External Insider Header Image

Dean's Letter

Dean Lisa Graumlich

Three innovation imperatives

We recognize that the environmental challenges we face in the 21st century can appear daunting: the problems are complex, the stakes are high, and time is short. From my vantage point as Dean, the good news is that our faculty, staff, and students tackle grand challenges with an innovation mindset: a set of values and practices that link knowledge and action. Larry Keeley, author of Ten Types of Innovation, captures it best: “Innovating requires identifying the problems that matter and moving through them systematically to deliver elegant solutions.” Pause—read that sentence again because it’s rich with meaning. Here is how I parse Keeley’s directive into three innovation imperatives for the College of the Environment. 

Read more


Bernard BormannNew Director of UW's Olympic Natural Resources Center

The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences in College of the Environment welcomes Bernard Bormann as the new director of the Olympic Natural Resources Center located in Forks, WA. A professor of forest ecology and physiology, Bormann will lead the center whose focus is to provide scientific information to address critical issues and solve problems concerning forestry and marine sciences in the region, serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary and collaborative work, and integrate research with education and outreach.

Read more

Oso landslideA year later, UW geologist reflects on Oso and the need for better application of landslide science

Earth and Space Sciences’ David Montgomery is one of many University of Washington researchers who have been working to develop and analyze important data in the aftermath of last year’s landslide in Oso. March 22, 2015 marked one year since the largest recorded landslide in U.S. history decimated a western Washington community and killed 43 people. In the wake of that disaster, Montgomery has some thoughts about how to make landslides less deadly.

Read more

Exploring Earth's final frontier

Sea Level Rise

Covering more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface, the oceans act as our planet’s heartbeat, with differences in depths, currents, temperature, and salinity marking changes in its pulse. These measurements are fairly straightforward, but the information they relay about Earth’s health is much more complex. While scientists know more about the role the oceans’ surface waters, figuring out the influence of the deep ocean is also critical. That’s where the scientists and engineers of the UW’s Seaglider Fabrication Center come in.

Read more

Invasive speciesBeyond ecology: invasive species affect our culture and economy too

Patrick Tobin, assistant professor at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, breaks down the real threats associated with nonnative insects—from ecological to economic and cultural. In addition to outcompeting native insects and destroying ecosystems, these tiny invaders are taking on larger, seemingly unrelated aspects of consumers’ lives, including America’s Favorite Pastime. 

Read more

Citizen Science
Volunteer scientists contribute up to $2.5 billion in yearly efforts for biodiversity research

Volunteers are playing a big role in science these days. To quantify exactly how much they may contribute to biodiversity research, College of the Environment’s associate dean Julia Parrish and others analyzed more than 300 projects, creating the largest citizen science database that exists. In analyzing these projects they were able to calculate that volunteers account for an estimated $2.5 billion in services related to gathering data for biodiversity research.

Read more

Awards & Acknowledgements

Congratulations to the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences’ Jerry F. Franklin! As part of the 2015 University of Washington Awards of Excellence, he was chosen to receive the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Congratulations to all of the College of the Environment Award winners for the 2014-2015 academic year!

  • Distinguished Staff Member – Doug Russell, Oceanography 
  • Outstanding Teaching Faculty – Juliet Crider, Earth & Space Sciences
  • Outstanding Researcher – Tim Essington, Aquatic & Fishery Sciences
  • Outstanding Community Impact (Student) – Miku Lenentine, Environmental and Forest Sciences 
  • Outstanding Community Impact (Staff) – Teri King, Washington Sea Grant
  • Graduate Dean’s Medalist – Samantha Zwicker, Environmental and Forest Sciences 
  • Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist – Sophia Winkler, Environmental and Forest Sciences 
  • Exceptional Mentoring of Undergraduate Students (Faculty) – Fang-Zhen Teng, Earth and Space Sciences
  • Exceptional Mentoring of Undergraduate Students (Student) – Jaclyn Saunders, Oceanography 

Kudos to students in the Environmental Studies Grant Writing Practicum class who were invited to submit full proposals to the UW Campus Sustainability Fund for their ideas to create a permaculture plot on campus, petition for the ban of plastic bottle water sales, and install transit screens and signage to provide real-time information about greener transportation options. The winning projects will be announced in mid-May. 


David BattistiMeet David Battisti, professor of atmospheric sciences

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

David Battisti isn’t trying to save the world. He’s trying to understand it, he says. A professor of atmospheric sciences at the College of the Environment, he works to increase our collective knowledge on the global climate system and its natural variation. He’s interested in how the oceans, sea ice, atmosphere, and land interact and lead to variability in the climate—what we experience as weather.

Read more

Philanthropy: Making a Difference

The College of the Environment is known for its outstanding work in the environmental and social sciences. Our alumni and friends make much of this possible through generous gifts and grants. We’d like to recognize all who have invested across the College, including through recent grants from Climate Central and the Packard Foundation, and individual donors who have supported the purchase of a new CT scanner at Friday Harbor Laboratories and the establishment a new endowed student support fund in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.   

There are many opportunities to help support the College of the Environment, either through the fund of your choice or through one of our highlighted funds below: 

  • School of Marine and Environmental Affairs Graduate Student Fellowship Fund
  • The Friends of Pack Forest
  • Friends of JISAO Fund

Read more

Save the Date

Friday Harbor Labs

Friday Harbor Labs Open House

Every year, the Friday Harbor Labs open their doors for an open house, inviting the public to come meet scientists and students at the labs and check out the research and teaching facilities. Join them Saturday, May 16, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. where researchers will showcase their marine science projects, answer questions, and provide demonstrations. There will be marine plants and animals, electron and confocal microscopes, plankton sampling and observations, and activities for visitors of all ages, as well as three scientific lectures at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m. Kids are particularly encouraged to attend.

You can always stay up to date with the latest events happening at the College of the Environment by checking out our Events Calendar.

March / April 2015

In the Media

Naturally acidic waters of Puget Sound surround UW's Friday Harbor Labs

Fishing amplifies forage fish collapses

Climate Change: the debate now is how we adapt

Warm 'blob' off our coast may explain weird weather

UW scientist leads multinational study on the future of Arctic marine animals

Listen: Warming West Coast Waters Upset Food Chains

VIDEO: Science for Kids: Arctic Mission

Social Media

Join us on Facebook

Join us on Twitter