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17 posts focusing on Ecosystems

EarthLab and Population Health co-award grant to study new invasive species in Madagascar

We’re excited to announce a new research project that will be co-funded by UW EarthLab and UW Population Health. The aim of the proposed pilot project, “Environmental and human health impacts of a new invasive species in Madagascar,” is to provide the Malagasy government with the information it needs to appropriately manage the invasive marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) in ways that minimize impacts on local biodiversity while maximizing benefits to public health. 

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New student program focuses on sustaining freshwater services

From large lakes where fish populations thrive to running rivers that generate electricity, freshwater ecosystems supply our world with critical food, water, and power. With a changing climate and projected environmental changes, little is known about the potential impacts these changes may bring to communities. Enhancing the sustainability of these essential freshwater resources by developing a dynamic workforce is necessary in the face of change. 

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Spend time outdoors this summer to reap health benefits

Fresh air, lush foliage, open space, and sunshine. Time spent outdoors isn’t just good for the soul—research at UW EarthLab is showing it’s also good for the mind and body.
Even in the Pacific Northwest, where the weather is often, let’s say, less than optimal, getting out into nature brings with it a host of health benefits.
And there are plenty of options in the Seattle area, even in the heart of the city. 

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Time outdoors is a natural elixir. Researchers still don’t know why.

At least two decades of research confirms what might seem obvious for many residents of the Pacific Northwest: time in nature is good for you. It can lower blood pressure, alleviate depression and anxiety, and even reduce nearsightedness in children.
But how often should you interact with the natural world? Where? And for how long? Is gazing at the stars from your backyard enough to reap rewards? 

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Pollinators need people

A global study has concluded that people are essential to conserving the pollinators that maintain and protect biodiversity, agriculture and habitat.
“There’s increasing awareness of the importance of pollinators to our quality of life,” lead researcher Rosemary Hill said. “That discussion is often reduced to how to protect bees, and how to expand the amount of land managed as conservation reserves. 

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3 steps to boost your child’s outdoor time — and health

According to the best available evidence, connecting with nature offers considerable promise in addressing a range of health challenges. Pooja S. Tandon, a pediatrician and researcher at Seattle Children’s Hospital, assistant professor at the University of Washington, and active member of UW EarthLab’s Nature for Health initiative, and Kyle Yasuda, the 2018 president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics and co-founder of BestStart Washington, penned an opinion piece in the Seattle Times about how outdoor play is correlated with physical activity, improved motor skills, better vision and vitamin D levels — especially in children. 

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Center supports an action-oriented social science research agenda for the Salish Sea

The Center, with the Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University, was awarded a four-year Title VI grant in September in part to build regional expertise on the Salish Sea. A key initiative includes support for Social Science for the Salish Sea, a project co-led by staff at UW EarthLab and the Puget Sound Partnership, that brings together over 40 social scientists and environmental practitioners from diverse disciplines, organizations, and Tribes and First Nations in the region to outline a research agenda aimed at improving our understanding of the human dimensions of the Salish Sea. 

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A dose of nature: New UW initiative to spearhead research on health benefits of time outside

Time spent in nature can reduce anxiety and help you sleep better at night, experts have found. It also offers promising benefits for a range of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, depression and obesity.
But there are still many questions about how time in nature can help with these health conditions, and others. A new University of Washington initiative announced this week seeks to advance research on these questions, connecting academic researchers with pediatricians, childcare providers, mental health practitioners and others who work with various populations on critical health issues. 

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Can hiking help heal veterans with PTSD? Researchers seek to find out

One fall day on Washington’s Mount Rainier, Josh Brandon and a group of fellow active duty platoon leaders discovered something about the outdoors that could improve the lives of veterans.
It was September 2009 and the group had decided to make a late-season summit attempt of Washington’s highest peak as part of a team-building exercise. The platoon leaders, who were all members of the same infantry company, began their climb in the early morning hours. 

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