Inspiración del Perú: Blending Fashion with Conservation

Shortly after starting at the University of Washington two years ago, Ava Holmes co-founded a student group, Conservation in Style, that used eco-friendly fashion to raise awareness and funds for endangered species. They organized a full calendar of events in their first year, culminating in a hugely successful Conservation Catwalk eco-fashion show, and they somehow managed to expand their programs last year.

One of 12 featured international artists, Jose Zafra, designed this couture inspired by cacao, which is grown as a sustainable crop at Hoja Nueva and will be imported to Seattle for chocolate manufacturing.

Now, in year three, Ava continues to grow and evolve her work. She founded her own production company, A-DOT Productions, and this spring is co-hosting a Peruvian-themed benefit, Inspiración del Perú, to raise money for Hoja Nueva, a nonprofit SEFS doctoral student Sam Zwicker cofounded to help local communities along the Las Piedras River in Peru develop more sustainable agricultural practices.

The benefit, coming up on Wednesday, May 11, from 2 to 10 p.m. at Metropolist in Seattle, will feature an eco-fashion show, “Runway to Peru;” a Peruvian marketplace; VIP cacao, chocolate and cocktail tasting hour; an auction of crafts, designs and artwork; and live music and performance art by local and international artists, all inspired by the colorful scenes of Peru.

​All proceeds go directly to benefit Hoja Nueva, and each ticket will help protect at least five acres of rainforest and plant one cacao tree in the Piedras region of the Amazon, home to the largest unprotected rainforest in the world. In addition to the positive environmental impacts these donations will make—including protecting endangered wildlife habitat and combating global climate change—this event will support cacao trees that will produce fair-trade and organic ingredients for Seattle-based chocolate manufacturers. Proceeds will also support Hoja Nueva’s other projects involving sustainability, community development, wildlife conservation and reforestation.

Partners for the benefit include A-DOT Productions and Hoja Nueva, the Peruvian Consulate, AVEDA, National Geographic’s NOVICA, and the many artists participating in the runway show and performances.

It’s going to be a tremendous evening of student-driven ideas and energy, so check out the full event program and get your tax-deductible tickets today!

Photos © Ava Holmes.

One of 12 featured international artists, Jose Zafra, designed this couture inspired by cacao, which is grown as a sustainable crop at Hoja Nueva and will be imported to Seattle for chocolate manufacturing.

One of 12 featured international artists, Jose Zafra, designed this couture inspired by cacao, which is grown as a sustainable crop at Hoja Nueva and will be imported to Seattle for chocolate manufacturing in the next couple years.

 

SEFS Researchers Awarded Grant to Study Fire Management in Washington

Three researchers at SEFS—including Research Associates Derek Churchill and Van Kane, as well as Research Ecologist Alina Cansler—are part of a team that was just awarded a $383,565 grant through the federal Joint Fire Science Program.

The project, “Landscape Evaluations and Prescriptions for Post-Fire Landscapes,” will focus on landscape approaches to post-fire management in north-central Washington. Specifically, the researchers will be studying recent fires in the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Colville national forests, with the goal of assisting forest managers in better understanding the effects of large wildfires on landscape conditions—and facilitating science-driven approaches to post-fire management.

Professor Andrew Larson from the University of Montana is the principal investigator, and $196,000 of the total grant will go to support the SEFS researchers. Other team members include Paul Hessburg and Nick Povak from the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station; Professor Jim Lutz from Utah State University; and Richy Harrod from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

2016_04_Fire Management Grant1Project Overview
Wildfires in the western United States are modifying the structure and composition of forests at rates that far exceed mechanical and prescribed fire treatments. Despite the huge number of acres affected by wildfires each year, our scientific understanding and social license regarding how to both critically assess and manage post-fire landscapes to maximize resilience to future disturbances is limited. Millions of burned acres are thus being left to recover naturally with little landscape-level analysis of the ecosystem structure and function that is likely to result. Credible stewardship of western forests must consider the effects of recent and future wildfires in a whole-landscape framework.

