SEFS Seminar Series: Spring 2014!

With the Spring Quarter now under way, we aren’t just excited for those first skin-tingling days in the 60s—like today—when the sunshine starts burning moon-sized holes in our motivation. We also can’t wait for the return of the SEFS Seminar Series, which kicks off tomorrow, April 1, at 3:30 p.m. in Anderson 223 (that’s right, Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays this quarter)!

We have to say, this quarter might feature the most diverse slate of speakers and topics yet, with talks from authors and artists mixed in with professors and agency professionals. So mark your calendars today and join us for as many Tuesdays as you can!

Also, we’ll have a casual reception in the Forest Club Room after the first seminar of each month—April 1, May 6 and June 3—and students can register for 2 course credits as ESRM 490C for undergrads or SEFS 550C for grads. (Contact Michelle Trudeau or Amanda Davis is you have any questions about registering.)

Spring 2014 SEFS Seminar SeriesApril 1
“The trouble with murrelets: Discovering and recovering a rare bird”
Maria Mudd Ruth
Author, Rare Bird
*Reception to follow in Forest Club Room

April 8
“More to crow about”
Professor John Marzluff, SEFS

April 15
“Climate change adaptation in forest ecosystems: Principles and paradigm shifts”
Dave Peterson, USFS

April 22
“Reforestation and the role of meadows in preserving biodiversity in China”
Professor Steve Harrell, SEFS/Anthropology

April 29
“Diversifying finance mechanisms for protected areas in the developing world”
Nabin Baral, SEFS

May 6
“Spatial optimization of forest roads, edges and harvest scheduling on WA DNR lands”
Professor Sándor Tóth, SEFS
*Reception to follow in Forest Club Room

May 13
“Burnscapes: An artist observes fire ecology”
Suze Woolf, artist

May 20
“Clear-cutting and even-age silviculture and its relevance today for public land management”
Angus Brody, WA DNR

May 27
“Assessing the impact of domestic wood”
Professor Ivan Eastin, SEFS

June 3
“Differential life stage niche modeling: Can we construct species fitness landscapes from SDMs?”
Tom Edwards, Utah State University
*Reception to follow in Forest Club Room

Alumni Spring Gathering: Sunday, April 27!

Coming up on Sunday, April 27, is the annual SEFS Alumni Spring Gathering! Organized by the SEFS Alumni Group, the spring celebration is a wonderful occasion to reconnect with old colleagues and friends, and to meet some of the current faculty, staff and students at the school (and all, of course, while having a great time!).

SEFS Spring GatheringThis year’s event will be a potluck-style barbecue at the NHS Hall at the UW Botanic Garden’s Center for Urban Horticulture from 4-7 p.m. In addition to other activities, we will have open house-style tours available so you can come see what’s happening at the Center for Urban Horticulture, and hear about current projects from staff and students. We’ll also be honoring the career of Jim Brown, class of ’62, for his decades of work in forestry. Come help us thank him for his lifelong dedication to the industry!

Last year’s gathering was a great success, from the incredible weather to the wine tasting to the 150 or so alumni, staff, students, faculty and friends who attended. So come out and join the celebration this year, and spread the word to other alumni and friends!

If you’re able to come, we hope you’ll bring a side dish or dessert to share for the potluck. We’ll provide provide beverages, grillables and salmon, and please sign up as soon as possible to help us prepare for the right number of people. Families and children are extremely welcome, and you can contact Cynthia Welte, one of the organizers, with any questions about the event, or if you’d like to get involved.

See you there!

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!

Video: Growing Gardens in Peru

High in the desert hills on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, a team of University of Washington designers and researchers is working in the informal urban community of Lomas de Zapallal to implement a series of green space interventions. In August and September of 2013, they worked with community members in the Eliseo Collazos neighborhood to design and construct 29 household gardens. The video below captures the incredible personal and cultural transformations that spring from these small gardens!

This work is part of a parallel project that includes Professor Susan Bolton’s fog-catching research, which aims to harvest freshwater from fog for the rain-starved communities around Lima.

