Student Volunteer Opportunity: Salmon Recovery Conference

Salmon Recovery ConferenceHosted by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, the biennial Salmon Recovery Conference will be held May 14-15, 2013, at the Vancouver Conference Center in Vancouver, Wash. More than 500 attendees are expected to attend the two-day conference, which focuses on building better salmon recovery projects.

One great way for students to get involved and attend the conference is as a volunteer with the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

As a student volunteer, you’ll get to learn about issues, projects and up-to-minute methods in Pacific Northwest salmon recovery; connect one-on-one with salmon recovery practitioners and policymakers from Oregon and Washington; build your resume and professional network, and also get reimbursed for your student registration fee ($75) by working 4-6 hours at the conference!

The deadline to apply is Monday, April 29, so learn more about the work you’d do as a student volunteer and see if you’re interested!

SEFS Seminar Series: Week 2 Preview!

SEFS Seminar SeriesWant to know what snow in Oregon has to do with snakes in Costa Rica, HIV in Kenya, and green space in slums? Then come hear what a long strange road it’s been for Professor Susan Bolton as she talks about past, present and future in Week 2 of the SEFS Seminar Series, Wed., April 10!

Held on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223, the seminars are open to the public, and all faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend.

After the seminar, join your colleagues over in the Forest Club Room for a casual reception from 4:30-5:30 p.m. We’ll have snacks, and this spring we’re offering selections from the Fremont Brewing Company (for those of age)!

Check out the rest of the spring schedule!

Chinese Forestry Delegation Visits SEFS

Chinese Delegation at SEFS

Members of the Chinese forestry delegation join SEFS faculty in front of Anderson Hall.

Last week, a delegation from the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) visited the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) for two hours of short presentations and discussions on April 3. The delegation included members from the research section of the State Forestry Administration (the equivalent of the U.S. Forest Service), and from the Gansu Province Forestry Department.

Organized by Professor Ivan Eastin and the Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR), the meeting included a series of talks on forestry issues—first from SEFS faculty members, and then from members of the Chinese delegation.

On the agenda, SEFS presentations included introductions from SEFS Director Tom DeLuca and Professor Indroneil Ganguly; Professor Greg Ettl (“Sustainable Forest Management at Pack Forest”); Professors Stevan Harrell and Tom Hinckley (“Forest Expansion onto Meadowlands, U.S. v. China”); and Professor David Ford (“Overview of Sustainable Forest Management at the Olympic Natural Resources Center”). Madam Hu Zhangcui from CAF then followed with “PRC-GEF Partnership on Land Degradation in Dryland Ecosystems: Current Progress, Achievements and Prospects” before a final discussion session.

SEFS in China

Professors Tom Hinckley, foreground, and Steve Harrell coring trees in Yangjuan-Pianshui villages, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, August 2008.

SEFS’ collaboration with Chinese researchers began in 1999, when the UW established a joint program to study environmental challenges in the two countries. Professor Emeritus Tom Hinckley had joined several exploratory trips to Sichuan around that time, visiting a future research site at Jiuzhaigou National Park in the northwestern part of the province.

When the university began an undergraduate student exchange, Professor Hinckley joined Anthropology Professor Steve Harrell and Biology Professor Dick Olmstead in leading a multinational team to Yangjuan Village in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in the summer of 2002 to conduct joint research on forest ecology, agriculture, plant biodiversity and local history. Several SEFS (and previously CFR and SFR) students have since conducted research there.

Photos © SEFS.

Ecological Restoration: Volunteers Needed to Plant!

UW-REN Volunteer Opportunity

Yes, you might get a little muddy, but how can you resist this young volunteer’s earnest plea to come out and help?

The 2012-13 University of Washington Restoration Ecology Network (UW-REN) Capstone class has been in the process of restoring eight different project sites around the Puget Sound, and they need your help to continue the work into May. There is a volunteer event almost every week at one of our sites located in Seattle, Bothell, Shoreline and at Pierce College in Lakewood.

Projects include restoration work in a variety of ecosystems, including wetlands, Garry oak prairie, beach sand dunes and riparian forests. Volunteering with UW-REN is a great way to learn more about and be involved with ecological restoration, your natural surroundings and your community.

Check out a continuously updated listing of events, and if you have questions or want to get involved, email Lindsey Hamilton!

Photo of young volunteer © UW-REN.

SEFS Seminar Series: Spring Quarter Schedule!

SEFS Seminar SeriesFeeling uninspired on Wednesday afternoons lately? Craving intellectual stimulation—that first shiver of excitement when a brave new idea courses through you? Well, crave idly no more, as the SEFS Seminar Series is back for the 2013 Spring Quarter!

Starting tomorrow, April 3, the series kicks off with a scorcher: “The Second Solution to Climate Change: Mobilizing Nature to Reach Target 350 ppm.” For this talk, we’re especially pleased to welcome Rhys Roth and Patrick Mazza from Climate Solutions, and Amanda Stanley from the Wilburforce Foundation.

Held on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223, the seminars are open to the public, and all faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend! (Graduate Students will get 3 credits registering SEFS 550C).

After the seminar, join your colleagues over in the Forest Club Room for a casual reception from 4:30-6 p.m. We’ll have snacks, and this spring we’ll be offering selections from the Fremont Brewing Company (for those of age)!

