NSEA Certificate Programs
Spring: April 18
Applications accepted March 1-April 18th each year.
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The Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) is a 501 c(3) community-based, non-profit organization focused on reversing the trend of declining salmon runs in Whatcom County. We enhance river, creek, and riparian habitat while educating people of all ages to provide Pacific salmon & Steelhead the best chance at survival.
They envision sustainable ecosystems with healthy watersheds and habitat conducive to producing abundant salmon that are protected and preserved by a caring and engaged community. The Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association educates, inspires, and engages the community to take action to keep wild salmon here for future generations.
About NSEA Certificates
NSEA and Western Washington University's Environmental Science and Environmental Studies Departments have collaborated to create two academic certificates. These certificates combine academic learning, hands-on training and paid internships that give students training and experience needed to apply a variety of skills to critical work in watershed restoration and community education and engagement. Throughout the two-year program, students engage in courses to learn the current environmental issues in fisheries habitat and how best to design research, education, science, policies, and community action while also participating in hands-on practicum work through paid internships with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) a local salmon recovery organization to support students in gaining the skills and experience in supporting salmon recovery.
- Salmon Enhancement: Community Education Certificate. Offered through the Environmental Studies Department. View this program in the University Catalog.
- Salmon Enhancement: Habitat Restoration Certificate. Offered through the Environmental Science Department. View this program in the University Catalog.
Students should apply for the certificate that best aligns with their major and its degree requirements.
Who Should Apply
These certificate programs have been developed in accordance with the equity principles of Career Connect Washington in mind. Career Connect Washington's equity mission is to ensure that demographics and student characteristics such as race, income, geography, gender, and citizenship status do not predict the academic and career outcomes of Washington's students. In alignment with this goal, NSEA alongside WWU’s Environmental Studies Department and Environmental Science Department have designed these certificate programs with the intention of exposing historically underrepresented students to the field of environmental restoration. We particularly encourage applications from BIPOC students, LGBTQ+ students, multilingual students, students with disabilities, lower-income students, rural youth, foster children, homeless youth, and young parents.
Acceptance into the NSEA certificate programs is competitive. Students who have completed preparatory courses and have declared a major in the College of the Environment should apply.
Applications through the link below are reviewed late spring each year. A committee of NSEA staff and faculty review applications and select up to 15 students for each cohort. Following acceptance, students will meet with a faculty certificate adviser to map out coursework and NSEA staff to plan internship hours and activities. Diverse students of all kinds are strongly encouraged to apply and bring their diverse experiences and perspectives to enrich, challenge, and enhance NSEA's activities.
- Applications open March 1st-April 18th each year.
How it Works
Students should expect to complete one to two courses certificate-related courses each quarter for three to six quarter. They should plan on completing 8 internship credits with NSEA, equivalent to about 240 hours of paid work. These internship credits will be divided between two quarters. Most students will do their internship credits summer and fall quarters, with some students choosing to continue their internship (for credit or not) in winter and spring. During the summer, NSEA internships are focused on weekend activities. During the academic year, internship activities are during the week.
Students and NSEA may mutually agree upon additional paid internship hours that are beyond those required for certificate. These credits would not need to be taken for university internship credit, unless desired.
Students will be expected to engage in internship activities that are both indoors and outdoors all year long. Some work may be physically strenuous. Tools, training, and transportation to field sites will be provided by NSEA.
Being an NSEA Intern
What's it like being an intern while in school?
[Halle] I'm an Environmental Science major with a marine emphasis, and this internship really incorporated all of the aspects that I was looking for in an internship. [Lucas] It really is cool to like, you know, go to class at Western and learn something and then you come out here and like you either see what you learn or do what you learned. And I feel like that just like really helps drive home, like the stuff that you're doing, you know, like it's so much different to sit and lecture and learn versus like, oh, I'm actually planting trees to help, like a riparian area next to a river.
What do you like about your internship?
[Julia] I really kind of love having this experience, of like working in a group with people around my same age who have the same interests as me, completing a similar goal of like supporting the environment, supporting salmon, and also educating students.
[Savanna] My favorite part of doing the internship has been probably connecting with the community and just learning a lot more about salmon and learning, getting to actually see salmon, we did a salmon sighting where we spent a lot of time observing a bunch of chum and seeing, learning the intricacies of their behavior was really, really cool. And then just getting to do that with a bunch of excited community members.
What have you learned as an intern?
[Halle] This position definitely solidified the fact that this is the career that I want to be going into. This was my first opportunity to do work that's outside and with the environment, and I've really enjoyed it and found that this is definitely what I want to be doing.
[Julia] I think inspiration is a huge part of what can make a difference in the future. Being able to see fourth graders get inspired about the work that we do and the work that they could do in the future and learning and hearing about them wanting to be scientists.
[Savanna] think I've learned a lot about how science can be a part of community building and how to do really good science, you have to get the community invested.
[Kelsea] Didn't know how to properly plant things. I didn't know how to do restoration. I didn't know how to lead work parties. I didn't know how to educate the public about salmon. And I feel like I am very confident with all those things now.
[Savanna] In terms of translation to what I can put on my resume has provided a lot of technical skills in terms of restoration. And so for a lot of my projects, I can talk about restoration. [
Halle] I think I've gained a lot more experience leading a small group and giving instructions and interacting with the community.
What would you say to someone interested in an internship with NSEA?
