Explore the Gardens of Cuba with SEFS!

After two very successful years of the program, the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, in association with the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, is excited to offer another study tour to Cuba this winter from February 20 to March 3!

Led by UW Botanic Gardens Director Sarah Reichard, the 10-day excursion includes visits to botanic gardens, organic farms, nature preserves and historical national parks. You’ll get unparalleled access to the “Pearl of the Antilles” and its stunning indigenous flora and fauna, as well as the island’s legendary history, music and dancing.

Cuba

A farmer gathers royal palms in Cuba.

This Cuban adventure is open to all SEFS students, staff and faculty, and there’s room for non-UW folks as well. Professor Reichard will not be returning to Cuba in the next few years, so don’t miss the chance for a one-of-a-kind garden tour!

Program Highlights
You can check out the full itinerary for a day-by-day synopsis of activities, but some of the highlights include exploring the capital city of Havana; visiting the Valley de Vinales, the tropical forests of Soroa and Zapata National Park; touring  botanical and orchid gardens; guided hiking through the ecologically protected area of Mil Cumbres (“Thousand Peaks”); and much, much more!

Rest assured, though, that not all of your minutes will be structured. In addition to the official visits and tours, you’ll have plenty of time to wander and experience Havana at your own speed and according to your own tastes. Sip coffee at a café? A night of live music and salsa dancing? Sample plantains and local cigars? The options are nearly infinite!

If that revs up your sense of adventure, then learn more about how to sign up, program costs and other details! The original deadline to register was November 17, but it has been extended a few weeks. However, to make sure the trip reaches the minimum number of participants, you are encouraged to sign up as quickly as possible.

Contact Professor Reichard for more background information, or track down some of the past participants, such as Steve West and Nevada Smith, who can gush for hours about how amazing the trip is!

Photos © Sarah Reichard.

Cuba

Valley de Vinales

Emeritus Spotlight: Dave Manuwal

“I’ve known what I wanted to do for an awfully long time, probably more than 60 years,” says Professor Emeritus Dave Manuwal of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS). Growing up in South Bend, Ind., he remembers when his parents bought a cottage on a lake in southern Michigan. One of their neighbors had a bird bath, and he loved watching all the colorful visitors—cardinals, orioles, blue jays—come there to splash and drink. “I watched them and thought, ‘Wow, these are cool animals!’”

Dave ManuwalManuwal quickly realized he had a real knack for ornithology. If he heard a bird song once, he could remember it, and by the time he finished high school, he says he knew virtually all the birds you could find in Indiana. But he can trace it all back to those first trips to Michigan. “I was 9, 10 years old,” he says. “I never really wavered since then.”

Now, after 41 years as part of the SEFS community, Manuwal is officially retired and no longer teaches, but you’ll find his indelible fingerprints all over this school and the history of the wildlife program. We caught up with him the other day to learn more about his lifetime of teaching and studying birds and forest ecology.

Career Beginnings
Manuwal went to the same high school one class below SEFS Professor Bruce Bare, and they both stayed in Indiana and attended Purdue University. Bare decided to study forest production, and Manuwal earned a degree in wildlife conservation in 1966 (years later, as it happened, they would have offices next to each other at the University of Washington).

Before graduating, Manuwal had landed a job as an undergraduate research assistant in Manitoba, Canada. Another researcher there—a graduate student at the University of Montana—told him that if he was interested in studying wildlife after Purdue, he really ought to contact Professor Richard (Dick) Taber.

Dick Taber

This past August, Manuwal spent several hours catching up with Dick Taber, now 92, under a huge ponderosa pine tree in the Lubrecht Forest, where Taber initiated several studies back in the 1950s and ‘60s. “The Richard D. Taber Outstanding Wildlife Conservation Student Award,” which Manuwal created, is given each spring to an exemplary SEFS wildlife student.

So he did. Manuwal wrote Professor Taber and expressed his interest in continuing his ornithological studies in Montana. Taber accepted him as a graduate student in 1966, and off he headed to Missoula to earn a Master’s in Wildlife Management.

Two years later, word of mouth once again steered Manuwal farther west. By that time, he had developed an interest in studying marine birds, and two members of his master’s committee suggested he consider contacting Professor Thomas Howell at the University of California at Los Angeles. So he wrote Howell, expressed his interest and ended up getting accepted there as a doctoral student in zoology.

