Sydne Tursky discusses the effects of climate change on the Stillaguamish River with graduate student James Robinson.

By Sydne Tursky

Sydne Tursky is a first-year graduate student in the Environmental Studies department. Before attending Western, she got a degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas and edited the school’s national award-winning Hill Magazine. Her work has been published by the Arkansas Times, AY Mag and the Chronicle of Social Change, among others. Though Sydne is most proud of her investigative articles exploring issues in Arkansas foster care, she has also written about natural disasters, recycling and, once, a herd of landscaping goats.


By Emma Bjornsrud

A fluffed up pine siskin, sick with salmonella, is under the care of Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Photo by Jeffrey Brown, courtesy of PAWS.

Streaks of dull brown and flashes of yellow whirled around the sky, flitting to trees and taking shape with folding wings and ruffling feathers. Last December in a long, narrow Puyallup backyard, dozens of small pine siskins hopped around, pecking at birdseed in a hanging feeder and on the ground below.

Nearby in a large lilac bush, one small siskin sat still, in glaring contrast of the hyper birds foraging for food. Its feathers were fluffed out, making the bird appear round and plushy.

Close enough to touch it, backyard birder Liz Steenbeeke watched this solitary siskin…


Student Senator Laura Wagner discusses the movement to remove “Huxley” from the College of the Environment’s name.

Reporting by Ben Leung

Laura Wagner works as a student senator for the Huxley College of the Environment, advocating for the removal and replacement of the Huxley name. Photo courtesy of Laura Wagner.

Laura Wagner, Associated Students Huxley College of the Environment student senator is one of the leaders of the movement at Western Washington University to remove “Huxley” from the College of the Environment’s name. The movement stems from concerns that the writings of Thomas Huxley, the namesake of the college, are racist.

The Planet public editor Ben Leung spoke with Wagner about the issue. Here is their conversation, edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: Could you tell our readers why…


As the once-protected Tongass National Forest is opened up to disturbances like logging, tribes and environmental groups speak out.

By Nicholas Baca

The Planet acknowledges that this story is deeply rooted in the ancestral homelands of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Tribes who have lived around the Tongass National Forest from Time Immemorial. We would like to express our deepest respect and gratitude for their enduring care and protection of this land.

The Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls lie within the Tongass National Forest just minutes from the Juneau International Airport. Glaciers like these produce many of the rivers that carve through the forest and serve as a lifeline for countless species. Source: City of Juneau, Photo archives.

Tucked in the forested southeast corner of Alaska, generations of tribal communities have lived off the land for centuries. Now, a controversial legal battle is underway.

The Tongass…


Dear Reader,

The end of this quarter marks one year since the start of the global pandemic. It also marks the end of my first year as an editor for The Planet magazine.

I couldn’t be more proud of the work that the editors and staff of The Planet have created despite the strenuous circumstances of the past year. It has been an incredible honor to watch the magazine evolve and to see the growth and commitment of its participants.

Through it all, one thing has remained solid as ever: our relationship to and passion for The Planet. During the…


New acoustic technology may protect salmon in Whatcom Creek from hungry harbor seals.

By Abi Hoodenpyle

The Planet acknowledges that this story is deeply rooted in the ancestral homelands of the Nooksack Tribe and Lummi Nation who have lived in in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed from Time Immemorial. We would like to express our deepest respect and gratitude for their enduring care and protection of this land.

A grey harbor seal grabs a chum salmon with both fins, tearing into it with its teeth. Harbor seals are a major predator of salmon in Whatcom Creek. The Genuswave TAST was implemented to reduce their predation. Photo courtesy of Kathleen McKeegan.

On a cool fall morning in November, stakes are high at the Whatcom Creek fish hatchery in Bellingham. Harbor seals lurk near the…


New research tries to uncover just how deep the damage of an old mining venture goes.

By Luisa Loi

The Planet acknowledges that this story is deeply rooted in the ancestral homelands of Spokane Tribe of Indians who have lived in northeastern Washington and the Spokane region from Time Immemorial. We would like to express our deepest respect and gratitude for their enduring care and protection of this land.

The entrance to the Dawn Mill is marked by a radiation warning. On the Mill site, Miami University master’s graduate Lonnie Flett and her team found the highest levels of mine contaminants on the Spokane Reservation. Photo courtesy of Lonnie Flett.

It’s the year 1954 on the Spokane Reservation in Stevens County. Brothers James and John LeBret are exploring the southern side of Spokane Mountain in search of scheelite — a mineral…


Researchers, tribes and volunteers work to fight the rising tide of European green crabs on Washington shores.

By Morgan MacIntyre

The Planet acknowledges that this story is deeply rooted in the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples including the Jamestown S’klallam Tribe, Makah Tribe and Lummi Nation who have lived in lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed from Time Immemorial. We would like to express our deepest respect and gratitude for their enduring care and protection of this land.

A European green crab rests on a mud flat at Westcott Bay next to moss and other vegetation. Green crabs are more active at night, when they spent most of their time digging in the mud or sand looking for food such as worms and clams. Photo by Kelly Martin, Washington Sea Grant.

A flat tidal marsh in Freeport, Maine, appears infested with…


How carbon capture can be used to reduce CO2 emissions, and why it may not be a fix-all solution.

By Sadie De Luca

This expansive field in Alberta, Canada is a field research station for Carbon Management Canada (CMC) Research Institutes. Researchers working with CMC come here to test and monitor different carbon capture and storage technologies. (Image source: Ruth Klinkhammer; Credit: CMC Research Institutes)

In Alberta, Canada, there is an unusual field. Amidst the clumps of green and tan grass, near a resident trailer, looms a large cylindrical metal tank. Tall enough to need a ladder to reach the upper section, this tank is full of carbon dioxide gas (CO2). The gas will be injected as deep as 500m below ground, deeper than the Empire State Building is tall.

This is a field research station for Carbon Management Canada Research Institutes…


The wild horses of the Yakima Valley have left the land overgrazed, but management is proving difficult.

Story and photos by Linnea Hoover

The Planet acknowledges that this story is deeply rooted in the ancestral homelands of the Yakama Nation who have lived in the Yakima Valley and surrounding areas from Time Immemorial. We would like to express our deepest respect and gratitude for their enduring care and protection of this land.

Horses roaming land subjected to years of overgrazing.

The semi-arid foothills surrounding Yakima Valley rise sharply from the basin below. These foothills have been home to wild mustangs since the late 1700’s. The Yakama Nation, who…

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