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
“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 email@example.com, and we’ll follow up to ask for a photo if your letter is accepted and published.
As I’m writing this message, I’m looking out my office windows at another brilliant summer afternoon. This time of year in the Seattle and the Pacific Northwest—clear skies, mountains on every horizon, sails carving up every lake and channel—is especially distracting, and we’re lucky that Summer Quarter is our quietest. Half of every class would be dreamily gazing outside and clamoring for an escape.
Director Tom DeLuca on a recent backpacking trip with his sons in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
It often feels like a reflex or instinct, this yearning to be outdoors, reveling in the infinite variety and beauty of nature. But I have to remind myself that I grew up in a family that had me out skiing all winter, and on extended backpack trips in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Northern Michigan in the summer. We spent countless hours building fence lines, cutting firewood and enjoying every autumn and spring on land we owned and managed in western Wisconsin, or simply playing in the woods by our house on a daily basis.
Not everyone has that same access to parks, open lands or wilderness, or the same opportunities to take advantage of them. Similar to developing a taste for unique foods, our understanding and appreciation of the ‘outdoors’ often starts with exposure to nature on a regular basis, ideally starting at a young age. Without a daily diet of nature, many people never develop an overarching respect for the natural world, and the immense value of its resources. There’s nothing automatic or universal about developing that respect. It’s often the result of years of experience and exploration, honed throughout our lives like so many of our philosophies and passions.
That’s why our role at SEFS is so important. We invest a significant portion of our effort toward instilling our students with a deep sense of respect and value for natural and semi-natural places, with a special emphasis on forests. Our hope is that our students leave here with a sturdy land and conservation ethic, derived from a scientific understanding of how ecosystems function, and how we might best manage lands for the enduring integrity and benefit of humans and all living species alike.
However, as I’ve learned, the taste for nature is best developed young, so we’ve recently launched a number of programs with the goal of capturing the imaginations of young minds much earlier.
After a day of field experiments, students relax around a campfire during one of the first pilots of the Mount Rainier Institute.
This past October, we successfully completed the first pilots of the Mount Rainier Institute (MRI), and this fall we’ll be welcoming the first full season of students. A partnership between Mount Rainier National Park and SEFS, MRI is a residential environmental learning center designed to nurture the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders. The program invites middle school students from all backgrounds—and especially from diverse communities with limited access to parks and other natural spaces—to spend four days and three nights at Pack Forest and Mount Rainier National Park. They learn science by doing science, testing skills like observation, inquiry, analysis, supporting claims with evidence, and presenting their findings. Through these hands-on experiments, along with other fun activities like night hikes and campfires, they build confidence in being outdoors and, we hope, form the beginnings of their own land ethic.
Around the same time last year, we also kicked off a program at the UW Botanic Gardens that targets an even younger audience. The Fiddleheads Forest School immerses preschool-aged children in the natural world, introducing them to their relationships with trees, herbs, insects and mammals. It’s casual and playful, and these young students get to spend time in the beautiful outdoors classroom of the Washington Park Arboretum—an easy place to begin a lifelong love of nature.
Programs like these have me brimming with enthusiasm and confidence in the next generation of environmental leaders and resource managers. Because even if we can’t all grow up with regular access and exposure to nature, we can all grow into responsible stewards and ensure the long-term preservation of the landscapes we value so much.
Tom DeLuca Director, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
The UW Forest Club, one of the oldest and longest-running clubs on campus, is proud to present the 2014 edition of Garb Day on May 10 and 11 down at Pack Forest!
If you’ve never been to Garb Day before, picture a long afternoon of playing outdoor games with your friends, drinking beers and barbecuing around a campfire, listening to live music and hanging out late into the night. In short, picture a really fantastic time with a whole bunch of your classmates and colleagues from the SEFS community!