When he completed his Ph.D. work in 1972, Manuwal didn’t have long to savor the peace. One of the last jobs he had applied to that summer was for an assistant professor of wildlife science with the College of Forest Resources (now SEFS). He was offered the position but was hesitant at first because he still wasn’t sure he wanted to teach. As an undergrad at Purdue, in fact, he says he was “deathly afraid of standing in front of people.” That pretty much held until he started graduate school and was appointed as a graduate teaching assistant. “All of a sudden I realized, ‘I know this stuff,’ and then I wasn’t afraid to talk about it.”

But did he want to make a career doing it? He’d find out awfully fast, because when he accepted the position he learned he’d be teaching his first class within a few weeks of arriving on campus. “It was pretty scary,” he says, and he still vividly remembers that first lecture in September 1972.The course was WS 401, a “Wildlife Biology” class for wildlife science and fisheries majors—and Manuwal was almost starting from scratch. “This was long before the advent of the personal computer,” he says. “I spent a lot of time in journals and libraries, and it took me almost seven hours of research to create those lectures.”

Dave Manuwal

Manuwal organized the first SEFS field trip to Yellowstone National Park back in 1994. “I felt our students needed a broader wildlife experience than what they could get in western Washington,” he says. The annual weeklong trip continues today, now led by professors John Marzluff, Monika Moskal and Aaron Wirsing.

As the 65 or so students filed into Winkenwerder 201 on the first day, Manuwal sat inconspicuously in the second row and listened to some of the chatter speculating about the new wildlife professor. Nobody had seen him yet, and of course he didn’t have an online profile to search. “I was 29 years old and looked pretty much like the majority of the male students,” says Manuwal. “When the bell rang, I got up and walked to the podium. One of the students who had sat next to me rolled his eyes as if to say, ‘Oh no!’”

Alaskan Adventures
The next summer, from June to August 1973, Manuwal was invited to take part in the Noatak Expedition in Alaska’s Brooks Range. The federal government knew very little about the new Noatak National Preserve, and Manuwal was part of an 11-man crew to catalog wildlife in the Noatak River Basin. They traveled by float planes into incredibly isolated and unexplored wilderness areas, where they encountered wolves, grizzlies, caribou, many species of tundra birds, and hordes of mosquitoes on calm days. They worked long hours with nearly constant daylight, and even got caught in a snowstorm in August. “That’s the way it is in the Arctic!”

A few years later, Manuwal secured funding to return to Alaska to study seabird colonies and island vegetation in the remote Barren Islands from 1976-1979. There were five people in the research crew, including Manuwal’s wife Naomi, who earned a bachelor’s in biology from California State University at Northridge, and later a master’s in forest ecology from the College of Forest Resources. Their team focused on the biology of Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, Rhinoceros Auklets and Parakeet Auklets (hence the “auklet” in Manuwal’s email address). They were trying to obtain basic information on the ecology and population sizes of birds nesting there in case of an oil spill—and their data proved helpful in understanding the effects of the Exxon Valdez spill, which reached as far as the Barren Islands.

Dave Manuwal

In the late 1970s, Manuwal got to take part in several seabird studies in Alaska, British Columbia and Washington, including on Smith Island (pictured here). “Being in these seabird colonies is a unique environment,” he says. “There’s a tremendous about of activity, birds are coming and going all the time—lots of noise, especially in a big gull or tern colony.”

A Gaggle of Grad Students
At the College of Forest Resources, Manuwal was now a colleague of his former advisor and mentor, Dick Taber, who had recently come over to start the wildlife program. “One day, I heard a commotion in Dick’s office,” he says. “I looked over there in time to see him rush out with a very agitated look on his face. That was the first and only time I saw him like that. Later, he came back and told me that one of the associate deans had accepted, on our behalf, 13 new graduate students.”

Despite a new policy of the wildlife faculty accepting their own graduate students, the acceptance letters had already been mailed; there was no going back. So at one point in the next year, Manuwal had 11 graduate students, and Taber had around 15. It was a pretty hectic time trying to find research support for all of those extra students, he says, but amazingly all of them made it successfully through the program. “That’s the phenomenal part of it. Kind of funny in retrospect, but it wasn’t funny at the time!”

