We hope that the Salish Sea Studies Minor will encourage students to fall in love with the Salish Sea and care for this special place, a hope expressed first by Renee Swan-Waite (Lummi Nation) during the curriculum’s design process.
Dr. Natalie Baloy, Associate Director of Transboundary Initiatives (Natalie.Baloy@wwu.edu | 360-650-4871)
The Salish Sea Studies program develops students’ sense of place by deepening knowledge about the local ecoregion’s complex ecologies and human systems. The program prepares students to work collaboratively across international borders and academic disciplines, to understand tribal treaties and sovereignty, and to improve the health of the Salish Sea for future generations.
The place-based and multidisciplinary Salish Sea Studies curriculum introduces students to the complex ecologies and human experiences of the Salish Sea region. The Salish Sea includes the Georgia Basin, Puget Sound, the San Juan and Gulf Islands archipelago, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. As an international body of water, the Salish Sea is governed by federal, state, provincial, municipal, and treaty laws and regulations. The name of this transboundary sea reflects the long history of the Coast Salish peoples who have lived on the shores of the Salish Sea since time immemorial. Over eight million people now share this landscape with a diverse ecosystem, including orca whales, the giant Pacific octopus, five species of salmon, herring, puffins, kelp, sea stars, and cedar trees. Many species are threatened and endangered due to human impacts on the ecoregion.
Salish Sea Studies offers students a unique opportunity to understand transboundary governance structures and tribal sovereignty in the context of the greater ecosystem. Developing a deep knowledge of this place from environmental, cultural, and historical perspectives will prepare students to work collaboratively across multiple jurisdictions, sectors, and perspectives in a range of professions, including in public service and government, industry, and nonprofit organizations. Salish Sea Studies offers a place-based complement to other majors and minors, including environmental science and policy, marine sciences, international business, anthropology, history, political science, communications, and education.
Developing a deep knowledge of this place from environmental, cultural, and historical perspectives will prepare students to work collaboratively across multiple jurisdictions, sectors, and perspectives in a range of professions, including in public service and government, industry, and nonprofit organizations. The program also provides a strong foundation for pursuing graduate work regionally and beyond by developing a keen understanding of the complexities of their undergraduate ecoregion.
Salish Sea Studies Core
- SALI 201: Introduction to the Salish Sea (5 credits – offered in 2019-2020 as SALI 297)
- At least three credits from the following:
- SALI 202: Introduction to the Salish Sea – Lab (1 credit)
- SALI 490: Salish Sea Studies Community Seminar (1 credit – can be taken up to 3 times to fulfill requirement)
- Other SALI courses under advisement
At least one course from each learning domain; must take a total of at least 15 credits to reach the credit minimum of 22 for the minor.
- Learning Domain 1: Storytelling, Art, and Science Communication
This learning domain focuses on how to express and explain what you learn about the Salish Sea.
- A/HI 310: Indigenous Arts of the Pacific Northwest
- A/HI 348: Art and Ecology
- COMM 225: Communication, Diversity, and Controversy
- COMM 244: Advocacy through Media
- ENG 334: Literary and Creative Expression Across North America and Europe (only under a Salish Sea topic)
- ENG 385: Sustainability Literacy II
- ENVS 412: Environmental Journalism
- ENVS 413: The Planet Staff
- ENVS 483: Environmental Interpretation
- Learning Domain 2: Salish Sea Histories and Cultures
This domain focuses on the complex layers of human history and experience in the Salish Sea region.
- ANTH 312: Field Courses in Archaeology
- ANTH 361: American Indian Perspectives
- ANTH 415: Archaeological Spatial Analysis
- ANTH 462: Native Peoples of the Northwest
- C/AM 430 / ENVS 430: Borderlands – Resource Management
- C/AM 442 / ENVS 442: Colonial Landscapes of the Pacific Northwest
- FAIR 330E: Ethnobotany
- FAIR 440N: Ethnoecology
- Learning Domain 3: Canada/US and BC/WA Relationships and the Border
This learning domain highlights that the Salish Sea is a transboundary and international ecoregion, with two major nation-states and complex governance systems, including Indigenous Nations.
- C/AM 200: Introduction to the Salish Sea
- C/AM 277 / HIST 277: Canada – A Historical Survey
- C/AM 331 / ENVS 331: Canada – Society and Environment
- C/AM 441 / ENVS 441: Society, Space, and Natural Resources
- C/AM 489 / PLSC 489: Managing an International Ecosystem
- ECON 365: The Canadian Economy
- HIST 278: Multiculturalism in Canada
- HIST 379: Canadian American Relations
- Learning Domain 4: Ecological Health and Restoration
This learning domain emphasizes the shared ecoregion and its ecological systems, highlighting ecosystem science, health indicators, and solutions.
- BIOL 110: Marine Habitat Diversity
- BIOL 111: Current Topics in Marine Science I
- BIOL 112: Current Topics in Marine Science II
- BIOL 407: Marine Ecology
- BIOL 456: Algae
- BIOL 464: Biology of Marine Mammals
- ENVS 332: The Pacific Northwest – Society and Environment
- ENVS 449 / ENRG 449: Northwest Energy Systems Transitions
- ESCI 204: The Oceans – Topics in Marine Science
- ESCI 330: Natural History of the Pacific Northwest
- ESCI 417/517: The State of the Salish Sea Ecosystem
- ESCI 439: Conservation of Biological Diversity
- ESCI 491: Oceanography of the Salish Sea
- FAIR 334P: Field Studies in Science (only under a Salish Sea topic)
- FAIR 330D: Natural History and Environmental Issues of Northwest Washington
- FAIR 336N: Topics in Science (only under a Salish Sea topic)
- Natalie Baloy, Associate Director, Transboundary Initiatives. Cultural anthropology, research ethics, settler colonialism, regional history.
- Ginny Broadhurst, Director, Salish Sea Institute. Environmental stewardship, transboundary engagement, and Salish Sea ecosystem health.
- Dolores Calderon, Associate Professor, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Coloniality, land education, Indigenous epistemologies, and border issues in education.
- Robin Kodner, Associate Professor, Biology. Marine biology, algae, citizen science.
- Jennifer Seltz, Associate Professor, History. History of the Pacific Northwest, environmental history.
- Nick Stanger, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies. Environmental education in Canada and the Salish Sea.
- John Tuxill, Associate Professor, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Ethnobotany, ethnobotany, conservation biology, sustainability.
Past Curriculum Committee Members
- Lydia Dennee-Lee, Student, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Environmental advocacy, community engagement, and ecological restoration.
- James Helfield, Associate Professor, Environmental Science. Rivers and riparian forests, habitat and ecology of Pacific salmon.
- Anna Lees, Assistant Professor, Elementary Education. Early childhood education, community-based education.
- James Loucky, Professor, Anthropology. North American borderlands.
Development of the Salish Sea Studies curriculum has been generously supported by anonymous donations, the Keta Legacy Foundation, and the Pacific Northwest National Resource Center on Canada (US Department of Education Title VI grant).