Farm-to-Table Dinner: October 22!

Coming up on Thursday, October 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the UW Farm will be hosting the second edition of its hugely successful Farm-to-Table Dinner! Last year, the event sold out and drew nearly 200 people—raising more than $3,000 for the UW Farm—so reserve your spot as soon as possible to enjoy a tremendous evening at the Center for Urban Horticulture’s NHS Hall.

Like last year, the culinary experts from Chaco Canyon Organic Café will be preparing the menu and meal using fresh produce from the UW Farm. Libations will be on sale for guests 21 and older, and the evening’s entertainment will also include games and a photo booth.

Tickets for students are $14 in advance or $18 at the door; $30 for non-students in advance or $35 at the door; and $10 for children 12 and under. Order your tickets today!


Photography Exhibition: Views from the Northwoods

This October, for the second year in a row, John Tylczak has generously offered to loan us 10 images from his broader collection, Views from the Northwoods: 1983-1995, for a month-long photography exhibition in the Forest Club Room!

Tylczak’s black-and-white prints powerfully capture the scenes and faces of the Washington timber industry in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, from fallers and rigging crews, to loaders and transport workers, log scalers and mill workers. He ended up taking more than 1,500 large-format images during that time, and the 10 he’s sharing this year all come from the Olympic Peninsula.

His photographs will be on display throughout October from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Anderson 207, and you can meet Tylczak in person if you’re able to make it to the Salmon BBQ on Wednesday, October 7, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.!

Photo © John Tylczak.


SEFS Involved in Four Major NASA Grants

As part of its Terrestrial Ecology Program, NASA recently launched the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). It’s a major field campaign in Alaska and western Canada—starting this year, and lasting 8 to 10 years—with the goal of better understanding the vulnerability and resilience of ecosystems and society to a changing climate in Arctic and boreal regions. In 2015, NASA awarded grants to 21 projects as part this campaign, and four of the proposals involve researchers at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS)!

A Dall sheep ram.

Dall sheep ram.

New faculty member Laura Prugh had two proposals funded, including one as the principal investigator (PI) and another as a co-PI. The first, “Assessing alpine ecosystem vulnerability to environmental change using Dall sheep as an iconic indicator species,” will involve synthesis and modeling of Dall sheep population and movement data throughout their range, developing new remote sensing layers of snow characteristics, and conducting fieldwork in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The research will be funded for $1 million over four years.

The second project, “Animals on the move: Remotely based determination of key drivers influencing movements and habitat selection of highly mobile fauna throughout the ABoVE study domain,” will synthesize and model movements of moose, caribou, wolves and grizzly bears throughout Alaska and western Canada. Prugh’s role in this research will be to model the wolf and bear movements, and there is a $200,000 sub-award in the grant for her to hire a postdoc for two years to lead that work.

Professor David Butman is a co-PI on a third proposal, “Vulnerability of inland waters and the aquatic carbon cycle to changing permafrost and climate across boreal northwestern North America,” that focuses on changes to carbon biogeochemistry in lakes as a result of thawing permafrost. Specifically, the project aims to evaluate potential impacts in boreal and Arctic regions as permafrost thaw, climate warming and fire change the “plumbing” that controls water movement and distribution. The total award for this proposal is around $2.1 million, with $1.2 million coming from NASA and the other $900,000 coming from the U.S. Geological Survey. Of that total amount, around $110,000 will come to SEFS from NASA to fund a student for two years, and $30,000 will come from the USGS for summer support for Professor Butman.

The fourth SEFS project involves co-PI Hans-Erik Andersen, a research forester with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station and an affiliate professor with SEFS. This proposal, “Fingerprinting Three Decades of Changes in Interior Alaska (1982-2014) Using Field Measurements, Stereo Air Photos, and G-LiHT Data,” will explore changes in vegetation cover and composition over time to characterize the vulnerability and likely future trajectories of these landscapes under projected warming and scenarios of future disturbances. The project is funded at $334,564 over three years.

To have nearly 20 percent of the funded proposals in 2015 involve SEFS is a fairly remarkable percentage, and we’re excited to see how these projects progress!

Photo by © Steve Arthur.

Annual Salmon BBQ: October 7!

There’s really only one sure way to soften the blow of another summer’s end: Spend a boisterous afternoon grilling, gorging and gabbing with us at the annual Salmon BBQ on Wednesday, October 7, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Anderson Hall courtyard! It’s a feast for your senses, and a great time to catch up with friends and colleagues—or meet new friends and colleagues, if you’re a newly arriving grad or undergrad!—as we kick off the Fall Quarter.

