Newcomers who step foot onto Western Washington University’s (WWU) brick-lined campus for the first time often agree that it’s unlike any other university in the state. Located in Bellingham, Washington, WWU is within walking distance of 180 acres of forest and more than 500 downtown businesses. The university’s mid-sized campus is positioned between Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington and is a hub for outdoorsy-types due to its proximity to Mt. Baker and the Puget Sound.
There is a 700 acre stand of old growth forest sequestered in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains about 25 miles east of Bellingham WA, and about 10 miles west of Mt. Baker at the edge of the Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest. I had long wanted to see and experience this ancient forest as it is one of the two largest such stands in the Pacific Northwest - the other being Grove of the Patriarchs in the Mt. Rainier National Park. Around here old growth forest is revered as an endangered vestige of our natural world as it once was in the same way that other revered PNW icons, the Orca and the salmon are endangered. And maybe for that reason, it is a good thing that this forest is not readily accessible to the public.
This “Canyon Lake Community Forest” is now co-owned and managed as a preserve by the Whatcom County Parks Department for the preservation and recreational maintenance and by Western Washington University which provides educational and research input to the forest. As noted above, the Whatcom Land Trust which initially orchestrated the purchase holds a conservation easement on the property to assist in maintaining its educational value and future preservation.
Sulawesi’s biodiversity was little known then, and the notion that the tarsier from the Togean Islands might be a new species spurred a series of studies that looked at everything from the tarsier’s vocalizations to its DNA sequence.
Finally, in a study published this year in the annual journal Primate Conservation, that initial discovery by Nietsch and Niemitz a quarter of a century ago has been officially confirmed as a new species: Niemitz’s tarsier (Tarsius niemitzi), named in honor of the man “universally regarded as the father of tarsier field biology,” the study says.
“The biodiversity of Sulawesi is much like the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands, made famous by Darwin’s work,” Myron Shekelle, a professor of anthropology at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, and the lead author of the paper describing the new species, told Mongabay in an email.
In the coming weeks, Suzanne Baker will transition from the admissions and community outreach coordinator to her new role at Western Washington University as the curriculum and records manager.
At the same time, she will be wrapping up her doctorate in educational leadership from Northeastern University.
“I have always like education,” Baker said. “I was the first in my immediate family to earn a doctorate which is pretty exciting.”
You can always find something inspiring at Western Washington University. The public is welcome to catch unique student performances and big names you can’t see often. Student concerts are frequent and free, and WWU’s concert series draws professional musicians from around the world.
Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association in Bellingham, Washington will receive $77,700 to support the Students for Salmon Program. In partnership with Bellingham Parks Department, Whatcom Conservation District, Sound Experience, Western Washington University, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, BP Inc., Whatcom Community Foundation and several local school districts, the program works with fourth grade students in Whatcom County schools. The multi-stage watershed education program includes learning both outdoors and classroom activities, to build students’ understanding of healthy salmon habitat. The field trips led by university interns provide students with the opportunity to conduct streamside restoration projects to improve conditions.
Despite living in New York City for more than five decades, my ninety-three-year-old grandfather still doesn’t speak English. No, that’s not quite right. During my childhood, his language did have some English in it. He used a relatively common, if idiosyncratic, commixture of words from his native and adopted tongues. Linguists have studied this pidgin: the way it grafts Italian endings onto English building blocks, the inflection and pronunciation that come from the speaker’s more intimate regional dialect. For him it was Roccolano, the near-extinct language from his small town in Italy’s Molise region.
Some researchers say the extent of possible changes to health risks based on the water quality standard adjustments are difficult to pin down.
"Anytime a regulation is changed, there's actually a calculation that's supposed to be done. There are often assumptions made in these calculations,” says Dr. Wayne Landis, director of the Institute of Environmental Toxicology at Western Washington University. “If someone raises the amount of a chemical like a PCB in an organism that's allowed for you to eat, that will increase the probability of getting the disease. [But] the amount that it will increase that probability is really hard to determine.”
Dr. Robin Matthews, outgoing director for the Institute of Watershed Studies at Western Washington University and an expert in aquatic ecology, says changing water quality regulations without following appropriate processes is worrying.
“Water quality standards should only be changed when there's a strong scientific basis for it. Most of the water quality standards, it took years to develop them. And so changing them without an extensive review period makes me quite nervous,” she says. “If anything, we've seen pretty consistently that we tend to underestimate risks.”
The Bellingham Public Schools system recently amended its guiding document, the Bellingham Promise, by removing the word “citizen” and replacing it with “individual.” No longer do the public schools aspire to foster “honest and ethical citizens who act with integrity” because, in the words of Superintendent Greg Baker, “We heard concerns from our community that the word ‘citizens’ could be misinterpreted, and that some may think we are excluding students and members of our community who are not U.S. citizens.” From my perspective, however, removing the word “citizen” is an abdication of the public school system’s responsibility to the people of Washington and the United States: to prepare young people to be part of our democracy.
During the Sept. 13 Democratic debate, ABC aired a 30-second ad that showed a burning picture of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, equating her policies to those of the Khmer Rouge. The ad features Elizabeth Heng, a Cambodian American woman and former Republican congressional candidate who lost her 2018 race against incumbent Rep. Jim Costa of California.
“Mine is a face of freedom,” Heng says in the ad, contrasting herself to Ocasio-Cortez, “My skin is not white. I’m not outrageous, racist, nor socialist. I’m a Republican.”