Student Technology Fee Grant Winners for SEFS!

Marc Morrison was very pleased to report that four SEFS proposals—all student-driven—were recently funded by Student Technology Fee (STF) grants!

STF is funded by UW students with a $41 fee assessed each quarter. Every year, in turn, university departments and students can send in requests for grants from this fund to help cover a variety of technological ventures around campus, such as acquiring lab equipment or gear for field research. As the name of the program suggests, these grants must be geared toward student use, and last year STF funded nearly $5 million in projects.

This year, SEFS students helped secure nearly $250,000 in funding, so check out the winning proposals below! (Also, if you’d like to apply for STF funding next year, find out what kinds of projects are eligible.)

2014 Grant Winners for SEFS

Process and Analytical Equipment for Biofuels Production

The Biofuels and Bioproducts Laboratory (BBL) , which explores all aspects of the bioconversion/thermochemical conversion of lignocellulosic materials into biofuels and bioproducts, requested a grant to purchase state-of-the-art analytical tools, including Raman Spectroscopy (RS) as a real-time fermentation measurement technique; GC-MS (Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) for quantitative product identification; high-pressure syringe pumps for supercritical fluid applications; and powerful, high-speed computers to run simulations to verify and complement experimental results. The computers and process and analytical equipment the lab requested will be a great benefit to not only the BBL graduate and undergraduate students, but to the entire SEFS undergraduate community, because every graduating junior and graduate student in the Bioresource Science & Engineering (BSE) program of SEFS takes BSE 426, which would include experiments to convert ethanol into gasoline using the high-pressure pump, and analysis procedures with the GC-MS and new computers.

Total grant award: $169,909.71

Natural Resources Field Tool Kits
To assist field research capabilities for SEFS graduate and undergraduate students, this grant requested funds to acquire tablet computers with rugged cases and other associated measurement tools, or a “Natural Resources Field Tool Kit” that students can reserve and check out for field-based data collection. The tablets will optimize student information management by allowing direct data input, photography/videography, spatial and mapping inference, as well as access to field guides and scientific literature while in remote settings. The equipment will be available to students campus-wide and will set UW students apart by giving them expertise and opportunities for unexpected innovations using these developing technologies, as opposed to continued reliance on outdated tools and techniques for field research.

Total grant award: $30,437.95

College of the Environment Field Research Equipment
A group of SEFS graduate students requested this grant to purchase wildlife field research equipment that has the potential to benefit many students studying in the College of the Environment. This grant will cover the purchase of remote cameras—currently unavailable to most students—and field equipment to run at least two camera-based wildlife research projects, or provide a College field course with enough equipment to run a thorough wildlife research project. Other items to be purchased, including field laptops, wildlife camera traps, portable GPS units and SPOT receivers (satellite positioning and tracking devices used for emergency communications), will provide students throughout the College with access to state-of-the-art equipment that will allow them to apply what they learn in the classroom to rigorous wildlife field research—including as part of senior capstone projects.

Total grant award: $44,009.62

Restoration Ecology Network GPS Units
The University of Washington Restoration Ecology Network (UW REN) Capstone in Ecological Restoration, a 13-year-old program that continues to grow each year, currently involves 63 students. This grant will allow for the purchase of badly needed equipment—specifically, six GPS units—for ESRM seniors and graduate students to ensure they have the tools to create professional, computer-based maps for their restoration planning documents related to their UW REN Capstone project.

Total grant award: $3,889.05

UW-REN Spring Capstone Presentations

Spring CapstonesComing up this Thursday, June 6, from 6 to 8 p.m., the University of Washington Restoration Ecology Network (UW-REN) invites you to join in their 14th Annual Capstone Symposium and Celebration!

Multidisciplinary teams from three UW campuses have been working for eight months to restore damaged ecosystems for community-based clients in the Puget Sound area. At the event, capstone participants will lead a poster and multimedia presentation of the restoration projects they designed, organized and installed, and you’ll be able to examine the innovative, science-based approaches our students developed and used. Their projects are part of an award-winning capstone program that has involved more than 450 students, 38 community partners and 84 restoration projects during the past 14 years.

Opening remarks will begin promptly at 6 p.m. at the Douglas Research Conservatory Greenhouse at the Center for Urban Horticulture (3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, WA 98105); see map below.

No RSVP required, and refreshments will be provided. So come learn about all of the amazing restoration work your friends and colleagues have carried out this year!

If you have any questions, please contact Lindsey Hamilton, symposium coordinator.

UW-REN to Host Volunteer Work Party at Ravenna Park

UW-REN Work Party

The restoration site in Ravenna Park.

Coming up this Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the UW Restoration Ecology Network (UW-REN) is organizing a restoration project at Ravenna Park in Seattle. They’re still recruiting volunteers for the work party, so if you’re in the mood for some romping in the mud—with positive ecological results—then email Amy Vondette today!

Depending on how many volunteers they can scrounge up, you’ll likely be removing invasive species, mostly Himalayan blackberry, but also some Reed canary grass and creeping buttercup, from previous work sites in Ravenna Park.

The site is by Ravenna Creek and is muddy in a lot of places, so you’ll want to wear rubber or waterproof boots if you have them. UW-REN will provide gloves and tools, as well as snacks, coffee and juice. If you need more detailed directions to the site from the parking lot (5520 Ravenna Ave NE, 98105), contact Vondette anytime before Saturday.

So sign up to make a splash at Ravenna Park on Saturday!

Ecological Restoration: Volunteers Needed to Plant!

UW-REN Volunteer Opportunity

Yes, you might get a little muddy, but how can you resist this young volunteer’s earnest plea to come out and help?

The 2012-13 University of Washington Restoration Ecology Network (UW-REN) Capstone class has been in the process of restoring eight different project sites around the Puget Sound, and they need your help to continue the work into May. There is a volunteer event almost every week at one of our sites located in Seattle, Bothell, Shoreline and at Pierce College in Lakewood.

Projects include restoration work in a variety of ecosystems, including wetlands, Garry oak prairie, beach sand dunes and riparian forests. Volunteering with UW-REN is a great way to learn more about and be involved with ecological restoration, your natural surroundings and your community.

Check out a continuously updated listing of events, and if you have questions or want to get involved, email Lindsey Hamilton!

Photo of young volunteer © UW-REN.