Photo Gallery: 2016 Salmon BBQ!

Last Wednesday, October 5, we hosted the largest Salmon BBQ we can remember! The weather turned beautiful after a dodgy forecast in the morning, and record numbers turned out—and waited patiently in line for a shot at the salmon!—for a joyful afternoon among friends and colleagues. Seriously, such a good time, and a huge thank you to everyone who chipped in to make our annual feast a wonderful success.

In case you missed the fun or want to spot yourself in the crowd, take a look at some photos from the afternoon!

Photos © Karl Wirsing/SEFS.

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The grillmasters: Phil Hurvitz, Andrew Cooke, Luke Rogers and Jeffrey Comnick.

2016 Pack Forest Summer Crew: Season Recap

For nine weeks this summer, five SEFS undergrads worked as interns down at Pack Forest getting immersive, hands-on field training in sustainable forest management. The students—Paul Albertine, Dana Chapman, Dana Reid, Chris Scelsa and Robert Swan—were part of the annual Pack Forest Summer Crew, and they recently wrapped up another successful season.

2016_09_summer-crew-recap2This year, the students got to work with several SEFS graduate students, as well as Jeff Kelly, the forester at Pack Forest. They participated in a wide range of activities, including a great amount of time measuring 85 permanent forest plots from the Continuous Forest Inventory (CFI) project. Doctoral student Emilio Vilanova says they became true field experts and were able to update vital information for the sustainable management of forests at Pack.

Other tasks for the students included assisting Matthew Aghai with his doctoral research, both at Pack Forest and at the Cedar River Watershed, and helping maintain a throughfall exclusion project led by Professor Greg Ettl and doctoral student Kiwoong Lee. They were critical in the upkeep of Pack Forest’s trail network, as well as the measurement of additional small-scale research projects, from regeneration surveys to the installation of other research plots. They also got to take three field trips, including official visits to Rainier Veneer and Silvaseed Company facilities, along with a two-day camping trip to the Cedar River Watershed.

In short, as always, the Pack Forest Summer Crew had an incredibly packed, productive and memorable internship. Take a look at a gallery of photos from their summer!

Photos © Emilio Vilanova.

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2016 Climate Change Video Awards: Announcing the Winners!

We hosted our second UW Climate Change Video Awards last Saturday, May 14, at Town Hall in Seattle, and it was quite a show!

From our emcee, stand-up economist Yoram Bauman, to our fantastic judges—Dean Lisa J. Graumlich, Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) and Ethan Steinman—to all of the students, families and friends who came out to watch, we couldn’t have asked for a more positive and inspiring evening. Also, one of the team members on the second-place winner for the undergraduate category, Ben Jensen, is a student in our Environmental Science and Resource Management program!

Yuna Shin, from Henry M. Jackson High School in Bothell, won first prize in the high school category—good for $5,000!

Yuna Shin, from Henry M. Jackson High School in Bothell, won first prize in the high school category—good for $5,000!

Hannah Letinich, our photographer for the show, captured a wonderful range of shots from the evening, so we encourage you to take a look at her gallery (download any images you’d like for free, but please give Hannah credit if you post or share them online anywhere). We’ll be working on getting the winning videos up online to share soon, as well, and in the meantime, below are this year’s finalists and winners.

A huge congratulations to all of them, and to everyone who submitted a video for this year’s contest. These students poured so much time and creativity into these films, and they give us tremendous hope for the future of environmental leadership.

High School

First Place: Yuna Shin, Henry M. Jackson High School, Bothell – $5,000
Second Place: Suraj Buddhavarapu, Naveen Sahi, Allison Tran and Vibha Vadlamani, Tesla STEM High School, Redmond – $1,000
Third Place: Luke Brodersen, Shorewood High School, Shoreline – $500

Other finalists: Julci Areza, Chloe Birney and Tanaya Sardesai from Redmond High School in Redmond, and Aria Ching, Jesselynn Noland, Emily Riley and Emily Weaver from Lynnwood High School in Bothell.

Undergraduate

First Place: Audrey Seda and Tommy Tang, Eastern Washington University and University of Washington – Bothell – $5,000
Second Place: Ben Jensen, Charles Johnson and Anthony Whitfield, University of Washington – $1,000
Third Place: Aaron Hecker, University of Washington – $500

Other finalists: Kennedy McGahan from Gonzaga University, and Malea Saul, Madeline Savage and Bethany Shepler from the University of Washington.

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Special thanks to the Denman Endowment for Student Excellence in Forest Resources for funding the contest.

Photos © Hannah Letinich.

