water quality sampling in wetland

Sustainability Research and Applied Projects at Cascadia College

 

Cascadia's students, faculty and staff are passionate about participating in hands-on learning opportunities while also contributing reliable data to the greater sustainability field.  Currently, our students have the opportunity to participate in the following sustainability research initiatives and applied projects on our campus.  Many of our students also participate in sustainability research initiatives off campus with our partners such as Farmer Frog and Friends of Northcreek Forest.

 

1) Student Led Solutions to Stormwater Pollution

Funded by King County WaterWorks in 2015, this multi-year project engages students in water quality monitoring on campus to identify sources of stormwater pollution and to design and implement stormwater best management practices to reduce the amount of pollutants, such as fecal coliform, entering the watershed.  The project is led by Cascadia College Founding Faculty John VanLeer.

2) Campus Climate Dialog

 In the fall of 2016, a group of Cascadia's BAS in Sustainable Practices hosted Cascadia's 1st Annual Campus Climate Dialog.  The event brought together 200 students, faculty and staff to learn more about climate change and what we can do as an institution, and as individuals, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.  Participants completed extensive surveys about the impact of the event on their climate knowledge, beliefs and behaviors.  A new group of BAS in Sustainable Practices will host the event in 2017.  We anticipate this will be an annual event that will provide valuable social data on sustainability trends.  This project is led by Cascadia College Tenure Track Faculty Abigail Lynam, PhD

3) CCUWBee Research Initiative

In spring of 2017 five permanent bee monitoring transects were established across the campus.  The transects will be monitored weekly in spring and summer and weather conditions permit.  All Cascadia students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in the monitoring effort which uses protocols provided by the Maritime Northwest Citizen Science Monitoring Guide. The goal of this project is to better understand how the shared Cascadia - UW Bothell campus can support our native pollinator species.  The data will be available for use in classroom projects and will also be shared with The Xerces Society.  This project is jointly led by Jodie Galvan, Asst. Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College, and Cassie Lubenow, Sustainability Coordinator at UW Bothell.

4) Native Plants for Pollination and Student Education at Cascadia College and UW Bothell

Washington Native Plant Society granted funding to Cascadia College and UW Bothell to design and install two additional pollinator beds on campus.  The project will be student led and will begin in fall 2017.  Participants will create several possible designs for the garden beds and the designs will be made available for a campus wide vote.  The two most popular designs, which must feature Washington State native flowering plants, will be installed by student teams in late fall.  Monitoring of the use of the beds by native pollinators can begin the following spring.  This project is jointly led by Jodie Galvan, Asst. Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College, and Cassie Lubenow, Sustainability Coordinator at UW Bothell. 

5) Recyclemania

Recyclemania is a friendly waste diversion competition between colleges across the United States and Canada.  In 2017, Cascadia College and UW Bothell participated in the competition thanks to the efforts of a dedicated BAS in Sustainable Practices students who measured all of the campus compost, recycling and landfill bins every day for eight weeks!  By the end of the two month period, Cascadia had recycled 9,098lbs of materials that would otherwise have ended up in our landfills and achieved a waste diversion rate of 56.45%.  We plan to participate in this event in future years and expect to see our waste diversion rates continuing to improve over time.   This project is jointly led by Jodie Galvan, Asst. Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College, and Cassie Lubenow, Sustainability Coordinator at UW Bothell. 

6) STARS - Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System

Students enrolled in Cascadia's Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Sustainable Practices program have been gathering and entering campus sustainability data into AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System so that we have a comprehensive baseline measurement for Cascadia's current sustainability performance.  Once complete, we will use this assessment to prioritize future sustainability projects and programs, assess our progress, and compare our efforts to those of peer institutions.  We hope to submit our first complete STARS report in fall 2017.  This project is jointly led by Jodie Galvan, Asst. Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College, and Abigail Lynam, PhD., Tenure Track Faculty at Cascadia College in coordination with Cassie Lubenow, Sustainability Coordinator at UW Bothell.

7) Classroom Garden Beds and Food Forest

Our classroom garden beds and campus Food Forest are used by students from many different programs as learning laboratories for botany, biology, environmental science, social science and language classes.  Students especially interested in organic farming and permaculture are welcome to join our lab technicians and facilities team in caring for the sites which includes planning, composting, planting, watering and harvesting.  Any excess food is donated to the food pantries on campus for students in need which reduces our waste disposal expenses and helps us meet our carbon emission reduction goals.  This project is jointly led by Stephan Classen, Instructional and Classroom Support Technician 2, Jodie Galvan, Asst. Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College, Cassie Lubenow, Sustainability Coordinator at UW Bothell, and Tyson Kemper, Grounds Supervisor at UW Bothell.

8) Waste Diversion Research

We are excited to take steps to continuously improve our waste diversion rates on campus.  Beginning in the summer of 2017, we are conducting extensive surveys of our waste diversion rates across campus.  Specifically, we are comparing waste diversion rates of triple bin stations with double stations (recycling and landfill) and single stations (landfill only).  We hope to find that triple stations achieve significantly greater waste diversion rates.  With this information, we can determine what type of waste stations we should provide and where we should provide them to achieve maximum waste diversion across campus.  This project is jointly led by Jodie Galvan, Asst. Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College, and Cassie Lubenow, Sustainability Coordinator at UW Bothell. 

9) EcoChallenge

EcoChallenge is a global call to collective action.  Each fall, we form teams on campus to compete in changing habits that benefit ourselves, our community and our planet.  We love the energy that comes from being among thousands of participants representing more than 40 countries and we hope you will join us in healthy, vibrant, sustainable future.  For more information or to join a team please contact  Jodie Galvan, Asst. Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College, or Cassie Lubenow, Sustainability Coordinator at UW Bothell.  This project is jointly led by Abigail Lynam, PhD., Tenure Track Faculty at Cascadia College in coordination with Cassie Lubenow, Sustainability Coordinator at UW Bothell.