The shock of that story may linger, but Manuwal would never trade the relationships he developed with his graduate students—bonds that have endured long past the last paper or degree. “Perhaps the highlight of my time at UW was interacting with my graduate students,” he says. “Helping them with their research, visiting them in the study areas, offering advice at important times.”

In total, he had 51 graduate students during his time with SEFS. Forty-nine of them completed degrees, and all but two of them entered the wildlife ecology/conservation field (one became a medical doctor, the other a computer specialist).

With so much invested in his students, he knew retiring wouldn’t be easy. Yet after four decades of teaching scores of courses, from wildlife research techniques to field ornithology to wildlife biology and conservation, Manuwal stood in front of his last class in the fall of 2012.

Dave Manuwal

In August 2008, the year he officially retired, Manuwal invited all of his former grad students to a reunion in Ocean Shores, Wash. Not all of them could make it, but some came from as far away as Virginia, North Carolina, Alaska, California and Hawaii. “That was a great time,” he says.

“That last lecture was hard,” he says, “and I didn’t realize how much I’d miss teaching. The day-to-day interactions with students, helping them understand some concepts we discussed in class, people coming in and talking to you about their career choices, what courses to take. I just miss all that—it’s hard to leave.”

Next Chapters
As an Emeritus Professor of Wildlife Science, though, Manuwal hasn’t exactly kicked up his feet just yet. His first move after retirement was to head back into the field as an affiliate professor with the University of Montana. It had been 40 years since he first collected data as a graduate student in the Lubrecht Experimental Forest, about 30 miles northeast of Missoula. His research had concerned songbirds associated with riparian vegetation along three streams where he had originally done surveys in 1967 and ’68, and then in 1980. This time, he wanted to see how bird populations might have changed, and also do a second study on the pattern of territory establishment along those streams.

So, just as he had done 40 years earlier, he borrowed a little trailer and placed it near his study areas. He had a black Labrador with him back then, and he brought a black Labrador with him this time. He also had his whole family participate in the study at various times, and they’re all authors on a manuscript he has in review right now. “That was a blast to go back there and do it again,” he says. “It was a good way to go out.”

Dave Manuwal

Manuwal with a class in the Skagit Valley.

But not all the way out. Back in Seattle, Manuwal has a new research project under way, but this time not involving wildlife. He’s been preparing a tribute to military veterans who became professional wildlife ecology and conservation professionals, whether in academia, government agencies or with nonprofits. He’s read more than 2,000 obituaries and talked to several veterans in person and by email, and he’s identified about 190 veterans so far. Manuwal placed an advertisement in several outlets to gather more information, and if you happen to know of anyone who might fit this description, he would love to hear from you.

Research, clearly, is in his genes, and he still exudes the same infectious energy and curiosity that has defined his career as a scientist and educator. Just ask his students, like SEFS undergrad Tara Wilson, who was in Manuwal’s final ESRM 350 class a year ago: “You could just tell he’s passionate about what he does, and that he’s excited to get us passionate.”

That seems like a fitting tribute—and a pleasant irony—for someone who was once terrified of  standing in front of an audience, yet ended up inspiring hundreds of students to share his love for birds, research and all things wild.

Photos © Dave Manuwal.

Forest Fires and Fireside Chats: Two Weeks in Oregon with Professor Jerry Franklin

Just before the official start of Fall Quarter this past September, 20 students spent two weeks exploring the forests of central and southern Oregon as part of an intensive field course with Professor Jerry Franklin.

Jerry FranklinThe class, “Ecosystem Management” (ESRM 425/SEFS 590), introduces students to the unique management challenges associated with dry, fire-prone forests in the Pacific Northwest. Keala Hagmann, a doctoral student with SEFS and the TA for the course, says they toured forest restoration projects on Bureau of Land Management and O&C Act lands in the Roseburg, Coos Bay and Medford districts; a city watershed in Ashland; private forestland in the Klamath-Siskiyou region; and former Klamath Indian Reservation forests in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. They also visited the sites of the Pole Creek (2012) and B&B (2003) fires in the Deschutes National Forest, as well as the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest within the Willamette National Forest.

