Student Organizing Fellowship: Carbon Washington

One of our undergrads, Aaron Tam (ESRM – Wildlife Conservation), spent the summer volunteering for a climate policy initiative with Carbon Washington (CarbonWA), a grassroots organization working to bring strong climate policy to Washington through the ballot in 2016.

CarbonWA is currently recruiting applicants for a paid fellowship for the fall quarter. They’re looking for students who are passionate about addressing climate change, advancing social justice, and enacting political change. Aaron says it’s a great experiential learning opportunity, so if you’re interested, check out the details below and submit your application by Saturday, October 10!

What is the fellowship?
CarbonWA is seeking passionate and committed individuals to apply for a Student Organizing Fellowship. This fellowship would provide students with a $500 stipend for their work as field organizers on campus and in the community advocating for CarbonWA policies. That would entail gathering signatures to get on the ballot, and organizing other volunteers and students to help you get to 500 signatures (the fellowship goal).

Who is eligible?
Any current high school or college students, and anyone preparing to enter any educational institution before the end of the calendar year. Must be able to demonstrate STRONG commitment to fighting climate change and ability to commit to the hours of work required, but previous knowledge of political organizing is not required. Preferred characteristics include: flexibility, a strong work ethic, ability to speak to groups and strangers, and social confidence.

How much is the stipend?
Be prepared to gather 500 signatures (about 30 hours of work total) for a $500 stipend, or gather 250 signatures (about 15 hours of work total) for a $250 stipend.

How do you apply?
Send an email to Ben Silesky with a resume and cover letter explaining (in no more than 250 words) why you care about climate change, and how the scholarship would benefit your studies, by October 10, 2015. CarbonWA will then evaluate your application and set up interviews.

Director’s Message: Autumn 2015 (The Starcraft Enterprise)

Autumn is such a special time of year, and the first weeks of the season always remind me of my years as a professor of forest soils at the University of Montana. Much like in our courses here at SEFS, our students there spent part of every week out in the field experiencing soils firsthand—getting their hands dirty, quite literally, with scientific discovery. We also embraced the lessons of my predecessor in Missoula, Professor Tom Nimlos, who insisted that “you can’t know anything about soils if you don’t know your plants.” So my classes made weekly forays into the prairie, woodland and subalpine ecosystems around us, simultaneously learning soils, plant species and how plant communities reflect the soils below. We explored how soil moisture and chemistry determine what can and cannot grow in a given climatic zone, and how plant communities in turn help shape the morphological characteristics of the soil below. The class was difficult, yet our students loved being outside every week—even in rain and snow—learning soils in a holistic and applied framework.

Field excursions are crucial to the understanding of all the natural resource sciences, and we have an especially long and varied tradition at SEFS of leading student research throughout the Cascades, Olympics and beyond. Whether studying soils, wildlife, forest management, ecology, recreation or hydrology, lectures and labs can only take you so far; at some point you need to see, touch and interact with natural and managed landscapes in order to grasp exactly how they function. In many ways, these trips—and the applied nature of our degree programs—are what separate us from other programs, and what make our curriculum so effective at delivering a comprehensive education in natural resource and environmental sciences.

The Starcraft Enterprise

The Starcraft Enterprise (minus the SEFS wrap it will have for the start of fall courses).

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce a new upgrade to our field programs this fall: We’re leasing a 30-passenger bus, the Starcraft XL 32, to shuttle our students in larger groups. That might not sound revolutionary at first, but we’ve grappled for a long time with the challenge, especially for larger classes, of how to transport students safely and efficiently to distant sites. We’ve often had to reserve several Suburbans and travel in caravans, requiring multiple drivers and limiting the potential for using drive time productively as a class.

During the last year, though, we worked closely with UW Fleet Services to arrange the lease for this bus, which we’ve dubbed the “Starcraft Enterprise.” We had it outfitted with a few special features for us, including a PA system for on-the-road lectures, its own wireless network, USB and charging ports, a 36-inch overhead monitor for presentations, and even our school logo on the side to advertise our research trips. The bus is designed for muddy boots and wet gear, as well—easy to clean out after a soggy day of stream surveys, or trudging through Pack Forest after the first snow of the season (hopefully coming earlier than last year!). I think it’s going to be a major improvement, and our faculty have already booked the bus for just about the whole year.