2015_09_SalmonBBQ1In case you haven’t been to the Salmon BBQ before, we have this autumn tradition down to a beautiful, mouth-watering science. SEFS alumnus Steve Rigdon (’02, B.S.) is supplying the salmon, caught using traditional Yakama fishing techniques, and Luke Rogers will once again direct the grilling crew; they use alder wood from Pack Forest, and it’s quite an operation to watch. Professor Emeritus Steve West will set up a few kegs from Big Time Brewery, and we’ll be providing the other basics (soda, baked beans and corn on the cob). The rest of the meal is a potluck, though, so please bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert to share!

All SEFS students, staff, faculty and alumni are invited, and we heartily encourage you to bring significant others and children. Also, if you’re able to assist with set-up or clean-up, please contact Karl Wirsing to make sure we have enough help before and after the event. We’ll start getting ready around 2:30 p.m., and we’ll need even more hands to help clean up afterward from 6:30 to 7 (ish). If you can spare a few minutes at either end, that would be tremendously appreciated!

Wait, There’s More!
Just before the Salmon BBQ—and if you aren’t on set-up duty—we hope you’ll join us upstairs in Anderson 223 for the second talk of the SEFS Seminar Series, featuring alumnus Willis Littke (’82, Ph.D.), who studied with Professor Emeritus Bob Edmonds and recently retired from Weyerhaeuser after a long career as a forest health researcher. His talk will run from 3:30 to 4:20 p.m.

We hope you’ll take some time, as well, to browse through a fantastic photography exhibition in the Forest Club Room, where photographer John Tylczak has donated another 10 images from his collection capturing the Washington timber industry in the 1980s and early ’90s, Views from the Northwoods: 1983-1995. His prints, which will focus on shots from the Olympic Peninsula this year, will be on display throughout the month of October, and we’re hoping John will be able to join us in person for the Salmon BBQ.

Photo © Karl Wirsing/SEFS.


Alumni Spotlight: Greg Lambert

If you’ve never heard the expression that 90 is the new 40, then you’ve never met Greg Lambert.

Lambert, who celebrated his 90th birthday last May, spent 26 years as a pilot with the U.S. Navy—eight on active duty, and 18 as a reserve—and raised 12 children through two marriages. He worked with the Simpson Timber Company for 32 years until he retired in 1987 at the age of 62, at which point he went on to start his own business and then build houses with Habitat for Humanity for several years. He still downhill skis twice a week during the winter, takes long boating excursions in the summer (indeed just returned from a 10-day trip), and flies a Cessna 172 a couple times a month as part of a local flying club. “I don’t think life is based on a chronological age,” he says. “It’s a psychological age.”

Greg Lambert hasn’t lost any of his zeal for the outdoors, and he isn’t about to slow down—especially on the slopes. “You can ski from age 4 to 94,” he says. “I [turned] 90 the first of May, and it still feels good me.”

Greg Lambert, who lives in Seattle with his wife Mary Kay, on a visit to Anderson Hall this past spring.

So when Lambert looks back on his expansive life and multiple careers, he says there’s little he would change—except for one tiny, lingering regret: He wishes he would have finished his master’s in forest management from the College of Forestry back in 1951.

Maybe “regret” isn’t the right word, though, because he came within weeks of completing the program and went on to enjoy a long, fulfilling career in the timber industry. And with or without the degree, Lambert thoroughly earned his place in our history and family at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and we were thrilled to reconnect with him after nearly 65 years.

From Flyboy to Forester
Lambert was born in Seattle in 1925, and he enlisted in the Navy during World War II to be a pilot. He spent most of the war in training, though, and didn’t get a chance to fly in combat before the war ended. “I didn’t get my wings until 1946,” he says, “and when I got to Tokyo, they were having guided tours. I missed the whole thing.”

A few years later, around 1949, the Navy starting drawing down its tactical squadrons, so they didn’t need as many fighter aircraft and pilots anymore. Lambert thought about transferring from the reserves to the regular Navy, but he decided instead to weigh some other career options—including going back to school. He initially considered pre-engineering at Whitman, but after sending away for a University of Washington course catalog, he saw an area of study that really caught his attention. “I started going down all the courses, and I came to forestry,” he says. “That sounds like a good, clean life, so let’s do that.”

