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Dean's Letter

Dean Lisa Graumlich

Boundless? You bet.

Those of us on UW campus have noticed the Be Boundless tagline emerge all over the grounds during recent months.  It’s everywhere – purple wristbands and huge bus banners.  Taglines like this don’t simply emerge from a quick engagement with a marketing firm.  For the past year, UW did research, taking a good, hard look at what people value about their experiences here.  Boundless emerged as the word that captures how people experience that intersection of personal opportunity and societal impact that, in the end, makes you feel that you can a make a difference in the world.

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Earthquake Early WarningPacific Northwest Seismic Network testing earthquake early warning

Earth and Space Sciences’ John Vidale, Paul Bodin, and the University of Washington-based Pacific Northwest Seismic Network team, will soon begin testing the region’s first early warning system for incoming earthquakes. Originally developed for use in California, the system will create an automated alert giving people anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute’s warning before an earthquake’s S waves begin to shake the ground.

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Amy SnoverWhite House honors Climate Impacts Group Director

Amy Snover, director of the Climate Impacts Group and assistant dean at the College of the Environment, has been named a White House Champion of Change. The Champions of Change program celebrates Americans who are doing extraordinary things in their community, and for Snover it focuses on her work to enhance climate education and literacy in classrooms and communities across the country. 

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Sea Level RisePaying attention to relative sea-level rise

Washington Sea Grant works to restore and protect marine environments through addressing important issues, providing better tools for marine management, and supporting strategic partnerships within the marine community. Sea Grant’s Ian Miller embodies this approach, and is currently working to help fine tune models predicting sea level rise to account for variation across short distances. Along with numerous others, Miller is working to refine those predictions down to a micro-level. 

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Awards & Acknowledgements

The Wilburforce Foundation announced their first ever cohort of Wilburforce Fellows in Conservation Science. In partnership with COMPASS, twenty scientists, including three from the College of the Environment—Jonathan Bakker, Meade Krosby, and Lauren Urgenson—received the award. The Wilburforce Fellowship will build a community of conservation science leaders who excel in using science to help achieve durable conservation solutions in western North America.

Congratulations to Julian Olden, associate professor of aquatic and fishery sciences, on becoming a 2015 Leopold Leadership Fellow. The program provides outstanding academic environmental researchers with skills and approaches for communicating and working with partners in NGOs, business, government and communities to integrate science into decision-making.

Every year, the Seattle Aquarium recognizes outstanding individuals who work and make a difference in the marine environment. This year, two individuals from our College of the Environment community were honored: Terrie Klinger, Professor and Director of the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, and Martha Kongsgaard, member of the Dean’s Advisory Board and Chair of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council. 

At this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, Aaron Wirsing’s research was the focus of the 2014 Science Journalism award-winning piece The Ecology of Fear. Produced by Michael Werner of KCTS 9, the TV spot landed the award for best feature under 20 minutes.

Congratulations to our very own Dean’s Office staff for achieving the title of Greenest Office from the Green Office Certification Program in the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Office’s annual campus-wide competition. Jennifer Davison and Suzanne Zitzer are the key drivers to keeping the Dean’s Office in the gold.


Brad MarckleBrad Markle, Graduate Student in Earth & Space Sciences

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

Standing outside of his temporary classroom and laboratory overlooking Greenland’s Disko Bay, Brad Markle breathes in the big picture. The big picture is something that’s always on his mind, which is reflected in both his art and science. As a photographer, he captures sweeping scenes, from giant, rippling cloud masses and never-ending skies, to massive, bobbing icebergs in a vast ocean. As a scientist who studies paleoclimatology, he asks questions on a sweeping scale to untangle the complexities of the Earth’s climate history over millennia.

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Philanthropy: Making a Difference

The end of the calendar year is always a busy time in the Advancement office  – which we are grateful for, as it reflects the wonderful generosity of our many donors who wish to make their charitable contributions before year’s end. In December alone, the College of the Environment received gifts from 749 distinct donors that went to 184 funds in the College totaling over $1.4 million. We thank all of our donors for their generous support of our students, research, and programs in the College of the Environment.      

There are many opportunities to help support the College of the Environment. If you would like to help, please consider supporting the College through the fund of your choice, or through some of our highlighted funds:

  • Geology Undergraduate Field Support Fund
  • Washington Sea Grant Development Fund
  • Director’s Fund for Excellence in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

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Save the Date

SalmonDawg Days in the Desert

As part of the UW’s Dawg Days in the Desert, the College of the Environment’s Lunch and Learn is on March 25, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at the Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA. Professor Tom Quinn will give a talk titled Brown Bears and Red Salmon: Tales of Life and Death in Alaska. To register for this event, and to learn about more Dawg Days in the Desert events, visit the UW Alumni Association webpage or call 206-543-0540.


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 May 16, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. where scientists and students will showcase their research, answer questions and provide demonstrations.  There will be posters, marine plants and animals, electron and confocal microscopes, plankton sampling and observations, and activities for visitors of all ages. 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.

January / February 2015

In the Media

UW Raising Funds to Replace Research Vessel

Epic survey finds regional patterns of soot and dirt on North American snow

Friday Harbor Labs’ Tide Bites

Southwest, Central Plains Face ‘Unprecedented’ Drought

Oceanography undergrads blog from Vancouver Island

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