Check it out!

Collazos Garden Project/Peru from White Noise Productions on Vimeo.

Native Plant Stewardship Training

Our friends at the Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS) passed along word of some training opportunities this spring to become a Native Plant Steward and help restore King County’s forests!

Specifically, WNPS and the cities of Kenmore, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Sammamish, Seatac and the King Conservation District are offering ecological restoration stewardship training, with weekly classes scheduled from April 18 through June 27.

WNPSThe 100 hours of specialized training from regional experts cover: Puget Sound ecology, native plant identification and uses, urban forest restoration, invasive management and community volunteer management. In exchange for the 100 hours of training, stewards are asked to commit 75 hours of volunteer service in one of six designated restoration projects, and 25 volunteer hours to WNPS public outreach projects in King County.

Since 1996, WNPS has graduated more than 500 stewards who have contributed more than 120,000 volunteer hours dedicated to education, conservation and restoration of native flora in Washington State.

If you’re interested in contributing, applications are due by April 7, 2014, so learn more about the program—including a full position description—and sign up now! And if you have any other questions, you can contact Joy Wood and Kelsey Ketcheson, WNPS stewardship coordinators, at or leave a message at 206.527.3210.

Photo © WNPS.

Wildlife Science Seminar: Spring 2014

Starting on Monday, March 31, we kick off enough another quarter of terrific talks as part of the Wildlife Science Seminar! Professor Chris Grue of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences will be leading the course this spring, and topics range widely from killer whales to bats in the Peruvian Amazon to birds in suburban Seattle.

The Wildlife Seminar will meet on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Architecture (ARC) Hall, Room 147. Undergraduate students may register for credit under ESRM 455; graduate students under ESRM 554.

The public is invited to attend, so check out the full line-up below and mark your calendars!

Wildlife Science SeminarMarch 31
“Mercury Contamination from Gold Mining in Bats within Different Feeding Guilds in the Peruvian Amazon”
Anjali Kumar, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

April 7
“Amphibian Life History in the Arid Southwest”
Meryl Mims, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Aquatic & Fisheries Sciences

April 14
“I May Like the Suburbs After All: The Case of Cavity-Nesting Birds in the Greater Seattle Area”
Jorge Tomasevic, Ph.D. Candidate, Wildlife Science Program, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

April 21
“Reducing the Hazards Powerlines Pose to Birds”
Melvin Walters, Puget Sound Energy

April 28
“A Grizzly Answer for Obesity”
Kevin Corbit, Senior Scientist, Amgen Inc., Seattle

May 5
“Are We Loving Sea Pandas to Death? The Relationship Between Boats and Noise in Endangered Killer Whale Habitat”
Juliana Houghton, MS Candidate, School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences

May 12
“Post-release Movements, Survival and Landscape-Scale Resource Selection of Fishers Reintroduced into Olympic National Park”
Jeff Lewis, Ph.D. Defense, Wildlife Science Program, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, UW; and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

May 19
“Laughter and Well-Being in Animals”
Jaak Panksepp, Baily Endowed Chair of Animal Well-Being Science and Professor, Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, Washington State University

May 26
No seminar (Memorial Day)

June 2
“Aquatic Herbicides and Amphibians: Applying Phenology to Toxicity Testing”
Amy Yahnke, Ph.D. Defense, School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences

Video: Farm to Table at the University of Washington

This week, UW Housing & Food Services released a fun video that introduces the UW Farm and the students and staff who work to bring the food from the farm to the various dining locations on the UW campus—such as the new Cultivate restaurant in the U-District!

Check out the three-and-a-half-minute clip, “Farm to Table at the University of Washington,” and learn a little more about the fresh food cropping up around campus.

Sustaining Our World Lecture: Michael Green!

For the annual Sustaining Our World Lecture coming up on April 10, the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences is extremely pleased to welcome Michael Green of Michael Green Architecture for his talk, “PLANT CUT BUILD REPEAT: Natural solutions to complex problems.”