The “work” of wildfires can be beneficial in terms of reducing fuel loads (Lydersen et al. 2012), enhancing fire resistant species and structure (Larson et al. 2013), and creating early-seral habitat (Swanson et al. 2011). However, many recent wildfires are creating large high-severity patches in dry forest systems that were historically dominated by low- and mixed-severity fires (Cansler and McKenzie 2014). This may be creating conditions that are more susceptible to future high-severity disturbances or shifts to new ecosystem states that will not sustain the same ecological and social functions. We will provide managers with a framework to quantify the extent to which fires moved forest structure and composition towards or away from desired conditions by evaluating wildfire effects relative to reference conditions.

In north-central Washington, 2014 and 2015 were record-setting wildfire years, burning hundreds of thousands of acres on the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Colville national forests. These fires burned through a wide range of treated and untreated conditions at a range of severities, including re-burning past wildfires that received a range of post-fire management activities. These large fire years have presented a huge challenge to managers and collaborative stakeholder groups in terms of how to assess the need for post-fire management actions. Relatively little post-fire management has been proposed or implemented.

The researchers will address both ecological and management questions by:

  • Investigating how wildfires are shaping the temporal and spatial patterns of vegetation and fuels as influenced by combinations of annual weather, local climate, topography, prior fire, and prior management.
  • Assessing how forests have recovered from previous fires, with special focus on the effects of prior management.
  • Building tools to assist managers and stakeholder groups to assess how future fires may affect forest structure, and determine what combinations of post-fire management and green tree treatments will best enhance future forest resilience.
  • Showing which landscape assessment tools allow the best understanding of patterns of pre- and post-fire forest structure by comparing several tools across our study area with a particular focus on understanding and demonstrating the use of airborne LiDAR data.

Photos courtesy of Derek Churchill.

2016_04_Fire Management Grant2

Celebrate Earth Week with IFSA!

Next Friday, April 22, is Earth Day, and our UW local committee of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) has activities planned for nearly every day of Earth Week!

They’ll kick things off on Monday, April 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. with a Publication Workshop featuring Professors Rob Harrison and Marcia Ciol. Panel will talk about the publishing process, and professors will share challenges gleaned from their cumulative years of publishing and boarding publishing councils. There will also be discussion of the challenges of publishing for ESL students. Held in the Forest Club Room (AND 207).

2016_04_Earth Week ActivitiesThen, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19, they’re hosting an Alumni Networking event, which will begin right after the Xi Sigma Pi forestry lecture (which you should also attend!). UW alumni will address students on the challenges and successes of finding gratifying work. Students will have a chance to talk independently with alumni to make connections and network for their future entry into the job market. Alcohol will be served. Held in the Forest Club Room.

Next, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, they’ve put together a Resume Workshop, where you can learn how to draft resumes and cover letters. Discussions on best writing practices, current employer hiring practices, and the interview process to be included. Held in Anderson 22.

Then, from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 22, you can catch the movie premiere of KOMBIT: The Cooperative, a feature documentary film chronicling a five-year project to reforest Haiti, in partnership with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), a Haitian nonprofit farmer cooperative dedicated to feeding and reforesting the country. Haiti’s internally displaced people start a micro-garden movement to combat post-earthquake hunger and despair.

Finally, following the movie IFSA will haves its General Meeting at 5:30 p.m. to cap off Earth Day and share s’mores. They will be talking about new officer positions and plans for the 2016-17 year.

Contact Salina Abraham if you have any questions about these events. All students, grad and undergrad, are welcome, so come make the most of Earth Week with IFSA!

IFSA Students Connect in Quebec City

SEFS students Salina Abraham, Rachel Yonemura, Miku Lenentine and Cleo Woodcock recently had the opportunity to attend the Canadian American Regional Meeting (CARM) as part of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA). The conference was held in Quebèc City in Canada, just north of Maine, from February 9 to 14. As a student-run international nonprofit, IFSA engages students locally, regionally and internationally for broader understanding of forestry. CARM is the regional-level gathering that connects students from across the United States and Canada to network, learn and share current natural resource issues and management techniques.

