Joshua Lawler

Director & Associate Professor
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Josh is a landscape ecologist and conservation biologist focused on applied conservation questions and their real-world applications. He is most interested in how anthropogenic factors affect species distributions, population dynamics, and community composition at regional and continental scales. His research involves investigating the effects of climate change on species distributions and populations, exploring the influence of landscape pattern on animal populations and communities, and climate-change adaptation for natural and human systems. Some of his current work has begun to involve the field of conservation psychology—exploring how people make environmental decisions and what psychological benefits people gain from nature.

Current highlights

  • Collaborating with Katie Davis in the iSchool to develop and test NatureCollections, an app to help kids connect with nature
  • Working with the National Park Service to prioritize parks across the US for climate change vulnerability assessments
  • Assessing the relative impact of land-use regulations and land acquisitions on wildlife habitat in Washington State

Sara Breslow

Environmental Anthropologist & Program Manager

Sara is an environmental anthropologist and interdisciplinarian working at the intersections of sustainability and social justice, with interests in transdisciplinary, participatory, and arts-based practices. The bulk of her research has focused on the social and cultural aspects of environmental conflict and ecosystem recovery in the Puget Sound region. In the spirit of participatory and public scholarship, she worked with a theatre artist to turn her ethnographic interviews into a play. More recently, Sara worked on the Western Governors’ Association’s Get Out West! initiative to promote outdoor recreation, conservation, and health, and led the development of human well-being indicators at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Sara holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Washington and a BA in biology from Swarthmore College.

Current highlights

  • Gave the opening keynote address at the European Society for Ecological Economics in Budapest, Hungary, on “Collaborative Practices at the Science-Society Interface”
  • Completed a Theatre of the Oppressed facilitators’ training at the Mandala Center in Port Townsend, Washington
  • Participating in the State of Alaska’s Salmon and People working group on Well-Being and Alaska Salmon Systems
  • Helped develop an approach for valuing nature’s contributions to people, and helped assess the values of pollination and pollinators to people, as a participant in the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Spencer Wood

Senior Research Scientist

Spencer does interdisciplinary research on people’s connections with nature, and works directly with partner organizations who use this information to make conservation decisions that benefit people. Spencer’s science often combines empirical and mathematical approaches to understanding socio-ecological systems. Recent research has included studies on how nature influences tourism, whether urban parks improve visitors’ moods, and how ancient hunting practices altered marine food webs around the Aleutian Islands. While away from the Center for Creative Conservation, Spencer also works as a Senior Scientist with the Natural Capital Project and as a Naturalist with OuterShores Expeditions. He earned his PhD from the University of British Columbia and lives in a thick forest on Vashon Island, Washington.

Current highlights

Tyler Ung

Tyler Ung

Tyler Ung

Intern · Using Visual Art to Provoke Moral Inquiry and Environmental Advocacy

Our third UW Environmental Studies intern, Tyler Ung, uses line drawings superimposed on photographs to provoke moral inquiry and collective action about issues of sustainability in our everyday lives, such as climate change, plastic pollution, and landscape alterations. His project is titled, “A Mind’s Meadow: Beauty beyond Suppression.” During a study abroad quarter in China and India, and back in the United States, Tyler is combining field research and art to explore how these three countries are intricately connected in their responsibility for global sustainability. Specifically, he is focusing on how waste generation is experienced and perceived differently in Beijing, Bangalore, and Seattle. In an online exhibit of more than 35 visual artworks, Tyler plans to explore how art can raise awareness of the complexities and inefficiencies in our systems, shape cultural, moral, and aesthetic values, and thereby promote environmental consciousness and advocacy.