At each stop, students met with a diverse spectrum of practitioners, stakeholders and policy makers, including silviculturists, scientists, tree sitters, a county commissioner and environmental advocates. The class got to explore dry forest restoration projects, regeneration harvests to create functional early seral habitat, a prescribed burn, wildfires and long-term ecological research sites. They also enjoyed assisting UW postdoc Derek Churchill and his crew with stem mapping in the Bluejay Springs Research Natural area, camping alongside four rivers, and fireside chats in the evenings (plus a little swimming here and there, not to mention spectacular scenery)!

Dave Herman, a SEFS graduate student on the trip, took hundreds of photos and generously offered to share a selection in the gallery below. It’s hard to grasp just how much the class packed into these two weeks, but this slideshow will at least give you a good taste of their Oregon adventure—as well as some vintage shots of a suspendered Professor Franklin at leisure, holding forth by the fire, leading group discussions and lessons, and generally engaging his audience at every turn!

All photos © Dave Herman.

SEFS Seminar Series: Week 4 Preview

Increasing albedo through leaf pubescence has long been recognized as an effective morphological adaptation for plants in hot and dry environments, says Professor Soo-Hyung Kim. Will breeding crops for high albedo be an effective adaptation strategy for climate change?

Find out this Tuesday, October 22, in Week 4 of the SEFS Seminar Series when Professor Kim gives his talk, “Is Increasing Leaf Albedo an Effective Crop Improvement Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation?”

Soo-Hyung Kim

Encelia farinosa, which you’ll learn more about in Professor Kim’s talk!

Professor Kim received his Ph.D. in ecology, with an emphasis on agroecology, from the University of California at Davis, and his BS and MS degrees from the Department of Agronomy at Seoul National University in South Korea. He joined SEFS in September 2006 after working as a plant physiologist in the Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory at Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Maryland, where he investigated field crop responses to climate change.

Today, Kim’s research is centered on the physiology and ecology of plant responses to environmental stress. An important aspect of his research is to apply ecophysiological principles to modeling crop growth and yield for evaluating climate impacts and climate adaptation strategies in agroecosystems. He is also interested in examining the connections between crops, climate change and human health.

You’ll get a great look at some of that research in his talk tomorrow, so come out and join us!

The seminars are held on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223, and all students, staff and faculty are encouraged to attend. Make sure to mark your calendars for the rest of the seminars this fall!

Photo © G. Wagner, calphotos.berkeley.edu.

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Undergrad Spotlight: Ross Kirshenbaum

At the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS), our students bring all sorts of backgrounds and interests—in and out of the classroom—and you’d be hard-pressed to put an easy label on any two of them, let along the whole bunch. But if you had to pinpoint a common thread or shared passion, you could pretty safely assume that most of our students come armed with a healthy sense of adventure.

Ross Kirshenbaum

After a year-long internship in Nicaragua, Ross Kirshenbaum is back in Seattle for his final quarter of undergraduate study.

That spirit of exploration, of testing comfort zones and extending boundaries, is definitely a driving force for Ross Kirshenbaum, a senior Environmental Science and Resource Management major at SEFS.

Kirshenbaum, who grew up in Bellevue, recently returned from a year-long internship in Nicaragua. He kept a detailed blog, called “Aventurero,” of his projects and travels, including one of the highlights of his experience—a solo bus trip home through Central America. He’s back in Seattle with one more quarter to go before graduating, so we caught up with him a couple weeks ago to learn more about his time abroad! (You can catch him yourself this Thursday, October 17, at 2:30 p.m. in Anderson 22, where he’ll be giving a presentation about his Nicaragua experience.)

How It Started
“I knew I wanted to study abroad, and I’d always wanted to travel and learn Spanish,” says Kirshenbaum. So one day during his junior year he walked into the UW Study Abroad office and met with one of the advisors, Shannon Koller, for a drop-in meeting. The first position she showed him, as it happened, was for an internship working with two non-governmental organizations: AsoFénix, based in Nicaragua, and Green Empowerment, based in Portland, Ore.

Ross Kirshenbaum

Except for when he was in the office in Managua, Kirshenbaum spent most of his time in rural communities, working hands-on with small-scale farmers.

