Evergreen State College is a public liberal arts and sciences college located in Olympia, Washington, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The College was established in 1971. The current enrollment is about 4,900 students. There are a number of bachelors and masters programs offered.
Natural history is a kind of antiquated term that is often applied to something we recognize as “Nature Study”. But at Evergreen we use the term in the description of courses and programs that teach “the scientific study of plants and animals in their natural environments, that is, subjects like field botany, field ecology, mammalogy, ornithology, entomology, forestry, and wildlife and fisheries biology. These are all subjects that you will find listed in the catalogs of most colleges and universities, but these topics are available at Evergreen with a major advantage: field time.
Evergreen offers a wide variety of programs: biology, botany, ecology, environmental studies, and Native American Studies.
Food: Coevolution, Community, and Sustainability (Fr: 10092, So – Sr: 10095)
Throughout history, food and cooking have not only been essential for human sustenance, but have played a central role in the economic and cultural life of civilizations. This interdisciplinary exploration of food will take a systems approach as it examines the biology and ecology of food, while also incorporating political, economic, historical and anthropological perspectives around the issue of food security and sovereignty.
Botany: Plants and People (16 credits)(Fr: 10042, So – Sr: 10045)
This program investigates people’s relationships with plants for food, fiber, medicine and aesthetics. We will examine economic botany including agriculture, forestry, herbology and horticulture. We will also work through a botany textbook learning about plant anatomy, morphology and systematics. Lectures based on the textbook readings will be supplemented with laboratory work. Students will explore how present form and function informs us about the evolution of major groups of plants such as mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants. Students will get hands-on experience studying plants under microscopes and in the field. To support their work in the field and lab, students will learn how to maintain a detailed and illustrated nature journal. Students will write a major research paper on a plant of their choosing. Through a series of workshops, they will learn to search the scientific literature, manage bibliographic data, and interpret and synthesize information, including primary sources.
Field Ecology (16 credits)(Jr: 30079, Sr: 30080)
This program is designed to provide a premier hands-on experience in learning how to conduct field science in ecology at the advanced undergraduate level. We will focus on group and individual field research to address patterns in ecological composition, structure, and function in natural environments. Students will participate in field trips to local and remote field sites and will develop multiple independent and group research projects in unique marine and terrestrial ecosystems from the Puget Sound to the east side of the Cascades (in Washington).
Creating Community and Health Through Gardens (First Session (8 credits): 40029)
We will explore ways in which various types of gardens can contribute to community and health in this 8-credit summer class. We will spend much of our time outdoors, visiting medicinal, ethnobotanical, reservation-based, and urban food forest gardens, and engaging in hands-on and community-service learning experiences. We will also consider themes related to sustainability, identify plants, learn herbal, and horticultural techniques, and develop nature drawing and journaling skills. We will deepen our understanding through readings, lecture/discussions, and seminars as well as projects and research. This program is suitable for students interested in environmental education, community development, health studies, plant studies, sustainability, ethnobotany, and horticulture.
Ethnobotany in the Garden: Tend and Tell Summer Intensive (Second Session (4 credits): 40043)
After a year of renewed student stewardship, the revitalized plants and habitats in the Evergreen Longhouse Ethnobotanical Garden welcome us to engage with, care for, and learn from them. In these two intensives, we will gain knowledge, skill and intimate understanding related to plant identification, plant ecology, ethnobotany and botanical medicine, along with awareness of the garden’s Indigenous cultural context of wise and sustainable relationships with plants. Plan to spend most of each week outdoors.
Ecological Agriculture: Healthy Soil, Healthy People (16 credits)(So: 20155, Jr: 20156, Sr: 20157)
This program will provide an interdisciplinary study of agriculture in the context of food systems. We will explore competing ideas while developing ecological and holistic thinking, which will be applied in hands-on laboratory and field exercises, expository and scientific report writing, critical analysis of film, and quantitative reasoning. Seminar will examine history, policy, and socioeconomic and political contexts of agriculture and health.
Medicinal Botany in Fall: Leaves (2011)
In this course, students gain an introduction to botanical, artistic, seasonal, and medicinal dimensions of leaves through exploring their functions and forms; drawing, pressing, and incorporating them into art; maintaining a nature journal of fall plant observations; cultivating plant identification skills in the field; considering harvest and processing of medicinal plants in fall; and discovering medicinal plants for the respiratory system. Activities include lectures, workshops, reading, seminar, and an individual project. This course is appropriate for students with interests in botany, environmental studies, health, and botanical medicine.
Medicinal Botany in Spring: Flowers and Fruit (2012)
In this course, students gain an introduction to botanical, artistic, seasonal, and medicinal dimensions of flowers and fruits through exploring their functions and forms; drawing, pressing, and incorporating them into art; maintaining a nature journal of spring plant observations; cultivating plant identification skills in the field and laboratory; considering harvest and processing of medicinal plants in spring; and discovering medicinal plants for the first aid and the digestive system. Activities include lectures, workshops, reading, seminar, and an individual project. This course is appropriate for students with interests in botany, environmental studies, health, and botanical medicine.
Medicinal Botany in Summer (2011)
In this 8-credit program, students will gain an introduction to medicinal plants in summertime, with particular focus on plant identification and morphology (botany), medicinal concepts and practices (botanical medicine), and botanical arts and nature journaling (art). Students will also explore selected aspects of such topics as approaches to cross-cultural herbalism, research and experience, bringing medicinal plants into our lives, and plants for summertime health. Activities include lectures, workshops, reading, seminar, field activities, and hands-on projects. This course is appropriate for students with interests in botany, environmental studies, health, education, and botanical medicine.
Medicinal Botany in Winter: Stems and Roots (2011)
In this course, students gain an introduction to botanical, artistic, seasonal, and medicinal dimensions of stems and roots through exploring their functions and forms; drawing, and incorporating them into art (specifically basketweaving); maintaining a nature journal of winter plant observations; cultivating winter plant identification skills; considering a place for botanical medicine in home and kitchen; and discovering medicinal plants for the urinary and nervous systems. Activities include lectures, workshops, reading, seminar, and an individual project. This course is appropriate for students with interests in botany, environmental studies, health, and botanical medicine.