The theme of this year’s Garb Day is “Back to Tradition.” Justine Andreychuk, president of the Forest Club, did some historical research in the UW Archives last week and found clippings from the Seattle Times about Garb Day in the early 1940s. It used to be a weeklong celebration, and all forestry majors had to grow a beard; if you didn’t—or, worse, couldn’t—you could find yourself getting dunked in the nearest fountain or pond. (Women, meanwhile, had to settle for a cigarette-rolling contest. Seriously.) Other events ranged from a wood chop to log rolling, axe throwing and a logger’s brawl.
Andreychuk doesn’t want to bring back all of these traditions, and liability concerns make some them out of the question. Yet there are a few she’s hoping to resurrect this year—with some modern modifications, of course. First off, you are encouraged to bring and wear your forester best, including full flannel garb, jeans and forestry boots. There will also be the crowning of a “Timber Queen” and “Ole, King of the Woods.” Final judging criteria haven’t been set, but Andreychuk says they’ll be looking for who has been the most spirited, had the most fun, encouraged others and generally been an enthusiastic participant in the day’s activities. Prizes for these honors, which last the whole year until new winners are crowned at the next Garb Day, could include a crown, scepter and other SEFS goodies. Needless to say, competition is likely to be fierce.
Remember, Garb Day is open to all students, staff, faculty, family and friends—the more the merrier—so check out the details below and sign up today! And contact Andreychuk if you have any other questions.
Things to Get Excited About * Salmon bake
* Live music
* Multiple kegs of beer (for those of age)
* Old-growth nature walk
* Tug-of-war and three-legged races
* Other field games, perhaps including kickball and “sticks,” which Andreychuk says is like capture the flag with Frisbees
* Beard-growing competition (begins a week in advance of Garb Day, so get those whiskers going this weekend!)
* Campfires and camping
* General frolicking in the woods
What to Bring
* Tent and sleeping bag (there are a limited spot in cabins, too, in case you prefer a solid roof over your head)
* Sack lunch for Saturday, May 10; all other meals, snacks and drinks will be provided.
* Rain gear and clothes for all sorts of weather. Last year we got lucky with total sunshine, but you never know what to expect!
* Refillable water bottle
* Decent footwear if you plan to do any hiking
Schedule of Activities
Official events will kick off at noon sharp on Saturday, May 10. You are welcome to show up and set up camp anytime that morning, but planners hope you will be there and ready for the start of the festivities. Also, remember that Saturday lunch will not be provided, so bring a sack meal to tide you over until the salmon bake and bbq that night.
Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m., and then there will be some downtime before the evening awards program and the music begins. You are encouraged to bring your own instruments, as well, for strumming and singing deep into the night.
On Sunday, you’ll wake up, pack up and clean up, and there will be some breakfast pastries/light breakfast and coffee. You should plan to be on the road by 11:30 a.m., and by to campus by 1:30 or 2 p.m.
Tickets and Transportation
Tickets are on sale now in the SEFS Advising Office for $20, and that covers just about everything—lodging, all meals except for lunch the first day, beer, etc. You are welcome to provide your own transportation down to Pack Forest, or you can sign up for a group ride from campus by emailing Andreychuk or signing up when you buy your ticket. To reserve your spot in a group car, try to make your reservation by this Monday, May 5!
Directions to Pack Forest
If you’re driving separately, the best route to Pack Forest from Seattle is to take I-5 south to Tacoma, then take exit 127 for WA-512 E toward Puyallup. Turn left onto 512. Stay in the far righthand lane as you will take the Steele Street exit (which is about 0.2 miles down 512). Turn left at Steele Street South. Continue straight through intersections as the road changes from Steele Street into 116th Street, and finally into the Spanaway Loop Road that will bring you to WA-7 S (after a long sweeping turn through a light where the Cross Base Highway will eventually be constructed). Turn right onto Rt. 7 and travel about 20 miles to the entrance of Pack Forest, which will be on your left. Driving time—off-peak hours—is about an hour and 45 minutes.