One of Lambert’s daughters, Denise, reached out to us a few months ago to share some of her father’s story. She described how he used to bring all of his kids into the woods to teach them about trees and plants, and instill in them a love for the natural world. “I’m really flattered she remembers that,” says Lambert. “We did a lot of camping when they were growing up, and my wife would get a little upset with me for getting into my lecture mode.”

One of Lambert’s daughters, Denise, says he used to bring all of his kids into the woods to teach them about trees and plants, and instill in them a love for the natural world. “I’m really flattered she remembers that,” says Lambert. “We did a lot of camping when they were growing up, and my wife would get a little upset with me for getting into my lecture mode.”

Lambert enrolled as a student at the College of Forestry in January 1950. But then the Korean War started that summer, and Lambert, who was already serving in the Naval Air Station reserve unit in Washington, felt a strong pull to get involved. “I was anxious to get back in,” he says. “I made my application to go back on active duty, and they put me in ready reserve.”

His opening came up that fall, but by then Lambert and his wife were settling into student life and their home in Union Bay Village, a community for veterans that was located near the current Center for Urban Horticulture. “It was a really nice deal,” he says. “Rent was cheap, and there was a certain amount of camaraderie. We all had children, so there was a lot of dignity to being a poor student.”

Lambert decided to stay in the reserve unit in Washington and continue with the forestry program. He got to participate in Garb Day, learn timber cruising and surveying down at Park Forest, and he took field trips to visit mills out on the Olympic Peninsula. “[The program] was a nice marriage between time in the classroom and on the job,” he says.

As it happened, life as a student also synced nicely with the duties of a reserve pilot. When aircraft needed an overhaul, they had to be flown down to the base in Jacksonville, Fla. “The guys with real jobs couldn’t get off,” says Lambert. “But students were ideally suited to get off Friday to Tuesday.”

An Offer He Couldn’t Refuse
He had been able to resist that first temptation to leave school. A second challenge came about a year and a half into his program when the California Redwood Association (CRA) offered him a job as a forest products research engineer in Eureka, Calif. Lambert was a couple months away from wrapping up his thesis, but he had three children and didn’t want to pass up a solid career opportunity in forestry.

“I could have taken another six weeks to two months to finish my thesis, but they were pounding on my door that they needed me, and I rationalized that I’d gotten all of the value out of school,” he says.

Lambert and his wife Mary Kay on his 90th birthday.

Lambert and his wife Mary Kay on his 90th birthday.

So Lambert accepted the job offer and moved down to California with his wife. “At the time, the CRA had 14 member mills, and my job was to work with the mills on sawmill studies and kiln-drying improvement,” he says. “I worked with a lot of throwbacks to the rough-and-ready types, and they looked with disfavor on a young college student, but there were some younger people in the mix who began to appreciate the value of these studies—improving yield, accuracy of cut, that kind of stuff. That was a lot of fun. It was a very interesting job.”

One of the member mills he worked with was Simpson Timber Company in Arcata, Calif., which eventually lured Lambert away from CRA. “And that was that,” he says.

He stuck with Simpson for the next 32 years, moving to several states to expand the distribution base for Simpson timber, and eventually getting promoted to sales manager—and then marketing manager—for the Redwood Division. Lambert says he always enjoyed the work, but he especially appreciated the company culture at Simpson Timber, a fifth-generation, family-owned company that was founded in Shelton, Wash., in 1890. “One of the things I really liked about Simpson was the ethics of the company,” he says. “There was quite a dedication to being good stewards of the land.”

With his 90th birthday in the books, Lambert hasn’t lost any of his zeal for the outdoors, and he isn’t about to slow down—especially on the slopes. “You can ski from age 4 to 94,” he says. “I [turned] 90 the first of May, and it still feels good me.”

Lambert hasn’t lost any of his zeal for the outdoors, and he isn’t about to slow down—especially on the slopes. “You can ski from age 4 to 94,” he says. “I [turned] 90 the first of May, and it still feels good me.”

That wasn’t the case, Lambert says, when Sol Simpson founded the company, and nearly everyone believed the Pacific Northwest had an inexhaustible supply of timber. But over time, the company began hanging onto more of its harvested land, and developing a bigger, more sustainable base of forest lands to manage. “That impressed me, the commitment to being good stewards, and also the lack of pressure at the business end to make the bottom line look good,” he says. “The emphasis was on the long-term—but you had to make your case, though, about the validity of the long-term investment.”

Onward and Upward
Now, after more than three decades with Simpson, and after several other career and volunteer endeavors, Lambert has finally settled into retired life. But that doesn’t mean you’ll notice any change in his pace. He sailed through his milestone 90th birthday, and he’s already retrained his sights on 95—yet only on the condition he can keep skiing and flying.

