Next Wednesday (1/6): Pecha Kucha Night!

Coming up after the SEFS Seminar and reception next Wednesday, January 6, the UW Local Committee of the International Forestry Students’ Association will be hosting its second-annual Pecha Kucha Night in the Forest Club Room at 5 p.m.!

Pecha Kucha 2016Developed in Japan, Pecha Kucha is a rapid style of presentation designed to elegantly yet efficiently introduce people to new research or discussion topics. Typically, presentations are well practiced and on par with the quality of a TED talk, and you can expect to see about six mini-talks on Wednesday highlighting a diverse range of research interests from undergraduate and graduate students at SEFS. Twenty slides, 20 seconds each—that’s a lot of tightly packed brilliance!

All students, staff, faculty and friends are welcome, and you can contact Rachel Yonemura for more information.

See you there!

Natural Resources Career Fair: January 27

The Society of American Foresters UW Student Chapter invites you to attend a Natural Resources Career Fair on Wednesday, January 27, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room (Anderson Hall 207).

2015_12_SAF Career Fair FlyerLike last year’s successful event, the fair will be a fun, informational and interactive process that will allow students—grad and undergrad—to introduce themselves to potential employers and gain interviewing and networking skills. It’s also a great opportunity for employers to educate prospective employees about opportunities within their organizations.

You can drop by anytime during the fair and stay for as short or as long as your schedule allows. Organizers are providing free refreshments and snacks, and there will be raffle drawings for goodies such as gift cards, two free memberships to the Society of American Foresters, and two free memberships to The Wildlife Society!

Attending agencies, companies and organizations include:

–        Hancock Forest Management
–        Sierra Pacific Industries
–        Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
–        The Nature Conservancy
–        Washington State Department of Natural Resources
–        American Forest Management
–        Green Crow Corporation
–        Unites States Forest Service
–        Pacific Forest Management
–        The Wildlife Society – Washington Chapter
–        Hampton Affiliates
–        Weyerhaeuser Company
–        Campbell Global
–        Merrill & Ring
–        King County Forestry Program
–        King County Parks
–        Olympic Resource Management
–        Washington State Society of American Foresters

If you have any questions, please contact Marisa Bass at We look forward to seeing you there!

SEFS Seminar Series: Winter 2016 Schedule!

The schedule is set for the Winter 2016 SEFS Seminar Series, and this quarter we’ve organized the talks around the theme of “Ecosystem Carbon.” Topics range from carbon nanomaterials to the oil sands of Alberta, and SEFS Director Tom DeLuca will kick off the series on Wednesday, January 6!

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.

SEFS SEMINAR Carbon: Nanotubes to Biome Fluxes  Winter 2016 223Check out the schedule below and join us for as many talks as you can!

Week 1: January 6*
“Why the food yard waste bin is a good thing (carbon accounting for food scraps)”
Professor Sally Brown, SEFS

Week 2: January 13
“Carbon in New Guinea rain forests: Storage, dynamics and community-based conservation”
Dr. John Vincent, SEFS

Week 3: January 20
“Synthesis of carbon nanomaterials from biomass for environmental remediation”
Professor Anthony Dichiara, SEFS

Week 4: January 27
“Ecosystem genetics and riparian forest carbon flux: From common garden experiments to the field”
Professor Dylan Fischer, The Evergreen State College

Week 5: February 3*
“The carbon conundrum for aquatic ecosystems: Where does it all come from?”
Professor David Butman, SEFS

Week 6: February 10
“Soil carbon: A future for sequestration?”
Director Tom DeLuca, SEFS

Week 7: February 17
“Controlling processes of carbon uptake and distribution and their importance for productivity”
Professor Emeritus David Ford, SEFS

Week 8: February 24
“What deep soils can tell us about forest productivity and resilience”
Professor Rob Harrison, SEFS

Week 9: March 2*
“Forest community reassembly with climate change”
Professor Janneke Hille Ris Lambers, UW Biology

Week 10: March 9

“Measuring ecosystem function in the Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta: Problems and solutions”
Professor Derek MacKenzie, University of Alberta

* Indicates reception after seminar

2016 McIntire-Stennis Research Grant Winners

This fall, the SEFS Research Committee awarded five Graduate Research Augmentation Grants through the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research program, totaling $72,209 in funding.

This special round of grants was designed to support graduate student research, with awards targeted for Spring 2016 or Summer 2016 (and with all funding to be spent in full by September 30, 2016). Read more about the funded projects below!

