Graduate Program in Environmental Education & Equity


Preparing environmental educators to ignite change in our schools, communities + planet

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The IslandWood Graduate Program in Education for Environment and Community, in partnership with the University of Washington, is a 10-month immersive residency in justice-oriented environmental education; experiential, student-centered learning; and culturally-responsive teaching and curriculum development.

Our faculty and staff are strongly committed to advancing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in our program, organization, and field. Within our program’s residential environmental education context, we prepare educators to approach their work with an equity lens and to create culturally sustaining learning experiences for all students. We also strive to contribute to a more diverse educator workforce that mirrors the demographics of our society, and welcome students from a variety of life experiences and backgrounds who share a commitment to justice-oriented education.


In this work, we recognize both the legacy of racism and injustice within the environmental education field, as well as our privileged position as part of a historically white-led organization. We are striving to continuously learn, grow, and be accountable to ourselves, our students, and the communities we serve.


Learn more about how we’re advancing JEDI in the graduate program here →


And read about IslandWood’s commitment to equity, including our organization’s priorities and our progress on those priorities, here →

We approach environmental education through a multidisciplinary, place-based, and culturally responsive lens. Through both the teaching practicum and the courses we offer, the Graduate Program prepares educators to create environmental learning experiences that honor students’ full selves and recognize the validity and importance of multiple knowledge sources and systems.


In classes and through coursework, mentorship, and applied learning sessions, graduate students explore various pedagogical approaches, deepen their understanding of their own positionality, and gain strategies for equity-based education. The teaching practicum allows students to put theory into practice and evolve their skills as educators within a STEAM-focused residential environmental learning environment.


Learn more about IslandWood’s approach to culturally responsive environmental education here →


We also recommend checking out the following STEM Teaching Tools from the University of Washington Institute for Science + Math Education for additional insight into our approach to environmental education:


students in the Graduate Program in Environmental Education & Equity, reading
UW Campus IslandWood's partner in the Graduate Program in Environmental Education & Equity

Our Partnership with the University of Washington College of Education

Our program is offered in partnership with top-ranked University of Washington College of Education, whose mission is to transform inequitable systems of education to create just, sustainable, and culturally-thriving democracies. The IslandWood Graduate Certificate completes the first year of a UW Master’s in Education and fulfills the prerequisites for application to the Master’s in Teaching in Elementary Education.

“Perhaps the most important lesson I learned at IslandWood was that I didn’t need to have a background of sleeping in tents, participating in outdoor recreational sports, or hiking in national parks to be an environmental educator. I just needed to know that I could play a role in connecting people to the environments and communities around them.”

– Ilya Schmulensen, IslandWood Graduate Program Alum

Program Details

Discover the change you can make as an educator with graduate-level coursework in justice-oriented environmental education (including equity and anti-bias work), biweekly teaching experiences, and 1:1 mentoring.


Applications for the 2024-2025 cohort are open! 


Apply Now

Deadlines for admission to the Fall 2024 quarter are as follows:


IslandWood Priority Deadline IslandWood Tuition Discount UW Deadline UW Admissions Decision
November 17, 2023 $750 January 5, 2024 March 2024
January 5, 2024 $500 January 5, 2024 March 2024
March 15, 2024 $250 May 6, 2024 June 2024
May 6, 2024 $100 May 6, 2024 June 2024

IslandWood provides equal opportunities to all applicants for admission without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

students in IslandWood's Graduate Program in Environmental Education & Equity
A student enrolled in IslandWood's Graduate Program in Environmental Education & Equity with their students in the greenhouse

Cost and Aid

We are committed to making graduate-level education accessible, and offer scholarships, service awards, and tuition discounts to applicants.


Apply for IslandWood Financial Aid

To make graduate-level education more accessible, we offer service awards to students affiliated (members, alumni, interns, staff, etc.) with service corps, military, and partner organizations, as well as teachers and paraprofessionals.


This following list is not comprehensive. To learn about eligibility and rates, or to inquire about organizations not listed here, please contact us at [email protected].



