Get certified in Eco Restoration with new course offerings

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The new Ecological Restoration Certificate in the San Juan Islands is provided in partnership with the San Juan Islands Conservation District (SJICD) and Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. The program combines academic coursework and hands-on implementation of the fundamentals of ecological restoration. The program is delivered via a series of quarterly online courses plus paid, field-based practicums in the San Juan Islands, integrating hands-on restoration activities, online activities, and in-person learning.

The certificate pairs weekly coursework through Huxley College with a paid 21-hour per week AmeriCorps position hosted by the San Juan Islands Conservation District’s Islands Conservation Corps (ICC), based on Orcas Island. Certificate students enrolled in the ICC will conduct field restoration activities that count toward practicum credits for certificate courses. In addition, ICC enrollees receive a $3,172 education award and take certificate courses at a deep discount, incurring no out-of-pocket costs for 20 credits on their transcript. Upon completion, students receive an accredited professional certificate and are in a position to continue work towards future college degrees or post-graduate certificates.

The program is grateful to the generous support of the Orcas Island Community Foundation, San Juan Community Foundation, Career Connect Washington, and our land agency partners. This collaborative seeks to provide equitable access to education and career pathways in the field of land management.

To apply please visit https://www.sanjuanislandscd.org/icc. Applications are due by July 31, 2021.

Collaborative Program at the Northwest Indian College

The Northwest Indian College (NWIC) is developing a collaborative field and education program that will operate in partnership with the ICC. Designed for Lummi youth studying at the NWIC Indigenous Studies Department, the certificate provides access to courses on food sovereignty, native plant restoration, and traditional management techniques. The program would also conduct restoration activities and partner with the ICC on field-based projects on the Lummi Reservation and in the San Juan Islands. The collaborative programs seek to foster cross-cultural dialogue and engagement around issues of environmental degradation, rehabilitation, and land access.

Restoration Activities

The ICC conducts 20 hours per week of field-based restoration in San Juan County with land agency partners including:

San Juan County Land Bank; San Juan County Public Work; San Juan Preservation Trust; OPALCO; Washington Dept. of Natural Resources; and State Parks.

Crew activities include invasive weed removal, fuel reduction and forest thinning activities, biomass processing, planting native shrubs and pollinators, riparian zone restoration, and trail construction.

Workforce Development

Members of the program are welcomed and encouraged to provide their expertise and experience in restoration ecology to private landowners as a contractor during hours outside of their AmeriCorps weekly commitment of 20 hours or after the conclusion of their program. SJICD provides technical assistance and natural resource planning to provide conservation strategies and recommendations for private landowners through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). SJICD can help cohort members leverage the credentials of the program by connecting them with opportunities to help landowners fulfill NRCS contracts or other private contracts for restoration ecology. The program will help publicize member names and contacts, if desired, to help individuals build their personal clientele and portfolio. SJICD and partners can provide business management and development assistance to program participants who are interested. Members will also receive access to public land agencies to potentially cultivate work as land stewards upon graduation. Beyond connecting members to opportunities, no organization in this program holds responsibility for the activities performed outside of operation hours.

Certificate Details for Huxley College

20 Credits Annually – Available for-credit and non-credit: Accredited Courses can be applied towards either a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Bachelor of Science, or a Post Graduate Degree in GIS or Biological Statistics. Students are encouraged to take 1 seminar course per quarter but are allowed to take more courses based on goals outlined with an academic advisor. Many classes are offered only once per year and must be taken in sequence, so careful planning with an advisor is recommended. Classes run 5-8 pm one night per week.

Course Type: Courses are offered through Huxley College on the Peninsulas, a distance-based, interactive network that allows the curriculum to be delivered to students by interactive video conferencing and field-based learning. This extends curriculum into communities historically underserved in higher educational opportunities, such as the San Juan Islands.

The non-credit certificate offers a lower price point of $10/ credit and is designed for the working professional that looks to hold a part-time job outside of crew and class activities. This pathway offers an Ecological Restoration Certificate of completion for attending the courses and does not require the member to conduct class activities or graded coursework.

Cost: Accredited classes cost $3,100, which can be covered by the $3,172 Education Award from the 900-hour AmeriCorps position. Credits are valued at $6,920. Non-accredited opportunities are $10 per credit.

Start and End Date: September 1st of 2021 through July 1st of 2022.

Hours: Fieldwork occurs two days a week from April-June and 3 days a week from October through April. Classes are scheduled from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and are initiated by in-person faculty with the use of interactive conferencing.

Field-based payment: Students are provided a $900 monthly living stipend and $350 towards rental assistance. In addition, AmeriCorps provides assistance with accessing Washington State healthcare.

Course offerings through Huxley

Fall 2021

ESCI 499 – Seminar in Forest Restoration (2 credits) $50

This two-credit-hour seminar will combine lectures with field practicums that cover techniques for forest health, native plant propagation, fire ecology, and biochar production and utilization.

Select one:

ENVS 320 Introduction to GIS (4 credits) $224

This course provides an introduction to the field of Geographic Information Science (GIS) and ArcGIS software. It includes a combination of theoretical and practical elements, providing both a conceptual understanding of and hands-on experience with the analysis and visualization of geospatial data.

or

ESCI 325 Fundamentals of Ecology (3 credits) $224

This course is an investigation of the complex interactions of organisms, with each other and with their physical surroundings, explored in the context of populations, communities, ecosystems and landscapes.

Winter 2022

ESCI 499 – Seminar in Stream Restoration (2 credits) $50

This two-credit-hour seminar will combine lectures with field practicums that cover techniques for stream restoration, assessment of stream health, and conservation actions for stream ecology.

ESCI 340 Biological Statistics (5 credits) $224

Study of data analysis at an introductory and intermediate level and statistical tests commonly used in the biological and environmental sciences. Descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, regression and correlation, experimental design. A computer that runs R studio is required.

Or

ESCI 439 Conservation of Biological Diversity (4 credits) $224

This course will introduce students to the science and practice of conserving biological diversity. It will help students understand the causes and consequences of declines in biodiversity due to human activities, and to evaluate policies directed at preventing biodiversity declines.

Spring 2022

ESCI 499 – Seminar in near-shore Ecological Restoration (2 credits) $50

This two-credit-hour seminar will combine lectures with field practicums that cover techniques for the restoration of nearshore environments.

ESCI 498 – Experiential Learning credits (variable 1-3 project credits) $50

Experiential learning credits provide the student with a supervised work and learning experience in a paid employment or unpaid voluntary, environmentally relevant, professional setting.

ESCI 328 Ecosystem Management (5 credits) $224

This course expands on the principles of ecology that are fundamental to the development of sustainable land-use systems and examines contemporary land-use practices with regard to their ecological significance in the major ecosystems of the world.

Or

ENVS 320 Introduction to GIS (4 credits) $224

This course provides an introduction to the field of Geographic Information Science (GIS) and ArcGIS software. It includes a combination of theoretical and practical elements, providing both a conceptual understanding of and hands-on experience with the analysis and visualization of geospatial data.