So given how everything turned out, from the timing of his jobs and moves, to how he’s maintained such an active lifestyle, to how he met his wife Mary Kay, Lambert hasn’t dwelled needlessly on his missing master’s. It would have meant a great deal to him to earn the degree, no question, but there was nothing he did afterward that he’d be willing to trade for it. “If I had to do it all over again,” he says, “it’d do it the same way.”

That sounds like the well-earned perspective of someone who has a lot of great years to lean on, and more adventures still to come!

Photo of Greg Lambert at Anderson Hall © Karl Wirsing/SEFS; all other photos © Greg Lambert and Julie Seaborn.

Lambert and his family on his 90th birthday celebration.

Lambert and his family—all kids except for one son, in fact—at his 90th birthday celebration.




SEFS Seminar Series: Fall 2015 Schedule!

The schedule is set for the SEFS Seminar Series this fall, and we’ve pulled together an especially diverse line-up, ranging from a hands-on workshop about capturing great video of your field research, to talks about drones, the Northwest Forest Plan, resource management in southwest China, and much more!

Held on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223, the talks are always open to the public, and the first seminar of each month will be followed by a casual reception down the hall in the Forest Club Room. Students can register for course credit under SEFS 529A.

Check out the schedule below and join us for as many talks as you can!

2015_Fall_SEFS Seminar Series PosterWeek 1: September 30
“The Trees By the Stream are Your Uncle: Traditional Knowledge and Resource Management in Southwest China”
Professor Stevan Harrell, SEFS/Anthropology

Week 2: October 7* (Distinguished Alumni Speaker)
“Integrated Pest Management Application to Future Forest Health”
Will Littke, Retired Forest Health Researcher, Weyerhaeuser

Week 3: October 14
“Constraints and Drivers of Bark Beetle Outbreaks: And How We’ve Made a Difficult Lifestyle Easier”
Professor Ken Raffa, University of Wisconsin

Week 4: October 21
“How to Shoot Usable Video of your Research”
Ethan Steinman, Producer/Director, Daltonic Films

Week 5: October 28 
“Climate Change Adaptation on Federal Lands in the Western U.S.”
Dr. Jessica Halofsky, Research Ecologist, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab

Week 6: November 4*
“What Do Faculty Know About Undergraduate Curricula? Some Insights From Faculty Leadership at UW”
Michelle Trudeau, Director, SEFS Student & Academic Services

Week 7: November 11
No Seminar (Holiday)

Week 8: November 18
“Nature’s Services: Advancing Frontiers in the Communication, Science and Practice of Ecosystem Services”
Dr. Anne Guerry, The Natural Capital Project

Week 9: November 25
No Seminar (Thanksgiving)

Week 10: December 2 *
“To Drone or Not to Drone: UAS for Ecological Applications”
Professor Monika Moskal, SEFS

Week 11: December 9
“Real Changes? 20-year Interpretation of the Northwest Forest Plan”
Professor Bernard Bormann, SEFS

* Indicates reception after seminar

Evening Talks at ONRC: Ben Dittbrenner!

Coming up on Friday, October 23, from 7 to 8 p.m., SEFS doctoral student Ben Dittbrenner will be presenting the next installment in the Evening Talks at ONRC speaker series: “Beaver Relocation: a Novel Climate Adaptation Tool.” Held out at the Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks, Wash., the talk is open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

Ben Dittbrenner collecting DNA and determining the sex of a captured beaver.

Ben Dittbrenner collecting DNA and determining the sex of a beaver.

About the Talk 
In recent years, the role of North American beavers (Castor canadensis) in wetland restoration and as a potential climate adaptation tool has garnered widespread attention. Beaver populations have continued to rebound in many areas from near extirpation in the early 20th century due to intensive trapping for fur over much of their historical range. This resurgence has presented management challenges in areas where beaver activity and flooding have caused conflicts with human infrastructure and land use.

Beavers also represent an opportunity, however, as they have been shown to restore aquatic systems with greater efficiency, long-term success and less cost than traditional, human-based restoration. The wetland systems they create increase riparian ecosystem resilience, buffering against anthropogenic and climate-based impacts. Shifting precipitation regimes have already been observed in areas of the Pacific Northwest, and the ecological impacts have often been substantial. In many cases, nuisance beavers—animals that are causing flooding or damage—can be relocated to areas where wetland and hydrologic restoration has been prioritized.

