SEFS Christmas Tree Sale: Place Your Orders!

This fall, the Forest Club is once again proud to organize one of our most popular community traditions: the annual Christmas Tree Sale!

Founded in 1908, the Forest Club is one of the oldest and longest-running clubs at the University of Washington, and every year the group sells freshly cut noble fir (Abies procera) Christmas trees to folks at UW and throughout the city of Seattle. Former Forest Club president and current master’s student Caileigh Shoot is leading the sale, and this year she’s recruited a wide range of students and clubs—from IFSA to SAF to TAPPI to Dead Elk and more—to help with cutting and delivering the trees. Caileigh and her team will head out to harvest the trees on Saturday, December 3, and then have them ready for pick-up on Sunday, December 4, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Center for Urban Horticulture (3501 NE 41st Street) —on the blacktop on the east side of the property, between the greenhouses and Yesler Swamp.

Xmas Tree Sale

Community members pick up their trees from the Center for Urban Horticulture.

Our beautiful noble firs come from Hunter Farms, and they are typically 4 to 7 feet tall (and, in past years, the larger trees have typically gone fastest, so come early if size is super important to you). All trees, regardless of size, are $45 (and non-refundable), and all proceeds benefit the Forest Club and other partner student groups assisting with the sale.

Trees are available for pre-order starting now through Thursday, December 1.

You can order your tree one of three ways:

1. Use the super-easy online form and pay with credit card.
2. Fill out and mail the paper form with a checkmade out to the UW Forest Club—to: UW Forest Club, Box 352100, Seattle, WA 98195
3. Print and hand deliver the form and payment—using cash, check or card—to Anderson 130, or if no one is available there, Anderson 107.

Remember, all forms must be received by close of business on Thursday, December 1, before the crew heads out into the woods, so don’t delay!

Email if you have any questions, and thank you for supporting the Forest Club!

Undergrad Spotlight: Linnea Kessler

by Karl Wirsing/SEFS

Last winter and spring, SEFS undergrad Linnea Kessler spent two quarters in Tanzania with the School for Field Studies, a study-abroad program that offers students immersive experiences through field-based learning and research. In addition to taking a range of courses, from Swahili to environmental policy and wildlife management, Linnea got to carry out a research study on the chestnut-banded plover, a near-threatened species that’s endemic to the area.

Linnea, back left, and her classmates conducting transects and counting mammals at the Manyara Ranch Conservancy.

Linnea, back left, and her classmates running transects and counting mammals at the Manyara Ranch Conservancy.

Linnea, who grew up in Cheney, Wash., is an ESRM major in the wildlife option, and she says she had always wanted to study abroad in Africa. The field-heavy nature of this program is what especially attracted her, and the students were based in a village near Lake Manyara National Park in central Tanzania. They lived in an enclosed camp that included a dining hall, classroom and six cabins. She had three roommates, slept in a bunk bed, had spotty electricity and took a lot of cold showers. “It was basically like summer camp,” she says, except you were across the world in a totally unfamiliar environment.

The other highlight, of course, was the hands-on research experience. Linnea’s plover project involved looking at the birds’ distribution around Lake Manyara, part of which extends out of the park. Working with Bridget Amulike, a Tanzanian doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts who is working with grey crowned cranes, they discovered a positive correlation between pH levels in the water and abundance of the plovers. Levels in the lake can vary pretty widely, says Linnea, and they found more plovers in areas with an elevated pH (but none within the park). They also found the plovers were more abundant in mudflat habitats, potentially because the tiny birds have short legs and don’t thrive in marshy areas or deeper water. With more time and a bigger team, Linnea says they would be able to test these other variables to determine the drivers of plover distribution, and also compare their findings against data from another lake in northern Tanzania where the plovers have greater numbers.

Linnea’s study area in Lake Manyara National Park, where we took water samples for her plover research.

Linnea’s study area in Lake Manyara National Park, where she took water samples for her plover research.

When they weren’t in the field or in the classroom, the students also got to take a few memorable side excursions, including a camping trip to Tarangire National Park, as well as visits to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, where Linnea had the incredible fortune of seeing an elusive serval cat.

The program is fairly expensive, she says, but she highly recommends it, from the great people involved to the unforgettable experiences in Africa. “I was worried about not knowing anyone,” she says, “but the other students were awesome and I made some really close friends.”

Now back on campus for her senior year, she’s wrapping up her final courses this fall and might have one or two more classes in the winter—including, if it works out, the weeklong Yellowstone field course during spring break. After that, she’s considering pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree, and her long-term goal is to return to Africa to study one of the big cats (leopards are her favorite).

Whatever path she takes, Linnea has accumulated tremendous field experiences here and abroad, and we are excited to see where she goes!

Photo in safari vehicle © Isaac Merson; photo of Lake Manyara study area © Linnea Kessler; photo below of scat identification exercise © Eva Geisse.

Conducting a scat identification field exercise in a ranch area of Lake Manyara, where wildlife is protected but livestock and grazing are also allowed.

Linnea, second from right, conducting a scat identification field exercise in a ranch area of Lake Manyara, where wildlife is protected but livestock and grazing are also allowed.


Monday (11/14): Introducing Google Earth Engine

As part of Geohackweek next Monday, November 14, you are invited to a free public lecture by Google developers introducing the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform. The event will run from 3:30 to 4:25 p.m. Anderson 223!

GEE is a tool for geospatial analysis that includes a massive data catalog of satellite imagery and geospatial data. The data catalog is hosted on Google’s cloud, allowing for rapid, on-the-fly calculations over large spatial and temporal scales. Whether you want to build a habitat map for your study area, map malaria risks throughout a country, or monitor global deforestation patterns, Google Earth Engine is an exciting new technology that brings petabytes of free, public data to users’ fingertips from the cloud.

The event is free and open to the public, but organizers request an RSVP to get a headcount beforehand. Contact SEFS doctoral student Catherine Kuhn if you have any questions!