Here’s what Salina and Rachel wrote about the experience this year!

***

Three plane rides to our destination, special orders of fleece-lined jeans, and the preparatory Skype meetings could not have prepared us for the week we were about to experience. After being transported from the Pacific Northwest into the winter wonderland that is Quebec City, we successfully dragged our suitcases across the snow-covered campus of the Université Laval. In a few short hours, we were surrounded by many other students sharing our passion in environmental science—and confusion for what was to come. This year’s CARM, after all, went above and beyond the historical precedent of a two- to three-day weekend conference filled with various lectures, site visits and bonding activities.

In case the red glow doesn’t give it away, you’re looking at the foresters' Valentine’s Day party!

In case the red glow doesn’t give it away, you’re looking at the foresters’ Valentine’s Day party!

The Université Laval Organizing Committee ensured that the international attendees to this conference were integrated into all aspects of life in Quebec City. CARM students participated in a wide range of activities, from snowshoeing through Forêt Montmorency, the world’s largest teaching and research forest; learning about Université Laval’s wood engineering program; and a delicious and informative visit to a traditional “sugar shack” to uncover the secrets to maple syrup engineering. The conference workshops covered topics such as IFSA International structure and updates, regional obligations and opportunities, as well as ways to improve engagements with our community, and understanding our role as emerging young professionals in the forestry sector and world of environmental science. We also heard from a local hydrologist, the dean of Université Laval, Canadian professional organizations, and a number of graduate and undergraduate students presenting on their newest research.

Creating an inclusive, well-connected community was one of the major takeaways from this trip for all of the students. During our week we shared dorms, halls and conversations with the students in Quebec City. These conversations expanded our perspectives on forestry, and our eager expositions on the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest surely expanded some perspectives as well. After a foresters’ Valentine’s Day party, where we found our ‘matches’ and a day full of forestry competitions and games, it was apt that we closed the conference in the apartments of U-Laval students. Gathered on the limited couch space or floor with musical instruments in hand, we sang songs in French and English and felt the warmth of an inclusive, open space. That’s the type of community our local committee of IFSA hopes to cultivate continually at SEFS.

One of the most essential pieces to CARM and regional meetings is that they serve to maintain the strength of IFSA as a nonprofit organization. Regional meetings are opportunities for IFSA international officials to meet with members and share the organization’s accomplishments and new opportunities, and enable local committee members to step up into leadership roles. As head of the International Processes Commission of IFSA, Salina wanted to take the opportunity to use CARM as a thermometer for youth attitudes on regional and international issues.

“As my commission is tasked with representing IFSA members globally on an international stage, it is imperative that we continually have these conversations with each other to fully understand what that means,” she says. “Through assistance from Professor Indroneil Ganguly, I was able to do an independent research project to dive into this topic through focus groups at CARM. Thanks to my commission and SEFS support, this method will be replicated at regional meetings across the globe—with Northern Europe and Southern Europe coming next. It is my hope that we, students, can be better represented through and informed about international environmental policy.” (Read more about Salina’s research.)

For those interested, do not worry, our conversations with our Canadian and American counterparts have not ended! Everyone is welcome to join us at our Northern America IFSA Coffee Hour held on the third Monday of every month at 8:30 a.m. through Google Hangouts (the next one is on April 18; email Miku for details at miku.ifsa@gmail.com). IFSA has a bunch of events lined up for Earth Week next week, as well, including publication and resume workshops, an alumni networking event and even a movie premiere. Also, U-Laval created a summary video of CARM if you wanted to check out some of the fun.

And as always, stay tuned for IFSA updates—new officers, new positions and new events!

Photos © UW IFSA.

CARM attendees in the middle of Forêt Montmorency, the world’s largest teaching and research forest.

CARM attendees in the middle of Forêt Montmorency, the world’s largest teaching and research forest.

UW Botanic Gardens BioBlitz: May 6 and 7!

