UW and WWU Tours

In March and April we have been able to tour UW and WWU to explore transfer program and graduate school options for our students. We appreciated our helpful tour guides at both schools and look forward to taking more students on tours in the future.  If you are interested in NWIC programs or information on next steps after your time at NWIC, please let us know!  There are a lot of academic options available!

WWU Visit on April 29th



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Bfzo-dzCUAIQg9hWe were happy to present our work from the Swinomish site with several other NWIC students and faculty at the Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

“The Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WAHESC) is a regionally-focused opportunity for those teaching, working or studying within higher education to come together and learn about sustainability in academics, operations, and research. Through facilitated conversation, workshops, presentations and networking opportunities, participants will play a role in advancing environmental performance at Washington State institutions of higher education, support regional policy goals and initiatives, and drive the development of a generation of professionals for whom sustainability is a core tenet of their work and life philosophy.”

We were also very blessed to have a heartfelt blessing and at the opening of the conference by elders Diane Vendiola & Juanita Jefferson and a welcome song by Lawrence Solomon.

Thanks again for inviting us and we hope to attend this type of event again! Here is an article on the event by the Western Front.

Photo above: Seth Vidana, WWU Campus Sustainability Manager giving opening remarks.

(Source: WWU Office of Sustainability)


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Winter quarter has begun…

We have entered into 2014.  While the weather has been relatively mild, we are still experiencing some cold days.  That does not stop our science students though! With the help of educational assistant, Linda Willup, the chemistry students spent a January afternoon collecting soil samples near the Swinomish channel.

We will be offering a soil science class this spring, so if you are interested contact Gaylene Gobert (ggobert@nwic.edu) to register or visit our site.



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Terri Rocks!

This quarter our Geology 101 students are already hard at work discovering the art and science of geology.  Terri Plake has been making regular trips to our site to visit with students and teach lab activities for the course.  Students have also participated in several field trips to learn about local geology. We are grateful for Terri and her teaching! Geology 101 is one of the required courses for the BSNES degree program.

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Back to School!

Classes started September 16th and we are excited for an exciting and productive  fall at NWIC-Swinomish.  Linda Willup, who graduated in June 2013 with her BA in Native Environmental Science, is now working as a learning assistant at our site.  She will be the featured speaker at the September 19th Student Orientation and Salmon BBQ! Come by and visit us and the 13 Moons Garden!

If you missed this Skagit Valley Herald article in June about the garden and our graduates, please check it out. Again, many congratulations to the 2013 BSNES graduates from the Swinomish site. We are proud of you!

From left to right, Jessica Gigot, Linda Willup, Caroline Edwards, Maggie Finkbonner.


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Congratulations 2013 BSNES Graduates!

It has been a long and hardworking school year and we applaud our graduates.  These are the first three BSNES graduates from the NWIC Swinomish site.  They have been dedicated and focused on their education and we appreciate all of their hard work! Be sure to congratulate them for a job well done. They are pictured below with their capstone projects. From left to right Caroline Edwards, Linda Willup and Maggie Finkbonner.

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Indigenous Foods/Ecological Knowledge Symposium!

Last week we were able to attend the first UW Indigenous Foods/Ecological Knowledge Symposium.  It was a great event that included speakers from around the region as well as local food tasting.  The event was also the inaugural event to honor UW’s future longhouse-style community building, Wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ(a Lushootseed word meaning Intellectual House), that will open its doors in 2014. This event symbolized the spirit of Wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ and embodies the essence of the work we envision doing in this cultural and intellectual space.

For more information on the speakers that presented see this: PrelimProgram.4.25

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Poet Laureate visits Swinomish site!

Several NWIC-Swinomish students were able to participate in an afternoon poetry workshop with the current Poet Laureate of Washington State, Kathleen Flenniken.

“Kathleen Flenniken came to poetry late, after working as a civil engineer and hydrologist at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. She teaches poetry and is a co-editor and president of Floating Bridge Press. She lives in Seattle, Washington.”


Workshop activities focused on the integration of environmental science issues and poetry and the use of parallelism in poetry. Her latest volume of poems (Plume) deals with her experience growing up in eastern Washington and working at Hanford.

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Field Trip to Kiket Island

Last week the Ecology of the First People’s calss had a joint field trip with with Sally Connor’s English class to Kiket Island (Kukatali Preserve).  The tour was led by tribal naturalist, Tanisha Gobert.  It was a great exploration of this recently reclaimed piece of land that is rich in botanical and wildlife diversity.

Read more about it HERE.








Above left: newly blooming current, above right: tombolo out to Flagstaff Island, left: naturalist guides the students to the shore.

(Photo credit: Sally Connor)

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NESC 301 visits Neah Bay and the Makah Museum!

Last week we were able to travel to the world-renowned Makah museum, located at Neah Bay on the northwestern coast of the Olympic Peninsula.  Along the way we visited the newly restored Elwha River and dam removal view point (formally Lake Aldwell.)  We drove by Sail (pictured below) and Seal rock and stayed at Hoebuck beach. The sun was close to setting when we arrived, so some of the students had a chance to walk the beach and look for sand dollars before the group gathered for a meal and discussion of the day.

The next morning we arrived at the Makah museum which is an amazing cultural and historical resource.  Many thanks to our guides and friends there for their time and teaching.  We were also able to visit the gallery of Melissa Peterson, Makah artist. Finally, we headed back to the Swinomish site. On the way we stopped to look at a lovely herd of elk near Ozette.

We also viewed the Manis mastodon bones in Sequim, WA. These bones, accidentally discovered on a local farm, are evidence of one of the oldest human settlement in the Americas. A new study of the Manis mastodon provides proof of the oldest human settlement found to date in the Americas. The site is significant for more than being the oldest: For decades, most anthropologists studying early Americans believed the very earliest settlement was found in present-day Clovis, N.M. “Clovis man” was considered more than just the creator of a few tools and weapons; he was said to be a kind of cultural father to all ensuing generations of Native Americans. You can read more about it here.








Thank you to the science department for their support of this field trip.

More pictures below!


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