Tell Us: What Was Your First Job After College?

In the last issue of Roots, our alumni e-newsletter, we asked our graduates to tell us about their first jobs out of college. Lindsay Malone (’03, B.A., journalism and political science; ’07, M.S., forest resources) now works for the Northwest Natural Resource Group, and here’s what she remembers about her first summer job after undergrad:

Lindsay Malone

“Getting paid to camp or stay in the Blue Top Motel in Coulee City, Wash., are highlights in my career and some of the most fun I’ve had while working,” says Malone.

“Three days after commencement in 2003, I was in the C10 parking lot outside Anderson Hall loading a UW Motorpool rig full of field equipment. That was a familiar ritual after a few years of wildlife science classes, but this was no field trip—it was the first day of my new job as a field assistant for the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

Bob Gitzen, who had earned his Ph.D. in wildlife science from SEFS, hired me to work on a small mammal sampling project, part of the wildlife study on Conservation Reserve Program lands in Eastern Washington. I’d been introduced to the shrub-steppe of the Columbia Plateau a handful of times, but this was this field season that instilled in me an admiration for the sagebrush and bunch grass ecosystems that span the West. Our work started in mid-June, just when heat waves begin to roll across the hills of basalt, sage and wheat. Long hot days had us finishing at dusk sweaty, dirty and sticky, our nitrile gloves coated in peanut butter, Sharpie marks and mouse droppings. We quickly adapted our schedule to avoid ill effects of heat on our specimens and shifted our days to start before sunrise. Often the first rays of sunlight would turn the fields aglow with pink and golden light as we left the rig, wearing planter bags loaded with peanut butter and oat-baited traps, clipboards and datasheets in tow. Those first steps into the field on cool mornings, stars fading, breathing deep of sagebrush, in search of Great Basin pocket mice are what I remember most.”

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For the next issue of Roots, we’re asking alumni to tell us: What are your favorite memories of Anderson Hall? The building was completed in 1925 and has undergone several renovations—including some roof work right now—but it remains largely unchanged, from the exterior to the Forest Club Room. 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 © Lindsay Malone.

Director’s Message: Winter 2015

Last weekend, I woke up early and pored over newspapers and websites looking for a place to ski with my sons. I was extremely disappointed to see rain again forecasted for Snoqualmie Pass, with more rain predicted in the next two days, all the way up to 6,000 feet. A few ski areas were open, but those that were had limited runs available, or the conditions were icy and ragged and threatened to tear up your skis. Another time of year, such a soggy forecast would be welcome news. But it was a grim outlook for the first weekend in January.

As an avid alpine and Nordic skier, I am acutely aware of the poor early-season snow conditions that have plagued the Pacific Northwest since my family moved here in 2012. As a natural scientist, I am also keenly aware of the complexities of regional weather patterns, and I have to resist the temptation to ascribe all poor ski conditions to a warming climate. At the same time, climate change is predicted to bring warmer, wetter winters to the region, and the existing conditions at Snoqualmie Pass are bearing that out. I know some might chide me and argue that a shortened ski season is hardly cause for global panic. Yet the effects of our warmer winters will eventually ripple throughout the natural resources sector, threatening forest productivity, widespread insect outbreaks, stand-replacing fires, mudslides and all sorts of critical wildlife habitat, including salmon-spawning streams.

UW Climate Change Video Contest

In our first-ever Climate Change Video Contest, we are asking high school and undergraduate students in the state of Washington: What does climate change mean to you?

I couldn’t sleep later that night, and I found myself thinking about personal responsibility and how we can inspire collective action. Scientists have long understood and attempted to communicate the risks of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning, and the links between our behavior and climate change are very real and well-documented. Yet after decades of trying to build awareness, we have largely failed to move the voting public or our elected leaders to take determined action. During the holidays, I even read several reports that the recent downturn in gasoline prices has spurred higher sales of larger, fuel-consumptive vehicles. This type of short-term thinking reflects the gulf between what we’re constantly warned about climate change, and how we actually react as citizens.

The most frustrating part for me is wondering why these warnings won’t stick, so maybe we need to rethink our approach. Maybe we need to change the message. Or maybe we just need to change who is delivering the message and give prominent voice to younger generations—the future leaders who will inherit and confront the greatest impacts of climate change.

With that goal in mind, this year we are trying a new approach to addressing the climate issue. Rather than asking our scientists to tell a story of modeled predictions of a warming climate, we are hosting a video contest that challenges high school and college students in the state of Washington with a simple prompt: What does climate change mean to you? In the space of three minutes or less, they can approach the issue through virtually any artistic style. How to make this climate message resonate on a personal and actionable level, after all, is all that matters at this point.

