Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the EERC Programs
Of particular note is the EERC model of integrated environmental education, which will provide a leadership pathway to non-dominant populations that rarely exists at other environmental learning centers. The EERC’s wide range of classes and other activities will engage the full range of undergraduate student diversity at UW Bothell, providing diverse students with the opportunity to serve in leadership roles with K-12 students and community programs. Undergraduates serving as educators and researchers will be supported with stipends, removing barriers to service that tend to exclude students from marginalized communities, increasing the number and diversity of students who can fill these roles. Undergraduate mentors and docents intentionally recruited and trained to reflect and engage with the full range of diversity of the UW Bothell student body will enhance the impact of mentorship on diverse K-12 and community members with whom they interact.
The EERC research program will similarly embody DEI principles and foster participation by diverse students and communities. A major EERC research focus will be on DEI aspects of development, delivery, and outcomes of EERC programming, with a dedicated researcher position devoted to this work. As a unique university-led environmental education center, study of our programs will allow for wide dissemination of lessons and novel developments as well as adaptive improvement, placing the EERC at the forefront of equitable, inclusive, and effective environmental education. Topical EERC research initiatives, which we expect will address a wide variety of topics going forward, will also address DEI dimensions of the subjects of research. For example, an urban wildlife research initiative, in addition to addressing urban wildlife ecology, will explore urban wildlife as both an unequally distributed environmental amenity, and an indicator of environmental inequity. As with education programming, students participating in research will be supported to lower barriers.
EERC programming will also direct particular attention toward the role of indigenous knowledge and history in understanding landscapes and ecosystems and human roles, ethics, and impacts. The integration of these long under-appreciated perspectives into the visitor experience and scholarly work of the EERC is expected to lead to a better public understanding of indigenous communities as well as exciting interdisciplinary insights and productive collaborations. Where feasible, the design of research and educational activities at all levels (K-12, UWB, adult learners) will be done in partnership with representatives of local tribes to include respectful and accurate representation of indigenous perspectives, knowledge, and wisdom. Tribal representatives will also be invited to participate in educational delivery. UW Bothell faculty already have research and education partnerships with local tribes such as the Muckleshoot, Snoqualmie, Duwamish, and Tulalip. We expect to build on these existing relationships to establish truly collaborative and innovative relationships in co-design and co-delivery of educational material that respects and includes our tribal partners.