New Research Project

We are starting a NSF funded research project at the Swinomish site called ” Linkage between soil and food quality in traditional plant systems.” Student research technician, Donna Dan, has been helping set up the field site on tribally owned land near Hwy 20. Here are some pictures from our soil sampling day. It has been a nice fall so far and on this day we had a clear view of Mount Baker.


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Ecology students visit Fisher Slough Restoration Project

Many thanks to TNC Project Manager, Jenny Baker, for taking us on a tour of the project site.  Below are images of the restored fresh water tidal marsh area located south of Conway off of Pioneer Highway.

For more information on this project, visit The Nature Conservancy website.


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Storming the Sound

x1005SessionIn January 2015, Jessica Gigot, Swinomish Science faculty, gave a presentation on Food Systems Education at the annual Storming the Sound conference. Here is a description of her talk:

Food systems are inherently linked to local ecosystems and environmental health. Food production impacts our landscape and our personal health as well. Jessica Gigot, Ph.D., is science faculty at the Northwest Indian College-Swinomish and has a small farm in the Skagit Valley.  In this session, we will discuss regional approaches to food systems education that affect our understanding and appreciation of the relationships between ecology and agriculture and the ‘food’ we eat. Project examples include updates on the 13 Moons Community Garden program at Swinomish.


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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 ( 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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