Every summer, a hardy crew of SEFS students heads down to Pack Forest for two months of hands-on field training in forest management. It’s one of our oldest field traditions, and also one of the most memorable, so take a look at the opportunities coming up this summer!
There are five internship positions available for undergrads during the 2014 Summer Quarter, which runs from June 23 to August 22. Each position is eligible for 5 ESRM credit hours, as well a $200 weekly stipend and free housing.
* Four 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 & Education Intern, who will actively participate in public outreach, environmental education and natural resource management. This student will develop skills in communications, public outreach and curriculum development, as well as gain exposure to natural resource management.
The deadline to apply is this coming Wednesday, April 9. If you’re interested, 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 a couple weeks ago!
This year’s theme is “Education and Research,” and the agenda is structured to reduce “seat-time” for participants. Attendees will get the opportunity to pick and choose among concurrent indoor sessions and field trips held throughout Pack Forest and the surrounding area.
Topics are wide-ranging, covering everything from biosolids and forest fertilization to silviculture and salmon habitation restoration. SEFS will have a strong representation, including sessions with Professors Greg Ettl, Rob Harrison and Sandor Toth, as well as with Dave Cass, Nicolas Dankers and Zareen Khan.
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 2014 edition of the Charles Lathrop Pack Essay Competition!
Charles Lathrop Pack
The prize for top essays is $500, and this year’s prompt addresses biofuels:
There are great hopes of converting woody biomass into liquid transportation fuels. What are the likely economic, social and ecological ramifications of pursuing a wood-to-liquid fuel strategy in the Pacific Northwest?
Entries are due by Tuesday, April 1, 2014. 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!
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 April 1, 2014.
The competition is open to juniors, seniors and graduate students enrolled in SEFS during Spring Quarter 2014 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.
Coming up this spring and summer, SEFS graduate and undergraduate students have a chance to take part in two hallowed traditions down at Pack Forest: the annual spring planting (March 23-27), and the two-month summer crew (June 23 to August 22)!
Check out the two opportunities and application deadlines below; you can apply to either one, or even try for both:
Spring Planting: Why Veg When You Can Plant?
For more than 75 years, students have been putting down roots at Pack Forest, helping to shape it for future generations. This Spring Break, you can leave your own mark by taking part in the annual spring planting, March 23-27!
While staying at Pack Forest, you’ll 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, and you’ll even earn a $200 stipend. Two course credits are available, as well.
Tara Wilson, a senior ESRM major, gets into the swing of things as part of the Pack Forest Summer Crew in 2012.
Pack Forest Summer Crew
Every summer, several SEFS students head down to Pack Forest for two months of hands-on field training in forest management. As an intern on the summer crew, your weekends are generally free, so you can venture to a number of local attractions, including nearby Mount Rainier. On top of that, you’ll receive 5 ESRM credit hours to go with a $200 weekly stipend and free housing!
For the 2014 Summer Quarter, which runs from June 23 to August 22, there are five ESRM internship positions available.
Four 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 & Education Intern, who will actively participate in public outreach, environmental education and natural resource management. This student will develop skills in communications, public outreach and curriculum development, as well as gain exposure to natural resource management.
The deadline to apply is April 9. If you’re interested, send your resume and a cover letter describing how the internship will fit into your program of study to Professor Ettl.
With students flooding in and out of classes every day, and researchers cycling in for various projects and seminars, we’re accustomed to seeing unfamiliar faces around the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS). But thanks to a handful of hires in the past month, a few of those new faces will soon be regular fixtures in our halls and memories!
One of the newest additions is Wendy Star, who started as SEFS administrator on Monday, November 25. While Star is new to SEFS, she’s been connected to the University of Washington for much of her life, from when she studied business at UW as an undergrad, to her most recent position as administrator for the Department of Sociology.
There’s so much more to her story, of course, and we sat down with Star at the end of her second week to learn a little more and help introduce her to the SEFS community.
