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Institute for Watershed Studies
Make a difference for students today!

The Institute for Watershed Studies (IWS) supports a wide variety of interdisciplinary projects that provide exciting opportunities for students to engage in relevant watershed research and make important contributions to the community. One example of this is the Northwest Lakes Monitoring Project, a community service project that provides water quality data and other information for over 60 lakes in our region. This project was instrumental in Western Washington University being awarded the National President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction Award in 2013 and 2015. Your donation to the Institute for Watershed Studies will help ensure the continued success of this and other student projects that benefit our local community.

The Institute for Watershed Studies supports student research by providing hands-on learning opportunities, as well as exposure to cutting-edge scientific techniques and analytical equipment.  Many graduates from our institute have gone on to use these skills in professional careers and graduate school.  


Lillie Tomlinson (she/her) is an undergraduate in her junior year studying Environmental Science with a marine emphasis. Originally from Oregon, Lillie moved to Washington to attend WWU, where she planned to study marine biology. However, she quickly fell in love with freshwater when she became involved with the Institute for Watershed Studies during the summer after her sophomore year. During that summer, Lillie and a fellow student traveled around Northwest Washington to over 60 diverse lakes, taking samples of algae and water to test for dissolved oxygen levels, pH, alkalinity, chlorophyll, and more. 

Lillie says that this experience was truly unlike any other because it allowed her to gain valuable skills in both lab and field work, as well as independence and confidence. Because of the support she has received from the Institute for Watershed Studies, Lillie feels well equipped to pursue graduate school and future opportunities in scientific research.

Emma Owens is a third-year undergraduate Honors student studying Environmental Science and pursuing a minor in Energy Policy. She is currently exploring the intersection between humans, energy, environment, and agriculture. Emma wants to know how we can become better at understanding and caring for the world around us. She hopes to find a balance between agriculture, science and humanitarian issues in her career and try to make a positive impact on the world. 

The Northwest Lake Monitoring Program taught Emma a great deal about field jobs and how unpredictable yet enjoyable they can be. She also learned how fun it is to work outdoors and gained a lot of applicable real-life experience through troubleshooting and adapting to unexpected situations. Emma gained a new understanding of freshwater algae and identifying species, creating a new fascination with microscopic processes. Emma says that the Northwest Lake Monitoring Program has allowed her to access connections through the Institute for Watershed Studies and have a flexible school year job as well.

Early Bird Challenge!
Thank you! Your generosity has unlocked an additional $5,000 match before most people even got up for the day!
The Number One Vikings Match!
Thank you, Vikings! You who made the first $1,000 in gifts earned an ADDITIONAL $1,000 through a generous match!
$1,000 MATCHED
New Grad Match Opportunity!
Thank you new Vikings! You've raised an additional $3,000 in support for current WWU students and programs!
3,000th Donor Challenge!
Thank you, Viking supporters! More than 3,000 of you have made gifts for Give Day, which is the most participation we've ever had in a Give Day!
Night Owl Challenge
Thank you! Your gifts helped raise an additional $2,000 for Kaiser Borsari Hall!
2,000th Donor Challenge!
Thank you! The 2,000th donor has unlocked an additional $750 for men's rowing!
Last Call!
Thank you! You've unlocked an additional $5,000 as a matching gift!
50-state Challenge!
Thank you, Vikings near and far, for helping unlock an additional $5,000 of support for WWU students!
College of the Environment Donor Challenge!
The project or program in the College of the Environment that has the highest number of unique donors will win an additional $1,000! Final results available once we process all the Give Day gifts. Using fake donor names to inflate donor count may disqualify a project or program.
Rank Prize College of the Environment Donor Challenge! Donors
1 $1,000 Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Program 17
2 Environmental Sciences Department 12
3 Institute for Watershed Studies 5
4 Geography Program 5
5 Environmental Studies Department 5
Lunchtime Crunchtime
Thanks, Vikings! You've unlocked an additional $5,000 in support for students on your lunch break.
Rank Prize Lunchtime Crunchtime Challenge! Donors
1 $2,500 Cross Country & Track and Field 95
2 $2,500 Men's Rowing 36
3 Women's Ultimate 13
4 Computer Science 9
5 Marketing Program 9
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