Awarded Projects

1. Nisqually Garry Oak Habitat: Cultural and Ecological Considerations for Successful Restoration in the Nisqually Tribal Reservation

PI: Professor Ernesto Alvarado, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Steve Harrell, SEFS

Garry oak (Quercus garryana) ecosystems are a designated Priority Habitat for management in Washington State (Larsen and Morgan 1998). Although there are many research projects that examine how to restore Garry oak ecosystems for the purposes of establishing more habitat for endangered and threatened species like the golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) and Mazama pocket gopher (Thomomys mazama), respectively (Larsen and Morgan 1998), there are few studies that look at restoration for the objective of developing an environment for the purpose of cultural restoration, specifically agroforestry. We intend to evaluate whether Garry oak ecosystem restoration for the intended purpose of cultural activities (traditional medicinal and edible plant harvests, inter-generational education) will greatly change the components of the restoration and management plan of the Garry oak ecosystem.

Award total: $13,232

2. How Do Conclusions About the Effectiveness of Fuels-reduction Treatments Vary with the Spatial Scale of Observation?

PI: Professor Jon Bakker, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Charles Halpern, SEFS

Restoration of dry-forest ecosystems has become a prominent and very pressing natural resource issue in the western U.S. Although mechanical thinning and prescribed burning can effectively reduce fuel loads in these forests, scientists and managers remain uncertain about the ecological outcomes of these treatments. This uncertainty reflects the short time spans of most restoration studies and a limited consideration of how ecological responses vary with the spatial scale of observation. This funding will support graduate student research that explores how ecological responses to fuels-reduction treatments vary with the spatial scale of observation, and will complement ongoing research on the temporal variability of responses.

Award total: $15,114

3. Growth and Physiological Response of Native Washington Tree Species to Light and Drought: Informing Sustainable Timber Production

PI: Professor Greg Ettl, SEFS
Co-PIs: Matthew Aghai, third-year Ph.D. student at SEFS; Rolf Gersonde, affiliate assistant professor with SEFS and Seattle Public Utilities Silviculture; and Professor Sally Brown, SEFS

Intensive management of the conifer-dominated forests of the Pacific Northwest has resulted in millions of acres of largely mono-specific second- and third-growth forests. These forests have simple vertical structure and low biodiversity, and consequently much lower value of non-timber forest products. Research on establishment of underplanted trees in partial light is needed to increase structural and compositional diversification of Douglas-fir plantations undergoing conversion to multispecies stands. However, the ecology of seedling establishment under existing canopies is poorly understood. The general aim of our research is to address the need for improved structural diversity in managed forest systems through a better understanding of species-specific performance potential of underplanted seedlings. This proposal extends ongoing research; in this phase we will document physiological differences in seedling performance.

Award total: $17,004

4. A Novel Reactor for Fast Pyrolysis of Beetle-Killed Trees

PI: Professor Fernando Resende, SEFS

In this project, we will optimize the production of pyrolysis bio-oil from beetle-killed lodgepole pine using a technique called ablative pyrolysis. We developed a novel and unique system for pyrolysis of wood that has the capability of converting entire wood chips into bio-oil. This characteristic is important for mobile pyrolysis units, because it eliminates the need of grinding wood chips prior to pyrolysis.

Award total: $15,887

5. Modeling the Effects of Forest Management on Snowshoe Hare Population Dynamics in Washington at the Landscape Scale

PI: Professor Aaron Wirsing, SEFS

The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) is already listed as Threatened in Washington and, following an ongoing status review, likely to be designated as Endangered because much of its habitat has been lost to a series of large wildfires since 2006. Lynx subsist on snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus), and it is widely acknowledged that habitat quality for lynx is tied to the availability of this prey species, so forest management with the goal of promoting lynx conservation requires an understanding of the relationship between silvicultural practices and hare abundance. Accordingly, we are requesting summer 2016 funds to complete the third and final phase of a graduate research project whose objective is to assess the impacts of forest management on hare numbers across a large landscape in north-central Washington. By sampling a network of snowshoe hare fecal pellet transects spanning protected and harvested portions of the Loomis State Forest for a third consecutive summer, we will produce a model of hare relative abundance that will enable managing agencies to tailor their harvest plans such that they promote snowshoe hare availability and, as a result, lynx population persistence.

Award total: $10,972

Faculty Search: Professor of Practice

We are pleased to announce a faculty search for an accomplished conservation leader to serve in a joint position as the Lead Scientist for the Nature Conservancy in Washington and Professor of Practice in SEFS and the Center for Creative Conservation (CCC). The successful candidate will work in collaboration to identify and address science needs underpinning the most pressing conservation issues in the region and beyond. This non-tenure position will be a 100 percent full-time (50 percent at UW and 50 percent at TNC), 9-month appointment that also has funding for the summer months in the initial year of appointment. The appointment period will be for five years with a possible renewal after that time.

Read more about the full position description and requirements. Applications should include a letter describing your expertise and experience in conservation leadership, research and teaching, a curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references. The letter should include a brief statement on how your experience demonstrates a commitment to conservation and to diversity and inclusion through leadership and scholarship or by improving access to the conservation field or higher education for underrepresented individuals or groups.