[Savanna] I think if you're interested in restoration, if you like being outside, if you like talking to people, I mean a lot of this job is just communicating and interacting with people. If you have energy, if you like kids.
[Kelsea] If you love working outside then this would be the thing for you. I think that's one of my favorite things is just being out in the sunshine all day, working with people outside, working with plants and animals. I feel like it really sustains me throughout the week.
[Lucas] It's super interdisciplinary, so it attracts a lot of people. I would say like you could be interested in like obviously fish. That's a basic one. If you like fish, you get to see fish and help fish. If you're interested in forest science, you're obviously in the forest right now. You get to learn about that.
[Halle] If you like working outside, if you like the environment, if you like interacting with people, if you're looking to do your part to make the environment a little bit better and educate others, I think I would, you should definitely consider this position.
Learn more at www.n-sea.org/flow.
What's it like being an NSEA Intern?
Students must be declared for either ESCI or ENVS.
You may take the internship component before classes however it is recommended to take some certificate classes before and during the internship.
Students should schedule internship credits in according to their credit load and NSEA’s availability.
Yes, some financial aid is not available during the summer this includes institutional funding and scholarships. However, the Washington College Grant and the Pell Grant do cover summer classes for students taking over 6 credits. Summer Financial Aid Application must be completed prior to summer quarter sometime in April.
No, students must be fully declared as ESCI Majors or ENVS Majors.
Course Offerings: Community Education Certificate (Environmental Studies)
ESCI 225 Beginning Ecology: Natural Environmental Knowledge area, 1 course required
ENVS 303 Intro to Environmental Studies: Foundations area, required, also offered Winter
ESCI 330 Natural History of the PNW: Natural Environmental Knowledge area, 1 course required, also offered Spring & Summer
ENVS 381 Intro to Education for Eco-social Justice: Community Education and Engagement Skills, Required
ENVS 320 GIS I: Analysis Skills area, 1 Required, also offered Winter & Spring
ENVS 303 Intro to Environmental Studies: Foundations area, required, also offered Fall
ENVS 326 Climatology: Natural Environmental Knowledge area, 1 course required
ENVS 327 Soil Environment: Natural Environmental Knowledge area, 1 course required
ENVS 331 Canada Society and Enviro: Socio-ecological Knowledge area, 1 course required
UEPP 463 Native American Planning: Socio-ecological Knowledge area, 1 course required
ENVS 492 Curriculum for Environment and Sustainability: Community Education and Engagement Skills, 1 course required
ENVS 401 Intro to Enviro Studies Methods: Analysis Skills area, 1 course required
ENVS 320 GIS I: Analysis Skills area, 1 course required, also offered Winter & Spring
ENVS 392 Intro to Climate Change: Natural Environmental Knowledge area, 1 course required
ENVS 491 Environmental Communication: Community Education and Engagement Skills area, 1 course required
ENVS 320 GIS I: Analysis Skills area, 1 course required, also offered Fall & Winter
ESCI 330 Natural History of the PNW: Natural Environmental Knowledge area, 1 course required, also offered Fall & Summer
ENVS 320 GIS I: Analysis Skills area, 1 course required, also offered Fall, Winter & Spring
ENVS 332 The Pacific Northwest Society and Environment: Socio-ecological Knowledge area, 1 course required
ENVS 426 Water Resources: Socio-ecological Knowledge area, 1 course required
ESCI 330 Natural History of the PNW: Natural Environmental Knowledge area, 1 course required, also offered Fall & Spring
Courses That Vary when Offered
SALI 201 Intro to the Salish Sea: Socio-ecological Knowledge area, 1 course required
ENVS 428 Biogeography: Socio-ecological Knowledge area, 1 course required
ENVS 441 Society, Space and Natural Resources: Socio-ecological Knowledge area, 1 course required
Course Offerings: Habitat Restoration Certificate (Environmental Sciences)
ESCI 330 Natural History of the PNW: Required Fundamentals course, also offered Spring & Summer
ESCI 361 Water Quality: Required Fundamentals course, also offered Winter & Spring
ESCI 430 Limnology: Aquatic Ecosystem Knowledge area, 1 course required
ESCI 440 Wetlands Ecology: Aquatic Ecosystem Knowledge area, 1 course required
ESCI 470 Ecological Restoration: Aquatic Ecosystem Knowledge area, 1 course required
ESCI 412 Fisheries Science: Fish and Habitat Knowledge area, 1 course required
ESCI 361 Water Quality: Required Fundamentals course, also offered Fall & Spring
ESCI 410 Habitat and Ecology of Pacific Salmon and Trout: Fish and Habitat Knowledge area, 1 course required
ESCI 411 Field Practicum in Fish Habitat Assessment: Fish and Habitat Knowledge area, 1 course required
ESCI 330 Natural History of the PNW: Required Fundamentals course, also offered Fall & Summer
ESCI 429 Stream Ecology: Aquatic Ecosystem Knowledge area, 1 course required
ESCI 431 Watershed Biochemistry: Aquatic Ecosystem Knowledge area, 1 course required
ESCI 425 Environmental Biology of Fishes: Fish and Habitat Knowledge area, 1 course required
ESCI 361 Water Quality: Required Fundamentals course, also offered Fall & Winter
ESCI 330 Natural History of the PNW: Required Fundamentals course, also offered Fall and Spring
ESCI 330 Natural History of the PNW: Required Fundamentals course, also offered Fall and Spring