Coming up on May 6 and 7, the UW Botanic Gardens invites you to join our 2016 BioBlitz at the Washington Park Arboretum! A BioBlitz is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and community volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period. Sign up this year and help us look for bats, birds, insects, lichens, weeds, spiders and mussels at the Arboretum’s Foster Island!

On Friday night, you can partake in “Introduction to BioBlitz” activities, as well as walks with our naturalists for families with kids ages 4 to 11. Stop in any time between 4 and 7 p.m., and we will also stay out late to look for bats from 8 to 10 p.m.

On Saturday, we’ll be searching for birds at daybreak, insects, lichens and noxious weeds in the morning, then spiders, plants and freshwater mussels/macroinvertebrates in the afternoon. The BioBlitz is open to everyone—even Professor Patrick Tobin’s ESRM 436 class will be participating in the event as one of their labs!—and children are welcome in all groups.

So if you’d like to join other students, citizen scientists and families for a rewarding, hands-on weekend of discovery, you can RSVP online for an organism group (or taxa), by phone (206.685.8033), or by email (uwbgeduc@uw.edu).

Hope you can make it!

2016 BioBlitz Flyer.pub

This Summer: Two Costa Rica Field Opportunities!

This summer, SEFS doctoral student Robert Tournay will be co-leading two different programs in Costa Rica through UW Tacoma: a month-long field course in ecology and community (12 credits), and a month-long internship in sustainable agriculture and conservation (5 credits).

The courses are hosted through UW Tacoma, but they are open to all UW students—and the credits should be transferable to SEFS. So check out the two opportunities below, and contact Robert if you have any questions!

Microsoft PowerPoint - Presentation1Costa Rica Field Studies: Ecology and Community (TESC404)
Summer B-term (July 23 – August 20); 12 credits

UW Tacoma’s School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and the Office of International Programs are pleased to offer a field course abroad, Costa Rica Field Studies: Ecology and Community, during Summer Quarter 2016. The program will introduce students to issues in tropical ecology and sustainability, focusing on sustainable agriculture. This 12-credit course is centered around a three-week stay in and around the rural village of Mastatal, in the Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica. Students stay in communal bunk facilities at a local environmental sustainable field station for part of the program; to round out the experience, the program also devotes time to exploring the coastal environment in and around Manuel Antonio National Park, a few hours to the west, the coffee producing region, and the spectacular Osa peninsula in the south.

***

Costa Rica: Sustainable Agriculture and Conservation in the Tropics (TESC 496, Internship)
Fall Quarter, but travel dates are August 21 – September 18; 5 Credits

La Iguana Chocolate Farm Internship, Mastatal, Costa Rica
Come experience the breathtaking natural beauty and rich cultural history of Costa Rica while exploring the connection between sustainable agriculture and conservation. You will spend a month living and working on La Iguana Chocolate farm assisting the Salazar family in crafting their hand-made chocolates. This is a true tree-to-truffle experience, and you will participate in each step of the process, including harvesting the cacao pods, the fermenting, drying and roasting of the cacao beans, and the making and packaging of their chocolates.

Microsoft PowerPoint - Presentation1La Iguana Chocolate is located in Mastatal (population approximately 150), a rural farming community nestled into the foothills above Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, and bordering the majestic La Cangreja National Park. One of only a handful of chocolate farms in Costa Rica, La Iguana Chocolate is dedicated to organic chocolate production in a sustainable manner that benefits the family and their community, while conserving their natural resources and protecting the incredible biodiversity in the area.

During your program you will, through hands-on experience, gain a deeper understanding of the general principles and practices of sustainable agriculture in the tropics, and gain specific knowledge on the small-scale production of organic chocolate from cacao. Through working at La Iguana Chocolate, and interacting with Salazar family and the community of Mastatal, you will broaden your awareness of the traditions and heritage of the Costa Rican culture. You will examine the connection between land-use and conservation through assigned readings, two on-site lectures led by the course instructor, and guided hikes in the rainforest of La Cangreja National Park. Upon your return you will conclude the course through participation in group discussions, and the completion of a reflection paper.

For more information, visit UW Tacoma Study Abroad.