The internship would place in Kirshenbaum with AsoFénix in Nicaragua for up to a year. He wouldn’t take any classes; it would be largely self-directed, and he’d be diving right in to projects in local towns and villages, or working in the office in the capital city of Managua. “That’s how I learn, hands-on, so much more than in the classroom,” he says. And the more he learned about the program, the more he was hooked.

Through technology assistance and education, AsoFénix works in rural communities around Nicaragua to help them develop renewable energy sources without sacrificing the environment. These projects, ranging from building solar-powered irrigation systems to installing a wind turbine to provide basic electricity to a small village, have a strong empowerment angle. AsoFénix provides materials, initial costs and technical training, but the community decides which projects they want to implement, and they elect leadership to manage and maintain the infrastructure afterwards. Also, the community eventually pays back the cost of the equipment and investment, so they end up owning and having a full stake in the project.

“This is perfect,” Kirshenbaum thought. He kept looking and considered a few other options, but it didn’t take long to realize he was sold on Nicaragua. Koller then pointed him to several scholarship opportunities that could help cover the expenses for the internship, which would actually be cheaper, he learned, than most study abroad programs. He applied for three scholarships—and ended up getting awarded all three—and together they funded his full year, including his flight, lodging and even Spanish immersion (he would end up coming home nearly fluent).

In Country
What he discovered in Nicaragua—from the people to the culture to the work—truly captivated him. “It was a dream job,” says Kirshenbaum. “I was working more than I would for a job here, but I absolutely loved what I was doing, and I just felt like that was such a good way to immerse myself in a culture.”

Ross Kirshenbaum

Kirshenbaum says it was an incredible experience to make friends in a different country, and in a different language and culture.

Thanks to strong guidance and support from his mentors at Green Empowerment and AsoFénix, Kirshenbaum says he was able to maximize his opportunities and tackle all sorts of projects. “Half the time I was in rural Nicaragua working with farmers, making compost, planting, sowing, weeding—very physical, manual work,” he says. “The other half, I was in the office in Managua, developing partnerships with other organizations teaching organic agriculture, and developing a curriculum with an agronomist to organize workshops with farmers. If I got stir crazy in the office, I’d go out to the countryside. If I missed taking a shower with running water, I was back in the city.”

One of the biggest challenges of being so immersed and isolated in a foreign culture, though, was the separation from friends back home—and having one personal relationship fall apart while he was abroad. “It was hard to be away from friends and family, and it made it so much more intense when you have no support network,” says Kirshenbaum. “But again, I felt like the connections and friendships I made with friends in Nicaragua really helped me through it. That was a really beautiful experience, to call on friendships you’ve made in another language, in another culture—and people are there for you. It made me want to be a kinder person, here and there. You really see the value of going out of your way to make someone feel comfortable, that there’s somebody there for you.”

From those friendships to all the time and projects in rural communities, Kirshenbaum says it’s hard to quantify everything he gained from the internship. “I don’t where to begin,” he says. “It was one of those experiences where the whole time I was thinking, ‘I’m doing the right thing.’ This is what my life needed, and I just feel so fortunate to have this opportunity.”

Ross Kirshenbaum

Kirshenbaum is organizing a return trip to Nicaragua for this spring, when he hopes to bring a group of UW students down with him for an intensive week of work in the field.

Not all of his takeaways were so intangible. Kirshenbaum also came home with a few bottles of the famous Nicaraguan rum, as well as a real taste for buñuelos, which are basically friend dough balls made from yucca and grated cheese. “You mash them up and fry these little dumplings,” he says, “and you dump them in a honey you make from water, brown sugar and cinnamon, and you boil that until it turns into a syrup. It has a distinct smoky flavor, and you have this savory and sweet combo. It’s so good!”

What’s Next?
“I’ve been asking myself that nonstop,” says Kirshenbaum. “Ultimately, I want to farm, and this experience drove that home. I want to produce food for people, and I’d love to have educational components around it. I kind of have a dream of starting a nonprofit around that concept in a city. The next step for that professional goal would be to intern on some farms and start learning the ropes really well. I have a lot of hands-on experience now, but I need to spend a couple years working on a farm in the United States.”

