Environmental Studies Departmental Awards

Every spring the faculty in the Environmental Studies Department gets together to consider students for departmental awards. It is one of the most enjoyable parts of our job. It is a time we can celebrate the outstanding scholarship and service they engage in every day. Below are this year's award recipients, with prior award winners listed at the bottom. We offer a well-deserved congratulations to this year's winners and also a deep thank you. It has been an honor to work along side you and support your growth as scholars, as community members, and as future leaders in environmental problem solving. We so look forward to what you all will do next. 

2022 Award Recipients

Jessi Peterson

Outstanding Graduating Senior

Jessica (Jessi) Peterson is graduating with a 4.0 and is part of the Climate Leadership Certificate (CLC) at Western. Through the certificate she have spent the past year-and-a-half working with a variety of sustainability organizations in Whatcom County, learning critical leadership skills, and developing ideas to positively impact sustainability locally and globally. Jessi recently completed a two-quarter-long independent study for the CLC on the topic of well-being and burnout in sustainability work. She also took the Campus Sustainability Planning Studio class in the fall where she and three classmates developed suggestions based on our research for how to implement WWU’s Sustainability Action Plan. They presented their findings to sustainability leaders from across campus.  

Jessica (Jessi) Peterson
Environmental Studies, Environmental Justice Minor, Climate Leadership Certificate
Students at Demining Library Table

Outstanding Community Service Award

Students in the ENVS 467 Power, Privilege and the Environment teamed up with the East Rural Whatcom County Opportunity Council, WWU Sustainable Communities Partnership, and the East Whatcom Community Council Clean Air Committee to better understand residents' air quality concerns in Eastern Whatcom County. They attended several community events in Columbia Valley, including health pop-ups, service fairs, town halls, and resource fairs. At these events, they offered coffee and donuts and spoke with residents using an interactive poster. They listened and gathered residents' perspectives on how individuals heat their homes, local air quality, and their thoughts on air quality regulation. From these conversations, they learned long-term residents were seeing improved air quality over time. However, more recent arrivals had higher concerns and were less knowledgeable about the causes and season variation in air quality. Many residents were supportive of the Clean Air Agency stove change-out program and of potential wood chipping programs that could reduce the need for brush pile burning.  Some residents were concerned about heating regulations and burn bans, especially when wood heating is cost-effective and one of the few options in the rural area.

Anna-Minn Kellogg, Allie Vandewege, Mason White, Oliver Tanaka, Joe Magnani, and Cooper Castelle
Spring 2022 ENVS 467 Power, Privilege, and the Environment course
Colter Lemons

National Council for Geographic Education Award

Colter Lemons holds a BA Environmental Studies - Geography, a BS Environmental Science - Terrestrial and Freshwater Emphasis, the Mountain Research Skills Certificate, and the GIS Certificate. With a passion for exploring all forms of topography and environments, he has performed his own research in both the Elwha Restoration Ecosystem in the Olympic National Park and in Huascaran National Park in Peru. Colter is excited to pursue his MA Environmental Studies at WWU working with Dr. Andy Bach on mapping glacial moraines deposited during the Little Ice Age in the Mt. Baker area.

Colter Lemons
Geography, Geographic Information Science Certificate
Natalie Sacker

Community Builders Award

Natalie Sacker came to WWU to pursue a degree in Business and Sustainability, and quickly got involved with Students for Renewable Energy and Net Impact. She became an officer in both clubs and kept them active remotely through the pandemic. She organized speaker events, social activities, and professional development lessons for students. Natalie helped grow the Sustainability Engagement Discord and attended and helped publicize sustainability events. She has done climate action research for the City of Bellingham and Peak Sustainability Group, and for her independent study as part of the first cohort of the Climate Leadership Certificate, she has created recommendations to help WWU’s sustainability community thrive into the future.

Natalie Sacker
Business and Sustainability, Climate Leadership Certificate
spring block students at final farewell meeting

Social & Environmental Justice Award

In April and May of 2022, the Environmental Studies Department’s field-based Spring program for environmental educators partnered with W̱SÁNEĆ members (First Nations people in present-day British Columbia) and Lhaq'temish (Lummi people). Together, they created a field learning experience for students in 7th through 12th grades who traveled across Coast Salish waters and international boundaries to meet on W̱ȽÁU,ḴEMEN (Sucia Island). While on the island, the non-Indigenous Environmental Studies students helped organize, administer, feed, and practice risk management, while teaching some scientific natural history.  Their task was to create an open-enough curriculum that invited Indigenous science and language into the learning space.  Whether learning about life cycles, sea otters, microclimates, or intertidal species, faculty, and knowledge keepers from both the Lummi and W̱SÁNEĆ communities offered teachings.  The sharing of language, culture, learning, and food created a fabric for healing, connection across tribal communities, and re-awakening W̱ȽÁU,ḴEMEN.

The faculty and students are grateful of support from Lummi and Whiteswan Environmental Center -- Shirley Williams, Troy Olsen, Chiyokten Paul Wagner, Sadie Olsen, Sasha Hayes Garcia, Jaden Phair, Tyson Scarborough, and Tonya Teton -- and support from the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation  members school board staff -- SX̱EDŦELISIYE, Julie Daniels, PENÁĆ, STIWET, Emily Olsen, Kaleb Child, and Blake Underwood.

Cicada London, Dena Muething, Lotus Blount, Lily Winchel, Zoe Harper, Olivia Floersch, Anna Friedrich, Caroline Burns, Jessica Neal, Nika Lee, and Vivian Voth
Environmental Education Spring Block 2022
Monahan Scholarship recipients at reception

Patrick Monahan Award

The Patrick L. Monahan Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students with geography-related majors who show strong potential for contributions and leadership in the field of geography. Academic achievement and need are also important considerations. Full-time undergraduates as well as community college students transferring to the College of the Environment as geography-related majors are eligible.

Department geography-related degrees include:

  • Geography
  • Environmental Studies -- Geography emphasis, BA
  • Environmental Studies – Geographic Information Science Emphasis, BA
  • Geography – Elementary, BAE
  • Geography/Social Studies, BA
Stuart Reckase, Alexandria Putnam, Taz Turner-Imajo, Gordon Brunson, Tyler Balthrop, Logan Ruch, David Nessa, and Kiernan Park-Egan

Past Departmental Awardees

2019-2020 Patrick L. Monahan Scholarship:  Ashley Cameron, Sean Fitzpatrick, Eric Stafford, Harrison, Winkel, Fajr Yousaf

2018-2019 Patrick L. Monahan Scholarship: Ashley Cameron, Marry Hemminger, Abby Hendrickson, Daniel Knight, Matt Lubar, Own Markel

2017-2018 Patrick L. Monahan Scholarship: Darren Chromey, Drew Lindsey, Lily Murock

2016-2017 Patrick L. Monahan Scholarship: Savannah Growling, Bennet Murch, Lucas Robinson, Stirling Scott

2015-2016 Patrick L. Monahan Scholarship: Daniel Ashley, Leah Bennett, Nicholas Holen, Alison Lubeck, Stirling Scott, Myles West

2014-2015 Patrick L. Monahan Scholarship: Bryan Barger, Demian Estrada, Allison Lubeck, Stephanie MacDonald, Grace Peven, Delano Stark, Myles West

2012-2013 Patrick L. Monahan Scholarship: Hallie Adams, Natalie Boles, Ian Faulds, Annie Shinnell, Emily Stokes, Amy Tibbetts