Magdalena Angel-Cano speaks on the disproportionate effect industrial contamination has on members of her community in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle.

By Erik Anderson, Gavin Cole and Ariel Shiley

Erik Anderson is a junior visual journalism student looking to find new ways to tell meaningful stories through different mediums.

Gavin Cole is a freshman environmental studies student at Huxley College. He looks to use the tools around him to encourage sustainability and environmental consciousness.

Ariel Shiley is a senior environmental science student focused on conducting and communicating science surrounding environmental justice.

The small island in Chuckanut Bay is challenged with invasive plants and birds, but humans present the biggest threat.

Story and photos by Waverly Shreffler

Evening light filters through mature trees on Chuckanut Island in Chuckanut Bay, Washington. The island, which has never been logged, evolves in its natural state.

Voices filter through the forest understory as Aimee Frazier, Chuckanut Island steward, climbs with ease up the steep and rooted slope to the island’s perimeter trail. She weaves through overflowing branches in their mid-spring growth spurt.

“The island belongs to itself,” Frazier chuckles.

In Chuckanut Bay, just one mile south of Bellingham city limits, the Chuckanut Island Cyrus Gates Memorial Preserve is held in its natural state by the Nature Conservancy, “for the benefit of…

Farmers of Color in Colorado are getting an economic boost.

By Riley Weeks

Andréa Wilkins y Martínez, the manager of Mountair Farm Park, stands next to a pear tree. The pear, apple, and cherry trees behind her produce fruit that the public are free to harvest at any time, free of charge. Photo by Riley Weeks.

Mountair Park Community Farm operates on half a hectare of land on the west side of Lakewood, Colorado. On the farm, intermingled with bird song and the rustling leaves of vegetables, is the clank of construction and the occasional clamor of the nearby commuter train. The farm’s greens and browns sit in stark contrast to the greys and blacks of the surrounding city.

On a cool Friday morning in May, Andréa Wilkins y Martínez, the manager of Mountair Farm, is in her element. She is in the…

A furry predator is returning to the forests of Washington thanks to years of collaboration.

By Ysobelle Montero

A male fisher is released near Baker Lake in the North Cascades. Fishers are shy around people and are generally solitary animals outside of mating season. Photo by Jason Ransom, National Park Service.

It’s 2017, and bright cheers echo throughout the evergreen forest of Longmire, Washington, just south of Mount Rainier, as Nisqually Tribal Council member Hanford McCloud and his children help release about half a dozen sleek-furred and slender animals, each the size of a housecat, from their wooden boxes. One by one, these fishers bound into the trees like scared cats. One comes running back, unsure of where to go. …

Through the pandemic, the Outback helped feed Western students in need. Now, students are returning to lend a hand at the farm.

By Kendra Baker | Photos by Sadie Fick

Terri Kempton, farm manager at the Outback, talks to students as they weed the herb-garden. With more people on the farm, the Outback is hoping to expand areas that were unused last year due to the pandemic.

On a warm spring afternoon in May, the laughter, chatter and singing of students floats through the trees of the Outback Farm on Western Washington University’s (WWU) campus. As a gentle breeze blows across the two-hectare farm, the sweet smells of lilacs and wildflowers fill the air.

In the herb garden, students crouch around an apple tree, digging up buttercups and weeds. They’re not just enjoying the spring weather. They’re…

As the Klamath Basin faces water shortages, the battle over who can use how much water goes to court.

By Olivia Palmer

A dock extends out into Upper Klamath Lake. The water of Upper Klamath Lake provides for both agricultural communities and fish habitat, making it a focal point of recent court arguments. Photo courtesy of United States Geological Survey.

A trip to the Klamath Basin 100 years ago would reveal abundant lakes and marshlands straddling the Oregon-California border. Venture into the basin today, however, and you’ll find relics of what was, reshaped by over a century of development. Farmland now smothers the areas where marshes once flourished, lakes have long been drained and no one can seem to get their hands on enough water.

Amid an ongoing drought emergency, irrigators and Klamath Tribal members have taken to…

After a new decision by park commissioners, Navy SEALs may be using Washington parks as training grounds, but a group of Whidbey locals is pushing back.

By Travis Lane | Photos by Tarn Bergman

A sign near the entrance to Deception Pass State Park, Washington, offers the directions of its various beaches. Plans for Navy exercises within this park and others are currently being disputed.

It’s spring at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island, where new wildflowers spot the hillsides and the dense forests are bursting with life. The snow capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains shimmer in the distance and the teal water of Puget Sound swirls between narrow passageways. The sun is shining and the park’s shores and trails are bustling with visitors.

The thick woods and rocky…

While mountain bike trail builders work tirelessly on Galbraith Mountain, some bikers just can’t wait their turn.

Stories and Photos by Tarn Bregman

Henry Tamondong drops in to Unemployment Line, one of Galbraith Mountain’s biking trails.

The clang of a shovel rings out as the earth of Galbraith Mountain is reshaped. The sound is swallowed by the rain and the trees towering overhead. Andy Grant, a mountain bike trail builder for the Bellingham-based trail-building company Shire Built, stops to examine his work.

Grant has an ah-ha moment and promptly grabs another shovel-full of dirt, throwing it on the lip of an earthen ramp, his newest creation. He is likely alone on the mountain…

In a race against time, Washington state government and Indigenous groups are hurrying to remove thousands of stream-blocking culverts by 2030.

By Danny Graves

Darrell Gray with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) stands over McCormick Creek, tributary of Squalicum Creek in Bellingham, Washington. After excavation of the blockage, about three additional kilometers of habitat were freed for fish spawning upstream. Photo by Linnea Hoover.

Northeast of Bellingham, Washington, in quiet, open farmlands, a private road crosses over McCormick Creek, a small tributary of Squalicum Creek, surrounded by forest. Project manager Darrell Gray at the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) looks out at the tranquil scene from the bridge, admiring a job well done.

Underneath his feet lie the fruits of his labor: a newly freed stream, now devoid of an impassable barrier beneath the bridge. Before renovation, Coho salmon, as…

On the coast of Whidbey Island, researchers and community scientists are using pigeon guillemots to learn about the condition of the birds’ environment.

By Cooper Castelle | Photos by Linnea Hoover

A community scientist at Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove scans the horizon for pigeon guillemots. While they come on shore for breeding, the birds spend most of their lives on the water.

It’s 7:30 a.m. on a cool spring morning at Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove and the team of community scientists is almost ready. Herons, seagulls and sparrows soar above as a harbor seal drifts lazily along the coast. Birds chirp as waves gently lap the shore and the briny smell of the Salish Sea fills the air.

In the distance, a group of crow-sized black seabirds with white-tipped wings and…

The Planet Magazine

The Planet is Western Washington University’s award-winning quarterly environmental publication and the only undergraduate environmental magazine in the U.S.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store