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Dean's Letter

Dean Graumlich headshot

The state of the planet has been in the news with the release of the 2013 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report. Not surprisingly, a key finding is that our planet’s frozen landscapes and seascapes face an uncertain future. This is an issue of global concern because the glaciers and sea ice at high latitudes are not only crucial sources of fresh water, habitats for unique species, and home to many diverse cultures, but also play a key role in the climate system. That is why the College of the Environment, together with partners across the University of Washington, are committing new resources to increasing the scientific and public understanding of the future of polar regions.

Read more of Dean Graumlich’s letter and how the College of the Environment and partners are putting ideas and research into action on the College website.


College of the Environment Launches New Website

The College of the Environment is pleased to share with you our brand new website, launched in late September. This platform will serve as a conduit for information related to faculty, students, and staff, and will be a place for reporting what’s happening broadly in the College. From news items that feature researchers in our community, to the latest cross-cutting initiatives spearheaded by leadership, to bringing resources to increase science communication efforts, our new website will keep you up to speed on the latest at the College of the Environment.


Asah and JewellStanley Asah named to White House Panel

Environmental and Forest Sciences Professor Stanley Asah has been appointed by the White House to participate as an alternate on an advisory panel for Wildlife Trafficking. The panel is charged by the president to develop a national strategy that will combat wildlife trafficking as part of an executive order, leading not only to better coordination of government agencies, but also to building capacity with our international partners to end this illegal trade and corruption.

Read more about the panel and the problem of wildlife trafficking on the White House website.


Ocean AcidifcationWashington Ocean Acidification Center

Included in the recent budget passed by the State of Washington is the new Washington Ocean Acidification Center, housed at the College of the Environment. Terrie Klinger at the School of Environmental and Marine Affairs and Jan Newton at the Applied Physics Lab have been appointed as co-directors. The charge of the new center is to help coordinate research and monitoring of ocean acidification and its effects in our region specifically.

Read more about this center on the College website.


Sea GrantWashington Sea Grant Partners to Restore Puget Sound Shorelines

Puget Sound has more armor than a medieval arsenal — 600-plus miles of concrete, rock and timbers, enclosing 26 percent of its shoreline. Quantified local data on shoreline armoring’s biological effects are in short supply. But armoring has been widely observed to block natural beach replenishment, contribute to scouring, and choke off intertidal habitats that are essential nurseries and feeding grounds for salmon and many other fish species.

Read more about how Washington Sea Grant partnered with the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, the State, and the Powell Family to restore 1,800 feet of Puget Sound shoreline.


Substantial New Funding Brings Programs to the College

College of the Environment researchers have been successful in recently landing substantial awards to either launch new programs or to continue and leverage previous work. Below are a few recent awards: 

  • Doris Duke Conservation Scholars: The College of the Environment will oversee a new program that will increase opportunities for underrepresented students to become conservation leaders. The Doris Duke Foundation awarded $1.5 million to launch a program at UW aimed at connecting youth to the landscapes we are all part of, and ultimately increase leadership capacity in conservation. Read more about the program on our College website.
  • Magnitude 9 Earthquake Scenarios - Probabilistic Modeling, Warnings, Response and Resilience in the Pacific Northwest: This project will bring together a strong interdisciplinary team of researchers spanning the geosciences, mathematics, engineering, and social sciences, as well as members of the public and non-profit sectors, to tackle the problem of earthquake risk reduction in the Pacific Northwest. The goal is to ultimately reduce the catastrophic potential of large earthquakes through advances in prediction, warning, and planning for such events. Funding for this project comes from the National Science Foundation at the level of $3 million.
  • Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST): COASST received $2.7 million from the National Science Foundation to expand its operations. A citizen science project of the University of Washington in partnership with state, tribal and federal agencies, environmental organizations, and community groups, COASST believes citizens of coastal communities are essential scientific partners in monitoring marine ecosystem health. By collaborating with citizens, natural resource management agencies and environmental organizations, COASST works to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions. Read more about this organization on the COASST website.


Welcome to New College Faculty

The College of the Environment is pleased to welcome several new faculty to our campus, including Edward Allison (School of Marine and Environmental Affairs), Curtis Deutsch (Oceanography), Alex Gagnon (Oceanography), and Gordon Holtgrieve (School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences).


