Future Rivers Graduate Trainee Program Information Session

Future Rivers is a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship graduate program that prepares students to be fluent in 21st century data science approaches and to understand interactions among and within food, water, and energy sectors in order to advance environmental sustainability.

Program Director Dr. Gordon Holtgrieve and Program Manager Athena Bertolino will present details on the Future Rivers program and answer questions. The team invites any interested students, faculty, or advisors to join them virtually. The online session will be recorded and distributed to registrants who are unable to attend live.

When: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 | 12:00 PM Pacific Time

Register Here

The application for 2021/22 will open in November, with acceptance and funding decisions made in early 2021. Applications are open to both Masters and PhD – prospective or current – University of Washington students in any graduate degree program on campus.


Slipping Through the Cracks: Racism and the struggle for equity in the field of conservation

Thank you for joining us and listening to our panelists discuss their experiences as members of the BIPOC community and co-conspirators working in and around the field of conservation.

This event explored how racism and other issues of social injustice are connected to climate injustice and work against the goals of conservation.



Chris Schell

Assistant Professor at University of Washington, Tacoma

Chris Schell is an urban ecologist whose research integrates evolutionary theory with ecological application to disentangle the processes accentuating human-carnivore conflict. Specifically, Chris’ interests lie in understanding the endocrine mechanisms that underpin carnivore behavior, as well as explicitly examining the anthropogenic drivers (i.e. human densities, roadways, pollution, interactions) that select for bold, habituated, and less fearful individuals in metropolitan areas.


Ursula Valdez

Lecturer at University of Washington, Bothell

Ursula is a Lecturer at the University of Washington, Bothell. Her teaching is focused on the theory and application of topics in ecology (tropical and temperate systems), conservation, ornithology, natural history, human connections with the environment and field biology. In her courses, she provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of the processes and mechanisms that explain the interactions of species with their environments and other species, including the critical role that humans have on them.


Aaron Soto-Karlin

Anthropologist & Filmmaker

Aaron is an anthropologist, filmmaker and innovation consultant who has documented the effects of deforestation on indigenous populations in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama and Brazil. He spent 10 years following the design and roll-out of California’s forest carbon cooperation program with Mexico and Brazil, where he alternated between roles as a researcher, union representative and storyteller. He’s proud to have supported the formation of an international movement to include local and indigenous communities in the management of protected areas and ownership of carbon credit programs. A Fulbright fellowship to examine pharmaceutical bioprospecting in Chiapas sparked his participation in the environmental justice movement.


LaTashia Treise

Senior Program Manager at Seattle Works

LaTashia has over 10 years of experience working with non-profits and individuals of various ages, socio-economic status, and cultural backgrounds. LaTashia grew up in a rural town in Iowa where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Buena Vista University in Psychology, Human Services, and a minor in sociology. After graduating, she worked at a local youth shelter working with families and teens teaching behavioral health skills. LaTashia also taught Zumba, performed in theater shows, and volunteered in the community including clean up, community events, and mentoring at-risk youth.


Cassie Whitebread

Program Manager at Seattle Works

Cassie is an east coast native with experience working in education and the non-profit sector. She’s channeled her inner Bill Nye (minus the bowtie) as a middle school science teacher in Philadelphia, PA, run a volunteer training program on community composting and taught outdoor environmental education to youth ages 6-15. Cassie holds a B.A. in Human Services with minors in Wildlife Conservation and Urban Education from the University of Delaware and a M.S. in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania.


Jasmmine Ramgotra

Founder of Culture Shift & Student at University of Washington

Jasmmine is a performer, choreographer, visual artist, student and social change agent who believes in making change through art. She is the founder of Culture Shift, a group that seeks to make art accessible to everyone and to expand our knowledge through new forms of expression. She is studying Environmental Studies at the University of Washington in order to focus on people, the economy and social justice in addition to environmental science.

Hosted by:


Webinar: Opportunities for UW research & collaboration in corporate climate commitments


Over the past year, the corporate sector has become a bright spot in the fight against climate change, setting increasingly ambitious goals. The movement couldn’t come too soon as a January 2020 report from McKinsey reveals the physical and socioeconomic effects of climate change on individuals and communities.

Companies from a variety of industries across the world, including local leaders such as MicrosoftCostco and Starbucks, have stepped forward with an unprecedented level of commitment to voluntarily mitigate their own contributions to climate change and to make investments helping communities adapt to climate impacts.

EarthLab Distinguished Fellow Josh Henretig will present his findings on the scope and impact of corporate climate commitments, what companies are committing to actually do, and what these commitments may mean for applied research and other collaboration at the University of Washington.


Where: Online – RSVP to receive the Zoom link

When: Tuesday, June 9, 2020 | 2:00 – 3:30 pm PST


The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY, 206.685.7264 (FAX), or e-mail at dso@u.washington.edu


Climate Jam: Exploring solutions for a rapidly changing world

EarthLab is a proud co-supporter of Climate Jam, a virtual event that brings game developers and creators together from around the world to take action and raise solutions.

