Field Study Courses

macro image of baby plants popping up through the soilAgroecology and Sustainable Agriculture: ENVS 410
4 credits

Ecological concepts and principles applied to design and management of sustainable food production systems.  Consideration given to food and farm politics and economics, as well as the experience of place and policies for relocalization.  Includes case studies and laboratory/field experience in sustainable agriculture horticulture and strategies for resilience.

July 28 -  August 5 (noon - 5 p.m.)
Includes: Overnight field trip beginning August 3 (5 p.m.) through August 5 (5 p.m.)

Time: varies, see above
FacultyGigi Berardi

Female student holding and examining a fish pulled from a river.Art, Science & Ethics of Fly-fishing: ESCI 315
3 credits

The goals of this course are to learn how to fly fish and to use fly fishing as a window into environmental studies and, more specifically, into the structure and function of river ecosystems and how people interact with them. Class format includes lectures, discussions, and laboratory and field exercises to gain insight into stream ecology and to understand relations of science, ethics, and environmental management. Offered summer only.

On-campus: August 26-30, 2019, 4:30-8 p.m.;
Travel to Idaho for fly fishing and camping: September 2-7, 2019

Faculty: Leo Bodensteiner

View videos: Meet the professor Leo Bodensteiner | Materials needed | Books | What you will learn | Who this course is for | Partnerships 

Distant mountain view with a blue sky backgroundField Methods and Theory/Geologic Mapping: GEOL 409/410
6 credits each

Methods of geological field investigations; includes use of field instruments and outcrop studies. Application of geological field methods to making geological maps and reports of specific areas; supervised investigation of one or more map areas.

Dates: June 25 to August 2, 2019
Time: TBD
Locations: Various locations in Idaho and Montana.
Faculty: Bernard Housen

Black and white photo of Mt Baker Lodge from 1927 showong the lodge with a lake in the foreground and moutains behind it.Field Course in Archaeology: ANTH 312
12 credits

On-site training in methods and techniques of archaeological survey and excavation.

Dates:June 25 to August 2, 2019
Faculty: Jerry Ek

Learn More about ANTH 312

Image of a green alpine Washington lake with mountains in the backgroundNatural History of the Pacific Northwest: ESCI 330
4 credits

A field-oriented introduction to the geology, climate and ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on the biology and the ecology of important organisms.

June 28-August, 2019. Class meets every Friday for both lessons & field trips
Fees cover all field trips including a Whale Watching boat excursion.

Time: 10 - 11:30 a.m. for pre/post field trip class sessions.
Faculty: Thomas Lloyd

Faculty-led Study USA website

A group of adults examine an artifact on a rocky beach.

Olympics: Natural History and Ecology: FAIR 334R
5 credits

Learn about the natural history, ecology and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest in this summer only field course. Learn plant and bird identification, and study old growth and secondary forest plant communities through two short group scientific studies. In addition, you can receive instruction in nature photography. Most of this course is spent in the field on a six-day camping trip to the Olympic Peninsula.

You will:

  • Camp in the beautiful Hoh rain forest and along the coast of the Strait of Juan De Fuca, and visit many spectacular natural areas in the Olympic National Park.
  • Study the Elwah River dam removal project
  • Hike in the majestic Hoh rain forest
  • Explore mountaintops at Hurricane Ridge
  • Watch sea lions and puffins at Cape Flattery
  • Have an evening dinner at Rialto Beach
  • Spend a morning studying inter-tidal ecology at Tongue Point.
  • Visit the Makah Museum, the showcase of Makah traditional culture using artifacts recovered from a coastal village that was buried in a landslide 500 years ago.

We'll be busy, but there will also be time to relax in the forest and at the beach, watch shooting stars from the side of a wild river, visit the Olympic hot springs, and play music around the campfire.

This course is open to all students. This course satisfies either Fairhaven 206 or the upper level Fairhaven science core course requirements and may act as a Huxley College or Biology elective with permission of your advisor.

For more information, contact Dr. Bower at 360-650-7217 or via e-mail at

Dates: Class meets August 13 & 15, 2019 from 1 - 4:30 p.m. at WWU and has a field component on the Olympic Peninsula from August 18 - 23, 2019
Locations: Hoh rain forest, Elwah River, Olympic National Park, Makah Museum and more…
Faculty: John Bower

View videos: Meet the professor John Bower | What you will be doing | Who can take FAIR 334R | Living conditions

three students hover over a log. One student is holding a camera close to the mossy log taking a photo.Wetland Identification & Delineation: BIOL 402
4 credits

This course will introduce students to U. S. Army Corps of Engineers methods to identify and delineate jurisdictional wetlands. This course is designed to give students practical experience in nationally used standard methods. It is intended for students who have an understanding of basic biological and ecological principles. This course is designed to help students fulfill their degree requirements and those who wish to develop an appreciation for the science of wetland ecology.

This week-long course will be presented as lecture and hands-on field experience. There will be three assignments, one final exam, and a field practicum. Though the focus is on northwest Washington wetlands, skills learned in this course are applicable nationwide.

Credits earned in this course can be applied towards Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) certification.

Dates: June 24 - June 28, 2019 (weeklong intensive)
Time: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Faculty: Elizabeth Binney

Lily Pads at Tennant LakeWetland Plant Identification: ESCI 497W
4 credits

Through field trips and laboratory work we will learn to identify the common fresh and estuarine wetland trees, shrubs and herbaceous vegetation located in Puget Sound region.  This class is appropriate for new students who would like an introduction to wetland vegetation, as well as for more advanced students who want to learn some of the more difficult taxa of the region (the grasses, sedges, and rushes, for example!).

Dates: This course meets for a total of 5 days: June 24, June 25, June 27, July 1 & July 3, 2019 for all-day field trips.
Time: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Faculty: Thomas Lloyd

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