For Wendy Star, UW is a family affair, as both of her daughters also work for the university!
Star was born in Wisconsin, but her family moved to Seattle when she was still a baby. Her grandparents had a home in Ballard, and Star grew up playing around the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, and spending hours exploring the Washington Park Arboretum. “We have lots of pictures of this skinny little kid running around outside,” she says.
These days, though, the tables have turned, and now Star’s shelves and walls are filled with photos of her two young granddaughters. Both of her daughters live in Seattle and work for UW: Jennifer as the curriculum coordinator for the university, and JoAnn as a nurse in labor and delivery at the UW Medical Center. They each have a daughter, and Star says her free time generally revolves around what her granddaughters want to do.
They both started Girl Scouts this year, and Star says she especially loves taking them out on local adventures. “When the weather is nice, we’ll go out in nature and explore,” she says. “One of our favorite things to do is take trips over to Sequim and visit the Olympic Game Farm. You drive through in your car, and you get to see all these animals, buffalo and elk and llamas and yaks, and they come right up to you.”
Book It Next to the grandkids, one of the easiest ways to get Star gushing is to ask her about what she’s reading. Most mornings, she carpools to campus from Everett with her daughter Jennifer, and then she takes the bus home. That gives her plenty of time to devour all sorts of nonfiction.
She recently finished Last Child in the Woods, which addresses some of the nature deficit many kids are experiencing today, when it’s harder to find open spaces to play outdoors. She doesn’t necessarily recommend that one, but she loved the book before it, The Girl With No Name, by Marina Chapman.
It’s about a 6-year-old girl who grew up in Colombia and was kidnapped. Her abductors ended up leaving her alone into the jungle, where she miraculously survived, in part through the company and protection of monkeys. She’s now grown and has her own daughters, who helped her tell her incredible story. “I couldn’t put it down,” says Star. “It was so fascinating.”
Part of the appeal of the administrator position for Star was the connection to her childhood, and those early days trekking through the Arboretum. She grew up loving these parks and facilities, and now she gets to work on behalf on them.
“I’m excited to learn more about the research our faculty do,” she says, “and to learn about Pack Forest and ONRC and the Botanic Gardens all the centers that are part of SEFS.”
It’s a daunting learning curve, she says, but her first two weeks have been fun, and she’s felt very welcome and at ease. As she familiarizes herself with all the new people and programs in the SEFS community, the hardest part actually might be reminding herself she can’t learn everything overnight—and that all the new science and professors and students are precisely what make the job so exciting. “I’m so tickled to be a part of it!”
You can find Star in Anderson 107D, so feel free to stop by or shoot her an email to introduce yourself!
The whole episode is very much worth watching (see below), and you can pick up the Pack Forest section about sustainable forestry around the 10th minute. After spending several hours shooting there on a sunny day this past April, the film crew captured some gorgeous footage. The final cut prominently features Professor Greg Ettl, along with a cameo from Julie Baroody, who earned her master’s from SEFS this past summer. (The UW Farm coverage begins shortly afterwards, right around the 20:50 mark, in the final section on the Campus Sustainability Fund.)
The other three episodes include “The University and the World,” “Living the Sustainability Experience,” and “Commitment to the Future.” All four videos are hosted on YouTube and are being aired on UWTV—Channel 27 in the Puget Sound region—on Sundays at 9:30 p.m.
A couple weeks ago, on the first Friday of November, a two-car caravan took off from the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences to catch an early-afternoon ferry out to Vashon Island. With nine graduate students in tow, Professor David Ford was leading the third field trip for his “Principles of Silviculture” course (ESRM 428).
Professor Ford, leaning on his cane, touring the first of two forest sites on Vashon Island.
The first trip had taken the students to Pack Forest to see estate forestry, and the second involved an overnight on the Olympic Peninsula to explore wet forests and densely seeded, large-scale operations. For this third excursion, the class would be touring two examples of community forestry, where they’d find small plots, some only a few acres in size, individually owned and managed, and with varying objectives depending on the landowner. Their guide for both sites would be Derek Churchill, a former Ph.D. student at SEFS who now lives on Vashon Island and works as a private forestry consultant.