Not every field trip will require the bus, of course, and it won’t be able to access some of the rougher roads across the state. But maintaining our field courses is fundamental to the success of our programs, and the Starcraft Enterprise gives us a real boost to keep costs sustainable—and also to keep our students moving safely. I can’t wait to hear the first reports from the field!

Tom DeLuca
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Farm-to-Table Dinner: October 22!

Coming up on Thursday, October 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the UW Farm will be hosting the second edition of its hugely successful Farm-to-Table Dinner! Last year, the event sold out and drew nearly 200 people—raising more than $3,000 for the UW Farm—so reserve your spot as soon as possible to enjoy a tremendous evening at the Center for Urban Horticulture’s NHS Hall.

Like last year, the culinary experts from Chaco Canyon Organic Café will be preparing the menu and meal using fresh produce from the UW Farm. Libations will be on sale for guests 21 and older, and the evening’s entertainment will also include games and a photo booth.

Tickets for students are $14 in advance or $18 at the door; $30 for non-students in advance or $35 at the door; and $10 for children 12 and under. Order your tickets today!


Photography Exhibition: Views from the Northwoods

This October, for the second year in a row, John Tylczak has generously offered to loan us 10 images from his broader collection, Views from the Northwoods: 1983-1995, for a month-long photography exhibition in the Forest Club Room!

Tylczak’s black-and-white prints powerfully capture the scenes and faces of the Washington timber industry in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, from fallers and rigging crews, to loaders and transport workers, log scalers and mill workers. He ended up taking more than 1,500 large-format images during that time, and the 10 he’s sharing this year all come from the Olympic Peninsula.

His photographs will be on display throughout October from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Anderson 207, and you can meet Tylczak in person if you’re able to make it to the Salmon BBQ on Wednesday, October 7, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.!

Photo © John Tylczak.


SEFS Involved in Four Major NASA Grants

As part of its Terrestrial Ecology Program, NASA recently launched the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). It’s a major field campaign in Alaska and western Canada—starting this year, and lasting 8 to 10 years—with the goal of better understanding the vulnerability and resilience of ecosystems and society to a changing climate in Arctic and boreal regions. In 2015, NASA awarded grants to 21 projects as part this campaign, and four of the proposals involve researchers at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS)!

A Dall sheep ram.

Dall sheep ram.

New faculty member Laura Prugh had two proposals funded, including one as the principal investigator (PI) and another as a co-PI. The first, “Assessing alpine ecosystem vulnerability to environmental change using Dall sheep as an iconic indicator species,” will involve synthesis and modeling of Dall sheep population and movement data throughout their range, developing new remote sensing layers of snow characteristics, and conducting fieldwork in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The research will be funded for $1 million over four years.

The second project, “Animals on the move: Remotely based determination of key drivers influencing movements and habitat selection of highly mobile fauna throughout the ABoVE study domain,” will synthesize and model movements of moose, caribou, wolves and grizzly bears throughout Alaska and western Canada. Prugh’s role in this research will be to model the wolf and bear movements, and there is a $200,000 sub-award in the grant for her to hire a postdoc for two years to lead that work.

Professor David Butman is a co-PI on a third proposal, “Vulnerability of inland waters and the aquatic carbon cycle to changing permafrost and climate across boreal northwestern North America,” that focuses on changes to carbon biogeochemistry in lakes as a result of thawing permafrost. Specifically, the project aims to evaluate potential impacts in boreal and Arctic regions as permafrost thaw, climate warming and fire change the “plumbing” that controls water movement and distribution. The total award for this proposal is around $2.1 million, with $1.2 million coming from NASA and the other $900,000 coming from the U.S. Geological Survey. Of that total amount, around $110,000 will come to SEFS from NASA to fund a student for two years, and $30,000 will come from the USGS for summer support for Professor Butman.

The fourth SEFS project involves co-PI Hans-Erik Andersen, a research forester with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station and an affiliate professor with SEFS. This proposal, “Fingerprinting Three Decades of Changes in Interior Alaska (1982-2014) Using Field Measurements, Stereo Air Photos, and G-LiHT Data,” will explore changes in vegetation cover and composition over time to characterize the vulnerability and likely future trajectories of these landscapes under projected warming and scenarios of future disturbances. The project is funded at $334,564 over three years.

