2016 Pack Forest Spring Planting: March 21-25!

For nearly 80 years, SEFS students have been putting down roots at Pack Forest, helping to shape the woods for future generations. This Spring Break, you can leave your own mark by taking part in the annual spring planting, March 21-25, as one of the elite Pack Forest interns!

2016_02_Pack Forest Spring PlantingWhile staying in cozy cabins at Pack Forest—just down the road from Mount Rainier—you’ll get to roll up your sleeves and work on forest establishment, including planting, regeneration surveys and survey reports.

Your housing (and some food) will be covered, there’s a kitchen at your disposal, you’ll earn a $200 stipend, and two course credits are also available. It’s a week of field work and hands-on learning in the daytime, and also a whole lot of fun as you explore the gorgeous 4,300 acres of Pack Forest and hang out with fellow interns in the evenings. Seriously, it’s an unforgettable experience!

The internship is open to undergraduate students (and possibly MFR grad students), and the deadline to apply is Friday, February 19. Contact Professor Ernesto Alvarado at alvarado@uw.edu or 206.616.6920 to learn more and apply.

Need more inspiration? Check out this great video from the 2014 crew!

Tell Us: Favorite Spot on Campus

In the last issue of Roots, our alumni e-newsletter, we asked our graduates: What was your favorite spot on campus—a place to study, to eat lunch, to go for a walk? Here’s what Tara Wilson (’14, B.S.), who is working nearby as a research technologist with the Center for Conservation Biology, shared with us!

Tara Wilson volunteering at "Meet the Mammals" last year.

Tara Wilson volunteering at “Meet the Mammals” last year.

“Favorite spot on campus? Well, I don’t think I could pick just one. There are so many different places that are optimal for different things. First of all, hands down, the best place to go for a walk is the Union Bay Natural Area. Yeah, it’s a bit of a hike to get there but totally worth it! It’s a great place to see beautiful habitat, and I like to practice my bird watching (here I come, savannah sparrow!).

As an undergrad, my favorite place to study and get work done was on the top floors of the Suzzallo and Allen libraries. Along the perimeter there are individual desks with tons of outlets and good lighting. Plus, you’re right next to huge windows, which is always nice to gaze out on our campus for inspiration—or procrastination. Whatever you need at the moment.

Finally, I’m going to throw a curveball and say my ultimate favorite place to be is Pack Forest. Although it’s technically not on our Seattle campus, it is a campus for SEFS. It’s the best place to have lunch, hike and even get work done (yes, there’s even a computer lab there! In the forest!). Pack Forest is a gorgeous place, and I think it’s a hidden gem at UW.”

Photo © Tara Wilson.

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.

2015 Pack Forest Spring Planting: Slideshow!

Last week, five SEFS students spent their Spring Break down at Pack Forest as part of the annual spring planting tradition to help with seasonal reforestation work. This year’s group included Anthony Bird, Carolyn Hartman, Will Mooreston, Trey Parry and Rachel Yonemura, and Dave Cass says it was a stellar crew. Their main accomplishments from the week included:

* Replanting a 3-acre harvest unit with nearly 1,000 seedlings;
* Planting 480 seedlings in research trial plots for graduate student Matthew Aghai’s dissertation research; and
* Measuring numerous regeneration plots and rescuing dozens of young cedar trees from becoming an appetizer for deer and elk.

Take a look at a slideshow of their work, and special thanks to Cass and Emilio Vilanova for sharing these great photos!

Join the 2015 Pack Forest Summer Crew!

Every summer, a hardy crew of SEFS students heads down to Pack Forest for two months of hands-on field training in sustainable forest management. It’s one of our oldest field traditions, and also one of the most memorable, so take a look at the internship opportunities coming up this summer!

Pack Forest Summer CrewThere are up to six internship positions available for the 2015 Summer Quarter at Park Forest, which runs from June 22 to August 21. Each position is eligible for 4 ESRM credit hours (with in-state tuition included), as well as a $200 weekly stipend and free housing for a summer spent in the shadow of Mount Rainier. Hard to beat!

* Three to five spots are open for Forest Resource Interns, who will assist with the management and stewardship of Pack Forest’s timber resources, research installations, roads and trails. These students will develop forest mensuration skills, practice species identification, participate in research programs, and learn about sustainable forest management.

* One additional position is available for an Outreach & GIS Intern, who will actively participate in public outreach, environmental education and/or GIS applications for natural resource management. This student will develop skills in communications, public outreach, curriculum development and natural resource management.

The deadline to apply is Thursday, April 9. If you’re interested, please send your resume and a cover letter describing how the internship will fit into your program of study to Professor Greg Ettl.

Also, for a glimpse of the Pack Forest experience, check out the video below—produced by Katherine Turner of UW Marketing & Communications—from the Pack Forest Spring Planting last year (the current spring planting is going on right now)!