For questions or additional information about this position, please contact Melissa Garvey ( or Josh Lawler ( Applications must be submitted to, and for best consideration please apply by February 1, 2016. We hope you’ll help us circulate the posting as widely as possible!

Faculty Search: Nature, Health and Recreation

We are very pleased to announce that our faculty search for a tenure-track assistant professor in the area of nature, health and recreation is now active. We wish to grow an existing group within SEFS focusing on the human dimensions of the environment, and a larger group across the University of Washington interested in the physical, social, cultural and psychological benefits of nature and outdoor recreation. Preferred areas of expertise include public health, anthropology, geography, planning, sociology, psychology or related fields.

The successful applicant is expected to establish a collaborative, externally funded and nationally recognized research program, as well as contribute to graduate and undergraduate teaching, advising and mentoring that supports diversity and inclusion. Teaching responsibilities will include undergraduate courses in one or more subjects, potentially including those related to nature and public health, outdoor recreation, and sustainable natural and human systems, as well as graduate instruction in areas of expertise. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct outreach and collaborate with relevant internal and external institutions such as public natural resource and land management agencies, tribal governments, state and local park and urban forestry departments, and private sector health and recreation organizations, among others.

For questions or additional information about this position, please contact Professor Josh Lawler, search committee chair, at or 206.221.3864. Applications must be submitted to, and the deadline to apply is January 6, 2016. We hope you’ll help us circulate the posting as widely as possible!

Patty Haller Art Exhibit: “Forest Sampling”

Later this winter and spring, from February 16 to March 30, the Elisabeth C. Miller Library will be hosting an art exhibit by Patty Haller, a Seattle oil painter with a studio in nearby Magnuson Park.

2015_12_Patty Haller1Haller enjoys applying visual concepts from art history to Pacific coastal woodland imagery. Her new series, “Forest Sampling,” was inspired by an exercise she did long ago as a forestry student at SEFS (’84, B.S.), where she studied forest ecology with Professor David R. M. Scott. Her work is included in the permanent collections of several area hospitals and the Anacortes Arts Festival organization.

We hope you’ll head over to the library and take a look at her work!

Photos/painting © Patty Haller.

2015_12_Patty Haller2

SEFS Students Volunteer at “Meet the Mammals”

Last month, SEFS grad students Laurel Peelle and Jack DeLap volunteered in the annual “Meet the Mammals” event held at the Burke Museum on Saturday, November 14. It’s the only day of the year when the museum brings out hundreds of specimens from its extensive mammalogy collection for visitors to see and touch, and this year more than 1,100 people—a record high—joined the fun.

Peelle engages with a young scientist in the making.

Peelle engages with a young scientist in the making.

Led by Mammalogy Collection Manager and SEFS alumnus Jeff Bradley (’00, M.S.) and Curator of Mammals Sharlene Santana, the Burke Museum organizes Meet the Mammals for guests of all ages to explore species from tigers and bats to sea otters and even a live llama. Mammal experts were on hand all day to answer questions about their particular specimens, and other activities ranged from live music played on instruments made from mammals, to putting together a 16-foot whale skeleton.

DeLap has volunteered four of the last five years, and this time he helped out with the “Limbs & Locomotion” table, which featured museum specimens (skins, skeletons, print infographics, video) illustrating mammalian adaptations for walking/running, flying, swimming and digging. The leader of his table was Tamlyn Sapp, a former SEFS undergrad (’13) and student of ESRM 351 who is pursuing a career in zoo keeping.

Over at Peelle’s table, she was showcasing some of her research involving Canada lynx and snowshoe hares. Her display featured two hare pelts (one winter and one summer), along with a stuffed bobcat and lynx, for folks to touch—and the steady stream of visitors kept her busy from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “I was hoarse by the end of the day, literally talking for six hours straight,” she says. “It was crazy but really, really awesome!”

DeLap fields questions at the “Limbs & Locomotion” table.

DeLap fields questions at the “Limbs & Locomotion” table.

It’s a much different kind of outreach than a public talk, says Peelle. Instead of standing up at a podium and fielding a few questions afterward, she got to spend six hours engaged in back-and-forth discussions about her research, and she learned a great deal through those wide-ranging—and often eye-opening—conversations. “For one thing, I realized that 99 percent of people in Washington don’t even know that we have Canada lynx as a native species here,” says Peelle. “It was cool to see people take pride in learning something new about their state.”

The crowd included lots of families with young children, as well, and Peelle loved hearing insights from budding scientists. One girl came through and looked at the stuffed lynx specimen on the table. She was feeling the paws and spreading out the toes with her hands, and she asked whether that adaptation made it easier for the lynx to walk on snow—like natural snowshoes. “She was so observant,” says Peelle. “It was really inspiring.”

Photos © Jeff Bradley/Burke Museum.