To have nearly 20 percent of the funded proposals in 2015 involve SEFS is a fairly remarkable percentage, and we’re excited to see how these projects progress!

Photo by © Steve Arthur.

Annual Salmon BBQ: October 7!

There’s really only one sure way to soften the blow of another summer’s end: Spend a boisterous afternoon grilling, gorging and gabbing with us at the annual Salmon BBQ on Wednesday, October 7, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Anderson Hall courtyard! It’s a feast for your senses, and a great time to catch up with friends and colleagues—or meet new friends and colleagues, if you’re a newly arriving grad or undergrad!—as we kick off the Fall Quarter.

2015_09_SalmonBBQ1In case you haven’t been to the Salmon BBQ before, we have this autumn tradition down to a beautiful, mouth-watering science. SEFS alumnus Steve Rigdon (’02, B.S.) is supplying the salmon, caught using traditional Yakama fishing techniques, and Luke Rogers will once again direct the grilling crew; they use alder wood from Pack Forest, and it’s quite an operation to watch. Professor Emeritus Steve West will set up a few kegs from Big Time Brewery, and we’ll be providing the other basics (soda, baked beans and corn on the cob). The rest of the meal is a potluck, though, so please bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert to share!

All SEFS students, staff, faculty and alumni are invited, and we heartily encourage you to bring significant others and children. Also, if you’re able to assist with set-up or clean-up, please contact Karl Wirsing to make sure we have enough help before and after the event. We’ll start getting ready around 2:30 p.m., and we’ll need even more hands to help clean up afterward from 6:30 to 7 (ish). If you can spare a few minutes at either end, that would be tremendously appreciated!

Wait, There’s More!
Just before the Salmon BBQ—and if you aren’t on set-up duty—we hope you’ll join us upstairs in Anderson 223 for the second talk of the SEFS Seminar Series, featuring alumnus Willis Littke (’82, Ph.D.), who studied with Professor Emeritus Bob Edmonds and recently retired from Weyerhaeuser after a long career as a forest health researcher. His talk will run from 3:30 to 4:20 p.m.

We hope you’ll take some time, as well, to browse through a fantastic photography exhibition in the Forest Club Room, where photographer John Tylczak has donated another 10 images from his collection capturing the Washington timber industry in the 1980s and early ’90s, Views from the Northwoods: 1983-1995. His prints, which will focus on shots from the Olympic Peninsula this year, will be on display throughout the month of October, and we’re hoping John will be able to join us in person for the Salmon BBQ.

Photo © Karl Wirsing/SEFS.


Alumni Spotlight: Greg Lambert

by Karl Wirsing/SEFS

If you’ve never heard the expression that 90 is the new 40, then you’ve never met Greg Lambert.

Lambert, who celebrated his 90th birthday last May, spent 26 years as a pilot with the U.S. Navy—eight on active duty, and 18 as a reserve—and raised 12 children through two marriages. He worked with the Simpson Timber Company for 32 years until he retired in 1987 at the age of 62, at which point he went on to start his own business and then build houses with Habitat for Humanity for several years. He still downhill skis twice a week during the winter, takes long boating excursions in the summer (indeed just returned from a 10-day trip), and flies a Cessna 172 a couple times a month as part of a local flying club. “I don’t think life is based on a chronological age,” he says. “It’s a psychological age.”

Greg Lambert hasn’t lost any of his zeal for the outdoors, and he isn’t about to slow down—especially on the slopes. “You can ski from age 4 to 94,” he says. “I [turned] 90 the first of May, and it still feels good me.”

Greg Lambert, who lives in Seattle with his wife Mary Kay, on a visit to Anderson Hall this past spring.

So when Lambert looks back on his expansive life and multiple careers, he says there’s little he would change—except for one tiny, lingering regret: He wishes he would have finished his master’s in forest management from the College of Forestry back in 1951.

Maybe “regret” isn’t the right word, though, because he came within weeks of completing the program and went on to enjoy a long, fulfilling career in the timber industry. And with or without the degree, Lambert thoroughly earned his place in our history and family at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and we were thrilled to reconnect with him after nearly 65 years.