Kirshenbaum also wants to do more traveling in the next few years. But he knows that as soon as he starts working on a farm—and especially if he has his own farm—that’s where he’s going to be, and straying too far will be a lot more difficult.

In fact, he’s already angling for a return trip to Nicaragua this spring. He’s hoping to organize a group of 10 to 12 other students to spend about seven days working with small-scale farmers in the rural communities he got to know during his internship. It would be an intensive cultural learning experience out in the rural communities, and Kirshenbaum has been working with the study abroad office to try to get some course credit attached, and possibly some help with fundraising and scholarships for interested students; you can send Kirshenbaum an email for more information.

After that, he says he might spend a few months with his sister in Brooklyn. She has a young daughter, and Kirshenbaum says he’d love to babysit his niece in exchange for free rent in the spare bedroom—at least until he nails down his next move!

Photos © Ross Kirshenbaum.

Ross Kirshenbaum

Professor Moskal Delivers Keynote Address at Conference in Beijing

SEFS Professor Monika Moskal just returned from a week-long trip to China, which included giving a keynote address—“LiDAR for the Measurement and Monitoring of Forest Ecosystem Services”—at the 2013 SilviLaser conference in Beijing, October 9-11 (the “13th International Conference on LiDAR Applications for Assessing Forest Ecosystems”).

Monika Moskal

Professor Moskal’s tour guides, Zhongya and Guang, taking her on a tour of Beijing.

During her trip, Professor Moskal had the opportunity to catch up with one of her former graduate students at SEFS, Guang Zheng, who is now an associate professor of remote sensing at Nanjing University. Guang’s Ph.D. work, which resulted in five peer-reviewed publications, was funded by Moskal’s grant through the National Science Foundation’s Center for Advanced Forestry Systems. Guang is continuing his work with terrestrial LiDAR, and one of his students presented a paper—with Moskal as a collaborator—about classifying point cloud data into ground, leaf and trunk points. This is a breakthrough in LiDAR analysis, says Moskal, as the method is not sensor dependent and can be applied to any 3-D point cloud data (including aerial LiDAR).

Another presenter at the conference was Zhongya Zhang, who was a visiting student in Moskal’s lab for two years. Zhongya presented their work in collaboration with another SEFS student, Alexandra Kazakova, on using hyperspectral imagery and LiDAR to classify forest tree species. This work was funded by McIntire-Stennis funds, as well as the Precision Forestry Cooperative.

Also, a day before the SilviLaser conference, Moskal was invited to address a group of students and faculty at the University of Geosciences in Beijing. She spoke about the hyper-resolution remote sensing research that is a big focus and specialty of her Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory at SEFS.

Photos © Monika Moskal.

Monika Moskal

Professor Moskal, center, with her hosts, Guang and Zhongya, at the SilviLaser conference.

Pileated Woodpeckers in Suburban Seattle?

This Friday, October 18, the Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) in Forks, Wash., will be hosting the second presentation as part of its new monthly speaker series, “Evening Talks at ONRC.”

Jorge Tomasevic

Jorge Tomasevic

Each month, a graduate student or other regional expert will give a public talk to engage members of the Forks and surrounding communities in exciting research projects throughout the state. SEFS graduate student Laurel Peelle kicked off the speaker series on Saturday, September 21, to great success—and an enthusiastic round of questions afterward!

This next event, which will begin at the ONRC campus at 7 p.m., features Jorge Tomasevic for his talk, “A New Neighbor on the Block: Pileated Woodpeckers in Seattle’s Suburban Areas.”

Part of the Wildlife Science Group at SEFS—and currently working toward his Ph.D.—Tomasevic originally came to the United States as a Fulbright Fellow from Chile. From the cold forests of Patagonia to the arid desert of Atacama, from the native forests and struggling exotic pine plantations to the heights of an island in the Pacific Ocean or up high in the Andes, Tomasevic has participated in several research projects dealing with the ecology and conservation of forest birds and endangered species in Chile—and now in the Pacific Northwest.

“Most of us think of the Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) as a mature or even old-growth forest species, right?” says Tomasevic. “That’s why we use them as indicators of forest health. However, they are also using suburban areas in the Greater Seattle region. Why is this? How are they doing? Are they successful, or it is just the remains of a past population that are using what is left of the forest not taken over by housing development?”

