Welcome graduate cohort 10!

Summer has finally arrived at the Environmental Learning Center! Diablo Lake has regained its characteristic green color, peregrine falcon fledglings are learning to hunt near the dam, a new fawn is sporting spots around campus, and the tenth cohort of graduate students have begun their academic journey.

Cohort 10 at Diablo Lake.  Field journaling with Libby Mills (above).

Cohort 10 began classes in Bellingham on June 22nd. The eleven students who are enrolled in the graduate program come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from education to environmental science to multi-media studies. Their summer coursework consists of three classes: Introduction to Place-Based Education, Resource Issues in the North Cascades, and Cultural History in the North Cascades. These courses are interwoven into a series of field excursions in the region, supplemented by readings, projects, and discussions in classes at Western Washington University.

Students learn about mycorrhizae from Brandi Stewart, cohort 9

So far this summer, the graduate students have learned about the cultural and natural history of the Skagit River as they canoed down it, studied glaciers and geology on Mount Baker, and investigated mycorrhizae and plant-pollinator interactions at Baker Lake.

Stephanie Bennett and Codi Hamblin canoe on the Skagit River

The seasoned graduate students in cohort 9 have taught the students in cohort 10 about natural history topics such as amphibians, medicinal plants, and birds.

Making a tincture from Oregon Grape roots

Expert naturalist Libby Mills shared her knowledge and love of field journaling, and North Cascades National Park archaeologist Bob Mierendorf and MULE captain Gerry Cook spent a day with the students exploring Ross Lake.

On Ross Lake with Bob Mierendorf, North Cascades National Park

An afternoon helping park biologist Roger Christophersen conduct carnivore research was a highlight for many students.

Stephanie Bennett records GPS coordinates for biologist Roger Christophersen

After two more weeks of classes, the 10th cohort will set out for a 9-day backpacking trip to learn more about the North Cascades. Look forward to reading about that adventure on our blog in late August!

Nick Mikula and David Strich canoe down the Skagit
Photos courtesy of Nicholas Mikula (photos 1,2,3 5,7 and 8) and Tanya Anderson (photos 4 and 6).  To see more of Nick’s photos, go to http://myweb.students.wwu.edu/mikulan


  1. Kelsi

    You are all a great group. I hope you enjoy your time up at the Environmental Learning Center as much as I did!

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