From Flyboy to Forester
Lambert was born in Seattle in 1925, and he enlisted in the Navy during World War II to be a pilot. He spent most of the war in training, though, and didn’t get a chance to fly in combat before the war ended. “I didn’t get my wings until 1946,” he says, “and when I got to Tokyo, they were having guided tours. I missed the whole thing.”

A few years later, around 1949, the Navy starting drawing down its tactical squadrons, so they didn’t need as many fighter aircraft and pilots anymore. Lambert thought about transferring from the reserves to the regular Navy, but he decided instead to weigh some other career options—including going back to school. He initially considered pre-engineering at Whitman, but after sending away for a University of Washington course catalog, he saw an area of study that really caught his attention. “I started going down all the courses, and I came to forestry,” he says. “That sounds like a good, clean life, so let’s do that.”

One of Lambert’s daughters, Denise, reached out to us a few months ago to share some of her father’s story. She described how he used to bring all of his kids into the woods to teach them about trees and plants, and instill in them a love for the natural world. “I’m really flattered she remembers that,” says Lambert. “We did a lot of camping when they were growing up, and my wife would get a little upset with me for getting into my lecture mode.”

One of Lambert’s daughters, Denise, says he used to bring all of his kids into the woods to teach them about trees and plants, and instill in them a love for the natural world. “I’m really flattered she remembers that,” says Lambert. “We did a lot of camping when they were growing up, and my wife would get a little upset with me for getting into my lecture mode.”

Lambert enrolled as a student at the College of Forestry in January 1950. But then the Korean War started that summer, and Lambert, who was already serving in the Naval Air Station reserve unit in Washington, felt a strong pull to get involved. “I was anxious to get back in,” he says. “I made my application to go back on active duty, and they put me in ready reserve.”

His opening came up that fall, but by then Lambert and his wife were settling into student life and their home in Union Bay Village, a community for veterans that was located near the current Center for Urban Horticulture. “It was a really nice deal,” he says. “Rent was cheap, and there was a certain amount of camaraderie. We all had children, so there was a lot of dignity to being a poor student.”

Lambert decided to stay in the reserve unit in Washington and continue with the forestry program. He got to participate in Garb Day, learn timber cruising and surveying down at Park Forest, and he took field trips to visit mills out on the Olympic Peninsula. “[The program] was a nice marriage between time in the classroom and on the job,” he says.

As it happened, life as a student also synced nicely with the duties of a reserve pilot. When aircraft needed an overhaul, they had to be flown down to the base in Jacksonville, Fla. “The guys with real jobs couldn’t get off,” says Lambert. “But students were ideally suited to get off Friday to Tuesday.”

An Offer He Couldn’t Refuse
He had been able to resist that first temptation to leave school. A second challenge came about a year and a half into his program when the California Redwood Association (CRA) offered him a job as a forest products research engineer in Eureka, Calif. Lambert was a couple months away from wrapping up his thesis, but he had three children and didn’t want to pass up a solid career opportunity in forestry.

“I could have taken another six weeks to two months to finish my thesis, but they were pounding on my door that they needed me, and I rationalized that I’d gotten all of the value out of school,” he says.

Lambert and his wife Mary Kay on his 90th birthday.

Lambert and his wife Mary Kay on his 90th birthday.

So Lambert accepted the job offer and moved down to California with his wife. “At the time, the CRA had 14 member mills, and my job was to work with the mills on sawmill studies and kiln-drying improvement,” he says. “I worked with a lot of throwbacks to the rough-and-ready types, and they looked with disfavor on a young college student, but there were some younger people in the mix who began to appreciate the value of these studies—improving yield, accuracy of cut, that kind of stuff. That was a lot of fun. It was a very interesting job.”

One of the member mills he worked with was Simpson Timber Company in Arcata, Calif., which eventually lured Lambert away from CRA. “And that was that,” he says.

He stuck with Simpson for the next 32 years, moving to several states to expand the distribution base for Simpson timber, and eventually getting promoted to sales manager—and then marketing manager—for the Redwood Division. Lambert says he always enjoyed the work, but he especially appreciated the company culture at Simpson Timber, a fifth-generation, family-owned company that was founded in Shelton, Wash., in 1890. “One of the things I really liked about Simpson was the ethics of the company,” he says. “There was quite a dedication to being good stewards of the land.”

