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

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:



Change from within: Diversifying the environmental movement

Join the opening night reception for Salish Sea Equity and Justice Symposium and the premiere of Change from Within, a dance film by CULTURE SHIFT. EarthLab’s first intern, Jasmmine Ramgotra, created a movement-based representation of interviews she conducted with leaders of Seattle’s environmental community over 5 months, including individuals in government, NGO’s, business, and academia. Using the interview audio as a sound score, and four dancers to communicate the message, the performance presents clear takeaways about how to create positive change on an individual level.


Tickets are sold online – your ticket includes access to the aquarium

When: Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 6:30 p.m.
Where: Seattle Aquarium

2019 Doug Walker Lecture with J. Drew Lanham

J. Drew Lanham
J. Drew Lanham, PhD

University of Washington’s EarthLab and the College of the Environment are excited to announce our 2019 Doug Walker Lecturer, J. Drew Lanham, PhD. In this lecture, Lanham will discuss what it means to embrace the full breadth of his African-American heritage and his deep kinship to nature and adoration of birds. The convergence of ornithologist, college professor, poet, author and conservation activist blend to bring our awareness of the natural world and our moral responsibility for it forward in new ways. Candid by nature — and because of it — Lanham will examine how conservation must be a rigorous science and evocative art, inviting diversity and race to play active roles in celebrating our natural world.

Learn more

Games for Our Future Game Jam Re-cap

The Second Annual Games for Our Future Game Jam was a success! Presented by EarthLab, Seattle IndiesSeattle Serious and Social Impact Games and Pacific Science Center, the theme was Creating a Green Tomorrow. The Game Jam brought game developers and researchers together for a weekend to learn from each other and show the power of games to translate complex environmental research into a medium that is both fun and educational. 60 developers worked in teams to create over 13 games (11 uploaded). The day kicked off by having nine UW research mentors speak, three on topics about game design and six on topics of climate change and environmental science. Afterwards, teams formed and began creating games.

–> Check out the games our participants developed!

–> Read more about the event on the Seattle Indies blog.

Below are the award winners in each category from the Game Jam:

Theme: Social Solutions to Climate Change

Climate Utopia: Virtual Reality experience in which you explore a world in the future that is truly sustainable

Incorporated Research from UW Mentors

Seed Our Future: Augmented reality application to suggest social solutions to climate change in real places

Game Design and Game Play

2 Degrees!: Board game simulating building a city without increasing the global temperature to 2 degrees C

Art, Music and Aesthetics

Rising Tides: Game to combat sea level rise by investing in seawalls, moving to a new location, or responding to other disasters

Overall Judges’ Pick

2 Degrees!: Board game simulating building a city without increasing the global temperature to 2 degrees C

People’s Choice

Icebears Care: Save polar bears on melting ice caps by stapling icebergs back together

None of this would be possible without the tireless dedication of our mentors:

Jennifer Atkinson UW Bothell, English
Gary Handwerk UW, Comparative Literature
Dargan Frierson UW, Atmospheric Science
Isabel Zamanillo UW, College of Environment
Jason Lambacher UW Bothell, Political Science
Sarah Chase UW, Forestry
Rick Thomas UW, Forestry
Mark Chen UW Bothell, Game Studies
Theresa Horstman Microsoft (formerly, UW, Education)


Anthropocene Film Salon

In Disko Bay, Greenland, 20-story high icebergs broken off from the Greenland Ice Sheet float into the North Atlantic, raising sea level.

Join EarthLab and the Simpson Center for the Humanities for a screening of Chasing Ice, the first in our Anthropocene Film Salon series. After viewing this provocative film, we will host a discussion and social gathering in hopes of connecting people from the humanities, arts, and the physical and social sciences who would not otherwise meet. Our goal is to foster mutual learning and catalyze new, cross-cutting collaborations addressing the unique social-ecological challenges of the Anthropocene.


What: Chasing Ice, a film by Jeff Orlowski

When: November 28th, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Where: Fisheries Sciences lobby and auditorium (room 102), University of Washington, Seattle

Jesse Oak Tayler, Associate Professor of English and Co-director, Anthropocene Research Cluster (Simpson Center for the Humanities)
Heidi Roop, Lead Scientist for Science Communication, Climate Impacts Group (EarthLab)

Please RSVP

Sponsored by:


Conversations with Sally Jewell: Federal Government and Environmental Policy

Environmental Conversations feature prominent environmental leaders and practitioners who share their perspective on real world environmental policymaking. In collaboration with the EarthLab, the Center for Environmental Politics will host three such conversations with Sally Jewell, drawing on her experience in the government, the for-profit and the non-profit sector. The first conversation will focus on federal government and environmental policy.

Sally Jewell served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Barack Obama. Before serving as Interior Secretary, Jewell was President and CEO of REI. She is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Washington College of the Environment.

This initiative will be known as Doug and Maggie Walker Environmental Conversations to honor the tremendous impact both Doug and Maggie have had on practical aspects of environmental policy locally, regionally and nationally.

Join us Tuesday, October 30, 4:00-6:00 in the Allen Library‘s Petersen Room

2018 Nature and Health Symposium and Doug Walker Lecture

Join us for a day exploring the connecting between nature and human health at our 2018 Nature and Health Symposium and Dough Walker Lecture.

Nature and Health Symposium

This annual one-day symposium held each fall brings together professionals and community leaders in the fields of health, conservation, design and planning, and education to learn from each other and explore common goals and collective strategies related to the human health benefits of being in nature, from gardens to wildlands.

Read more and register

Doug Walker Lecture with Richard Louv at Benaroya Hall

Join EarthLab and the College of the Environment for an evening with our 2018 Doug Walker Lecturer, Richard Louv. A journalist and the author of nine books, including “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,” “The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Nature in a Virtual World” and “Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life,” Louv will discuss the central role nature plays in human health and well-being at every age and stage of life.

Read more and register