2015 Charles Lathrop Pack Essay Competition

In 1923, Charles Lathrop Pack had the foresight to establish an essay competition so that students in the College of Forest Resources would “express themselves to the public and write about forestry in a way that affects or interests the public.” His original mandate continues today at SEFS—as does the unwavering value of good written communication—and we are pleased to announce the 2015 edition of the Charles Lathrop Pack Essay Competition!

Charles Lathrop Pack

Charles Lathrop Pack

The prize for top essays is $500, and this year’s prompt addresses the Washington Department of Natural Resources:

The Washington DNR manages State Trust Lands for beneficiaries ranging from hospitals to schools, including the UW. Please review the state’s Policy for Sustainable Forests (2006) and discuss its ability to meet the policy objectives described on pages 3 and 4, paying particular attention to the following objective:

Balance trust income, environmental protection and other social benefits from four perspectives: the prudent person doctrine; undivided loyalty to and impartiality among the trust beneficiaries; intergenerational equity; and not foreclosing future options.

Entries are due by Tuesday, April 28, 2015. If you have any questions about the competition, or if you’d like to see if your essay idea sounds promising and appropriate, email Professor Greg Ettl. Otherwise, review the rest of the guidelines below, and get busy thinking and typing!

Essay Criteria
In responding to the prompt, you must justify your answer from a political, ecological and economic point of view. You are expected to provide a technical perspective, addressing a diverse and educated audience that needs further knowledge of natural resource issues. Writers are expected to clearly state the problem or issue to be addressed at the beginning of the essay, and should emphasize a strong public communications element. Course papers substantially restructured to meet these guidelines are acceptable; however, no group entries are permitted. References and quotes are acceptable only when sources are clearly indicated; direct quotes should be used sparingly.

Entries should be typed, double-spaced (one side of paper only), and may not exceed 2,000 words. Include a cover page with student name and title of the essay, then print your submission and deliver to Student and Academic Services in AND 116/130 no later than Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

The competition is open to juniors, seniors and graduate students enrolled in SEFS during Spring Quarter 2015 who have not yet received a graduate-level degree from any institution. Undergraduate and graduate essays will be judged in separate categories.

A Judging Committee will be selected to assess originality, organization, mastery of subject, objectivity, clarity, forcefulness of writing, literary merit and conciseness. The Committee will reserve the right to withhold the prize if no entry meets acceptable standards. The Committee may also award more than one prize for outstanding entries if funds permit. Winning papers will be posted on the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest website, and might also be featured on the SEFS blog, “Offshoots,” and in the school’s e-newsletter, The Straight Grain.

Charles Lathrop Pack © SEFS.

2015 Climate Boot Camp: August 16-21

Each summer, the Northwest Climate Science Center (NW CSC) hosts a week-long program to help develop the next generation of climate professionals, and this year’s retreat—organized around the theme, “Adaptation on the Wildland-Urban Interface”—will be held at Pack Forest from August 16 to 21!

Climate Boot CampDuring the week-long Climate Boot Camp (CBC), graduate students join early-career professionals from universities, tribes, non-governmental organizations, state and federal agencies in a rural location to improve their climate science knowledge and skills. NW CSC hosts the retreat to help prepare scientists, educators, policy-makers and resource managers for successful careers in climate science, climate education and communications, and natural and cultural resource management. Through carefully planned field trips, skill-building exercises and classroom activities, Climate Boot Camp Fellows deepen their understanding of basic climate science, science communication and the science-policy interface.

Climate Boot Camp locations change from year to year, and setting plays an important role in the curriculum. This summer’s location, Pack Forest, lies among the many tributaries to Puget Sound, adjacent to Muckleshoot, Puyallup, Nisqually, Squaxin Island, Skokomish and Suquamish Nations lands, Mount Rainier National Park, Gifford Pinchot National Forest and near Washington State’s capitol in Olympia. Through the rich opportunities available near this place, CBC educators will teach about the cultural and ecological dimensions of adaptation at the interface of wildlands and urban environments. As part of field excursions and overall curricula, sub-themes this year will include knowledge transfer across generations, infrastructure and local planning.

Who’s Eligible?
The CBC is targeted to benefit graduate students and early career professionals who are either:

• Engaged in research relevant to natural resource management, including climate science, climate impacts or climate adaptation in the areas of fish, wildlife, habitats, ecosystems; land, air and water; and tribal and cultural heritage resources.
• Or who serve in a decision support role in their organizations with respect to natural resources management and decision‐making.

Application Process and Costs
The charge of $650 for attending the Climate Boot Camp covers meals, lodging, field excursions and instruction during the retreat. Travel expenses to get to and from Pack Forest are the fellow’s responsibility.