TikvahTikvah’s Garden

A radiant spirit and friend to many in the College, Tikvah Weiner of the Program on the Environment lost her battle with cancer this past September. Everyone who knew Tikvah or worked with her during her five years at the College experienced her incessantly positive attitude, her broad sunny smile, and her love of life, people and nature. Tikvah’s community of friends at the University of Washington are inspired by her life to build a garden that captures her joyful spirit and brings people together in nature. Tikvah’s Garden has been approved by the University and is seeking your support.


Ecological Society of America

2013 Ecological Society of America Fellowships

Congratulations to Dean Lisa Graumlich on being named a 2013 Ecological Society of America Fellow, and to Julian Olden (Aquatic and Fishery Sciences) on being named an Early Career Fellow.  The Ecological Society of America is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of scientists aimed at improving communication among ecologists, raising the public’s level of awareness of the importance of ecological science, and increasing the resources available for the conduct of ecological science. The ESA also helps ensure the appropriate use of ecological science in environmental decision-making by enhancing communication between the ecological community and policy-makers.


American Geophysical UnionUW Oceanographers named American Geophysical Union Fellows

Oceanography professors Allan Devol and Barbara Hickey have been named fellows of the American Geophysical Union, an international organization that represents more than 62,000 members in 144 countries. New fellows will be honored at the annual fall meeting in San Francisco. AGU is a non-profit organization of scientists whose activities are focused on the organization and dissemination of scientific information in the geophysical sciences, which includes atmospheric and ocean sciences.


Bonderman Fellows for 2013-2014

Congratulations to College of the Environment undergraduates Nicola Follis (Aquatic and Fishery Sciences) and Stephanie Morriss (Program on the Environment) on their receipt of the Bonderman Travel Fellowship.

Read more about this award and what it entails on the College website.


Washington State Book Award

Congratulations to David Montgomery (Earth and Space Sciences) on being one of six authors to receive the 2013 Washington State Book Award. The award recognizes his work in The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood.


Nelson Del RioNelson Del Rio, Philanthropist

Spotlight is an ongoing series that will introduce you to the many members that make up the College community. 

A high school dropout, Nelson Del Rio came to the UW as a teenager with encouragement from the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity and scholarship support. He graduated magna cum laude (’84) with great distinction in economics three years after enrolling, then graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, became a Wall Street merger and acquisition attorney, and then moved on to a successful business career, philanthropy, and to spend time with his family. Del Rio has created the Del Rio Global Citizens Scholarship and the College of the Environment Del Rio Environment Scholarships to support students in the UW’s Educational Opportunity Program. Among many engagements and a broad involvement in the NGO world, Del Rio is a member of the College’s Dean’s Advisory Board. He is currently the Founder and President of Emergent Intelligence Solutions, and he and his wife, Suzanne, are UW Benefactors.

Read more about Nelson Del Rio and how he connects to the College on our website.


Philanthropy: Making a Difference

Private gifts and grants make all the difference in the lives of our students, faculty, and programs.  We wish to salute and thank every one of our amazing supporters, be they individuals, corporations, private foundations, organizations, or community partners. You help ensure that the College of the Environment—and all of its exceptional schools, departments, centers, programs and people—remain and grow as national and global leaders in education, research and outreach across a broad array of environmental fields.

For more information on ways to make a gift, or programs you can support, please contact Marilyn Montgomery, Assistant Dean for Advancement, at 206-221-0906 or mmmontg@uw.edu.


College Private Giving Hits New Record High

The College had its most successful year in its history, raising just over $12.8 million in gifts and private grants. Here are a few details about our donors and the support they provide: 

  • The College, including the Dean's Office and schools and departments, benefitted from $5.2M in gifts, and $7.6M in private grants.
  • Nearly 2,500 donors contributed private support in the 2013 fiscal year. The largest cohort of supporters are UW alumni, accounting for approximately 46% of donors, followed closely by UW friends, at 45%. 
  • Close to 90% of gifts/grants are directed towards current use funds; the remaining 10% go towards endowed funds.
  • The College received several gifts and grants of $1 million or more.  

