Alumni Career Mentoring Event: April 16

Coming up on Wednesday, April l6, Xi Sigma Pi and the SEFS Alumni Group are co-hosting a career mentoring session for students to network with alumni working in the public and private sectors.

Xi Sigma PiThe event, to be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Forest Club Room, will feature representatives from a number of industry employers—including Weyerhaeuser, King County, and the Stockholm Environmental Institute—as well as a mix of alumni at various career stages, and who earned undergrad and/or graduate degrees from SEFS.

Coffee and snacks will be provided, and at the end of the official session, students and alumni can head over to Big Time Brewing Company for some more casual networking!

You aren’t required to RSVP to attend, but if you’re able to sign up beforehand that will greatly help organizers anticipate numbers and better match students to alumni. If you have any questions about the event or wish to get involved, email Natalie Footen of Xi Sigma Pi. Otherwise, register now!

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.

SEFS Graduation Speaker: Dean Thomas Maness

For the SEFS graduation celebration this Friday, June 14, we are extremely pleased to welcome Professor Thomas Maness, Dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, as the keynote speaker. A SEFS alumnus, Maness is a leading voice in forestry research and education, and he brings an incredible wealth of professional and academic experience from across the United States and Canada.

Dean Thomas Maness

Thomas Maness

We caught up with Dean Maness this week as he prepares to address the latest class of SEFS graduates. Reflecting on his time as a doctoral student at UW in the 1980s, he spoke of the promising career landscape today’s students can find in the forestry and natural sciences fields.

“Right now there’s a huge opportunity for graduates because so many people who had started their careers in the 1970s and ‘80s are retiring now,” says Maness. “I remember when I graduated, the problem was that the pipeline was full and it was difficult to get promoted. That’s not true now. You see it everywhere, in land management and public agencies or private companies, it’s all the same—there are a lot of opportunities for promotion and career advancement.”

One of the keys to success as a new applicant or employee, he says, will be your approach to work. “I think attitude is everything. Graduates are coming out and they now know the language, but they have to learn the culture. They have to work hard, be responsible and want to learn. That’s what companies are looking for: People who can socialize into their organizations really quickly and be decision-makers.”

Just as important in this profession is being able to present yourself and your ideas, he says. “I think communication is key. To survive in natural resources, you have to have really good communication skills. It doesn’t matter if you’re an economist or an ecologist, you’ve got to be able to connect with people.”

We won’t scoop his talk any further, and we look forward to hearing more on Friday!

The SEFS Graduation Celebration will run from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Kane Hall 120. A reception will directly follow in the Anderson Hall courtyard.

About the Speaker
Maness, who lives in Corvallis, Ore., with his wife Nicole, earned his Bachelor’s degree in forest management from West Virginia University in 1979, and then a Master’s in forest operations at Virginia Tech in 1981. He then headed west to work for Weyerhaeuser Company as a forest engineer in the Klamath Falls region of Oregon. His responsibilities ranged from developing forest-planning models, to conducting financial analyses for large-scale capital projects, to designing and installing manufacturing optimization systems for West Coast sawmills.

From Weyerhaeuser, Maness returned to school and earned his doctorate in forest economics from the College of Forest Resources at UW (now SEFS). He then joined the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, where he served in various capacities for 20 years.

His career highlights are many, including founding the Canadian National Centre of Excellence in Advanced Wood Processing, as well as the BC Forum on Forest Economics and Policy. He led an effort to design and implement a completely new undergraduate program at UBC, which won the Yves Landry Foundation Award for the most innovative Canadian university-level manufacturing technology program in 2002. Later, in 2008, Maness served as senior policy analyst with the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C., researching and writing on climate mitigation and wood energy policy. He joined OSU’s College of Forestry in 2009 and in 2012 became dean of the College of Forestry and director of the Oregon Forest Research Laboratory.

Maness’ research interests include developing innovative forest policies and practices to balance the production of traditional forest products with society’s expanding need for ecosystem services, energy and climate mitigation. He has also developed and taught courses in Forest & Conservation Economics, Sustainable Forest Management and Quality Management.

Photo of Dean Maness © Oregon State College of Forestry

This Friday: Graduate Student Symposium!

Graduate Student SymposiumThe 10th Annual Graduate Student Symposium (GSS) begins bright and early this Friday morning, March 8! It’s an all-day affair from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. in the Forest Club Room, so come early and stick around if you can.

The event kicks off with breakfast and presentations from this year’s panelists, and we are excited to welcome Dale Blahna, a research social scientist with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station; Phil Rigdon, deputy director of natural resources with the Yakama Nation; and Laura Six, a plant ecologist working in international environmental research with Weyerhaeuser.

Following the panel discussions, we will have the main event: our graduate student presentations, along with some special activities this year to celebrate 10 years of GSS. The theme is The Future of Forestry (which of course includes natural resource management, environmental science and the full range of the work we do here at SEFS).

We invite you to join us, relax, enjoy yourself and catch as many sessions as you can. We will be serving a pizza lunch at noon along with the poster presentations. Check out a tentative schedule of events, and we hope to see on Friday!