Students wearing backpacks are clustered together, working in a grassy field. They are bent over intently looking at and pointing at the ground at their feet. A snowcapped mountain range rises above them in the background.


Learning, Environment, Action, Discovery (LEAD)

LEAD provides experiential community engagement opportunities for students to apply environmental knowledge outside the classroom. 

Two people walking down a path within a heavily overgrown forested area.

Current LEAD Project

Miyawaki Method Mini-Forest, North Campus

At this site, we hope to transform a degraded area overgrown by non-native plants back into a forest characteristic of the Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone.

Learn more about the Miyawaki Method

Sign-up to Volunteer

Email our volunteer coordinator at lead@wwu.edu to discuss your interests and learn more.

Learn More About Volunteering with LEAD

What is L.E.A.D.?

Learning Environment Action Discovery (LEAD) is a student run restoration program in the College of the Environment. LEAD has been around for over 25 years, and is directed by graduate students in the Environmental Studies department. 

What does L.E.A.D. do?

LEAD seeks to improve habitat in and around the WWU campus to provide ecological, social, and educational benefits to our community. We run regular restoration work parties, provide internship and experiential learning opportunities, collaborate with other environmental organizations, and teach a 2-credit restoration seminar in the Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning (UEPP) department. 

Who is LEAD affiliated with?

Group of Western students standing behind a massive pile of green recently removed invasive plants.
Group of Western students gathered round a pile of green clippings on a blue tarp.


Three Western students working near a wheelbarrow full of weeds and plant debris.

Learn more about the projects we work on.


A group of 7 Western students standing near the rear of a truck filled with grass clippings and plant debris. A rake, shovels and hand tools are laying on the ground nearby.

Learn more about LEAD staff and interns.


A large group of Western students work near a 6' tall pile of dirt. Surrounding the freshly moved dirt pile are a dozen rakes and 10 blue buckets.

Explore resources, including our Invasive Species Plant Identification guide.

Contact LEAD

A group of 9 volunteers work together digging up invasive plants in the Sehome Arboretum.

Please contact us if you have projects, or would like to partner with us.

A close up shows the intricate green foliage of a woody plant.

Bare Root Plant Guide

Learn what Bare Root Plants are and why we chose them for our project. Storage and planting tips are included.

Bare Root Plant Guide

Invasive Species Guide

Three leaved blackberry plant with pointed, jagged edged leaves and thorns, an invasive species in the Pacific Northwest.

Discover the differences between invasive species and noxious weeds using our Invasive Species Guide.

Identify Local Invasive Plants and Weeds

Our Vision

Old Main in the early spring with trees silhouetted, sans all their leaves.

LEAD provides experiential community engagement opportunities for students to apply environmental knowledge outside the classroom. Our organization fosters partnerships within the Western community and Whatcom community at large.

These partnerships between community members, public lands, and Western aim to restore and preserve native biodiversity throughout Whatcom county. It is important to acknowledge that all of our activities are happening on stolen indigenous land, particularly belonging to the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe.