In the Media
For Laurie Trautman, director of the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University, these partnerships are a reason for optimism.
“I think we are uniquely positioned to build on our region’s incredible talent,” she said. “We have a history of being collaborative, and the Cascadia Innovation Corridor is proving that collaboration is driving success.”
New research published by Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute (BPRI) shows cross-border news sources and advocacy groups’ impact on efforts to prevent mining in the Skagit River headwaters.
Derek Moscato, BPRI faculty fellow and associated professor of journalism at Western, looked at media outlets’ — in Washington and B.C. — focus on the Skagit watershed due to B.C.-based Imperial Metals pending application since 2019 to gold mine in an area that became known as the “Donut Hole.”
Nearly a decade ago, Boston’s Old North Church opened a Colonial-themed chocolate shop named for Captain Newark Jackson, a prominent early member of the historic church and a pillar of Boston’s lucrative chocolate trade with the British in the 1700s.
For years, Colonial re-enactors in traditional costumes at Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop would grind cacao by hand and tell tourists stories of the chocolate trade.
What those re-enactors never said was that the chocolate trade was built on the backs of enslaved adults and children. Now, as the historic church uncovers and reckons with its past, it's not hiding those grim details. And it's welcoming students to study and reflect on the paradox of a landmark church dedicated to freedom whose members prospered from the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
In 2018, historian and author Jared Ross Hardesty's team of researchers discovered Jackson bought slaves in Barbados and traded them to plantation owners in Suriname for cacao beans to bring home, which he documented in the book "Mutiny on the Rising Sun."
“Essentially we found an entire smuggling ring,” Hardesty said. “And a central part of the way this entire smuggling operation worked was around the exchange of human beings.”
The team’s work is part of the small but growing field of snow algae research. The scientists hope to figure out what allows snow algae to thrive, and where it’s most likely to live. The Living Snow Project, a citizen science initiative created by Western Washington University researchers, asked skiers, climbers and hikers to help collect pink snow samples. Scientists have also converged on surging algal blooms in the French Alps.
After a 38-year period of calm—the longest in its recorded history—Hawaii’s Mauna Loa has reawakened.
At approximately 11:30 p.m. local time on Sunday, Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano in the world, began erupting. Lava oozed into Moku‘āweoweo, the bowl-like summit of the volcano, staining the blue-black sky with crimson hues. Throughout the night, the lava emerged and flowed mostly within this caldera, with a small amount spilling over the side. But as the sun rose, molten rock was spotted bleeding out of fresh cracks on the volcano’s northeastern flanks—a section of the mountain that is slowly being pulled apart.
At present, no major population centres are threatened and no evacuation orders have been issued, but the situation is rapidly evolving, and eruptions at Mauna Loa have proven unpredictable in the past.
“There are eruptions at Mauna Loa that end in a day. There are also eruptions that go on for a long time. Really, there is just no way to know right now,” says Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, a volcano seismologist at Western Washington University.
Want to work with the public in the outdoors? Bellingham’s Western Washington University offers a Recreation Management and Leadership Program—a bachelor of arts degree applicable to careers in sustainable tourism and community recreation. Guiding, camp counseling, wilderness therapy, and park management are just a few of the paths students pursue after graduating.
Indigenous students at Western Washington University will soon have a place to gather, receive support and bring in community members. After years of discussion and planning, funding is in place and plans are underway to build the House of Healing, a longhouse-style building on Western’s campus.
Indigenous students come from tightly woven communities, and that sense of belonging is often lost when they come to a big institution, Western Tribal Liaison Laural Ballew said.
“We’re hoping having this longhouse-style structure will give them that unique sense of place, and a place to gather for studying, for learning and sharing,” she said.
Turner was one of the key figures in the initiative to nominate Howe Sound, a 135-square-mile fjord at the northeastern end of the Salish Sea. (Puget Sound is over 1,000 square miles.) A retired Canadian federal geologist, he makes informative videos about the ecology of the Salish Sea, like a homespun Pacific Northwestern Sir David Attenborough. This academic year he is a Salish Sea Fellow at Western Washington University.
There is growing agreement that the argument ranked-choice voting is “too complicated” is outdated, said Todd Donovan, a political science professor at Western Washington University.
Instead, new research focuses on how to make ballots more accessible for voters. While there are challenges with starting a new system, the current single-winner system leaves voters more discouraged and less represented, Donovan said.
"On the Border: Niagara Falls" is part of the BBC's "On the Border" series, and features WWU's Laurie Trautman of the Border Policy Research Institute.