Tribal Nations on a variety of complex and urgent projects. Tribal communities have deep connections to the land and environment and are on the front lines of climate change, meaning they often feel the impacts the earliest and most severely.

“We’re very fortunate that Phil has accepted our invitation to join our stellar group of business, environment and social justice leaders who volunteer their time to support our mission,” said Ben Packard, executive director of EarthLab. “We are committed to learning from and respectfully engaging with Indigenous leaders in our quest to convert knowledge to action to solve our thorniest environmental problems. Phil’s appointment is just one of the ways we are delivering on that commitment.”

EarthLab Welcomes Program on Climate Change to EarthLab Affiliates

EarthLab announced today that the Program on Climate Change (PCC) has become an EarthLab Affiliate Organization. EarthLab Affiliates are University of Washington-based organizations that are similarly seeking to address critical and complex environmental issues. EarthLab and Affiliates support each others’ programs by sharing information, ideas and networks in order to catalyze new relationships and research projects.

The PCC was founded in 2001 to further research and education in climate science through a framework of intense cross-disciplinary collaboration. Steeped in the belief that together, we are greater than the sum of our parts, the PCC is home to an engaged community of graduate students, research scientists and faculty from across the UW, including in the College of the Environment, the College of Engineering, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Global Health, the Evans School of Public Policy, and beyond.

Becky Alexander is the director of the Program on Climate Change (PCC)

“EarthLab has become both a home and a resource for faculty and students who are working on environmental issues and want to build connections outside of the UW community,” said Becky Alexander, director of the PCC. “This stronger connection between PCC and EarthLab will help us broaden the opportunities we can provide to our students as we continue to nurture their education and their careers.”

Members of EarthLab and the Program on Climate Change will meet regularly to share ideas and opportunities. One key goal for PCC is to expand its reach to support graduate student interest in developing small, applied research projects with community partners. For EarthLab, the opportunity to share more climate knowledge to different communities is a benefit.

“We hope that by working closer together we will build broader connections for the PCC participants and community organizations seeking to engage on the increasingly important issues surrounding climate change,” said Ben Packard, EarthLab executive director. “PCC has a sterling reputation for their commitment to collaboration, community and student training, and we believe that there is an opportunity to share this knowledge and resource more broadly throughout our community.”

For more information about the Program on Climate Change, click here

New “Blue Paper” highlights “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to transform our relationship with the ocean

Download ‘The Human Relationship with Our Ocean Planet’

The relationships between human societies and oceans are diverse and complex. Stand on any coastline in the world and stare out at the waters; listen to the crashing waves, smell the salty air, and revel in a sense of place and health. Observe teams of people cooperating to bring in a day’s harvest or talk to a Tribal member about the history of the ocean sustaining their community. These are only some of the intangible “ocean values” that have contributed to human well-being for millennia. And it turns out, the future of human welfare depends on maintaining this rich diversity of relationships and values with the oceans.

That’s the finding of a new research paper published today entitled, “The Human Relationship with Our Ocean Planet.” Written by a multidisciplinary team of fifteen researchers from around the world, including four from the Ocean Nexus Center, the paper argues that this is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to pause and carefully consider our complex relationship with the ocean,” and to “rethink it and reshape it while ensuring that future generations can meet the challenges they will face.”

“There are many what we call ‘blue relationships,’ or relationships with the oceans, that are intense and varied,” said Eddie Allison, one of three co-lead authors for the paper, the research director for Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center, and the research chair for equity and justice in the Blue Economy for WorldFish. “For example, some ‘ocean citizens’ such as coastal and maritime Indigenous Peoples and small-scale fishers rely on oceans for their livelihoods and cultural identity. Other citizens, such as recreational sailors and surfers, depend on oceans for personal well-being. Either way, we must foster a sense of participatory democracy and include ocean citizens’ perspectives in ocean policy dialogues.”

The paper outlines five strategies to assist states and international organizations in supporting and improving humanity’s diverse relationships with the oceans, which in turn will help us meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These strategies include:

  1. humanize the new ocean narrative by focusing economic development on the objective of increasing human well-being; 
  2. foster diversity and inclusion in the sustainable ocean economy; 
  3. engage in partnerships with a broad constituency of “ocean supporters,” identified in the paper as environmental NGOs, philanthropists, academics, etc., and “ocean citizens,” such as small-scale fisherfolk, community elders and Indigenous Peoples, and women who work in the maritime economy and who steward marine environments; 
  4. build the capacity of meso-level institutions– those above the level of the individual citizen-consumer but below the Nation state, International NGO or multinational corporation, such as a city council, community organization or local trade union; and
  5. ensure that responses to COVID-19 consider the well-being of ocean-dependent people and economic sectors.

“Policies and practices that nurture the inherent worth of human life can enable human behavior in the marine arena that nurtures the inherent value of marine life,” said Yoshitaka Ota, director of the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center and another co-lead author of the paper. “We need to compose the vision of the future inclusively representing the values of oceans.”

Both Ota and Allison are in the leadership of the Ocean Nexus Center that promotes equity and justice in ocean governance.

This paper is one in a series commissioned by The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel). Established in September 2018, the Ocean Panel is a unique initiative by 14 world leaders who are building momentum for a sustainable ocean economy in which effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand in hand. In the spirit of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the Ocean Panel commissioned a series of 16 Blue Papers and various Special Reports— this paper is number 14 in the comprehensive assessment of ocean science and knowledge. 

Read the full paper here

Salish Sea Equity & Justice Symposium Final Report Available

The 2019 Salish Sea Equity and Justice Symposium was created to amplify voices of historically underrepresented and marginalized groups within the environmental field in the Salish Sea and Pacific Northwest Coast region. During this two-day event, leaders from all types of environmental professional backgrounds convened to discuss how to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout their operations and environmental work.

Follow the links below to view the symposium final report and summary.

SSEJ Symposium Full Report 

SSEJ Symposium 2-page summary