Emeritus Spotlight: Gordon Bradley

There was a time, a little more than 40 years ago, when Professor Emeritus Gordon Bradley had to choose between taking a research job in Tennessee or accepting a faculty position at the University of Washington. It was a stark choice—and not an easy one, either.

He had flown down to Knoxville, Tenn., to interview for a position with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), where he would have been involved in their land-use impacts program. Around the same time, he’d also applied for a recreation planning faculty position at the College of Forest Resources. So while weighing an offer from the TVA, he headed up to Seattle to explore the possibility of an academic career. “I gave [UW] an interview and went back home, and the chair of the department called me up the next day to offer me the job,” says Bradley. “I had to think about it for a little while, because the people in Tennessee were so nice. But I thought, ‘I’ll try UW for a couple years.’”

Bradley with his wife Jackie in the Anderson Hall courtyard in 1974. The two met as undergrads at Cal Poly.

Bradley with his wife Jackie in the Anderson Hall courtyard in 1974. The two met as undergrads at Cal Poly.

A couple turned into more than 40, and Bradley—who retired at the end of 2014—has begun tying up the many threads of a long university life. “Some people might say, ‘You’ve had this one 42-year career,’” he says. “But if you take an academic career seriously, you can actually reinvent yourself over and over again. You can get a mix of things from about four or five different careers, and you don’t have to leave town.”

For Bradley, that mix has been unusually varied. In his four-plus decades on the faculty, he never shied away from opportunities to get involved and contribute to the SEFS community. He taught dozens of courses, from recreation and forest planning to urban forestry, and held adjunct positions with the Department of Urban Design and Planning and the Department of Landscape Architecture. He served on countless committees, including multiple turns organizing the school’s annual strategic planning retreat, and published scores of publications. He also held a number of leadership positions, including several years as faculty chair and associate dean of academic affairs, and his drawing of Anderson Hall now adorns all sorts of cards and documents as our unofficial seal.

Even now—between golf trips and more time with his family—he’s back at the helm of one more planning committee for the 2015 retreat. Yet the pace has definitely slowed a little, giving him more time to reflect on the bookends of his long, industrious tenure here.

“It seems like a rather trite comment,” he says, “but where did the time go? Well, if you hang around long enough, the time will go.”

Planning Ahead
Bradley was born in Bellingham, Wash., and he “fell down the West Coast” from there. First, his family moved to Seattle for a couple years, and then continued south to Sacramento when he was 7 years old. That’s where he went to high school, and Bradley says he didn’t exactly graduate with a clear vision of his future. “I had an occasion to look at my yearbook a while back, and where they ask you about your ambition, I just put ‘undecided.’”

After he enrolled at Sacramento State College (now California State University – Sacramento), though, some of his interests started to crystallize. “I was using those first two years to explore and take your general distributions classes,” he says, “and I knew I had an interest in agriculture, forestry, business and art. Somehow, as I was exploring different fields, landscape architecture seemed to capture a lot of that stuff. It clearly had an environmental aspect like forestry; the art aspect in design; and business if you were going to make it work.”

He transferred to the landscape architecture program at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in Pomona after his second year. The downside was that the technical nature of all programs at Cal Poly required a four-year sequence of courses. So he basically had to start over at year one of the program, knowing he would need another four years from there to complete the requirements of a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture.

Bradley's iconic drawing of Anderson Hall for the centennial of the College of Forest Resources in 2007.

Bradley’s iconic drawing of Anderson Hall, rather butchered here in web translation, for the centennial of the College of Forest Resources in 2007.

The upside of taking six years to finish the degree, however, was that he had time to get involved in a number of extracurricular activities, from spending time in a pottery studio—as it happens, with Robert Zappa, the brother of Frank Zappa—to getting active in the student government at Cal Poly.

In 1967, in fact, he got elected as vice-president of the Associated Students, Inc., a position that meant he was chair of the student senate. Bradley had been a student senator the year before, and he realized that most of the students didn’t have a clear picture of how the legislative process worked. So in a move that would surprise few of his later colleagues, Bradley partnered with a friend from his landscape architecture program to build a graphic that explained the legislative world, from introducing bills to votes and other procedural motions.