Director’s Message: Spring 2016

We are all highly aware of the extreme polarization across all aspects of the political sphere in the United States, especially during this presidential election. Front and center in this tense landscape are issues surrounding the environment and the appropriate management of our public lands—with the recent Malheur occupation in Oregon reflecting some of this friction, and only amplifying the divide.

However, in this age of changing climate and declining forest health, I believe there’s an enormous opportunity to find common ground through sustainable forest management and mass timber products—specifically, through the emergence of cross-laminated timber (CLT).

Gifford Pinchot, the founding head of the U.S. Forest Service, envisioned foresters as conservationists and frontline stewards of the land. But from the 1950s to the 1980s, the practice of forestry on federal lands strayed from its conservation roots to an economically driven model of harvesting and replanting. The goal became maximum production rather than sustainable management, and the health of the federal forest system quickly declined.

As the impacts of these practices became clearer, the public began to equate forestry with extractive industries, such as mining and oil exploration. This shift in public perception fueled demand for greater conservation of public lands, and also helped drive major policy changes to federal forest management. The result was an abrupt reduction in forest harvest on federal lands from the mid-1990s to today (timber harvest on U.S. Forest Service land in Washington is now at 5 percent of what it had been in the ‘60s), leaving what were once heavily managed forests in a state of unmanaged regeneration. The impetus for these changes—preserving our forests—was noble and necessary. Yet wholly unmanaged regeneration, without the purifying and stochastic influences of fire or wind-throw, end up creating overstocked forest stands that are neither appropriate as wildlife habitat nor productive as forests.

So the question is, “How can forestry, something that was deeply embroiled in polarization in the Pacific Northwest, and an engineered wood product simultaneously help address ecological and social divides?”

Constructed from cross-laminated timber panels from the first floor up, nine-story Murray Grove—designed by Waugh Thistleton Architects—was the world's tallest modern timber residential building at the time of its completion in 2009.

Constructed with cross-laminated timber panels from the first floor up, nine-story Murray Grove—designed by Waugh Thistleton Architects—was the world’s tallest modern timber residential building at the time of its completion in 2009.

In the last decade, we’ve observed a revolution in wood building products that began in Europe and eventually spread to Canada and Australia. That revolution is the generation of mass timber products—extremely strong panels and beams created from the glue lamination of smaller boards—that can be used as structural components in large buildings. These CLT panels can be up to 40 feet in length by 10 feet tall and eight inches wide, and they can be used partially in place of steel and concrete in the production of wood-based tall buildings—allowing wood construction 10 to 20 stories tall (and reducing the impact of steel and concrete as major sources of CO2 emissions in the region). They create buildings that are structurally sound and fire-resilient, and they use materials that are fully renewable and that can be produced sustainably.

Since CLT is built from smaller boards, as well, I believe it could increase the value of small-diameter trees taken via thinning and restoration harvests. Targeting those trees could help improve the health and resilience of previously overstocked stands, restore wildlife habitat and reduce fire severity, and facilitate carbon storage in preserved mature trees and in CLT panels. Finally, building tall with wood represents a smart approach to urban densification, reducing pressure on rural landscapes and changing the way our cities and towns grow in the next 50 years.

There’s still more to learn about CLT and how best to build an industry that upholds and respects the values of so many interests. But the potential is real, and clearly gaining momentum.

During the last year, along with a number of faculty and staff in SEFS, I have been working with a group of researchers, agency personnel, environmental organizations, architects and private industry who have come together to plot the future of CLT in the state of Washington—and to do it right on all fronts. We see CLT as a catalyst for change in the built environment that is holistically integrated with sustainable land management, and we have organized events and testified in senate and house hearings on the development of CLT. Coming up on April 21, a well, we—SEFS, Forterra, the Washington Department of Commerce, and the Washington Forest Protection Association—will host renowned architect Andrew Waugh for a guest lecture on green building with mass timber products in Europe (RSVP to join us at the talk!).

Long-term, I have great hope for CLT development in the state, in large part because of the diverse cross-section of stakeholders invested in its success. We represent what might be considered disparate interests, yet we share a strong desire for a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future. That’s a powerful roadmap for overcoming polarization and political gridlock, and I look forward to our role in advancing this movement.