  • Teachers
  • Paraprofessional educators

Service Corps 

  • AmeriCorps National
  • Serve Washington
  • AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC)
  • AmeriCorps VISTA
  • FEMA Corps
  • Peace Corps
  • Teach for America
  • City Year
  • Student Conservation Association
  • Washington Conservation Corps
  • Veterans Conservation Corps
  • Puget Sound Corps
  • EarthCorps
  • Food Corps


  • Active Duty
  • Veterans

Undergraduate Institutions

  • Antioch University
  • University of Washington

Community Organizations

  • College Success Foundation
  • IslandWood
  • Natural Leaders
  • Doris Duke Conservation Scholars

Once accepted and enrolled in the UW Master’s in Education degree program as a matriculated student you are eligible for federal financial aid.


Students wishing to receive federal financial aid through the UW are encouraged to complete the FAFSA application by January 15 or as soon as possible. Please contact the University of Washington’s Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) with specific questions regarding the financial aid process.


Opportunities to forgive, cancel, or discharge your loans are available through several programs, such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs. Visit the Federal Student Aid website for more info.

Paid on-campus work opportunities are available at IslandWood in various departments for all graduate students, regardless of financial need. Examples of on-campus employment opportunities have included: blogging and photography assistant, research assistant, lab assistant, art studio assistant, gear room assistant, garden assistants, facilities assistants, and event assistants.


Students will be invited to apply for employment during orientation training in September. The hourly wage for 2022-2023 graduate students is $17.45. Because employment is in addition to the responsibilities of being a full-time graduate student, most IslandWood graduate students work an average of 5 hrs/week.


We can also help connect graduate students to off-campus work opportunities on Bainbridge Island. These opportunities commonly include childcare, house-sitting, pet-sitting, yard work, and other odd jobs.

The following websites offer searchable databases for scholarships. In addition, these sites include general information on applying for and receiving Financial Aid, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (the FAFSA is required for individuals seeking federal loans), and resources for students of color, students without documentation, and military veterans.


Check Out Campus!

Follow our Graduate Program Manager, Michela Dimond, to see what IslandWood’s campus is like in this 8-minute short tour.


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Connect with Us

In our program, we intentionally focus on fostering strong relationships and a supportive learning community. We look forward to connecting with you!

Attending a virtual or in-person event is the perfect way to learn more about the program, meet our team, and get your questions answered. For a full list of upcoming events, please visit our Events Calendar.


No Events found.


Get even more insight into the day to day of the program – from mentoring, social life, curriculum, guest speakers, faculty, current grad students and more – on our Instagram account.

Student Supports & Resources

The following are a variety of the resources and supports available for graduate students at IslandWood. We believe that it’s important for the graduate program to adapt to students’ needs and feedback, and are continually learning and growing to ensure that our graduates have the support they need. If you have any questions, or would like additional information about any of these resources, please reach out to us at [email protected].


  • IslandWood has scholarship funds reserved for applicants who identify as members of nondominant communities in the education and environmental fields.
  • The Karr Scholarship is also available for BIPOC students, students who are the first generation in their family to attend college, and/or who demonstrate financial need. The intent of the scholarship is to foster recipients as a ‘community within a community’ and that may include additional activities and networking opportunities for all students of color within the cohort.
  • Learn more about these scholarship opportunities here.


Affinity Groups:

  • New as of the 2020 – 2021 cohort, and in response to our grad students, we created race-based caucus groups  on campus for both staff and graduate students, recognizing that how students engage with JEDI will be reflective of their identities and lived experiences.


Professional Networks:


We have alumni presence and professional ties with the following organizations focused on supporting people of color in environmental fields:


University of Washington Resources:


Several of the supports we recommend most for IslandWood students of color are housed within the University of Washington’s College of Education and Graduate School, which matriculated IslandWood students have full access to:


A vibrant space dedicated to highlighting resources and opportunities for alumni to continue learning, stay connected, network, and share.


Learn more →

“Over the years of our UW-IslandWood connection I have witnessed graduate students arriving from IslandWood on the UW campus with a commitment and passion for environmental education that is rooted in equity and experiential learning. I can say without reservation that IslandWood is a state-of-the-art training space for graduate student educators.”

– Mark Windschitl, Professor of Science Education, University of Washington College of Education

Graduate Program in Environmental Education & Equity

Graduate Program in Environmental Education & Equity

Graduate Program in Environmental Education & Equity

Graduate Program in Environmental Education & Equity

Graduate Program in Environmental Education & Equity