Scaling Up
After earning his bachelor’s in 1969, Bradley headed to Berkeley to work toward a master’s in landscape architecture in environmental planning. His undergraduate program had focused heavily on project-level planning, and his graduate work expanded the scope to include more regional planning—looking at the natural world, as well as the social and political and administrative dimensions.

The timing of his arrival on campus was perfect. “The nice thing about that degree,” he says, “was I got there just at the time when a piece of legislation passed that created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), and my academic advisor was an advisor to that agency.”

Bradley secured a research assistantship in 1970 to help the TRPA develop a land-use plan in the basin. He helped build an extensive GIS database and assisted with overall plan development, including modeling a number of future scenarios. “I worked on that project for the whole two years until the plan was adopted,” he says. “It was a real-world, heavy-duty policy-planning experience.”

Bradley speaking at the SEFS Graduation Celebration in 2013.

After his student deferment ran out, Bradley got drafted and spent the Vietnam War era with an Army National Guard reserve unit in California and Washington until 1975.

The TRPA defined the planning area to address the hydro-physiological boundary of the lake rather than simply the political boundary of the water. By factoring in conditions and inputs through the broader lake watershed, the agency was able to address a far more comprehensive set of variables. “It was unique in the world to have an environmental plan that captured all of the problems that influenced the health of the lake,” says Bradley. “It was an incredible experience.”

Back to Seattle
Not long after earning his master’s in 1972, Bradley saw the advertisement for an assistant professor of resource planning at the College of Forest Resources. “At the time I came here, we had a major recreation program headed up by Professor Grant Sharp,” says Bradley. “He did the interpretation, and I was hired to do the planning. I helped him build the program, and we developed a whole series of classes, case studies and field trips. But we eventually had to close the program because university budget constraints and the student numbers were more than the two of us could handle.”

In those first few years on the faculty, some of Bradley’s favorite classes were the two-week field trips he led as part of “Introduction to Recreation and Conservation.” Some of those excursions took them all the way out through Yellowstone, the Tetons, Jackson Hole and Hell’s Canyon, while others didn’t require going more than a few miles out of the city. “In this part of the world, when you walk outside of the building, that basically is your lab and your classroom,” he says. “You don’t’ have to read or lecture about it; you can go out and look at it. Urban forestry, urban ecology, recreation, sustainable sites—it’s all out there. So we’d be traveling and visiting agencies and trying to discover the important issues in natural resource management, and also some of the employment opportunities and career paths. It was quite an enterprise.”

Within five years, Bradley had been promoted and awarded tenure. And though his MLA was the highest he could achieve in his field at the time, he recognized that he was one of only a few professors at the university who didn’t hold a Ph.D. So he decided to use his first opportunity for sabbatical to enroll at the University of Michigan to pursue his doctorate in urban and regional planning. “Nobody made me do it, but I wanted to remain competitive and expand my horizons,” he says.

He returned to campus after a year and a half in Michigan and then spent the next six years completing his research remotely from Seattle, eventually earning his Ph.D. in urban, technological and environmental planning in 1986. “So I came here with a master’s and then was teaching for five to six years, got tenure and then went and got a Ph.D.”

Bradley is still in touch with many of his former students, and especially some of the first he took on field trips in the late 1970s. “You hang around with these kids for two weeks, and there’s a bonding that goes on,” he says, and he’s still in touch with many of them (some of whom are now retired themselves).

Bradley is still in touch with many of his former students, and especially some of the first he took on field trips in the late 1970s. “You hang around with these kids for two weeks, and there’s a bonding that goes on,” he says.

Also, while his time on campus at Michigan was brief, his connections to his advisor, Professor Rachel Kaplan, and her many students continue to this day. In fact, a book that Kaplan co-edited, Fostering Reasonableness: Supportive Environments for Bringing out Our Best, was just published last month. It includes a chapter by Bradley and one of his former students, Laura Cooper, “Planning for Small Forest Landscapes: Facilitating the Connection between People and Nature,” as well as contributions from 20 other individuals who have collaborated together for many years.

