The first year experience provides students with natural and social science skills needed to develop and realize their vision for conservation.

In this first year of our program, scholars spend eight weeks traversing a wide variety of ecological and cultural landscapes among the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Our first summer together is an exploration of biodiversity conservation and the interconnectedness of environmental and social justice. By the end of our eight weeks together, we hope for scholars to carry forward the following intentions:

  • build an expanded awareness and appreciation for different modalities of conservation that support  human and more-than-human communities, are transdisciplinary, holistic, and draw on multiple ways of knowing.
  • develop critical analytical skills to connect social justice principles and concepts to themselves and conservation
  • engage in critical storytelling practice as a reflexive process to connect lived experiences to broader social, political, and/or historical contexts
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Dyaami D'Orazio and Chris Deleon (year two) analyze urban ecosystem services in a community garden in Seattle's International District. 508DD0010
Week 1

Program Orientation & Community Building

Location: Seattle, Cedar River Watershed

This first week focuses on orienting scholars to the program, and the physical and cultural landscapes of the region. Scholars will begin to develop shared language and understanding around biocultural conservation, environmental justice, and our key themes of power, privilege, identity, and agency as they relate to the human and more-than-human world. Community-building is also an emphasis for this first week, with numerous activities centered on trust-building, storytelling, and the development of community norms.

Mount Rainier
Dr. Janneke Hille Ris Lambers leads students back down the trail after completing a survey for the Meadow Watch program. 508DD0480
Week 2 - 7

Explore the ecological and cultural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest while building a critical analysis framework

Location: North Cascades, Olympic Peninsula, Skagit Valley *subject to change

DDCSP@UW focuses on centering conservation in place-based contexts, designing experiential learning opportunities that explore conservation practice across the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest. Weeks 2 – 7 are structured as field tours of the various ecoregions surrounding the Seattle area, including the subalpine forests of the North Cascades, the dry shrub-steppe on the east side of the mountains, the temperate forests of the Olympic Peninsula, the Skagit River basin, and the wetlands in and around Seattle.

During this time, scholars have opportunities to engage with a breadth of conservation practitioners and projects, including researchers, community-based organizations, NGOs, local, state and federal agencies, and Tribal nations, in urban and rural contexts.

Critical analysis of biodiversity conservation through an ecological and socio-political lens is an ongoing practice throughout these weeks in the field. Scholars will develop critical analytical frameworks that interrogate and challenge oppressive narratives found within the environmental and conservation field.

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© Daniel Revenel
Week 8

Conservation Storytelling & Summit Event

Location: Seattle, University of Washington Campus

The final week of programming culminates in a storytelling event and Conservation Summit. Scholars, with the support of storytelling mentors*, write and deliver their personal conservation narrative. These narratives are an opportunity for scholars to redefine conservation by bringing their whole presence to this work – cultural identities, lived experiences, challenges, and visions for just futures. First summer scholars will also attend the Conservation Summit, an event for second year interning scholars to showcase their summer projects.

*Past storytelling mentors include Carolyn Finney, José González, Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Nancy Woo, Chenjerai Kumanyika, and DDCSP facilitators

*View scholar narratives on our Vimeo page “First Summer Story Spotlight

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