The Collaborative for Socio-Ecological Engagement (Collaborative/CoSEE) is a university-led research and learning unit that operates at the Environmental Education and Research Center (EERC) in Saint Edward State Park (SESP). The EERC is a dedicated and recently renovated 2,700 square foot facility located within the boundaries of Saint Edward State Park, on the northeast shore of Lake Washington, and approximately six miles from the UW Bothell campus. The facility includes a 2,000 square-foot classroom and office space and a 700 square-foot open learning area adjacent to the indoor space.

Mission

The CoSEE’s mission is to advance our understanding of the dynamic connections that exist between ecological systems (e.g., ecosystems, biodiversity, and natural resources) and social systems (e.g., human communities, institutions, and cultural norms). We anticipate that these new understandings will significantly bolster the promotion of social and environmental sustainability across various spheres. The CoSEE supports and engages in initiatives that investigate the diverse and complex relationships between the environment, including environmental changes, and human societies. Important areas of the CoSEE’s focus include 1) the causes of environmental degradation and their impact on societies, 2) the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss on communities and the environment, 3) sustainable resource management practices, 4) environmental and social justice issues, adaptation and resilience in the face of environmental challenges, 5) promotion of environmental stewardship and equity. Furthermore, the CoSEE strives to serve as a platform fostering mutual understanding among stakeholders with varied historical backgrounds and cultural norms including Tribes and underrepresented communities, facilitating a collective approach to addressing shared socio-ecological challenges, while recognizing the values we have in common.

A Research-Driven Partnership

The partnership at the CoSEE began and continues as a unique, research-driven partnership between the University of Washington Bothell, Washington State Parks, Daniels Real Estate, and numerous municipal and nonprofit entities. UW Bothell brings academic and research expertise to environmental education programs grounded in locally relevant research, environmental issues, and community science. Washington State Parks provides the 316-acre, diverse landscape at Saint Edward State Park which serves as a living laboratory and outdoor classroom. Daniels Real Estate’s lease with Washington State Parks to renovate the Saint Edward Seminary includes space for the EERC, located in the Gymnasium Annex. Sundberg, Kennedy and Li Au Young architects renovated the Annex for the EERC’s multipurpose classroom and offices with a completion date in 2022. Washington State Parks and the Friends of Saint Edward State Park partner with the CoSEE in park interpretation and a variety of local community events. 

 

Programming developed by CoSEE at the EERC

With funding from the Washington State Legislature, the partnership team undertook an extensive planning process during the academic year 2019-20 to enlist community input for Center programming. The programmatic framework targets three distinct yet overlapping interest areas identified by the community.

 

  • Youth and Family Outreach and Interpretation Programs
  • K-12 School Partnered Programs
  • University field courses and undergraduate and community/citizen science research and monitoring projects. 

 

Find the final planning report Executive Summary on here.

Saint Edward State Park

The CoSEE is housed at the EERC in Saint Edward State Park (SESP) which is unique in the Seattle area in the integrity and diversity of its natural ecosystems including healthy upland and riparian forests, open fields, wetlands, streams, and the longest undeveloped lakeshore on Lake Washington. With over 500,000 visitors annually, SESP has ranked as the third most heavily visited Park in Washington State Parks system. Located in the rapidly growing, increasingly urban and diverse north shore area, Washington State Parks classifies SESP as an Urban Gateway Park. With its intact, diverse ecosystems, and proximity to urban communities and diversity of visitorship, SESP serves as an ideal reference site at which to develop outdoor environmental education, outreach and interpretation and community science research programs.

 

Originally inhabited by Coast Salish peoples, the land which is now Saint Edward State Park was owned by the Catholic Archdiocese who built and ran a seminary between 1929 and 1976. Washington State Parks acquired the property, including the seminary building, pool and gymnasium, in 1977. The park was acquired with Land and Water Conservation Funds for the benefit of the public. In 2017, Washington State Parks signed a 62-year lease with Daniels Real Estate, LLC, a private development firm specializing in historic preservation. The Lodge opened in early 2021 and the EERC indoor classroom and office was completed at the end of 2022. The EERC classroom became fully operational in late-spring of 2023.

Current CoSEE Partners include
Friends of Saint 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
iUrban Teen