Bradley was later promoted to full professor in 1991 and he went on to serve in a number of leadership roles, including as faculty chair from 2005 to 2009. “With a background in planning,” he says, “I always viewed administration, in many respects, as adaptive management. If you really enjoy planning, you realize that not everything is going to work with everybody. I always thought of it as kind of a bunch of little experiments to see what worked and what didn’t work. My interest was just trying to resource the faculty in a way that allowed them to do their job, whether that was workload, time or money—to the extent we had some money to spend. I didn’t want the administration to ever be a barrier or a burden.”

A Professor’s Life
It’s hard to put a period at the end of such a long, multifaceted life in academia. Bradley has had a chance to work on so many projects with so many partners, from city, county, state and federal agencies, to timber companies across the region, to nonprofits like Forterra and the Mountains to Sound Greenway. “This has been absolutely incredible, the opportunity afforded by the University of Washington,” he says. “A lot of people don’t have the chance to enjoy a career like this. There just isn’t a bad day.”

He looks at these projects as chapters, or mini-careers, each with a different focus and set of challenges. His research ‘careers’ have covered recreation and conservation planning, forest land-use issues (including a book about the urban-forest interface), and urban ecology and urban forestry (including a book about urban forest landscapes). He also spent 10 years looking at visual resource management on forest lands, and through everything he continued to teach and mentor students.

One of his most rewarding experiences was serving as principal investigator for the National Science Foundation-funded program in urban ecology. The Integrative Graduate Education Research and Training (IGERT) grant allowed Bradley and several colleagues, including SEFS Professors Clare Ryan and John Marzluff, to work and travel internationally with doctoral students to address pressing environmental issues.

Taking advantage of extra time in his schedule, Bradley recently spent a week golfing the Alabama Trail, a series of courses that Robert Trent Jones designed. “Great courses, excellent weather and a game about as good as I can play.”

Taking advantage of his lighter schedule, Bradley recently spent a week golfing the Alabama Trail, a series of courses that Robert Trent Jones designed. “Great courses, excellent weather and a game about as good as I can play.”

Missing those student interactions might be an especially tough adjustment. “That’s really the fun of teaching, the process of sharing discoveries,” he says. “I always liked that, whether it was the introductory classes or the graduate classes. You have a guaranteed supply of good students, and there’s a high energy level in terms of ideas, issues, personnel. It’s a stimulating kind of place.”

Now, aside from a couple consulting projects and helping a few graduate students wrap up their research, Bradley’s schedule definitely looks much more open—though his days are likely to be just as full. “The calendar is not empty,” he says.

He’s already taken a couple golf trips and has visits to Montana and Hawaii coming up this summer. He’s also spending more time with his family, including his daughter Autumn and two grandkids. “This afternoon, my granddaughter has an indoor soccer game, and I love to watch her. “I have [the grandkids] every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. I fix them breakfast and then take them to school.”

It will take him a year or two to fully transition out of the university, and he’s now gradually packing up his office in Bloedel Hall (which his grandkids call the “treehouse”). But there’s more to it than that. After a lifetime of constant learning and professional evolution, Bradley doesn’t ever want to close the door on new adventures and pursuits. “Put your antenna up, keep your eyes open and your ears unplugged, and make sure you’re sensing your environment and what interests you,” he says.

One of his former students, Wendy Asplin, might have said it best when she encouraged him to sit back and watch the universe expand.

“I liked that,” says Bradley. “Watch the universe expand. I think it’s going to work out.”

Photo of Gordon and Jackie Bradley, and Anderson drawing © Gordon Bradley; all other photos © Karl Wirsing/SEFS.

All Aboard: SEFS to Lease Bus for Field Trips!

After many months of planning, the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) is very excited to announce a lease agreement with UW Fleet Services for a 30-passenger bus that we’ll be able to use for student field trips!