Check out the rest of the spring schedule below:

April 10
“Connections Between Environmental Science and Health”
Professor Susan Bolton, SEFS

April 17
“Ecological Restoration of Tiritiri Matangi Island, New Zealand”
Mel Galbraith, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand

April 24
“Connectivity for the 21st Century: Planning for Climate-Driven Shifts in Biota.”
Professor Josh Lawler, SEFS

May 1
“Forest Health in Washington”
Professor Emeritus Bob Edmonds, SEFS

May 8
“The Dynamics of Photosynthesis and its Significance for Modeling Plant Growth”
Professor David Ford, SEFS

May 15
“Conservation Biology of the Endangered Huon Tree Kangaroo in Papua New Guinea: A Community-based Approach”
Lisa Dabek, Woodland Park Zoo

May 22
“Landscape-scale Effects of Fire Severity in Yosemite National Park from LiDAR and Landsat Data”
Van Kane, SEFS

May 29
“Reconciliation—A Personal Journey of a Nez Perce Trying to Manage Nature”
Jaime Pinkham, Native Nations

June 5
“SEFS Student Enrollment: Past, Future and National Trends”
Michelle Trudeau, SEFS

Director’s Message, Spring 2013

A couple weeks ago in Nature, researchers reported that a probe from the Mars Rover had collected sediments indicating the presence of water and sediments, at some point long ago, that would have been ‘sufficiently benign’ to support microbial life. I’ve always been inspired by space exploration and consider it a worthy pursuit (and the soil scientist in me felt a rush of pride that “sediment” could command such international attention). Yet I couldn’t help but reflect on the irony, or at least the oddness, of scouring the soil of a planet millions of miles away for hints of life, when we have the greatest test ground for life right here on Earth—and where there’s plenty of work left to do to reach a sustainable balance with our own natural world.

MarsWe live on a planet where water is abundant and temperatures are uniquely hospitable. Solar radiation is tempered by a thick atmosphere of nitrogen and oxygen, and minerals in the soil support plant life and other conditions crucial to our existence. In the Pacific Northwest, in particular, we have the perfect combination of light, warmth and precipitation to grow trees tall and wide. And although most natural resources are not currently at a crisis point (at least for human uses), our historical patterns of population growth and consumption—coupled with emerging challenges associated with climate change—could soon oblige us to face an age of natural resource scarcity.

So while some call space the “final frontier,” I would argue our next true frontier is finding a sustainable balance of natural resource management and use on our own planet. There’s real ground for exploration and discovery here, for ambitious science and imaginative thinking, and I’m proud that our research at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) is at the leading edge of this field—and on multiple coordinated fronts.

Our mission at SEFS highlights sustainable landscape management with the hope that our land-use practices today will provide fiber, forests, clean water, wildlife habitat and human wellness for generations to come. Our students press into this frontier of sustainability by acquiring knowledge of current and past approaches to land management, a clear understanding of human dependence on managed landscapes, and a deep and fundamental appreciation of how natural ecosystems function. With these tools, our students are encouraged to envision how managed ecosystems of the future can simultaneously function in harmony with natural landscapes, while also providing timber and non-timber resources for regional and global applications.

The key is finding an enduring balance, and as always our students provide me with hope for the future. So let’s keep our eyes on the sky and expand our knowledge of space—but let’s also tend the soil in our own backyard forests and fields, and keep investing in this planet’s fitness and future.

Charles Lathrop Pack Essay Competition

Charles Lathrop Pack

Charles Lathrop Pack

In 1923, Charles Lathrop Pack had the foresight to establish an essay competition so that students in the College of Forest Resources would “express themselves to the public and write about forestry in a way that affects or interests the public.” His original mandate continues today at SEFS—as does the unwavering value of good written communication—and we are pleased to announce the 2013 edition of the Charles Lathrop Pack Essay Competition!

Think you have the winning words? The prize for top essays is $500, and the field of potential topics is almost endless. That said, there are some important rules to follow, so here’s the rundown:

Essay criteria: All submitted essays should address this year’s prompt: Is variable density thinning a better silvicultural approach for sustainable forestry in Western Washington than clearcut harvest practices? You must justify your answer from a political, ecological and economic point of view. You are expected to provide a technical perspective, addressing a diverse and educated audience that needs further knowledge of natural resource issues. All essays must be original to the competition, though course papers substantially restructured to meet these guidelines are acceptable; however, no group entries are permitted. References and quotes are acceptable only when sources are clearly indicated; direct quotes should be used sparingly. Entries should be typed, double-spaced (one side of paper only), and may not exceed 2,000 words. Students should include a cover page with student name and title of the essay.

Eligibility: The competition is open to juniors, seniors and graduate students enrolled in SEFS during Spring Quarter 2013 who have not yet received a graduate-level degree from any institution. Undergraduate and graduate essays will be judged in separate categories.

Judging: A Judging Committee will be selected to assess originality, organization, mastery of subject, objectivity, clarity, forcefulness of writing, literary merit and conciseness. The Committee will reserve the right to withhold the prize if no entry meets acceptable standards. The Committee may also award more than one prize for outstanding entries if funds permit. Winning papers will be posted on the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest website, and might also be featured on the SEFS blog, “Offshoots,” and in the School’s e-newsletter, The Straight Grain. (Check out a sampling of previous winning papers to get a sense of the style and content).

Entries are due by April 29, 2013, and should be printed and delivered to Student and Academic Services in AND 116/130.

If you have any questions about the competition, or if you’d like to see if your essay idea sounds promising and appropriate, email Professor Greg Ettl. Otherwise, get typing!

Charles Lathrop Pack © SEFS.