After selecting one or more applicant(s), confirming their interest and your organization’s ability to cover their costs of participation, please ask the applicants to submit:

• A copy of their CV
• A letter of endorsement from their organization/agency/tribe confirming intention to support costs if the applicant is accepted
• A letter of interest (less than 350 words) for this opportunity.

NW CSC asks that applicants’ letters of interest be specific and concrete in addressing:

  1. Their interest in, and how they would benefit from and contribute to, CBC.
  2. How their work intersects with issues of climate change.
  3. The applicants’ knowledge of climate science, and integration of science into management.

As a final step in the application process, please ask applicants to submit their name through this link and fill out the form to help rack their application.

The deadline to apply for this great opportunity is by 5 p.m. PDT on Monday, April 6, and all applications will be reviewed on a competitive basis to fill a limited number of slots. So act fast if you’re interested!

For additional information about this training, including questions about curriculum and other elements of the camp, please contact Arwen Bird, CBC coordinator, at birda@uw.edu or 503.318.5104.


The Northwest Climate Science Center (NW CSC) advances climate science development and delivery for Idaho, Oregon, western Montana and Washington. It was established by the Department of the Interior (DOI) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2010, in partnership with the academic consortium of Oregon State University, University of Washington and

University of Idaho. Together with DOI’s other eight regional CSCs, the NW CSC assesses the impacts of climate change and other stressors that transcend management boundaries, identifying strategies to build the resilience of our nation’s valuable natural and cultural resources.

Pack Forest Spring Planting: March 23-27!

Each spring for more than 75 years, SEFS students have been spending a week down at Pack Forest as part of the annual spring planting tradition. This Spring Break, March 23-27, you can leave your own mark on the forest and help shape it for future generations!

Pack Forest Spring PlantingWhile staying at Pack Forest, you’ll roll up your sleeves and work on forest establishment, including planting, regeneration surveys and reports. Your housing (and some food) will be covered, there’s a kitchen at your disposal, you’ll earn a $200 stipend, and one course credit is also available. It’s a tremendous opportunity to contribute to a sustainable working forest, all while living in a beautiful setting only a short distance from Mount Rainier National Park.

Need more inspiration? Check out the great video below from last year’s crew!

Contact Professor Greg Ettl to learn more and apply. Preference is given to those who apply early, so act fast!

Field Work Day at Pack Forest

Two weeks ago, right after the first snow of the season, SEFS graduate students Matthew Aghai and Emilio Vilanova joined Dave Cass and Pat Larkin down at Pack Forest for a field work day at the Canyon Loop site within the “Through-fall Exclusion” project.

Pack Forest

Dave Cass climbs a tower near the Canyon Loop site to work on a frozen component.

The main goal of this research is to simulate the conditions of drought and its effects on managed forests with different stand conditions, and several members of Professor Greg Ettl’s lab—mostly led by Kiwoong Lee—have been installing panels and collecting detailed measurements of many bio-climatic variables, including soil moisture, tree growth, precipitation and temperature, among other factors.

While working at the site on December 1, Vilanova took advantage of the first snow and open skies to snap a few shots of the action, including the awesome view of Mount Rainier below, taken a few yards from the Canyon Loop site!

Photos © Emilio Vilanova.

Pack Forest

Tell Us: Favorite Field Trip as a Student

In the inaugural issue of Roots, our new alumni e-newsletter, we asked alumni to tell us about their favorite field trips as a student. Here’s what Marion “Bud” Fisk (‘58), who lives with his wife of 56 years in Tieton, Wash., shared with us:

Marion "Bud" Fisk

Marion “Bud” Fisk

“I don’t know if students still get to go to Pack Forest or spend their last quarter in the woods or not. But the class of ’58 spent the first half of the last class quarter helping the DNR inventory the Capitol State Forest. We got lots of experience, made some good friendships and helped the ol’ DNR a bit.

For the second half of the quarter, we went to Glenwood, where St. Regis Paper owned several thousand acres of pine/fir mix. Sleeping in our bags in wood-floored tents, eating in the loggers’ mess hall, jumping over rattlesnakes out on the plateau, and getting dunked in the log pond created a whole bunch of lifelong memories. One of our small group, Doug Daniels, stayed on and worked for the DNR out of Glenwood for his entire career. The next class produced Len Rolph, who stayed on with St Regis for his career and ended up as chief forester of the Klickitat block. Len and I have hunted that area out of his backyard for the last 50 years and have fed our families on the venison and elk we harvested. Quite an extended field trip.”Great stuff, Bud—thanks for writing!

For the next issue of Roots, we’re asking alumni to tell us: Who was your favorite professor, and why did he/she have such a big impact on you? We’ll feature one or more response in the next issue of Roots, and also right here on the “Offshoots” blog. Please email submissions—of no more than 250 words—to sefsalum@uw.edu, and we’ll follow up to ask for a photo if your letter is accepted and published.

Photo of Bud Fisk © Bud Fisk.