With an easy-to-clean interior and a PA system for in-drive lecturing, the new SEFS bus will be perfect for shuttling large field courses.

With an easy-to-clean interior and a PA system for in-drive lecturing, the new SEFS bus will be perfect for shuttling large field courses.

The bus, which will feature a SEFS wrap to promote our affiliation and activities, will provide a huge logistical and safety improvement for our programs. Instead of stringing out a caravan of Suburbans to reach field sites, we’ll now be able to fit a full class into a single bus—and also improve the quality of course delivery, as the bus will have a PA system for lecturing during the drive. It will additionally have wireless internet, a low-emission option for running on propane, adequate ground clearance, and an easy-to-clean interior. So we’ll eliminate the time it takes to gather and park several vehicles, as well as the concern of depending on multiple student drivers.

Some of the details are still being finalized, but the bus will be managed and maintained by Fleet Services, and the plan is to have it delivered by late August and ready in time for autumn courses. It will be an ideal option for courses with enrollment greater than 14 students, or more than will fit in two Suburbans. SEFS will have priority for usage, and if you want to use the bus, you will need to figure out your field trip dates for all three academic quarters and send them to Michelle Trudeau no later than August 10. All requests must go through Michelle, who will forward them to Fleet Services for scheduling (with our courses having priority over all other units).

Driving Logistics
The bus will have to be driven by an individual with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger endorsement coordinated by Transportation Services Business Mobility Group. Overall, the cost of leasing it will be somewhat higher than the rental of three Suburbans, but you will not have to pay the difference, as SEFS will subsidize this cost until we adjust course fees for the following year. That said, the more the bus is scheduled, the lower the cost to the school, so please use it!

In the meantime, start getting excited for a tremendous upgrade to our field program!

Look at all those seats!

Look at all those seats!

UW Climate Change Videos: Watch the 10 Finalists!

Last week, we announced the winners of the UW Climate Change Video Contest, and now you can watch each of the top 10 entries! Our photographer for the evening, Erin Lodi, has also posted a wonderful gallery of shots from the awards show, and we invite you to take a look and download any images you wish to keep or share.

So grab some popcorn and enjoy the show!

Photo © Erin Lodi Photography.

Judges Randy Olson (left), Paul D. Miller and Dean Lisa Graumlich discuss one of the student films.

Judges Randy Olson (left), Paul D. Miller and Dean Lisa Graumlich discuss one of the student films.

 

Against the Current

If you take a stream ecology course, you are generally taught that as a stream winds down from its headwaters at higher elevations, the water temperature will increase fairly steeply at first, and then gradually—and predictably—approach air temperature as the stream levels off at lower elevations. But several researchers at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS)—including doctoral student Aimee Fullerton and Professors Christian Torgersen and Josh Lawler—have recently published new findings in Hydrological Processes that could change the way we think about stream ecology and temperature dynamics.

The paper, “Rethinking the longitudinal stream temperature paradigm: region-wide comparison of thermal infrared imagery reveals unexpected complexity of river temperatures,” is a meta-analysis of thermal data from 53 rivers across the Pacific Northwest. Torgersen, a research landscape ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and an affiliate professor with SEFS, started building this massive data set in 1994. He partnered with long-time colleague Russ Faux at Watershed Sciences, Inc. (now part of Quantum Spatial), to collect thermal information from Faux’s aerial surveys of hundreds of rivers in Oregon, California, Idaho, Washington and a few other states.

Aimee Fullerton

Doctoral student Aimee Fullerton, lead author on the paper, grew up in Ohio and works as a research scientist with NOAA.

Thermal infrared imaging is usually accurate to within a half degree, so these readings provided a trove of high-level, high-quality spatial data to explore. “This is the first time we’ve had the kind of spatial data over many, many rivers—and at a fine resolution—to even look at these patterns,” says Torgersen. “It was my dream project.”

