Rosmond Family Expands Commitment to ONRC

Rosmond Family

The Rosmond sisters–Julie (left), Marti and Polly–and cousin Tom Rosmond, who lives in Forks.

In 2007, the three daughters of Fred Rosmond—a local forester and longtime mill owner/operator in Forks, Wash.—provided the initial funding for an endowment, the Rosmond Forestry Education Fund, to honor their late father. Distributions from the endowment provide the Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) a steady stream of funds to bring speakers and programs to Forks that are of interest to the community, including the extremely popular astronomy program ONRC hosted in May with UW doctoral students (more than 175 people attended!).

This past week, the Rosmond family agreed to expand the endowment’s original focus on forestry and forest management to include a wider spectrum of topics in science, natural resources, technology, medicine and mathematics.

That’s wonderful news for ONRC, because this endowment makes a big impact on funding outreach activities for local residents and UW students!

To learn more about the fund, contact Ellen Matheny.

Photo of Rosmond family © Ellen Matheny.

Mobile Planetarium Draws Stargazers to ONRC

On Saturday, May 4, the Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) hosted an astronomy program for the local community, including an afternoon session for families and younger children, and then an evening session for youth and adults.

The main attraction was a mobile planetarium, which looked like a big black igloo from the outside. Three doctoral students from the University of Washington’s Astronomy Department brought the instrument out to the ONRC campus to offer an immersive experience to participants, who were able to view galaxies billions of light years from Earth.

Mobile Planetarium

Members of the mobile planetarium team at the UW Astronomy Department. Doctoral student Phil Rosenfield, standing back left, was one of the three graduate students who came to ONRC for the event.

About 175 people attended the program throughout the day, and the afternoon session included five rotations in the planetarium. While one group was in the planetarium, another group walked a graphical representation of the solar system on the sidewalk outside the administration building, giving folks a tangible sense of the distances between planets.

Later, the evening program kicked off with a one-hour presentation about current thinking in astronomy and a capsule look at cutting-edge research at UW. The doctoral students offered an opportunity for each person to be a citizen scientist and provide help with sorting through the images coming from the Hubble Space Telescope they use in their research. Planetarium showings and solar system walks followed until dark. Then the students set up a high-grade telescope that allowed folks to view planets, including Saturn, up close and personal.

“The enthusiasm of the three students was infectious and inspired people to think very differently and more expansively as they gazed at the heavens,” says Ellen Matheny, education and outreach director for ONRC.

Astronomy Presentation

One of the evening astronomy presentations.

This month is particularly rich with chances to view other planets, and Jupiter, Venus and Mercury will all be visible at various times. In fact, on May 26, those three planets will form a compact cluster in the sky, all visible through binoculars or a telescope about a half-hour after sunset—so mark your calendars for a planetary bonanza!

Funding for the event was provided by the Rosmond Forestry Education Fund, an endowment established at ONRC to provide quality programs on forestry and other scientific topics for the regional community. The astronomy students enjoyed the program so much they said they’d like to organize a similar event next spring. Community members seemed equally impressed.

“Many people approached me during the day with thanks to ONRC for putting this program together,” says Matheny. “The most common comment was, ‘Let’s have more of these events!’”

Photo of mobile planetarium © Mary Levin; photo of astronomy presentation © Ellen Matheny.

ONRC Hosts Community Program on Tsunami Debris

Dock Removal

This dock, set adrift from Misawa, Japan, by the tsunami in March 2011, beached on a remote shore of the Olympic Peninsula this past December.

On Tuesday evening, March 19, the Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) invited members of the Forks, Wash., community to a program about the marine debris washing up on nearby coastal beaches.

Some of the debris is a result of the devastating tsunami in Japan two years ago in March 2011, and speakers at the event addressed various angles of the disaster and its ongoing effects. Nir Barnea, regional lead for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, provided an overview of the tsunami’s physical impacts and efforts to track and respond to tsunami debris as it is dispersed across the Pacific Ocean. Coastal biologist Steve Fradkin from Olympic National Park, along with resource protection specialist Liam Antrim from NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, then shared updates on the removal of a large dock that beached last December on a remote shore within the boundaries of both Olympic National Park and the sanctuary.

The dock—which measured 65’x20’x7.5’ and was kept afloat by 200 cubic yards of a Styrofoam-like material in its concrete holds—is currently being sawed up into manageable sections and removed by helicopter. It was one of three docks set adrift from Misawa, Japan, says Rainey McKenna, a public information officer with Olympic National Park.

Dock Removal

Crews work to saw the dock into smaller sections, which are then removed from the beach by helicopter.

The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is overseeing the removal project, and they are collaborating closely with Olympic National Park. A subcontractor, Undersea Company of Port Townsend, is handling the actual dismantling and removal of the dock.

Among those who attended the hour-long program were about 35 members of the Port Angeles and Forks communities, including Forks Mayor Bryon Monohon. In addition to learning more about the tsunami debris and removal efforts, attendees also got a chance to connect with the local work and research at ONRC.

Located on the Olympic Peninsula in Forks, ONRC is a research center with the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington. The facility provides scientific information to address critical issues and solve problems concerning forestry and marine sciences in the region. It serves as a catalyst for interdisciplinary and collaborative work, bringing together expertise from forest resources and ocean and fishery sciences. By integrating research with education and outreach, it unites researchers, students, professionals and the public.

If you’d like to learn more about ONRC or the tsunamis debris event, please contact Ellen Matheny at 360.374.4556, or visit the ONRC site.

Photos of dock removal © John Gussman/National Park Service.