Steven D. Stinson: 1961-2014

We were deeply saddened to learn last week that one of our alumni and great friends, Steve Stinson, passed away on Wednesday, July 16, after a two-year battle with cancer.

Steve StinsonBorn December 10, 1961, Stinson grew up working on his family’s Cowlitz Ridge Tree Farm in Toledo, Wash., and was a tireless advocate for forestry. He was particularly known for his support of small family forest owners, and he was an integral part of the Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA).

Stinson earned his bachelor’s from Evergreen State College and was a master’s student under Professor Chad Oliver at the College of Forest Resources. He was among the first students working on the landscape management system (LMS) developed in the Oliver Lab, and his thesis was on dynamic habitat-based forest planning for small forest landowners. At a national Society of American Foresters meeting, one of Stinson’s posters demonstrating the LMS won a blue ribbon award; the poster and award were displayed outside the silviculture lab for many years. After graduating in 2000, he went on to direct the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ Small Forestland Landowner Office, established as part of Washington’s Forest and Fish Law, and he later contributed to the Denman Forestry Issue Lecture Series.

StinsonEarly in his career, Stinson had the foresight to see that small family forest owners were being left out of the policy discussion largely because there was no database to identify how many there were, where they were located, and how much they managed. So he worked with the Washington delegation to secure funding for the University of Washington to create a database of small tree farm family ownership through the Rural Technology Initiative (RTI), currently managed by Luke Rogers at SEFS. As a result, the Washington State Parcel and Forestland Databases—both projects now into their 10th years—provide comprehensive GIS data on tree farm land parcels and a wealth of other information. Among many other long-term benefits, these resources more accurately document the significant contributions of small forest owners, including their role in providing riparian protection in the lowlands and population centers of the state.

Stinson’s life and work touched countless lives, and he is fondly remembered at SEFS as a great friend and champion of the forestry community. He was widely respected for his pragmatism, genuine concern for other people, and a relentless pursuit of science-based decision-making. He invested so much of his time and passion in the forestlands of Washington State, and helping landowners navigate the complexity of modern forest management. He will be greatly missed.

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A celebration of Stinson’s life will be held at the family tree farm in Toledo on Saturday, July 26, at 5 p.m. The Stinson family has chosen to have a potluck, so please bring a dish and beverage of your choice. They will provide plates and cutlery. There will be a bonfire and live music by Joe Batt, Tom Barbara, Joe Green and Richard Roth. If you have questions, please email Ann (amstinson126@comcast.net) or Julie (julieintheyukon@gmail.com). No phone calls please.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:

Washington Farm Forestry Association
P.O. Box 1010
Chehalis, WA 98532

(Port Blakely is establishing a scholarship in Stinson’s memory; more details will be available soon about designating donations to WFFA for this particular fund.)

or

Assured Home Health & Hospice
2120 North Park Street, Suite A
Centralia, WA 98531

Photos of Steve Stinson © Courtesy of Rick Dunning and Luke Rogers.

Steve Stinson

Society of American Foresters National Convention

Last week, SEFS graduate student Ben Roe attended the Society of American Foresters (SAF) National Convention in Charleston, S.C. He presented a poster, “Assessing the Impact of Timber Legality Policies on U.S. Wood Importers,” which detailed his research on domestic and international policies that attempt to limit the import of illegally harvested timber. His study looks at the perceptions of U.S. wood importers and the effect of policies on their business practices, as well as the effects on foreign exporters.

Ben Roe

Ben Roe presenting his poster at the convention.

Roe, who is earning a joint master’s in public affairs, also represented the University of Washington as the District 1 student representative to the SAF Student Executive Committee. As part of this role, he participated in discussions on how SAF can better assist students and local chapters. In addition, he was able to spend time with a number of UW alumni who attended the convention.

Other presenters from SEFS included Professor Gordon Bradley and Luke Rogers, and SEFS Director Tom DeLuca also represented the school at the National Association of University Forest Research Programs, held in advance of the SAF convention.

Amanda Davis, the SEFS graduate advisor, staffed an information booth at the convention. She says she dispelled a few myths about the Pacific Northwest and also generated quite a bit of excitement about the Peace Corps Master’s International Program at SEFS. She was happy to report, as well, the giant Coulter pine cone survived the trip and was a great lure to the table.

As the final event, Davis and Director DeLuca hosted a small alumni reception. Among the alumni in attendance were Bob Alverts, Ann Forest Burns, Don Hanley, Denver Hospodarsky, Jim McCarter, Steve McConnell, Phyllis Reed, Eric Sucre and Paul Wagner, who was given the SAF Field Forester Award for District 1.

Not bad for an event 3,000 miles from campus, and next year’s convention will be a lot closer to home in Salt Lake City!

Photo © Courtesy of Ben Roe.

Olympic Peninsula Memoirs

Bob Dick and Darrell WhiteWhile researching material for a book he’s writing about the history of CFR/SEFS, Professor Emeritus Bob Edmonds came across a book that one of our alumni, Bob Dick (’74), recently coauthored with his childhood and long-time friend Darrel White, a high school biology and science teacher. Edmonds just finished reading the book, Skunk Cabbage and Chittum Bark: Sons of the Wynooche, and he was kind enough to offer a brief review!

Here’s what he had to say:

Skunk Cabbage and Chittum Bark is an interesting history on the background of many of our undergraduate students in the 1960s and early 1970s who came from rural backgrounds, and it illustrates how things have changed. The two authors grew up in Montesano and the Wynooche Valley (also spelled Wynoochee), which is between Olympia and Aberdeen/Hoquiam, and the book title refers to plant species the authors describe as “among the quintessential inhabitants of the Wynooche Valley.” Skunk cabbage is common in swampy areas, and chittum bark is Native American for cascara bark, which has medicinal properties. Peeling cascara bark was an income source for Bob and Darrell as young boys.

The book is divided into six parts: Wynooche Genesis, Kid Stuff, Family, Work, Reminiscence and The Valley, as well as an Epilogue. In each section Bob and Darrell document their separate and collective life stories, mostly from the 1950s to 1970s. In all there are nearly 60 short stories or vignettes, such as “Coming to the Valley,” “School Years,” “Fun with Amphibs,” “Timber!,” “Summer Camps,” “Mom and Dad,” “The Birth of a Career,” “The Logger,” “Hikes,” “The Lake,” “The Columbus Day Storm,” “Geology with Calvin and Hobbes,” “Eco-adolescents” and “The River.”

No doubt, Bob’s decision to enter a career in forestry was influenced by his father’s profession as a forester for Weyerhaeuser Company, and the hours he spent in the woods exploring, fishing and hunting. Bob served in the U.S. Coast Guard in Washington and Alaska, then graduated with a BS in Forest Management from CFR and became a professional forester, including stints as Alaska’s state forester and the Washington Forest Protection Association. He is a fellow of the Society of American Foresters, and he retired in 2010 after a 36-year career.”

If you’d like to read more about Bob Dick’s story, his book is available in paperback on Amazon for $18, and also in a Kindle Edition for $9.99 (Skunk Cabbage and Chittum Bark: Sons of the Wynooche, by Bob Dick and Darrel A. White, 2012. Bookstand Publishing, Morgan Hill, CA 95037. 248 pp.). You can also reach Dick via email at mrdickjr@gmail.com if you wish to request a copy.