Currently, it is more important than ever to think about people, nature, and resilience in the face of global crises. This event will give gamers and creators a platform to explore how new and different kinds of relationships between people and nature might build the resilience needed for a rapidly changing world.

When: April 18 – 22, 2020

Sign-ups are now open!

Join Climate Jam

This event is presented by IndieCade in collaboration with Games for Our Future.

Webinar: Health and Nature During Covid-19

Over the past few years, Nature and Health’s coalition of scientists and practitioners has been exploring the nexus of nature and health. While based in the Seattle area, this lively group includes people and organizations active across the nation, indeed the planet. The Nature and Health group seeks to understand the connections between nature and human health and well-being.

What does this mean for health and nature during Covid-19? Find out during Nature and Health’s webinar as they explore this question.

When: March 24, 2020 | 12:00 PM PST

Where: Online – please RSVP and you will be provided a link to the presentation.

In this webinar, you will join health and nature experts, and the session will include time for Q&A. The discussion will focus on the connections between nature and human health during Covid-19.

POSTPONED: Voices Unbound art exhibition opening soon

We are closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Out of an abundance of concern for the health of our community, we have decided to postpone our Voices Unbound event that was scheduled for March 14 and 15. We thank you for your interest and support and hope to reschedule in the future.

As one of EarthLab’s 2019-2020 Innovation Grant grantees, the Voices Unbound project will be opening an eco-gallery to showcase their work!

The Voices Unbound project asked people throughout Pierce County to document environmental challenges that are impacting them and their community by using enviro-postcards. These enviro-postcards were distributed to communities and asked:

What environmental challenges are most important to you? 

How are you coping with or surviving these challenges?

From this, the gallery will showcase 1,000 south sound perspectives on our most important environmental challenges.


Voices Unbound: An Art Exhibition

When: POSTPONED until further notice

-Opening night: March 14 at 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. TBD

-Open house: March 15 at 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. TBD

Where: Fern and Foster Family Wellness, 1402 S 11th St. Tacoma, WA 98405

For more information, please visit the Voices Unbound webpage or contact voicesunbounduwt@gmail.com

EarthLab Welcomes: The Nature Conservancy’s Hugh Possingham

Dr. Hugh Possingham

EarthLab welcomes Dr. Hugh Possingham, The Nature Conservancy’s chief scientist, to the University of Washington on Tuesday, March 3. He’s in town to enhance the partnership between The Nature Conservancy and UW. In a time where environmental problems are growing in number and complexity, EarthLab strives to enable and promote collaborations that deepen understanding of these issues.

In addition to giving a seminar at 12:30 (details below), Dr. Possingham will be available to meet with students after his talk from 1:30-2:15 in Alder Hall auditorium, and then is available for a faculty and staff roundtable from 2:30-3:30 in Alder Hall rm 105.

TNC Seminar: Innovation Science for Conservation and a Sustainable Future


Learn about The Nature Conservancy’s scientific research and how science informs policy and practice around the world. The Nature Conservancy is one of the largest conservation organizations in the world, working in 79 countries and territories to conserve the lands and water on which all life depends.


Dr. Hugh Possingham is The Nature Conservancy’s Chief Scientist. In that role, he leads the work of more than 500 scientists engaged in conservation around the world. A Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Science, Dr. Possingham’s groundbreaking research comprises more than 600 peer-reviewed papers including over 30 in Science, Nature, and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

His team’s Marxan software initially assisted Australia’s rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is now used in more than 150 countries to support the design of marine and terrestrial reserves. He led a group of more than 400 ecologists and wildlife scientists in petitioning the Australian government to stop the destruction of native woodlands, especially in Queensland. Known as the Brigalow declaration, their efforts more than halved deforestation in Australia, reducing that nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent for several years.

As a member of many advisory committees and boards, Dr. Possingham has been a leading voice in providing independent advice to the Australian government and the public about environmental issues. He has also birded in some of the world’s most amazing places. So, you bird enthusiasts out there should seek him out during a break to exchange notes.


Where: Alder Hall | 1315 NE Campus Pkwy, Seattle, WA 98105

When: Tuesday, March 3, 2020

–Lecture: 12:30 – 1:20 p.m., Alder Auditorium

This event is open to all UW faculty, staff, and students.

–UW student meet & greet: 1:30 – 2:15 p.m., Alder Auditorium

Students: Stay after the lecture for a meet & greet with Dr. Possingham!

–UW faculty, staff & leaders roundtable: 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., Alder rm 105

Faculty and staff are welcome to join Dr. Possingham for an informal roundtable in Alder Hall rm 105.

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY, 206.685.7264 (FAX), or e-mail at dso@u.washington.edu

Natures, Peoples, and Justice Talk

Natures, Peoples, and Justice: Collaborative land management and cultural burns in the Australian Capital Territory

When: February 6, 2020 | 4:00-5:30 p.m.