Two beavers on their way to a relocation site.

Two beavers on their way to a relocation site.

Using regional habitat models, Dittbrenner and other researchers have identified areas of the west-slope Cascades where beavers historically existed, but are now absent. Some of these areas are also experiencing substantial hydrologic alteration. During the past two years, they have relocated nuisance beavers into these areas in an effort to encourage beaver pond formation and water retention. In this talk, he will present their results to date, including relocation success, an overview of the work their beavers have been up to, and the hydrologic benefits from those beaverworks.

About the Speaker Series
Evening Talks at ONRC is supported by the Rosmond Forestry Education Fund, an endowment that honors the contributions of Fred Rosmond and his family to forestry and the Forks community. In addition to bringing speakers and interesting research out to ONRC, the series provides a great opportunity for graduate students to gain experience presenting their research to the public, and to a generally non-scientific—though thoroughly engaged—audience. For participating University of Washington graduate student speakers, ONRC will cover travel expenses and provide lodging for the night, as well as a stipend of $200.

If you’re interested in giving a talk or know someone who would be a great fit for this series, email Karl Wirsing or Frank Hanson!

Photos © Ben Dittbrenner.

Alder Lake Fire Near Pack Forest Grows to 150 Acres

Though nowhere near as large as the wildfires raging in central Washington, a small forest fire near Elbe., Wash., has now grown to more than 150 acres. Lightning sparked the blaze on August 11, and the fire has since spread across steep forested terrain on the south side of Alder Lake—and just south of Park Forest (which remains separated from the fire by a lake and highway).

Approximately 60 firefighters from the Department of Natural Resources and the Forest Service are working on the fire, which is known as the Alder Lake Fire, including dropping water from helicopters. No estimates of containment are available at the moment, but you can track progress and updates through The News Tribune in Tacoma, and on an Alder Lake Fire Twitter feed. Also, if you live locally, nearby residents are invited to learn more about the fire at a community meeting tonight, Tuesday, August 25, at 7 p.m. at the Mineral School’s gymnasium building, 114 Mineral Road S.

Photo © Karl Wirsing/SEFS.

 Shot of the Alder Lake Fire taken from Pack Forest on Monday, August 17, when the fire covered only about 25 to 30 acres.

Shot of the Alder Lake Fire taken from Pack Forest on Monday, August 17, when the fire covered only about 25 to 30 acres.

NSF Workshop to Focus on Lower Mekong Research Partnerships

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is sponsoring a workshop series focusing on U.S. research engagement in the Lower Mekong region (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar). The purpose of this workshop is to explore the potential for advancing our scientific knowledge through supporting research partnerships in the region.

If you are interested in research engagement in the Lower Mekong, you are encouraged to take a look at the RFP for the workshop. The NSF is looking for broad and diverse contributions from multiple disciplines, science and technology domains, and regional expertise.

The first workshop is coming up this September 25-26 at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. The second workshop will be held in Vietnam at the end of November (with a separate RFP for that workshop coming later).

Also, don’t be discouraged by the travel distance: Invited attendees from outside the Washington, D.C., region will be provided with a stipend up to $1,200 to offset the costs of attending.

To be considered for invitation, please submit a position paper by email to the workshop chair ( Due to time restrictions, the deadline to submit a paper is fast approaching on Sunday, August 23, and please share the RFP with anyone you think may be interested.

Tribal Interns Assist Bear Study in Alaska

Based at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS), the Alaska Salmon Program conducts research on ecology, biocomplexity, fisheries management and other studies relating to Alaska salmon and their environment. Part of this research, led by Professors Tom Quinn from SAFS and Aaron Wirsing from SEFS, involves investigating coastal brown bear (Ursus arctos) abundance and behavior along sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) spawning streams in Bristol Bay, Alaska—including monitoring individual brown bear behavior through remote cameras and collecting hair samples for DNA analysis.

The program involves a number of partners, including the Bristol Bay Native Association (BBNA), a consortium of 31 tribes whose mission includes providing educational opportunities to the native people of the Bristol Bay region. Each summer, BBNA research interns contribute to the Alaska Salmon Program, and this year Nadezdha Wolcott (below left) and Malcolm Upton assisted with hair sample collection as part of the noninvasive genetic component of the research.

“The bears were really active this year, the fourth of our study,” says Professor Wirsing, who recently returned from a field trip to Alaska. “So we really appreciated the interns’ help in collecting all of the hairs snagged on our barbed wires!”

Photo © Aaron Wirsing.