Using these data, the researchers set out to map spatial patterns in river temperature during the summer, when fish are most stressed. They wanted to determine, among other information, whether they could predict the location of cold patches, which provide useful “cold refuges” for fish as they migrate up a stream. And though the authors expected to find geographical indicators for how a stream’s temperature would behave, the actual results surprised them.

Rather than finding predictable patterns, they discovered a great deal of variability and complexity in the streams. About half of the rivers behaved as expected, with temperatures steeply warming from the headwaters, and then gradually tapering off as the stream progresses. With other streams, though, the pattern was more gradual and linear, or the temperature stayed the same; and then in other cases, the temperature actually decreased or fluctuated over lengths of 50 kilometers or more—starting out cold, warming a bit, and then getting cold again.

“I think most people would say it’s not super surprising that there’s variability in these patterns,” says Torgersen. “But at this broad scale to see some of these odd-ball patterns was kind of a humdinger. We just know a lot less about river temperature than we do about air temperature.”

That’s why the mapping of water temperature in this study was so valuable. Most mathematical models of stream temperature, while largely accurate, aren’t able to account for fine-scale variations. Yet there are so many factors that can impact temperature variability, says Fullerton, such as tributaries, groundwater and nearby vegetation, or even coastal fog deflecting solar radiation. So this research provides a crucial perspective for what is actually happening in the water—and, ultimately, how those variations impact all of the species depending on the stream.

Implications
Fullerton says an important caveat with these findings is that the researchers only studied a snapshot in time. Their data came exclusively during the summer, so they weren’t capturing temperatures during different seasons, or overnight.

Christian Torgersen

For terrestrial ecology, the same paradigm would have you assume that as you go up a mountain, the air generally gets cooler. “If it got warmer as you went up, you’d know there was something up,” says Professor Christian Torgersen.

Still, these results can already reshape how researchers think about stream restoration projects, and how they determine the “natural” template for a certain section of river. It will be vital to examine the broader context of any stream segment—what’s happening directly up- and downstream, or along the riverbanks—to get the most comprehensive and accurate reading.

The diversity of thermal habitats in these streams, moreover, could be good news for the long-term survival of existing species, especially salmon. It appears that species may already be accustomed to navigating through a variety of conditions, and coping with a range of temperature tolerances, which could make them more resilient and less susceptible to future land use and climate impacts. “That’s going to help them with whatever comes next,” says Fullerton.

An important aspect of the climate analysis came from Professor Lawler, who is a coauthor on the paper. He played a key role in developing the approach for comparing patterns of water temperature among streams. “He was essential as a reality check to make sure our assertions were valid,” says Torgersen. “He also helped us couch these results in the context of climate change, and what the implications of this work are for understanding how species respond to a warming climate.”

Next Steps
Fullerton has worked as a research scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) since 2002. Now into her fifth year of doctoral study—working with Torgersen and Lawler—she can’t wait to dive back into the data and expand their analysis.

This first paper focused on a broad-scale perspective, and the next step is to key in on a finer scale and begin to look at how these spatial patterns might be affected by climate change, and therefore might affect the vulnerability of salmon. Specifically, the researchers will be quantifying the size, location and distance between cold water patches that salmon use, and considering how those patterns might change under future climate scenarios. After that, a third component of this research will be to look at drivers of these patterns, and whether we can predict where colder patches will occur in the landscape.

Which is to say, there’s much more to come from this exciting research, which has already challenged a number of long-held assumptions. “My hope is that stream ecologists will be reading this paper and then teach students that you can’t assume the temperature will increase,” says Torgersen. “It could change the way people think about basic stream ecology questions, and how to develop their models.”

Photos © Aimee Fullerton and Christian Torgersen.

Fullerton on a research trip to the Salmon River in Idaho in 2013.

Fullerton on a research trip to the Salmon River in Idaho in 2013.

