Course Details

Program dates


Travel dates


Course credits

ESCI 330 , ESCI 404

Total credits: 9


Instructor Approval

Photo of T. Abe Lloyd

T. Abe Lloyd

Instructor, Dept of Environmental Sciences

Take part in this immersive fieldwork opportunity focused on Salish Sea biodiversity, conservation biology and ethnoecology to experience the rich array of diversity in our own backyard. This four-week program, run in partnership with InPlace Ecocultural Learning Institute, includes three weeks of outdoor, field-based study and a week of travel in First Nation, Native American, and Settler communities in the inland marine waterways of Washington and British Columbia. We will meet with NGOs and public and Indigenous land managers engaged in the stewardship of biodiversity and cultural heritage.

You will learn how biodiversity is defined, measured, mapped, and conceptualized by biologists and other scientists. A primary focus will be on how communities continue to depend on biodiversity despite shifts in land management, climate, and economic needs. In exploring both threats to biodiversity and how people and institutions are attempting to conserve it, we will examine underlying assumptions about globalization, sustainability, and environmental preservation.


Group of students doing fieldwork

Program Highlights

  • Hike, kayak, and explore the natural wonders of the Salish Sea bioregion, while working alongside resource managers, conservationists, and traditional knowledge holder to better understand indigenous and settler-colonial histories and conservation efforts.
  • Discuss parallels between bioregional and cultural diversity while engaging in intercultural dialogue locally.
  • Put the principles of ethical and responsible travel into action while visiting indigenous lands in the Salish Sea Bioregion in Washington State and British Columbia, Canada.
  • Have a bioregional study abroad experience and limit your carbon footprint! 


    Group of students doing fieldwork near Salish Sea

Expectations of Participants

The time walking & sitting varies from day-to-day. With or without reasonable accommodations, students should be prepared to walk or stand 6-8 hours/day, especially when the class is in motion in the backcountry. Activities include trekking, canoeing and kayaking in the Salish Sea Bioregion. All participants must be able to walk 2-5 miles per day and carry their own supplies.

Due to the remote location of this program, we cannot guarantee access to refrigeration. 

Students must work with the WWU Disability Access Center, Wilson Library 170, (360) 650-3083, For service eligibility, a complete diagnostic description from a qualified professional is required. Specific accommodations or services are determined on an individual basis and are modified to meet the unique needs of the student and their academic experience. Accommodation policies and procedures are highly individualized and centered on self-advocacy, realistic self-appraisal, and student growth. Each quarter, students need to activate their approved accommodations for each class. Students choose which of their approved accommodations they want to activate for each class.

We strongly recommend that all students traveling on this Global Learning Program are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to maximize the safety of the student cohort. Participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to departure, or provide a proof of an official COVID-19 vaccination waiver granted by WWU.

Participants are expected to abide by all attendance policies of the program, including those for classes and excursions, and to adhere to the program schedule. Since the programs are academic in nature, parents, friends, partners, and families are not permitted on any part of the Global Learning Program. Personal travel must be outside of the course dates and not conflict with coursework or excursion schedules. Travel plans should be vetted by faculty beforehand to ensure personal plans do not interfere with meeting the learning objectives of the course.


Group of students doing fieldwork near Salish Sea