UW Climate Change Video Awards: Meet the Judges!

This winter and spring, we challenged high school and undergraduate students in the state of Washington to grab a camera and show us what climate change means to them in three minutes or less for the first-ever UW Climate Change Video Contest. For months, the entries trickled in, but the pace really picked up during the last week, with a flood of submissions nearly crashing our system in the final hours!

And now the reel fun begins…

Join us at Town Hall on Friday, May 15, from 7 to 9 p.m. for a screening of the top 10 video entries, and see who snags the $5,000 grand prize—one for both the high school and college categories. A renowned panel of judges will be on hand to select the winners and discuss the students’ work.

It’s going to be a great show, and we hope you’ll join us in recognizing these incredibly talented students. The screening and award ceremony is free and open to the public, and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Register now!

Meet the Judges

Annie LeonardAnnie Leonard (Judge and emcee)
Annie Leonard was born and raised in Seattle and is now the executive director of Greenpeace USA. She is also the author and host of The Story of Stuff, an online film series that has been viewed more than 50 million times around the world.

She has visited more than 40 countries investigating the hidden environmental, social and health impacts of all the stuff in our lives, and she has worked for a number of environmental organizations, ranging from Ralph Nader’s office to Health Care Without Harm.

DJ SpookyPaul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky
Paul D. Miller is a composer, multimedia artist and writer. He has created many works based on his travels to the Arctic and Antarctic, including multimedia stage works: “Arctic Rhythms,” “Check Your Math,” “Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica”; art exhibition “Ice Music”; and The Book of Ice, a graphic book that explores the impact of climate change on Antarctica through the prism of digital media and contemporary music.

Miller’s film credits include “Rebirth of a Nation” (2007), a remixing of DW Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation”; original film score for “Downloaded” (2013), a musical documentary about the rise of NAPSTER; and original film score for “Traceable” (2014), a documentary that explores the sustainability of the fashion industry. National Geographic named Miller an Emerging Explorer (2014-2015), and he is currently touring in support of his new book, The Imaginary App.

Randy OlsonRandy Olson
Scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson realized that after 15 years of telling stories OF science he had grown more interested in telling stories ABOUT science. Despite his Harvard Ph.D., four years of post-doctoral research in Australia and Florida, and years of diving around the world from the Great Barrier Reef to Antarctica, he tossed it all in, resigned from his tenured professorship at the University of New Hampshire, and moved to Hollywood to explore film as a medium for communicating science.

In addition to writing and directing his own feature films about major issues in science, Olson has worked with a variety of clients to assist them with the use of visual media in communicating science to the general public. Through his writings he has both related his journey, and continues his exploration into the role of storytelling in the mass communication of science.

Dean Lisa GraumlichDean Lisa J. Graumlich
Dr. Lisa J. Graumlich, Virginia and Prentice Bloedel Professor, is the inaugural dean of the College of the Environment at the University of Washington. As dean, she leads a college with unparalleled depth and breadth in environmental systems: from the forests to the seas, and from the depths of the Earth to the edges of the solar system. As a scholar, Graumlich pioneered the use of tree-ring data to understand long-term trends in climate, focusing on the mountains of western North America. She is actively engaged with a broad range of stakeholders to understand the impacts of climate change on wilderness and natural areas.

Operation Reboot: SEFS Alumni Union

Alumni Snowshoe Trip

SEFS alumni gather for a snowshoeing trek in the Cascades.

A few months ago, I turned on my home computer and watched the small wheel spin. The screen eventually turned blue. I experienced a moment of hope, and then the wheel froze. Neither a reboot nor a reinstalling of the operating system fixed the problem. ..drat! To computer wasteland our beloved iMac was heading. At the same time, I was working with a few dedicated alumni to reboot the SEFS alumni group. I was hoping that our reboot wouldn’t result in the same frozen state; that, instead, we would start the wheel spinning and it would take off!

I’m happy to report that the reboot appears to be successful! Earlier this month, we had our first official meeting, with 18 people participating and lots of great ideas being planned and discussed. The gears are starting to move. The wheels are starting to turn. The newly hired Director of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, Tom DeLuca, and the Dean of the College of the Environment, Lisa Graumlich, are supportive of and encouraged by the direction our group is taking.

First, our new name: an alumni union?  Similar to a student union, but for alumni. A group of people who share the common bond of alma mater and a desire to help build and foster the community surrounding our former academic home. We are grassroots and decentralized, but networked, supportive and collaborative. We are fun. We are young, we are old. We are students, we work, we are retired. We studied forestry, we studied restoration ecology, we studied pulp and paper. We live in Seattle, we live in Oregon, we live in Florida. We focus our energies where we have interest and enthusiasm.

Alumni Hike

Group hike at Heather Lake.

Right now, we have more than 25 people involved—and more are always welcome! The current members are beginning to formulate activities and projects. Some of us will host happy hours at downtown restaurants, some will host BBQs at their homes or Pack Forest, some will work on special outreach or history projects, some will start seeking support to replenish the student scholarships fund, and some will help us connect with more students, alumni and industry contacts. Stay tuned for invites and opportunities to events near you.

We are planning for an inclusive, alumni-wide gathering this spring at the Center for Urban Horticulture. It will be a casual affair—BBQ and potluck—and a wonderful opportunity to bring your family and friends and reconnect with the SEFS community.  More information will be coming soon, and we hope to see many familiar and new faces there!

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m at your service!

Ara Erickson (’04), SEFS Alumni Union Captain

Photos courtesy of Jessica Farmer.