And the 2015 UW Climate Change Video Contest Winners are…

The first-ever UW Climate Change Video Contest culminated with a smashing awards show at Town Hall last Friday, May 15. We screened the top 10 videos to a great crowd, and our panel of judges— Annie Leonard (also the emcee), Dean Lisa Graumlich, Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) and Randy Olson—provided some lively feedback and discussion. We’ll post the 10 finalists’ videos on our website shortly, as well as more photos and information about the students, so stay tuned!

And, now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for—

HIGH SCHOOL CATEGORY

First Place
Leo Pfeifer and Meagen Tajalle
Ballard High School, Seattle, WA

Second Place
Teri Guo, Caeli MacLennan, Kevin Nakahara,
Ethan Perrin and Nivida Thomas
Tesla STEM High School, Redmond, WA

UNDERGRADUATE CATEGORY

First Place
Michael Moynihan and Sarra Tekola
University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Second Place
Erfan Dastournejad
Shoreline Community College, Shoreline, WA

Congratulations to all of our finalists and winners, and to all of the talented students who submitted so many fantastic videos!

Conservation Catwalk: Elements of the Wild

Last spring, you might remember we introduced you to two enterprising freshmen, Ava Holmes and Olivia Moskowitz, who founded a student group, “Conservation in Style,” that focuses on eco-friendly fashion to raise awareness and funds for endangered species. In their first year here, the dynamic pair pulled off an impressive series of events, from an art exhibit to a conservation dinner, with the biggest splash being a Conservation Catwalk eco-fashion show held at the Husky Union Building last winter.

"Junk Dress" by one of the featured designers in the show, Gary Harvey

“Junk Dress” by one of the featured designers in the show, Gary Harvey

Well, in year two, the sophomores have again partnered with The Gabby Wild Foundation to host a second Conservation Catwalk, coming up next Wednesday, May 20, at 7 p.m. in Gould Hall—with all proceeds going to support wildlife conservation!

This year’s theme is “Elements of the Wild,” with a focus on environmentally and ethically sound attire inspired by wildlife and nature’s four elements. The show will merge “fashion forward” with “socially and environmentally responsible,” and the runway will be alive with animal-inspired designs and performances. Featured designs will come from a mix of local designers and past contestants on the television show Project Runway, and the host this year will be our own grad student Samantha Zwicker (who just won “Graduate Student of the Year” as the 2015 SEFS Recognition Event)!

Last year’s pilot event was hugely successful, drawing more than 1,000 students, faculty and community attendees, and Holmes and Moskowitz are excited to bring the wild to the runway once again.

Get your tickets today, and contact Conservation in Style for more information about the event. (If you go the VIP route, the VIP doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the package includes VIP styling, photoshoot with your “spirit animal,” private networking event, vegan hors d’oeuvres, front-row seating and eco-goodie bags.)

Come explore your wild side!

Photo © “Junk Dress” by one of the featured designers for the show, Gary Harvey.

Next Week (5/20): 2015 Urban Forest Symposium

Hosted by PlantAmnesty and the UW Botanic Gardens, the 7th annual Urban Forest Symposium is coming up next Wednesday, May 20, from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Center for Urban Horticulture (with a reception to follow from 4 to 6 p.m.).

Urban Forest SymposiumFrom providing clean water and air to supporting healthier minds and bodies, trees have significant value, but they never seem to get the credit they deserve. Attend this year’s Urban Forest Symposium, themed “For What It’s Worth: Valuing the Urban Forest,” to learn the best methods for quantifying the worth of our urban forests, and how to communicate that value to decision-makers and the public. Presenters will share the latest research on stormwater benefits and tools used to quantify them, introduce a new online portal to assist in identifying areas in cities that can have the greatest health savings through expanding tree canopy, and discuss how to leverage the multitude of benefits to engage new supporters.

Presentations will be relevant to those working in the fields of urban forestry, landscape management, policy, budget analysis, natural resources, tree care, arboricultural consulting, sustainability, urban planning, landscape design, landscape architecture, municipal management and tree advocacy.

The cost to attend the symposium is $85 per person, and lunches are available for an additional $15. Learn more and register today!

Tomorrow (5/13): CUGOS Spring Fling!