We thank all of our alumni, friends, and community partners who have contributed to such a successful year and look forward to reporting out to you on the impact of your support for the benefit of our students, faculty, and programs.


This Month's Highlighted Funds

Please consider making a generous annual gift to any of the funds below, or to the fund of your choice via the UW Foundation:

  • College of the Environment Scholarship Fund: provides scholarships, covering tuition, books and fees, to qualified undergraduate or graduate students in the College of the Environment on the basis of academic merit and/or financial need.
  • Program on the Environment Fund: supports the PoE's mission of working collaboratively across the University to strengthen interdisciplinary environmental education, research, the University's community of environmental scholars, environmental information networks, diversity, and undergraduate and graduate community service.
  • Geology Undergraduate Field Support Fund: provides immediate financial support for transformational student field experiences by covering field-work related expenses to undergraduates in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences.

Save the Date

Sustainability Summit2013 UW Sustainability Summit

The UW Sustainability Summit—held this year on October 23—celebrates the University’s leadership and accomplishments in environmental stewardship and sustainability. It provides the opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to find ways to get involved with sustainability on campus, and to learn about the Campus Sustainability Fund, the UW Climate Action Plan, and how our community partners play a role in helping UW remain a continued leader in sustainability. With a variety of activities, something is sure to spark your interest. College of the Environment Dean, Lisa Graumlich, will be on a panel discussing climate change.

Read more on the UW Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability website.


Climate Change and the Bottom Line

How are our local businesses responding to the realities of climate change? On October 31, Sustainable Seattle will host a conference on UW campus that explores this question. Amy Snover, the College's Assistant Dean for Applied Research, will speak to the work that the Climate Impacts Group does to help businesses adapt to climate change.

Read more about this event on the Sustainable Seattle website.


John Marzluff to speak at TEDxRainier

Environmental and Forest Sciences professor John Marzluff will speak at the TEDxRainier on November 4. An expert on crow and raven behavior, Marzluff will speak at this independently produced TED event, which is meant to showcase the incredible talent present in our community.

Read more about this event and purchase tickets on the TEDxRainier website.



W Day and Love Purple Raise Gold

On October 25, come celebrate the UW’s 152nd birthday and keep the purple and gold tradition going strong by giving back. Join your fellow Huskies on campus, online and in the community for W Day. You can also help the UW reach the goal of 1,152 donors with a gift to any fund during our 48-hour online giving event, Love Purple, Raise Gold. Whether you give $5 or $152, don’t miss out on this chance to join in, make an impact and show your love for UW.

Read more about W Day and the Love Purple, Raise Gold event on the UW’s website.


UW Research Featured in Artwork

Mark your calendars to see the Mt. Waddington Reliquary, a sculpture and sound installation by artist Anna McKee, with sound artist Steve Peters. UW’s research is heavily featured through Anna’s work, who has accompanied College scientists in the field in British Columbia, and was an artist in residence in Antarctica. Her work is on display at the Francine Seders Gallery from October 11 to November 2.


Recipe for Tomorrow – Climate Change and the Future of Food

Join Washington Sea Grant and numerous partners for a one-day symposium entitled Recipe for Tomorrow--Climate Change and the Future of Food on October 31 in Bellingham. The symposium will bring together local and regional experts and stakeholders to explore how the climate in the Pacific Northwest is changing, and the challenges and opportunities for the marine and land-based food systems we rely on for our health, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being that come with it.

Read more about this event and register on the event website.
Don’t forget the many on-going series of seminars of interest to researchers and laypersons alike happening throughout the College and elsewhere, like the Environmental and Forest Sciences Seminar Series, the Wildlife Seminar Series, and the Freshwater Series – you can stay current through our events calendar or by subscribing to our weekly events bulletin here.

September/ October 2013

Dean's Letter
Save the Date

In the Media

Underwater rock walls in the San Juan Islands are healthy and amazingly diverse!

Some volcanoes ‘scream’ at ever-higher pitches until they blow their tops

A model of scientific rigor (mortis)

Watch: Keeping Washington's aerospace edge through state grants

Watch: High-tech mission explores the ocean floor

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