Ava Holmes

Ava Holmes

Ava Holmes

Intern · Exploring the Social Implications of Elephant Conservation

Our second UW Environmental Studies intern, Ava Holmes, asked, “How can we design conservation solutions that enable humans and African elephants to co-exist peacefully?” While ivory poaching is detrimental to elephants, humans, and other animals alike, popular media rarely addresses the complexity of why it continues. Through video-recorded interviews, Ava explored various perspectives on the conservation of African Elephants and created new media that dives deeper into the social dynamics around poaching. Interviewees were selected for their expertise and unique perspectives, ranging from an anthropologist working with indigenous tribes living in close corridors with elephants, to the director of a major conservation organization, to a prominent elephant researcher. Ava anticipates that understanding the human intentions surrounding elephant poaching and conservation is a pathway to solutions that better address both human and elephant needs. In her spare time, Ava blends a passion for elephants, conservation—and fashion!

Jasmmine Ramgotra

Ramgotra "In the White Frame"

Jasmmine Ramgotra, “In the White Frame”

Intern · Change from Within: Diversifying the Environmental Movement

Our first intern at C3, Jasmmine Ramgotra began working with us as a UW senior, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Dance. She conducted interviews with leaders in academia, government, non-profits, and the business community to assess awareness and scope solutions for the lack of diversity in environmental fields. She then interpreted those interviews in the format of contemporary dance. Using the interview audio as a sound score, and four dancers to communicate the message, the performance – called Change from Within – presents clear takeaways about how to create positive change on an individual level. The piece was performed twice in June 2017, at the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, and at the UW Ethnic Cultural Center as a culmination to the Racial Ecologies Conference—and was featured in the UW Environmental Studies newsletter. Jasmmine is now pursuing opportunities to stage additional performances and has launched a new blog called Walking the Border Between Worlds.

Steering Committee

University of Washington Affiliates

Gina Aaftab Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity Collaborator
Ernesto Alvarado School of Environmental and Forest Sciences Camas Prairie Cultural Ecosystems
Rachel Arteaga Simpson Center for the Humanities Collaborator
Stanley Asah School of Environmental and Forest Sciences Nature Contact & Human Health
Greg Bratman School of Environmental and Forest Sciences Nature Contact & Human Health
Sara Brostrom School of Marine and Environmental Affairs EarthGames
Patrick Christie School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, Jackson School of International Studies Social Science for the Salish Sea
Jen Davison Urban@UW Collaborator
Nives Dolsak School of Marine and Environmental Affairs Collaborator
Stacia Dreyer School of Marine and Environmental Affairs Social Science for the Salish Sea
Kristie Ebi Department of Global Health Nature Contact & Human Health
Dargan Frierson Department of Atmospheric Sciences EarthGames
Howard Frumkin School of Public Health Nature Contact & Human Health
Sara Gonzalez Department of Anthropology Camas Prairie Cultural Ecosystems
Anjum Hajat School of Public Health Nature Contact & Human Health
Lisa Hayward Watts Center for Creative Conservation Storymap of Climate Change
Marnie Hazlehurst School of Public Health Nature Contact & Human Health
Deborah Illman Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Storymap of Climate Change
Janine Jones College of Education Nature Contact & Human Health
Joyce LeCompte Program on the Environment Camas Prairie Cultural Ecosystems
Phil Levin School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, The Nature Conservancy Nature Contact & Human Health
Stacey Long-Genovese Institute of Translational Health Sciences Collaborator
Guillaume Mauger Climate Impacts Group Storymap of Climate Change
P. Sean McDonald Program on the Environment Student Internships
LeiLani Nishime Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity Collaborator
Paula Nurius School of Social Work Collaborator
Aseem Prakash Department of Political Science, Center for Environmental Politics Collaborator
Brett Ramey Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program Camas Prairie Cultural Ecosystems
Nancy Rottle Department of Landscape Architecture Nature Contact & Human Health
Amir Sheikh Department of Urban Design and Planning, USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station Nature Contact & Human Health
Amy Snover Climate Impacts Group Collaborator, EarthLab
Pooja Tandon Center for Child Health, Behavior & Development, General Pediatrics, Seattle Children’s Nature Contact & Human Health
Ann Vander Stoep School of Public Health Nature Contact & Human Health
Usha Varanasi School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, College of the Environment Nature Contact & Human Health
Kathy Wolf School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station Nature Contact & Human Health
Kyle Yasuda Department of Pediatrics, BestStart Washington Nature Contact & Human Health