Where: Communications (CMU) 120

Dr. Jessica Weir, PhD, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Syndey University

With the cultural and political resurgence of Indigenous peoples globally, and global alarm about environmental issues, there has been a burgeoning of contexts for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and institutions to form environmental collaborations. However, these are fundamentally challenged by whether they are meaningful or not for Indigenous people. Many Indigenous scholars have critiqued environmental management collaborations for: compounding unjust power arrangements that deny and displace Indigenous peoples’ territorial and governance authority; and, perpetuating discriminatory epistemological assumptions that dismiss, ridicule and fetishize Indigenous peoples’ knowledge. Dr. Weir will present on how these two matters are being grappled with through a government land management and natural hazard initiative to conduct Indigenous peoples’ ‘cultural burns’. This is a very different context to cool burns conducted by Indigenous ranger groups on their land holdings in ‘remote’ areas. Instead, these cultural burns are conducted by Indigenous people working as Parks and Conservation staff on government owned land in none less than the national capital of Australia.

This program is changing why land is burned, by whom, how, where and when; but, it is not without its shortcomings. As the collaborative practice finds ways to address fraught and misunderstood matters, new matters become surfaced and outstanding matters become clearer. Significantly, very few of the Indigenous staff are Ngunnawal – the traditional custodians of the Australian Capital Territory – and this has highlighted the commonalities and divergences of differently positioned Indigenous peoples. Dr. Weir’s results show that both the successes and problematics of the cultural burning program stress the importance of supporting Indigenous peoples’ governance. This is a critical movement away from the ‘traditional ecological knowledge’ focus of many environmental collaborations, and will necessarily involve a greater sharing of power and resources. The findings are of broad relevance for diverse people wishing to better navigate intercultural matters of knowledge and authority in collaborative contexts. This candid illustration is supported by a research partnership with Parks and Conservation that has prioritised co-design and co-authorship with Indigenous peoples, and is part of a larger project across southern Australia.

Co-sponsored by: School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, the Program on the Environment, EarthLab, and the Simpson Center for the Humanities

Nature & Health Lunchtime Talks

Come join exciting discussions of current research focused on the benefits of the connections between nature and health!

Title: Designing for Health in the Informal Amphibious Community, Iquitos.

Peru has significantly increased mining and oil extraction in the last decade, degrading Amazon Rainforest ecosystems and indigenous livelihoods, interrupting local to global climate regulation, and resulting in rapid jungle-to-city migration with ultimately 90,000+ people living in informal “amphibious” communities floating in the floodplain borders of the jungle city. These indigenous migrants struggle adapting from nature rich lifestyles to the harsh urban slums, manifesting in a multitude of physical, mental, social and environmental health issues. Leann Andrews and Coco Alarcón will discuss InterACTION Labs: Iquitos, a transdisciplinary action research program that fuses scientific, indigenous and professional knowledge to design landscape architecture interventions with an informal amphibious community in Iquitos, Peru. They will share preliminary human and ecological health impacts of the designs, and discuss implications to One Health, Planetary Health, diseases of poverty, climate change resilience, generational amnesia, and global environmental justice.

Speakers: Leann Andrews, PhD & Coco Alarcón, PhD Student

Bio: Leann Andrews and Coco Alarcón are landscape architects and global health researchers, co-founders of the non-profit Traction and co-directors of the InterACTION Labs program in Iquitos Peru. Coco is also currently a PhD student in Implementation Science at UW and Leann is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture and research staff in the UW Green Futures Lab. They have been working on community design projects that strategically improve human and ecological health for vulnerable populations in both Peru and the United States since 2009.


When: January 29, 2020

Where: Anderson Hall Room 22

(Lunch will be provided — first come, first served.)

Future speakers will be:

Sara Park Perrins, PhC, February 12, 2020. Please bring your own lunch.
Carly Gray, PhD Student, March 11, 2020. Please bring your own lunch.

Announcing a new Lunch & Learn series

Come grab some lunch and partake in an interesting conversation with others from various disciplines! The EarthLab Lunch & Learn series provides a space to learn more about the skills needed to collaborate across diverse fields and communities.

Every month, two or more individuals from different disciplines are invited to share lessons from their efforts to collaborate with each other. Such partnerships might include artists collaborating with scientists, researchers collaborating with community members, academics collaborating with practitioners, and researchers collaborating across wide disciplinary divides (e.g. sciences and humanities). The discussion will include reflection on challenges and opportunities they encounter, the specific awareness and skills they have developed in order to collaborate, and recommendations for others attempting similar feats. 

Each event will last two hours. The first hour will consist of a 20-30 minute panel followed by discussion with a general audience and socializing. The second hour will be an opportunity for students to meet with the panelists, and learn from those who are a few steps ahead about how to become collaborative boundary-crossers.

Learn more here

Thank you to our co-sponsors: