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Dean's Letter

Dean Graumlich headshot

Earth Day, April 22, marks a time for the world to celebrate and demonstrate support for a healthy environment. In appreciation for nature and its importance for our own health and well-being, people all over the world come together to plant trees, coordinate recycling drives, and share the most equitable and sustainable ways to steward our environment.

From my point of view, at the College of the Environment every day is Earth Day! A hallmark of our research is that we think of the Earth as an integrated system where the atmosphere, oceans, land and humans are inextricably linked. And, just as Earth Day gatherings often invite us to “think globally, act locally,” our researchers think across scales from local to global—studying the soils, plants, animals, water and air—in order to understand the Earth as a dynamic, connected, and living system. We call this integrated approach Earth system science.

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Oso SlideEarth and Space Sciences' David Montgomery helps explain the Oso Landslide

The March 22 Oso landslide dominated headlines in western Washington and throughout the United States. The magnitude of the slide took many lives and devastated the lives of survivors. College of the Environment professor David Montgomery became a go-to expert, helping people better understand the nature of the slide by sharing his expertise through numerous media outlets.

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2013 College Slideshow FUTURE OF ICE.jpgFuture of Ice Speaker Series shines light on polar issues

The College of the Environment and numerous partners across campus, including The Graduate School, University of Washington Alumni Association, the College of Arts and Sciences and many others, successfully concluded the Future of Ice Speaker Series over winter quarter. These speakers took us on a remarkable journey by sharing their experiences and expertise through scientific research, stunning imagery, and stories of the cultures and ecology that depend on the ice.

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Climate Action PanelDean Graumlich appears with Governor Inslee and others on climate panel

Climate Action Goes To Washington: Energy Solutions in the Pacific Northwest featured Washington Governor Jay Inslee, College of the Environment Dean Lisa Graumlich, Grist senior writer David Roberts, and Paul Shukovsky, the Pacific Northwest correspondent for Bloomberg BNA. Moderated by journalist Chris Mooney, the panel discussion centered on climate change and what is being done to address it in Washington State and along the west coast. Each panelist brought their unique perspective and vision, offering listeners a glimpse into the challenges society faces when tackling this issue.

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oceanacid.jpgCollege of the Environment professor partners with Microsoft Research to visualize ocean investigations

Parker MacCready, professor at the School of Oceanography, finished up a stint as a Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research last fall, utilizing the newest technology to advance the study of ocean science. Microsoft Research has the express goal of collaborating “with the world’s top researchers to develop technologies that help solve global challenges.”

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Oceanography director helps bring major private funding to UW

The Washington Research Foundation, a private nonprofit group that funds research and initiatives to commercialize innovations in the state, is making a $30 million grant to University of Washington efforts in data science, clean energy, protein design, and neuroengineering. The grant will help to attract and retain top tier faculty and post-doctoral researchers who work across multiple disciplines, with an emphasis on entrepreneurial researchers adept at advancing scientific discoveries from laboratory to society.

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Awards & Kudos

Congratulations to all of the College of the Environment Award winners for the 2013-2014 academic year! Winners were chosen for the following categories:

  • Distinguished Staff Member
  • Outstanding Teaching Faculty
  • Outstanding Researcher
  • Outstanding Community Impact
  • Graduate Dean’s Medalist
  • Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist

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Aaron WirsingAaron Wirsing, Environmental and Forest Sciences

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

Front and center in Aaron Wirsing’s office is a framed and colorful drawing of killer whales chasing down dinner—seals, fish, dolphins, other frightened sea creatures.  The artist?  A 10-year-old Aaron, inspired by the nature television shows of his youth. Now an assistant professor in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, he still pursues his passion for predators.  His research spans multiple environments—marine, freshwater, terrestrial—but all include the common thread of studying large predators and how they interact with their prey.

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Philanthropy: Making a Difference

Private gifts and grants make all the difference in catalyzing new research and opening educational opportunities for our students. We are grateful for our numerous donors’ generosity.

We are pleased to announce a new fund to support Seattle MESA’s students, established through a generous grant from The Russell Family Foundation. The fund will support scholarships for Seattle MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) middle and high school students, many from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, with innovative, hands-on opportunities in STEM fields. 

If you are interested in helping support the research and students at College of the Environment, please consider making a gift to the fund of your choice, including:

  • Seattle MESA
  • Oceanography Undergraduate Scholars Fund
  • Friends of Atmospheric Sciences Fund
  • Friday Harbor Labs Adopt-A-Student Program Fund

To learn more about these funds and others, please visit the College of the Environment website.

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Save the Date

Join Dean Lisa Graumlich in a celebration honoring our faculty, student, and staff College of the Environment awardees for the 2013-14 academic year! The event will take place in the Ocean Sciences Building first floor lobby on May 19 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. Please register for this event.

On April 17-18, The Jackson School of International Studies, Departments of Global Health, Anthropology, and Geography will present a symposium titled Climate Change, Global Health, and the Inequities of Risk. For more information, see the symposium flyer or contact Matt Sparke at sparke@uw.edu, or Celia Lowe at lowe@uw.edu.

The Seattle Arts and Lectures Series featuring oceanographer John Delaney kicks off this week and has a series of events happening between now and NovemberLearn more on the Seattle Arts and Lectures’ website.

Bevans SeriesThe Bevan Symposium will take place on April 24-25 at the Center for Urban Horticulture. The event will focus on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Nation’s premier law governing fisheries conservation and management. For more information, or to watch the events live via the web, visit their website.

Join the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit for their Annual Meeting on April 30.  The morning will be a showcase of student research supported by the unit, starting at 8:00 a.m.  Please email Verna Blackhurst at vernab@uw.edu for a full agenda.

Don’t forget the multitude of other events happening, like the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences’ Seminar Series that you can find on our College of the Environment events page.

March /
April 2014

In the Media

Carbon dioxide in the tropical Pacific Ocean is increasing faster than expected 

Watch: Spring planting at Pack Forest 

Infographic: Alternative cherry blossom peak bloom forecast 

Citizen scientists: UW students help state legislator with climate policy 

Greenland ice cores show industrial record of acid rain, success of U.S. Clean Air Act

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