From the Advancement Board

Kevin Schofield

I’m very excited by the work I see happening at Friday Harbor Labs these days. To me, it points to the important role of the Labs within the College of the Environment, UW, our region, and indeed the world.

In particular, I’d like to highlight three activities that are shining beacons. First: There is a cross-university partnership to establish (finally!) a marine biology major at UW. Several people from Friday Harbor Labs are contributing to this joint effort, in particular ensuring that the curriculum is designed well and represents the best thinking on what a world-class marine biologist needs to know to be successful in that discipline. The Labs will undoubtedly have a key role in delivering that major including offering courses as well as field experiences. There is much work still to be done, but I think this will be transformational for the Labs as it comes into being.

Photo credit: Kathy Cowell

Second: Several faculty members at the Labs are doing world-class research with local relevance. The ocean acidification work is a clear example; less well known is the work being conducted on studying the effects of removing the dams on the Elwha River – a very rare opportunity that has already brought some surprising findings. And work is also being done to study the disease that is devastating sea star populations along the west coast; this is a timely and emerging issue with significant consequences. The Labs and its world-class faculty and staff are in the right place at the right time to make a real difference.

Third: Work is already being done to gear up for this summer’s offering of the Marine Life courses, something for which Friday Harbor Labs has become well known, and which students travel from all over the globe to attend. There are few places around the world where these courses could be offered in such an immersive learning environment, and fewer still that offer them, so this is truly a critical and essential resource that the Labs provides to the marine biology academic community.

On that last point: the Adopt-a-Student program, which provides important and necessary funding for students to come to Friday Harbor Labs over the summer and participate in the Marine Life program, is currently collecting contributions. I can’t overemphasize how important this is: we want the best and brightest students, wherever they are and whatever their financial means, to be able to come to the Labs this summer and get the amazing educational experience that is offered here. If you have never supported the Adopt-a-Student program before, I urge you to make this the year you start. And if you’ve contributed before, I thank you and encourage you to renew your support.

There are so many exciting developments that it’s hard to keep up on it all, but nevertheless Friday Harbor Labs is having a real and significant impact. I hope you get a chance to visit soon and see for yourself.

If you are interested in participating in the Adopt-a-Student Program, please contact Rachel Anderson at 360-378-2165, Ext. 2 or make an online donation.