Tom DeLuca
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Photo of Murray Grove © Waugh Thistleton Architects.

 

Native Plant Nursery: Hoop It Up

Three winters ago, the Society for Ecological Restoration – UW Chapter (SER-UW) started organizing native plant salvages, and by late April they had several burlap sacks filled with leftover plants from restoration projects around campus. SEFS doctoral candidate Jim Cronan remembers checking to see how well those plants were doing when a duck flew out of one of the bags. The fact that a duck family was nesting in a plant bag made them realize they might need a little better storage system, so they decided to organize their first potting party in the spring.

Anna, at right, has made her work on the Native Plant Nursery the subject of her Master of Environmental Horticulture (MEH) thesis project.

Kelly Broadlick, left, and Anna Carragee, who has made her work on the Native Plant Nursery the subject of her Master of Environmental Horticulture (MEH) thesis project.

Initially, SER-UW had only planned a temporary holding for the plants until they could be planted. But that fall, Jim started envisioning a more structured nursery program as a way to hold surplus plants coming in from salvages. SER-UW got permission from the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) to use some bench space in one of the hoop houses for growing plants, and student employees at CUH started including their plants in the normal watering schedule in spring and summer. Then the native plant propagation class helped by donating prairie plants and setting up an irrigation system in spring 2014, and suddenly the Native Plant Nursery had taken root.

The next year, Jim approached fellow grad students Kelly Broadlick and Amanda Pole about becoming managers of the new nursery. They started recruiting volunteers and raising plants from seeds for the first time, and they ended up salvaging and potting about 1,000 plants that year. By spring 2015, SEFS master’s student Anna Carragee had gotten involved, and the nursery felt some real momentum. “Hey, we’re onto something!” Anna remembers thinking. “So we wrote a Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) grant application and ended up getting $54,000 to build a permanent hoop house, fund two manager positions, and start propagating more plants.”

With a huge boost from the grant funding, SER-UW was able to formalize the nursery program starting in the fall of 2015. They coordinated a species list, recruited interns for the first time—two per quarter—and decided to organize a restoration work party every Friday to be more consistent and have more people involved. The work parties have really caught on, too. Through the course of 24 scheduled outings, Anna says they have worked with an impressive 248 volunteers, totaling 918 volunteer hours.

In 2008, SEFS alumna Lauren Urgensen (’11, Ph.D.) founded SER-UW to bring together students at UW with a common interest in the science and practice of ecological restoration—and a common goal to restore and sustain the biodiversity of the campus.

In 2008, SEFS alumna Lauren Urgensen (’11, Ph.D.) founded SER-UW to bring together students at UW with a common interest in the science and practice of ecological restoration—and a common goal to restore and sustain the biodiversity of the campus.

The Native Plant Nursery now has an inventory of more than 2,400 plants native to the forests and prairies of Lower Puget Sound, including more than 70 different species. The plants are available for educational purposes and put to real use in restoration projects around campus, including Whitman Walk and Kincaid Ravine. “We like to think of ourselves as an educational hub for horticultural learning, and we want to be like the UW Farm—except for native plants,” says Anna.

To build their inventory and make optimal use of resources, the nursery has made some creative partnerships, including with the King County Native Plant Salvage Program—which was how they originally secured plants for restoration projects—and collecting cuttings from UW gardeners to have them turned into live stakes and cuttings at the nursery. They enjoy a steady stream of volunteers from ESRM 100, which has a component requiring students to volunteer at least once during the quarter. The nursery also sells plants to Restoration Ecology Network capstone students for their projects (their course fees include a budget to purchase plants), as well as to the Restoration of North American Ecosystems class; Anna says they work really hard to grow the species those students want.

Those sales provide a little funding support, and the nursery is actively looking for more ways to keep growing and thriving. In fact, they just hired two new nursery managers (both first-year MEH students), Courtney Bobsin this past winter quarter and Mary-Margaret Greene starting this spring. Courtney and Mary-Margaret are off to a running start, too, as they’re writing a second CSF grant in search of funding for research assistant positions to develop curriculum for the nursery and study how best to develop propagation protocols for the nursery’s plants.

