The Outback, a joint program of the Associated Students and Fairhaven College, is a 5 acre farm and wetland restoration site. The purpose of the Outback OELP (Outdoor Experiential Learning Program) is to coordinate a wide range of opportunities for students to learn about, develop and implement sustainable land use practices. These opportunities include personal and collaborative events and projects involving habitat restoration, organic gardening, green building, academic partnerships, independent study projects (ISPs), workshops, lectures and classes. The OELP also provides job-related skill building and community networking opportunities for students. These include serving on the Outback Governing Council, volunteering, and participating in work-study and salaried employment.

The Outback Farm loves volunteers and visitors!  

For general inquiries please email Terri Kempton, Outback Farm Manager at kemptot@wwu.edu

For summer work party info, please email as.outback.asst.coord@wwu.edu

To learn more and keep up to date with work party times and workshops, follow us on Facebook and Instagram

The Outback Farm is located just south of the Fairhaven Residences between 25th St. and South College Way, or visit the main office in VU 424, 360-650-2433


The Outback has a long and detailed history with Fairhaven College. "Outbackers" used to live in the Burns Cabins, on the site originally named "The Outback Pig Farm" working cooperatively and educating the community about issues of conservation, restoration, and farming. Now students no longer live there, but its gardens are used as a resource for many programs, classes, and community groups.

A Timeline

  • 1920 June and Farrar Burn homestead the land and build two cabins.
  • 1969 The Outback slated to become dorms and parking lots.
  • 1972 Students initiate the Outback Pig Farm.
  • 1978 Student proposal to become the Outback Program, is accepted but is later dropped by administration.
  • 1980's Students begin experimental living in Outback. A barn is raised. Classes begin to utilize the Outback.
  • 1990's New student energy initiates wetland designation and restoration. A greenhouse is constructed. Students bring in ducks, and establish annual Earth Day Events. First performance stage is built.
  • 1996 First Earth Day in Outback.
  • 1999 Outback receives endorsement and academic protection from WWU.
  • 2000 "Outback Cooperative Project".
  • 2001 "Ecovillage Design" Course. Hundreds attend Earth Day. Food grown for homeless shelters through Fruitful Gatherings. Solar pv system installed.
  • 2002 Huxley and Fairhaven complete an academic proposal.
  • 2003 Proposal to become an official Associated Students Program. Students begin designing new performance stage.
  • 2004 Push continues for program status. Stage design complete.
  • 2006 OB becomes AS program and 1st salaried student coordinator hired; Community Garden restored- creating a 'pea patch' format for students, faculty, staff, and community members to have their own garden plots; Educational Garden started (originally 'Market Garden') Food grown for volunteers and Bellingham Food Bank.
  • 2007 CDC (Early Childhood Development Center) garden started; Received $11,000 AS grant to fund green house and tool shed replacement, cedar signs, and raised beds for Community Garden; students replaced green house.
  • 2008 Students take down old, dilapidated, tool shed and sauna buildings and build new tool shed; students install cedar signs that Facilities made.
  • 2009 students complete Amphitheater framing; students form Burns' Cabins Restoration Project.
  • May 2010 Amphitheater is completed!
  • Summer 2013 completion of the Outdoor Classroom.