Aaron Hecker, who won third place in the undergraduate category.

Aaron Hecker, who won third place in the undergraduate category, is a student at the University of Washington.

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!

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2016 McIntire-Stennis Research Grant Winners

This fall, the SEFS Research Committee awarded five Graduate Research Augmentation Grants through the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research program, totaling $72,209 in funding.

This special round of grants was designed to support graduate student research, with awards targeted for Spring 2016 or Summer 2016 (and with all funding to be spent in full by September 30, 2016). Read more about the funded projects below!

Awarded Projects

1. Nisqually Garry Oak Habitat: Cultural and Ecological Considerations for Successful Restoration in the Nisqually Tribal Reservation

PI: Professor Ernesto Alvarado, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Steve Harrell, SEFS

Garry oak (Quercus garryana) ecosystems are a designated Priority Habitat for management in Washington State (Larsen and Morgan 1998). Although there are many research projects that examine how to restore Garry oak ecosystems for the purposes of establishing more habitat for endangered and threatened species like the golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) and Mazama pocket gopher (Thomomys mazama), respectively (Larsen and Morgan 1998), there are few studies that look at restoration for the objective of developing an environment for the purpose of cultural restoration, specifically agroforestry. We intend to evaluate whether Garry oak ecosystem restoration for the intended purpose of cultural activities (traditional medicinal and edible plant harvests, inter-generational education) will greatly change the components of the restoration and management plan of the Garry oak ecosystem.

Award total: $13,232

2. How Do Conclusions About the Effectiveness of Fuels-reduction Treatments Vary with the Spatial Scale of Observation?

PI: Professor Jon Bakker, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Charles Halpern, SEFS

Restoration of dry-forest ecosystems has become a prominent and very pressing natural resource issue in the western U.S. Although mechanical thinning and prescribed burning can effectively reduce fuel loads in these forests, scientists and managers remain uncertain about the ecological outcomes of these treatments. This uncertainty reflects the short time spans of most restoration studies and a limited consideration of how ecological responses vary with the spatial scale of observation. This funding will support graduate student research that explores how ecological responses to fuels-reduction treatments vary with the spatial scale of observation, and will complement ongoing research on the temporal variability of responses.

Award total: $15,114

3. Growth and Physiological Response of Native Washington Tree Species to Light and Drought: Informing Sustainable Timber Production

PI: Professor Greg Ettl, SEFS
Co-PIs: Matthew Aghai, third-year Ph.D. student at SEFS; Rolf Gersonde, affiliate assistant professor with SEFS and Seattle Public Utilities Silviculture; and Professor Sally Brown, SEFS

Intensive management of the conifer-dominated forests of the Pacific Northwest has resulted in millions of acres of largely mono-specific second- and third-growth forests. These forests have simple vertical structure and low biodiversity, and consequently much lower value of non-timber forest products. Research on establishment of underplanted trees in partial light is needed to increase structural and compositional diversification of Douglas-fir plantations undergoing conversion to multispecies stands. However, the ecology of seedling establishment under existing canopies is poorly understood. The general aim of our research is to address the need for improved structural diversity in managed forest systems through a better understanding of species-specific performance potential of underplanted seedlings. This proposal extends ongoing research; in this phase we will document physiological differences in seedling performance.

Award total: $17,004

4. A Novel Reactor for Fast Pyrolysis of Beetle-Killed Trees

PI: Professor Fernando Resende, SEFS

In this project, we will optimize the production of pyrolysis bio-oil from beetle-killed lodgepole pine using a technique called ablative pyrolysis. 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: $15,887

5. Modeling the Effects of Forest Management on Snowshoe Hare Population Dynamics in Washington at the Landscape Scale

PI: Professor Aaron Wirsing, SEFS

The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) is already listed as Threatened in Washington and, following an ongoing status review, likely to be designated as Endangered because much of its habitat has been lost to a series of large wildfires since 2006. Lynx subsist on snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus), and it is widely acknowledged that habitat quality for lynx is tied to the availability of this prey species, so forest management with the goal of promoting lynx conservation requires an understanding of the relationship between silvicultural practices and hare abundance. Accordingly, we are requesting summer 2016 funds to complete the third and final phase of a graduate research project whose objective is to assess the impacts of forest management on hare numbers across a large landscape in north-central Washington. By sampling a network of snowshoe hare fecal pellet transects spanning protected and harvested portions of the Loomis State Forest for a third consecutive summer, we will produce a model of hare relative abundance that will enable managing agencies to tailor their harvest plans such that they promote snowshoe hare availability and, as a result, lynx population persistence.

Award total: $10,972