With his 90th birthday in the books, Lambert hasn’t lost any of his zeal for the outdoors, and he isn’t about to slow down—especially on the slopes. “You can ski from age 4 to 94,” he says. “I [turned] 90 the first of May, and it still feels good me.”

Lambert hasn’t lost any of his zeal for the outdoors, and he isn’t about to slow down—especially on the slopes. “You can ski from age 4 to 94,” he says. “I [turned] 90 the first of May, and it still feels good me.”

That wasn’t the case, Lambert says, when Sol Simpson founded the company, and nearly everyone believed the Pacific Northwest had an inexhaustible supply of timber. But over time, the company began hanging onto more of its harvested land, and developing a bigger, more sustainable base of forest lands to manage. “That impressed me, the commitment to being good stewards, and also the lack of pressure at the business end to make the bottom line look good,” he says. “The emphasis was on the long-term—but you had to make your case, though, about the validity of the long-term investment.”

Onward and Upward
Now, after more than three decades with Simpson, and after several other career and volunteer endeavors, Lambert has finally settled into retired life. But that doesn’t mean you’ll notice any change in his pace. He sailed through his milestone 90th birthday, and he’s already retrained his sights on 95—yet only on the condition he can keep skiing and flying.

So given how everything turned out, from the timing of his jobs and moves, to how he’s maintained such an active lifestyle, to how he met his wife Mary Kay, Lambert hasn’t dwelled needlessly on his missing master’s. It would have meant a great deal to him to earn the degree, no question, but there was nothing he did afterward that he’d be willing to trade for it. “If I had to do it all over again,” he says, “it’d do it the same way.”

That sounds like the well-earned perspective of someone who has a lot of great years to lean on, and more adventures still to come!

Photo of Greg Lambert at Anderson Hall © Karl Wirsing/SEFS; all other photos © Greg Lambert and Julie Seaborn.

Lambert and his family on his 90th birthday celebration.

Lambert and his family—all kids except for one son, in fact—at his 90th birthday celebration.




SEFS Seminar Series: Fall 2015 Schedule!

The schedule is set for the SEFS Seminar Series this fall, and we’ve pulled together an especially diverse line-up, ranging from a hands-on workshop about capturing great video of your field research, to talks about drones, the Northwest Forest Plan, resource management in southwest China, and much more!

Held on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223, the talks are always open to the public, and the first seminar of each month will be followed by a casual reception down the hall in the Forest Club Room. Students can register for course credit under SEFS 529A.

Check out the schedule below and join us for as many talks as you can!

2015_Fall_SEFS Seminar Series PosterWeek 1: September 30
“The Trees By the Stream are Your Uncle: Traditional Knowledge and Resource Management in Southwest China”
Professor Stevan Harrell, SEFS/Anthropology

Week 2: October 7* (Distinguished Alumni Speaker)
“Integrated Pest Management Application to Future Forest Health”
Will Littke, Retired Forest Health Researcher, Weyerhaeuser

Week 3: October 14
“Constraints and Drivers of Bark Beetle Outbreaks: And How We’ve Made a Difficult Lifestyle Easier”
Professor Ken Raffa, University of Wisconsin

Week 4: October 21
“How to Shoot Usable Video of your Research”
Ethan Steinman, Producer/Director, Daltonic Films

Week 5: October 28 
“Climate Change Adaptation on Federal Lands in the Western U.S.”
Dr. Jessica Halofsky, Research Ecologist, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab

Week 6: November 4*
“What Do Faculty Know About Undergraduate Curricula? Some Insights From Faculty Leadership at UW”
Michelle Trudeau, Director, SEFS Student & Academic Services

Week 7: November 11
No Seminar (Holiday)

Week 8: November 18
“Nature’s Services: Advancing Frontiers in the Communication, Science and Practice of Ecosystem Services”
Dr. Anne Guerry, The Natural Capital Project

Week 9: November 25
No Seminar (Thanksgiving)

Week 10: December 2 *
“To Drone or Not to Drone: UAS for Ecological Applications”
Professor Monika Moskal, SEFS

Week 11: December 9
“Real Changes? 20-year Interpretation of the Northwest Forest Plan”
Professor Bernard Bormann, SEFS

* Indicates reception after seminar