Michael GreenLast year, we featured architect Thomas Knittel and his exploration of biomimicry, and how design can take lessons from nature to become more efficient and sustainable. This year, we’re expanding that discussion with Green, who will talk about building tall with wood—including structures up to 30 stories high—and the importance of using local, renewable resources as an integral component of sustainable design.

The talk is open to the public and will be held on Thursday, April 10, from 6 to 7 p.m. in Kane Hall 210. Event registration is free but space is limited, so please RSVP as soon as possible to make sure we have enough available seating in Kane Hall 210!

About the Talk
In a world searching for technical solutions to the complex challenges of climate change, development, shelter shortage and social and environmental degradation, sometimes the answers are found in the gorgeous simplicity of the nature that surrounds us.

Michael Green

Future tall wood diagram.

Michael Green will talk about a future of building with natural materials in ways that suit the places we increasingly choose to live. Innovative wood design is challenging the conservative building industry to move away from the traditions of the Industrial Revolution into a new era of buildings of the Climate Revolution.

About the Speaker
Green lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia, and founded Michael Green Architecture in 2012. He is a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and has been recognized for his award-winning buildings, public art, interiors, landscapes and urban environments. He has developed a wide range of projects from international airports and skyscrapers to Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House, North Vancouver City Hall and modest but unique retail spaces and homes. His work extends around the globe, including current projects for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture designing a sustainable community in the mountains of Central Asia.

Green is dedicated to bringing attention to several of the overwhelming challenges in architecture today. The first is climate change and how the built environment is an enormous contributor to the factors damaging the very environment designers and architects are seeking to improve. The second is the profound reality that during the next 20 years, 3 billion people, or 40 percent of the world, will need a new affordable home. Green believes in championing a shift to new ways of building that will complement the intersection of our greatest building challenges.


Video: The Ecology of Fear

Want to know how wolves are shaping local ecosystems in the forests of eastern Washington? Then check out this great new video from QUEST, which features Professor Aaron Wirsing, one of his graduate students, Justin Dellinger, and some of their research exploring why wolves and other top predators are crucial for healthy ecosystems and biodiversity.

A collaboration of six public broadcasters around the country, QUEST is a multimedia series that addresses pressing sustainability topics through articles, videos, radio reports, television broadcasts and educational materials.

In this seven-minute segment, you’ll get to see some fun footage from “deer cams” that provide a unique perspective on predator-prey relationships—not to mention some of the incredible field research going on here at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Take a look!

Feathered Fun

On Wednesday, March 5, 4th grader and avid birder Hudson Brown sat down for some lively discussion about all things avian with Professor John Marzluff of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS).


Hudson Brown, Richard Lasser and John Marzluff outside of Anderson Hall.

Brown, who is 9 years old and lives in Queen Anne, has already developed a remarkable knowledge of birds. His family—including his grandfather Richard Lasser, who joined him at SEFS—has been fanning that curiosity by taking Hudson to visit other experts in the area, including a stop to meet with Professor John Klicka at the Burke Museum (who tested, and was apparently duly impressed by, Hudson’s ability to identify hundreds of specimens in the museum’s collections and tucked in basement drawers).

For this visit, Marzluff toured Hudson around his lab and then showed him the vast corvidae family, from ravens and magpies to nutcrackers, in his massive Handbook of the Birds of the World. The aspiring ornithologist, in turn, had plenty questions of his own. His family had recently returned from Hawaii’s Big Island, and Hudson was curious about how the Hawaiian crow got so endangered, and if there was any way to get rid of mongoose on the islands—to which Marzluff responded that he’d once caught and grilled mongooses (though he didn’t recommend it).

We ran out of time long before Hudson ran out of questions, but Marzluff gave him several ideas for how to continue exploring and developing his interest in birds. We also sent him home with a new SEFS t-shirt and hope to see him again soon!

Photos © SEFS.

Hudson and Marzluff