Early construction work at the hoop house site.

Early construction work at the hoop house site.

The biggest development from the original CSF grant, though, was getting a permanent hoop house built at CUH. Working with the honor society of UW’s Construction Management department, Sigma Lambda Chi, they were able to complete the project a couple weeks ago—and we’re not talking about some ordinary garden shed, either. The hoop house is 30 feet by 48 feet, and about 15 feet tall, and it vastly increases the space for the Native Plant Nursery to house its plants and operate. “With the building of the hoop house, we have a home base,” says Anna, “and it helps solidify our identity. We’re really here to stay.”

If you want to check out the newest structure at CUH, the Native Plant Nursery is hosting a ribbon-cutting party on Friday, April 22, from 5 p.m. to sunset. “It’s going to be a big party—and for once not a work party!” says Anna. They’ll have beer and wine, food, raffles and activity stations, and even a live band, Sweet Lou’s Sour Mash. (RSVP today!)

And if you’d like to get even more involved, check out the Native Plant Nursery website, which has an upcoming events page that includes work parties, and you can also email sernursery@gmail.com. Anna says they always welcome extra hands on restoration projects, and also positive energy. “Showing up, being enthusiastic—that helps us keep going!”

Photos courtesy of the Native Plant Nursery.

2016_04_Native Plant Nursery4

SEFS Year-End Celebration: May 25!

Our annual Recognition Event has always been a festive celebration of all things SEFS, but the event’s name itself has sounded a bit stuffy. So this year we’re updating the name to the SEFS Year-End Celebration to reflect its proper role as a culminating party featuring a short awards program, wine and beer, catered snacks and the long-running silent auction!

We’ve set the date for this year’s celebration on Wednesday, May 25, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room. For those who haven’t been before, it’s a wonderful occasion to recognize students and colleagues—including retiring faculty—who have made exemplary contributions to the school and academic community, and also just a great time to relax and chat with friends and colleagues.

2016_03_Year-End CelebrationAwards
We always kick off the event with the awards, and we’ll be presenting a range of student, staff and faculty honors. For students, the awards include the John A. Wott Fellowship in Plant Collection and Curatorship, and the Richard D. Taber Outstanding Wildlife Conservation Student Award. We will also present two Director’s Awards, one each for staff and faculty service.

After that, we depend on all of you to determine the final four awards, which are based entirely on nominations: Faculty Member of the Year, Staff Member of the Year, Graduate Student of the Year, and Undergraduate Student of the Year. We launched these awards two years ago to recognize the highest honor for a year of achievement and service, and they are open to nominations from all faculty, staff and students. Honorees will have their names engraved on a plaque in the Anderson Hall display case, so help us recognize the achievements of your students and colleagues.

Submitting a Nomination
Nomination letters do not need to be long—a good paragraph or two will suffice—but they should be specific and clearly demonstrate the qualities your candidate exemplifies. Nominations can recognize a wide range of qualities and accomplishments, whether in one area or across many, in one instance or sustained throughout the year. You may nominate more than one individual for each category, and all nominations will be reviewed by a panel of students, staff and faculty. You are not expected to know grant totals or grades or precise figures, though the selection committee may use these metrics as part of the selection process. Most important, all nominations must be sent to Sarah Thomas no later than Monday, May 2!

Below are some criteria and characteristics to consider:

1. Faculty Member of the Year
Exemplary attributes can include, but are not limited to: Quality of teaching, advising and mentoring; student success in the field; new research grants and programs; recent publications, books, patents and invited lectures; contributions to the SEFS community and administration; preeminence in his/her field of study; etc. (Previous winners are Professors Sharon Doty and Jon Bakker.)

2. Staff Member of the Year
Exemplary attributes can include, but are not limited to: Outstanding commitment to the school and supporting students, faculty and other staff; contributing to the positive spirit and cohesiveness of the school; outstanding, creative and/or innovative performance of duties; community participation and outreach; commitment to professional growth and development; etc. (Previous winners are Amanda Davis and Sarah Geurkink.)