Come out this Friday to learn more about what this woodpecker is doing in such an unusual environment!

“Evening Talks at ONRC” is open to the public and is supported by the Rosmond Forestry Education Fund endowment. For more information about the program, contact Ellen Matheny at ematheny@uw.edu or 360.374.4556.

About the Speaker Series
In addition to bringing speakers and interesting research out to ONRC, the speaker series also provides a great opportunity for graduate students to gain experience presenting their research to the public, and to a generally non-scientific audience. For participating speakers, ONRC will cover travel expenses and provide lodging for the night, as well as a stipend of $200. The specific days of the events are flexible, and there will be openings coming up for January, March and May. If you are interested in giving a talk or know someone who would be a great fit for this series, please contact Karl Wirsing!

Photo © Ross Furbush.

“Tree of the Week” Sprouts Again!

In case you haven’t noticed—and that includes yours truly, who had to eat his words after making a snide remark about how no one was updating the display—the “Tree of the Week” spotlight in Anderson Hall is back in business!

Tree of the Week

Shannon Armitage and the refreshed “Tree of the Week” display.

For nearly two months now, SEFS graduate student Shannon Armitage has been cycling in a different tree species to feature each Monday. The display, in the glass case alongside the C. Frank Brockman Memorial to the left of the main entrance, features photos by Brockman, a map of the tree’s range, and then a short description of the habitat and other facts about the tree. There’s a second display, as well, outside by the bus stop just west of Anderson Hall.

Inside Anderson, this week’s featured tree is the Giant Chinkapin (Castanopsis chrysophylla), which is most common in northern California but also native to parts of Oregon and Washington. Outside by the bus stop, you’ll find Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana). Stop by and check them out the next time you’re around Anderson Hall, and make sure to thank Armitage—whom you’ll often find helping out at the front desk in AND 107—for reviving this SEFS tradition!

Photo © Karl Wirsing/SEFS.

SEFS Seminar Series: Week 2 Preview

Fernando Resende

Professor Fernando Resende

After a great presentation and terrific turnout for Mary Ruckelshaus of the Natural Capital Project in Week 1 of the SEFS Seminar Series, we’re excited to build on that energy this Tuesday with Professor Fernando Resende!

In his talk tomorrow (Oct. 8), “Thermochemical Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass into Fuels and Chemicals,” Resende will explain how we can make fuels and high-value products from wood, grass and agricultural residues—and how his work specifically uses high-temperature engineering processes.

The seminars are held on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223, and all students, staff and faculty are encouraged to attend. Make sure to mark your calendars for the rest of the seminars this fall!

(A special thank you, as well, to the Dead Elk Society for their help organizing the reception after the seminar. The next reception is scheduled after Professor Stanley Asah’s talk on November 5.)

Photo © Fernando Resende.

Into the Woods!

Last weekend, 20 graduate students spent two nights camping as part of their first Forest Community Ecology (SEFS 501) field trip. The course—co-taught by Christina Restaino and Alina Cansler, who are both working toward their Ph.Ds at SEFS—focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of forest composition in the Pacific Northwest, on both the east and west sides of the Cascade Range. There’s a strong emphasis on information gathering and analysis of ecological data, as well as on scientific writing and communication.

SEFS 501For this initial excursion—the first of two this quarter—the class headed to Blewett Pass (elevation 4,100 feet) on the east side of the Cascades. As part of their ecosystem assessments, students walked and collected data and measurements along three 20-meter transects at different elevations. Their goal was to catalog the forest composition of the understory and overstory, and they’ll use that data in their analysis assignments later in the course.

Despite getting rained for most of the three days of research and camping, the class remained incredibly upbeat and motivated, says Restaino. “We set up a tarp city, and everybody was a trooper!”

The next field trip is coming up on October 11 and 12, when the class will head down to Pack Forest and Mount Rainier National Park (shutdown permitting). For this foray on the west side of the Cascades, students will focus more on stand structure and overstory communities. They’ll also get to stay one night at Pack Forest, where they can rely on some shelter even if weather conditions don’t cooperate!

Photos and Slideshow © Christina Restaino.