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.
Learn more at our blog page, or join our sustainability degree programs!

1) Student Led Solutions and Implementations to Stormwater Pollution

Funded by King County WTD within the WaterWorks Grant program in 2019 and 2015, this multi-year project engages students in water quality monitoring on campus to identify sources of stormwater pollution.  Students also designed and implemented stormwater 'Green Stormwater Infrastructure' installations and Rain Gardens to reduce the amount of pollutants, such as fecal coliforms, entering the watershed from stormwater runoff.  Students in the BASSP and ETSP programs learned about the sampling and data management of water sampling!  The project is led by Cascadia College Founding Faculty and intrepid guru John VanLeer and Stephan Classen, Assistant Director of Sustainable Practices.

2) Campus Climate Dialogs

For Earth Day in 2021, The Climate Dialog focused on Sustainable Food Systems.  to discuss climate change and the effects on food in our state. Experts (from 21 Acres, UW, and the State climatologist) spoke and kicked off discussion about discuss climate change, food choice, and sustainable agriculture.  View the recording on Youtube: Link

In October 2020, the Campus Climate Dialog focused on Climate Justice, online!  The event discussed and covered how vulnerable communities are most affected by climate change in Puget Sound and beyond. In order to become more climate just, we need to better understand our impacts and provide resiliency resources for our communities for natural disaster impacts increased by climate change. By opening discussions about how climate impacts can be mitigated, we can have a positive influence and potentially change the outcome of climate change.  The event had participants from all over western Washington, and more information can be found on this website!

The second Campus Climate Dialog was held in the Winter of 2018, engaging participants in a conversation about equity issues (such as homelessness) in our region; how climate change, sea level rise and climate migration are predicted to exacerbate social equity challenges; and what our community can do at home, at work, and on campus to reduce the impact of climate change on marginalized populations including immigrants, refugees, migrants, women and girls, people of low socioeconomic status, and people of color.  

In the fall of 2016, a group of Cascadia's BAS in Sustainable Practices hosted Cascadia's first Campus Climate Dialog.  The event brought together ~150 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. 
Read about the 2016 event here

3) The Common Caws for Sustainability Podcast

The Sustainability Offices at Cascadia College and UW Bothell have released a campus sustainability podcastlogo.jpgpodcast! Of course, sustainability has been a core concept and value of the University of Washington Bothell/Cascadia College campus, and this podcast showcases our sustainability efforts and solutions for our planet and society. Not only will our sustainability staff share their experience and best practices, but will also bring in guests from both on- and off-campus for interviews and to share their stories! Listen on any podcast app or on Anchor.fm

4) CCUWBee Research Initiative

 All Cascadia students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in future monitoring efforts! The goal of this project is The collected data will be shared with The Xerces Society and images are located at the UWB/CC library archive, using protocols provided by the Maritime Northwest Citizen Science Monitoring Guide. 

The CCUWBee project was founded to better understand how the shared Cascadia - UW Bothell campus can support our native pollinator species.  The CCUWBee research project (link) does sampling of sites across campus to monitor which bee pollinator species are present on campus. 

  In spring of 2017 five permanent bee monitoring transects were established across the campus.  The transects were monitored weekly in spring and summer.  Pollinator monitoring continued in 2018 and 2019 seasons, and  continued in 2020 (with social distancing)!

Articles about this project:
-Researching Bees on our Campus
-Bees represent UWB Sustainability
This project is in partnership with Dr. Amy Lambert through UW Bothell, and led by Alexa Russo.

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

Washington Native Plant Society granted funding to Cascadia College to design and install two  pollinator beds on campus in the fall of 2017.  Student participants created designs for the garden beds and were shown to the campus farm committee for approval.  The pollinator beds were installed with Washington State native flowering plants by student teams in the fall and spring 2018, and installation was completed in 2019 by the north garage and Campus Farm. 

Monitoring of the use of the beds by native pollinators with the CCUWBee project began in Spring 2019!  This project was created by Jodie Galvan, and is currently monitored by Stephan Classen, Asst. Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College.

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.  We are using this assessment to prioritize future sustainability projects and programs, assess our progress, and compare our efforts to those of peer institutions for this three year period.  The first report showed Cascadia with a Bronze Rating, and our combined campus grounds were rated #1 in the nation for 2018 through 2020!!  This project is currently led by Stephan M. Classen, Asst. Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College.

7) Campus Farm and Food Forest

Our classroom garden beds in the Campus Farm and Cascadia's 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 staff in caring for the sites which includes planning, composting, planting, watering and harvesting.  Any excess food is donated to the food pantries and centers 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, Asst. Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College, Alexa Russo, 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.  Begun in the summer of 2017, students conducted extensive surveys of our waste diversion rates across campus. 

The "Waste Ambassadors" Program for waste sorting education was created by Hannah Price (BASSP Class of 2019), to educate and research waste sorting levels on campus after triple bin installation!

In 2017, we compared waste diversion rates of triple bin stations with double stations (recycling and landfill) and single stations (landfill only).  Our project found 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 on campus to achieve maximum waste diversion across campus.  This project was led by Andre Turner (BASSP Class of 2018), with support from Jodie Galvan, and Cassie Lubenow, and Tyson Kemper, Grounds Supervisor at UW Bothell. 

Future research will show updates as findings come in.

9) EcoChallenge

EcoChallenge is a global call to collective action. 

In Spring 2020, our campus came together to form a unified team: "Crow-navirus Isolators"! for Earth Day 2020, in order to continue sustainable action while campus was online during the COVID19 pandemic!

In fall 2017, teams on our campus compete and worked together in changing habits that benefited 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. 

10) 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.