3. Graduate Student of the Year
Exemplary attributes can include, but are not limited to: Academic excellence and accolades; teaching; outstanding thesis/dissertation research and progress; extracurricular projects, collaborations and activities; conference presentations and other professional engagements; community participation and outreach; outstanding promise in his/her field of study; etc. (Previous winners are Hyungmin “Tony” Rho and Samantha Zwicker.)

4. Undergraduate Student of the Year
Exemplary attributes can include, but are not limited to: Academic excellence and accolades; outstanding research projects; conference presentations and other professional engagements; extracurricular projects, collaborations and activities; community participation and outreach; outstanding promise in his/her field of study; etc. (Last year’s winner was Alison Sienkiewicz.)

Remember, nominations are due by Friday, April 29, so send them to Sarah as soon as possible!

Institute of Forest Resources Announces Four Research Grant Winners

This March, the Institute of Forest Resources awarded four grants through the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research program, totaling $374,877 in funding. After final approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these projects will begin during the 2016 Fall Quarter and last two years, wrapping up by September 30, 2018.

Read more about the funded projects below!

Awarded Projects

1. Sustainable Development of Nanosorbents by Catalytic Graphitization of Woody Biomass for Water Remediation

PI: Professor Anthony Dichiara, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Renata Bura, SEFS

The present research proposes the development of a simple, sustainable and scalable method to produce high-value carbon nanomaterials from woody biomass. As-prepared carbon products will be employed as adsorbents of large capacity and high binding affinity to remove pesticides from hydrological environments. This project will (i) help mitigate forest fires by limiting the accumulation of dry residues in forest lands, (ii) create new market opportunities to transform the wood manufacturing industry and reinvigorate rural communities, and (iii) minimize potential exposure to hazardous contaminants.

Award total: $109,869

2. Trophic Relationships of Reintroduced Fishers in the South Cascades

PI: Professor Laura Prugh, SEFS

In 2015, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) began reintroducing fishers (Pekania pennanti) to the South Cascades. The west coast fisher population has been proposed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (decision due by April 2016), and fisher recovery is thus a high priority in Washington. Fisher habitat use has been studied with respect to denning and rest site characteristics, but effects of forest management and stand characteristics on establishment success of reintroduced fishers remains unknown. In collaboration with agency partners, we propose to study how forest structure and management impact prey availability, competitor abundance and fisher establishment in the South Cascades.

Award total: $99,679

3. High-value Chemicals and Gasoline Additives from Pyrolysis and Upgrade of Beetle-killed Trees

PI: Professor Fernando Resende, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Anthony Dichiara, SEFS

In this project, we will convert beetle-killed lodgepole pine into fuel additives and valuable chemicals (hydrocarbons) using a technique called ablative pyrolysis combined with an upgrading step. We developed a novel and unique system for pyrolysis of wood that has the capability of converting entire wood chips into bio-oil. This characteristic is important for mobile pyrolysis units, because it eliminates the need of grinding wood chips prior to pyrolysis.

Award total: $109,861

4. Bigleaf Maple Decline in Western Washington

PI: Professor Patrick Tobin, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Greg Ettl, SEFS

We propose to investigate the extent and severity of a recently reported decline in bigleaf maple, Acer macrophyllum, in the urban and suburban forests of Western Washington, and to differentiate between possible abiotic and biotic drivers of the decline. Specifically, we propose to (1) survey the spatial extent of bigleaf maple decline (BLMD) and record associated environmental, anthropogenic, and weather conditions that are associated with BLMD presence and absence; (2) use dendrochronological techniques to analyze and compare growth rates of healthy and symptomatic trees to further differentiate the potential roles of abiotic and biotic drivers of the decline; and (3) to link the data collected under Objectives 1 and 2 with previous  records of BLMD collected by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to ascertain the spatial-temporal pattern associated with BLMD in Western Washington.

Award total: $55,468