Vashon Island’s history makes it an especially fertile study site for forest management. At the beginning of the 1900s, old-growth forests of hemlock, firs and red cedars covered most of the island. Smaller trees, such as alder, found room in sunnier open areas along with huckleberries and other shrubs. By the 1920s, though, most of the island’s forests had been harvested and cleared. The story went that you could stand on a high point at one end of Vashon and see pretty much across the entire island—roughly 13 miles long and eight miles across at its widest point—unimpeded by any mature trees.
At the time, Vashon was home to a number of Japanese strawberry farms, but starting in the Great Depression, and then on a broader scale as part of Japanese internment during World War II, many of those farms were abandoned. Fields that had been planted and tended were suddenly left on their own. Into that vacuum, fast-seeding alder began taking hold and spreading across the island in the 1940s and ‘50s.
Churchill, front left, lives on Vashon Island and works as a private forestry consultant.
Today, roughly 15,000 acres, or about 60 percent of Vashon, have returned to forest. A large portion of that regrowth has involved the rise of alder-dominated forests, which, rather surprisingly, can’t naturally regenerate without human interference—and that presents a tremendous opportunity to test management strategies.
In a more diverse forest, and without the unnatural boundaries of neighborhoods and other development, the ecosystem would likely replenish itself. Yet the sudden abandonment of so much cleared land gave alder, once marginalized, an unusual advantage because they seed and grow quickly. They also tend to promote a thick, tangled understory, which largely prevents new trees from taking root. So as the alder age—often beginning their decline after 60 to 70 years—there aren’t new young trees sprouting to take their place.
In turn, if a landowner did nothing to intervene in an alder-dominated forest, eventually the older trees would die and disappear, and, many years later, they’d be left with an overgrown field—but no forest.
That’s where Churchill gets involved. In his role as a forestry consultant, he advises various landowners about how to manage their forest plots, writing prescriptions for long-term planning and timber harvests. His clients have wide-ranging visions for their land, so each prescription is unique to the landowner. One might care most about wildlife viewing, horse trails or general enjoyment of nature. Some might want minimal thinning, maybe 20-30 percent; others are more aggressive and want a higher percentage of aging trees cleared.
The class tours the second forest site, where taller Douglas-fir are outcompeting Pacific madrone, resulting in some dangerously spindly, leaning and unstable trees.
In most cases, profit is not the primary objective of these harvests. More important for Churchill and the landowner is keeping the forest healthy and sustainable without overly affecting the aesthetic enjoyment of the land. If there’s a harvest here and there to make a little money, that ends up being a nice perk—and these trees definitely have market value. For a long time alder was considered a junk wood, but in the 1990s it started becoming prized for furniture (a single tree, with the right dimensions and age, could be worth more than $1,000).
As Churchill’s work has gained attention and traction around the island, more residents have recognized the importance of actively managing their forests. In fact, to handle an increasing project load more efficiently and sustainably, several years ago Churchill helped found the Vashon Forest Stewards, a nonprofit community forestry business whose mission is to “restore, enhance and maintain healthy native forest ecosystems, and to manage a sustainable ecological business that provides forestry services and island-grown wood products.” The stewards established a local mill, and they also offer educational workshops on forest planning and management, forest ecology and sustainable forestry techniques.
Showing students some of Churchill’s operation and projects, says Professor Ford, is a great way to introduce them to the viability of smaller-scale forestry. With his clients on Vashon, as well as in Seattle and surrounding communities, Churchill isn’t banking on huge harvests for an income. For him, the forests come in smaller patches and plots, and the work is more incremental and less predictable—but it is certainly viable, and plenty creative!
Check out the slideshow below to see more from their trip to Vashon.