The Unique EERC Partnership and Areas of Focus
The EERC is a unique partnership between Washington State Parks and the University of Washington Bothell. The EERC education and research programs encompass the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts. We foster diverse participation of University of Washington Bothell faculty and students; community partners including Native American tribes, community-based organizations, K-12 students and teachers, and the local and regional public. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and environmental justice are cornerstones of the EERC, and inform all aspects of our programs.
The UW Bothell leadership of the EERC is founded on the three pillars of the current UW Bothell Strategic Plan:
- Strengthening Diversity and Equity
- Enhancing Community and Campus Engagement
- Advancing Cross-disciplinary Teaching and Scholarship
Diversity and Equity
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice have emerged as central concerns in the realms of environmental quality, protection, experience, and education, and are foundational principles of the EERC, comprising major elements in its programs, activities, and operations. The academic, social, and emotional learning benefits of experiential nature-based environmental education are well documented. However, access to these benefits is not equally distributed. The site of the EERC is a rare combination of highly intact nature located within a large metropolitan area where it is widely accessible, as evidenced by the more than ½ million people from across the Seattle area who visit St. Edward State Park each year. The programs of the EERC capitalize on this accessibility by engaging with diverse audiences, both on-site, and through distributed programmatic elements that can be targeted to underserved communities further away. EERC projects are designed to lower barriers to participation by those traditionally less likely to participate (including opportunities for the physically disabled). Learn more about the EERC’s Equity programming
Community and Campus Engagement
Community engagement is another strong thread woven throughout the programs of the EERC including regular faculty speaker series, community events, K-12 education efforts, and research that will engage a range of community audiences. The EERC will maintain a strong community co-design focus to incorporate projects conceptualized by students, staff, faculty, and community partners into our programming. Research projects will be designed to present opportunities for community and K-12 participation. Stewardship opportunities abound in St. Edward State Park and we will work together with park staff to develop effective and innovative approaches to enhancing and maintaining the health of park ecosystems based in part on research done at the EERC.
Cross-disciplinary Teaching and Scholarship
Cross-disciplinary approaches are becoming increasingly necessary to confront complex environmental challenges. The EERC will foster cross-disciplinary research and education approaches. Annual cross-disciplinary UW Bothell courses will be held at the EERC along with parallel public presentations for both adult and youth audiences by the students and faculty on the course and its topics. Art, education, social sciences, and others will work alongside research and education in the natural sciences at the EERC to create the big tent we need to engage with the intertwined environmental and social issues of our day.
Current EERC Partners
- Friends of St. Edward State Park
- Mountains to Sound Greenway
- Trust Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance
- E3 Washington – Washington State’s Association for Environmental and Sustainability Education
- University of Washington Bothell
- Washington Native Plant Society
- Washington State Parks