Do you care about geometry-busting workflows, brain dumping academic research, parsing vertices while flying drones, code as well as content, and usability through design? Is your skin tingling just thinking about all of this geospatial madness? Then join CUGOS tomorrow, May 13, for an all-day Spring Fling focused on all things open-source geospatial!

CUGOS, or Cascadia Users of Geospatial Open Source, is a regional chapter of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). They are a group of developers, GIS specialists, designers and geographers all gathering under one roof in the name of maps.

Their Spring Fling, held in the Forest Club Room in Anderson Hall, is an intensely educational learning session for passionate practitioners of open-source geospatial. The day will kick off at 9 a.m., when the “geo-floodgates” will open, then leads to a series of longer talks, lightning talks, free pizza, hands-on projects and then a happy hour at the end of the day. The event is free and open to anyone, and participation is highly encouraged—especially by students!

There’s no cap on how many folks can take part, so check out the full day’s program and come join the fun!

Update: Spring Fling is under way, and there's a packed house upstairs in the Forest Club Room!

Update: Spring Fling is under way, and there’s a packed house upstairs in the Forest Club Room!

2015 Recognition Event: Honorees and Auction Results!

In case you missed the SEFS Recognition Event this past Tuesday, we celebrated in style with a spirited wine tasting (featuring a record 38 donated bottles!), a delicious catered array of tapas offerings, all sorts of goodies in the Silent Auction, and, of course, our annual awards!

2015_05_Recognition ProgramWe’re still tallying the bids from the auction, but judging from the early returns, it looks like we are going to raise nearly $3,000 for the SEFS Scholarship Fund! If you won an item and didn’t pick it up on Tuesday night—or if you left early and don’t know whether you won yet—you can expect an email in the next few days. It will include instructions for how to make your donation online, as well as how to connect with a donor if you bid on a particular experience. Otherwise, you can pick up all unclaimed items in Karl Wirsing’s office in Anderson 107B.

Without further ado, the award results!

Staff Member of the Year: Sarah Geurkink
Faculty Member of the Year: Professor Jon Bakker
Graduate Student of the Year: Samantha Zwicker
Undergraduate Student of the Year: Sophia Winkler-Schor

(Each of these honorees received a certificate and will have his or her name added to the plaque display in Anderson Hall.)

The John A. Wott Fellowship in Plant Collection and Curatorship, given in recognition of outstanding research and contributions to the Washington Park Arboretum: Chris Watson

The Richard D. Taber Outstanding Wildlife Conservation Student Award, given in recognition of exemplary performance in wildlife conservation: Ghee-Hee Yang

Director’s Awards for Outstanding Service to the School
Faculty: Professor Josh Lawler
Staff: David Campbell

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating each of these deserving winners, as well as all of the fantastic nominees, for continuing to make our school such a vibrant and inspiring community.

Also, we’d like to give a special thank you to our selection committee, which had an especially challenging job this year, and to everyone who submitted a nomination letter. So many others helped pull this event together, as well, including Steve West spearheading another spectacular wine tasting (and for everyone who generously donated bottles); Greg Ettl for serving as Master of Ceremonies; Sarah Thomas for organizing the award process; Amanda Davis for managing the catering and a dozen other tasks; everyone who donated—and bid on—the wonderful prizes and experiences for the Silent Auction; and so many others. Thank you!

Already looking forward to next year!

Testing the Waters

This morning, Professor David Butman was finishing up the installation of a new dissolved carbon dioxide sensor at a site on Issaquah Creek, which drains a relatively pristine forested watershed into Lake Washington. Professor Butman is looking at carbon dynamics to understand how stream systems fit into the terrestrial carbon cycle, and he is collaborating with the U.S. Geological Survey, which is embarking on a large-scale, intensive sampling for water quality across the Pacific Northwest. They’ll pool all of this data when they pull the sensors out in late fall.

“A collaborative time series of data like this does not really exist yet,” he says, “and we are doing this at two more sites in Bellingham that cover an urban and an agricultural watershed.”

David Butman