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EarthLab seeks to partner with decision-makers and to create relevant science-based solutions to our most urgent environmental issues. Together, we identify and work on projects that can effectively create real and positive change.

These are just a short selection of ongoing and past projects — visit each of our Member Organization’s webpages for a more complete list and details.


10 projects focusing on Ecosystems

Camas Prairie Cultural Ecosystems

Common camas (Camassia quamash) was one of the most important cultural foods in Coast Salish territory and continues to play a key ecological role. Over the past 200 years these ecosystems and the cultural practices that maintained them have been severely disrupted. This project is developing an education and research program with the goal of revitalizing cultural practices by educating younger generations and engaging tribal and non-tribal members in conservation and restoration of these critical habitats. 

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Change from Within: Diversifying the Environmental Movement

Our first intern, Jasmmine Ramgotra, conducted research and choreography for Change from Within, a cross-disciplinary, interview-based dance performance and discussion exploring the lack of diversity in the environmental field and solutions for improvement. Performances have been held at UW and the Seattle Art Museum.
Change from Within explores the lack of diversity in the environmental field and solutions for improvement in the cross-disciplinary format of contemporary dance. 

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EarthGames is an award-winning program at UW that develops video games and apps to teach environmental awareness and motivate sustainable choices. It consists of a studio class at UW, associated teachers’ guides, curated reviews of environmental games, an annual professional networking events and  occasional game jams. Part of a growing community, EarthGames started in 2015 as a dynamic group of students and faculty at UW, who in their first year won 1st place in the National Climate Game Jam for “Climate Quest” and 3rd place for “AdaptNation.” The next year they went on to capture 1st place and 2nd place in the Climate Game Jam for “Water Ways” and “Drop.”
In 2017 the Center for Creative Conservation helped grow the community, and the concept, with EarthGames on Tap, a fun and inspiring evening bringing together game, environmental, and education professionals to meet and catalyze new games that are good for people and the planet.  

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Latino Connections with Nature

In partnership with Vive | NW EarthLab is studying how contact with nature improves cognitive, emotional and physical health, and exploring the specific barriers and facilitators that shape the ability of Latino communities to access nature and enjoy these benefits. Our results will provide educators, urban planners and environmental organizations with a detailed understanding of what they can do to support Latino communities’ positive connections with the natural world. 

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Mapping Recreational use with Social Media Data

Public land managers face a thorny problem: how to provide sufficient and equitable recreation opportunities based on tangible data about local visitors. In response, a team of scientists, practitioners and partners from the US Forest Service, US Park Service and Washington Trails Association has begun using social media as a source of data on park visitor quantity, distribution, behavior, and preference—information that has been notoriously difficult to collect with traditional methods. 

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Nature Contact and Human Health Working Group

The Nature and Health Working Group is a growing community of doctors, scientists, educators, landscape architects, recreation advocates and others interested in exploring how experiences in nature benefit human health and well-being. We are building a community of practice across disciplines and sectors, scoping and implementing a research agenda, developing a policy and action blueprint and defining and incubating fundable initiatives and research projects. 

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In collaboration with NatureCollections, we are developing a new mobile app that encourages elementary school children to go outside and explore the natural world. Kids love to collect things and NatureCollections Beta helps kids take pictures of nature, identify the species in their photos and share and curate their photos in categories such as plants, birds and landscapes. They can also complete in photo challenges or photo scavenger hunts. 

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Social Science for the Salish Sea

Ecosystem recovery depends on understanding the diverse people and social systems in the region.​ ​The “Social Science for the Salish Sea Incubator” is outlining a research agenda for environmental social science that serves the ecosystem recovery needs of the transboundary waters shared by Washington State and British Columbia. Co-authored by researchers and practitioners, the paper will include a literature review, annotated list of research questions, roadmap for implementing this research plan, and summary of best practice​s​ for studying the human dimensions of ecosystem recovery. 

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Story Map of Climate Change

This project is developing online interactive story maps designed to provide information about the consequences of climate change to scientists, resource managers, and stakeholders. The climate science is framed within stories about Northwest residents who are taking steps to mitigate or adapt to the consequences of climate change, specifically, sea level rise and drought. A goal is to build empathy and mutual understanding among stakeholder groups, and thus foster constructive negotiations, shared purpose, and long-term policy solutions. 

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Surge Exhibition Partnership: Imagining Climate Futures

Philip Govedare, UW Professor of Art and a member of our steering committee, is collaborating with Phil Levin, UW Professor of Practice and Lead Scientist with The Nature Conservancy Washington Office, to prepare a contribution to the third Surge exhibition, which will be held in the fall of 2018 at the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner, Washington. Surge encourages artists and scientists to learn from each other and share diverse perspectives on how climate change is affecting communities in the Northwest.  

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