So I’m really looking forward to seeing how students frame this issue. I’m excited to see what inspiration and ideas we can draw from them in communicating—and solving—the enormous environmental challenges ahead of us.

I’ll keep eyeing the forecast and hoping for more snow, of course, but always in the much broader context of achieving a sustainable balance with a changing climate and world.

Happy trails,

Tom DeLuca
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

SEFS Seminar Series: Winter 2015 Schedule

After several weeks of ghostly quiet in Anderson 223, it’s high time for the return of the SEFS Seminar Series (SEFS 529b) this Wednesday, January 7, starting with Professor Susan Bolton and her talk, “Greening deserts for health and well-being: An interdisciplinary design program.”

SEFS Seminar Poster_Winter 2015We’ll continue from there with a wonderfully varied line-up of speakers, ranging from other SEFS and visiting faculty, to potential future faculty members, to professors in other departments on campus. We’ll be exploring everything from mountain pine beetles to environmental restoration, biofuels and green building, and it’s a terrific opportunity to support your colleagues and learn about incredible research going on in our school.

Like last quarter, the seminars will be held on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223. We’ll also have a casual reception in the Forest Club Room after three of the talks—January 7, February 4 and March 11—so mark your calendars for the talks below and come out as often as you can!

Week 1: January 7
“Greening deserts for health and well-being: An interdisciplinary design program.”
Professor Susan Bolton

Week 2: January 14
“Restoration resources in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences”
Professor Kern Ewing

Week 3: January 21
“Synergies, feedbacks and tipping points: Mountain pine beetle’s rapid range expansion threatens invasion of North American boreal pine forests”
Professor Allan Carroll
Director, Forest Sciences Program
Department of Forest & Conservation Sciences
University of British Columbia

Week 4: January 28
“Novel feedstocks for fuels and chemicals production: Technology, economics and environmental sustainability”
Professor Renata Bura

Week 5: February 4
“Interaction Pattern Design for urban sustainability”
Professor Peter Kahn

Week 6: February 11
“Understanding species interactions to improve wildlife conservation and management”
Laura Prugh

Week 7: February 18
“Moving beyond just population size: advances in abundance and occurrence modeling of wildlife populations”
Beth Gardner

Week 8: February 25
“Adaptive restoration of Western Washington prairies”
Professor Jon Bakker

Week 9: March 4
Talk TBD
Rahel Sollmann
North Carolina State University

Week 10: March 11
Talk TBD
Chris Sutherland
Cornell University

Wildlife Science Seminar: Winter 2015 Schedule

The schedule is set for the long-running Wildlife Science Seminar (ESRM 455 & SEFS 554), and the Winter 2015 edition kicks off this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in Smith 120 with Professor Jonathan Pauli from the University of Wisconsin!

Wildlife Science SeminarProfessor Aaron Wirsing is hosting the seminar this quarter, and he’s lined up a wide array of subjects and speakers, including faculty from SEFS and other departments and universities, as well as local researchers and a doctoral student. There’s a lot to get excited about, from biological invasions to sloths, crocodiles, tree kangaroos and swift foxes, so check out the full schedule below and come out for as many talks as you can!

The seminars are held on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:50 p.m. in Smith 120, and the public is heartily invited.

Week 1: January 5
“’Slowly, slowly, slowly,” said the moth: a syndrome of mutualism drives the lifestyle of a sloth”
Professor Jonathan Pauli
Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Week 2: January 12
“Insect intruders: Biological invasions and the threat to ecosystems and biodiversity”
Professor Patrick Tobin
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Week 3: January 19
Holiday (no seminar)

Week 4: January 26
“Size-selective mortality and critical growth periods: diagnosing marine mortality for juvenile salmon in Puget Sound”
Professor David Beauchamp
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Week 5: February 2
“Behavior and conservation: the decline of the Mariana crow”
Dr. Renee Robinette Ha, Lecturer and Research Scientist
UW Department of Psychology

Week 6: February 9
“Conserving endangered wildlife in Papua New Guinea: Creating a sustainable community-based conservation program”
Dr. Lisa Dabek, Senior Conservation Scientist/Director of the Papua New Guinea Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program
Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Wash.

Week 7: February 16
Holiday (no seminar)

Week 8: February 23
“Ecology of swift foxes in southeastern Colorado: integrating ecology, behavior and genetics”
Professor Eric Gese
Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University

Week 9: March 2
“A framework for successful citizen science: good data and good relationships”
Wendy Conally, Citizen Science Coordinator
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Wildlife Diversity Conservation Assessment

Week 10: March 9
“Distribution and status of Crocodylus suchus in Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda”
Carol Bogezi, PhD student
Wildlife Science Group, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences