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The Insider: College of the Environment Newsletter

From Dean Graumlich

Dean Graumlich

Science touches everything. It fuels discovery about our world, provides solutions to some of our most pressing challenges, and advances society. Modern scientific capabilities, which have helped define our relationship with the world, serve as one of society’s key foundations. At the College of the Environment, science is what we do. Our research spans all scales of space and time, and includes the delight of discovery and the clear-eyed focus of providing solutions.

Because science plays a powerful part in society, sharing the excitement and the direction science provides is critically important. It is vital that College of the Environment scientists are empowered to share their work with colleagues and partners in the wider world. We already do much of this, and do it well; however the Dean’s office is taking additional steps to further support and encourage our faculty and students to share their work beyond academia, building on our strong history of communication and engagement with the community.

Last year we finalized our five-year Strategic Direction, in which we identify science communication, outreach, and engagement as a necessity to excite future scientists and to help solve our most pressing environmental challenges. I convened a Science Communication Task Force with the express goal of creating recommendations for how we can up our game in this regard. Made up of College faculty, staff and students, the Task Force’s recommendations center around three important themes:

We are pleased to have these recommendations, and have begun working with the broader College community to implement them. We are building a new College website, a part of which will showcase our science communication strengths and offer tools and guidance to better connect with communities outside of academia. Stay tuned for our new-and-improved website; in the meantime our current website now includes a page collating science communication efforts across the College. (Please let us know what we can add!)

We are also developing a training opportunity to help faculty sharpen their science communication skills. Part of a larger goal to embed science communication as a core tenet of the College, this training will highlight some methods for, and benefits of, creating a two-way flow of information between scientists and our communities, and of sharing our work and messages in a way that is meaningful to the groups with which we engage.

And, importantly, the College Council is currently discussing how science communication, outreach, and engagement can be meaningfully incorporated into the promotion and tenure process. These conversations are the result of a growing recognition that communication is critical to help realize the impact of our science.

There are many other ways we are moving forward with science communication at the College of the Environment. To that end, I invite faculty, staff, and students to save the date to join us on May 22 to discuss current and future opportunities for science communication across the College. Timing and location will be announced shortly—we look forward to seeing you there and continuing the conversation of how we can build upon and extend our work in science communication and engagement.

Lisa Graumlich Signature

Lisa Graumlich
Dean, UW College of the Environment
Virginia and Prentice Bloedel Professor



fleagleRemembering Professors Robert Fleagle and Arthur Whiteley

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of Robert Fleagle, professor emeritus of atmospheric science and senior fellow in the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean. A key figure in the early development of our Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Bob was not only a leader in science, but also in science’s application to public policy. We will share more information about Bob’s life and influence at UW in our next newsletter.


Macintosh HD:Users:jjmeyer:Desktop:Whiteley.jpeg

We also share with you that Arthur Whiteley, professor emeritus of zoology and an icon at the Friday Harbor Laboratories, has passed away. We are especially grateful to Arthur for his leadership, generosity, and kind spirit that helped make the Friday Harbor Labs what they are today. His generosity was displayed through many avenues, one of which was his gift to create the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center, a retreat for scholars and others on the Friday Harbor Labs campus. You can read more about the life of Arthur Whiteley on either the Biology Department or Friday Harbor Laboratories webpage. 




http://depts.washington.edu/sefsifr/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/IFRBanner.jpgInstitute of Forest Resources announces
$1.5 million in new funding

This spring, the Institute of Forest Resources (IFR) in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences awarded funding to six new research projects in Washington, ranging from the feasibility of a wolf economy to restoring fire-prone forest ecosystems. During a two-year period, total funding for the six projects is roughly $1.5 million, including federal funds provided by the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Research Program and matching funds provided by project collaborators. Funding has been finalized for four of the six proposals, and is pending final approval from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for the remaining two. Read more about these projects on the IFR’s webpage.


ack HerringCollege alum appointed dean at Western Washington University

Jack Herring, who received his doctorate at the University of Washington’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, has been selected through a competitive nationwide search to become the next dean of Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Washington University. He comes from Prescott College in Arizona, where he has served in leadership since 1998. Herring’s scholarly background is in atmospheric chemistry, focusing on how human activities affect the chemistry and composition of the atmosphere.  Read more about Herring and his new role at WWU.


Oceanographer awarded the Goerg Wüst Prize

Greg Johnson, Affiliate Professor in the School of Oceanography and Oceanographer, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory/NOAA, was awarded the 2013 Goerg Wüst Prize at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly meeting. The prize is awarded by the German Society for Marine Research and the journal Ocean Dynamics, and is awarded every two years to "honor scientists who have made a significant contribution to marine research." Read more about the prize.



Sustain.jpgimage2Green Office and Green Lab Certification

The UW Green Office and Green Lab Certification Programs—administered through the Stewardship and Sustainability Office—can help office spaces and labs across the UW reduce their ecological footprint. This voluntary program allows offices and labs the chance to assess and improve their sustainability in categories ranging from energy, green meetings, waste reduction, purchasing, and transportation. 

Several offices in the College of the Environment (Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, Earth & Space Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, Program on the Environment, Environmental & Forest Sciences, Oceanography Administration Office, Botanic Gardens, and the Dean’s Office) and two labs (the Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory in Earth and Space Sciences and Biological Oceanography Laboratory) participated and have been rated at the gold, silver, or bronze levels. For more information, check out the Green Offices and Green Labs webpages.


Society recognizes UW Restoration Ecology Network

The Society for Ecological Restoration Northwest Chapter has awarded its 2013 Special Award to the UW Restoration Ecology Network. Through the network UW students conduct capstone projects in cooperation with community partners to restore degraded sites. The program was founded in 1999 by Warren Gold, associate professor at UW Bothell, and Kern Ewing, professor of Environmental and Forest Sciences, who accepted the award from the society. In the past 13 years, more than 475 students from 31 academic majors have conducted restoration projects with community partners including local and regional governments, to nonprofits, public utilities, schools and private landowners.




New Faculty at the College

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The College of the Environment is pleased to welcome our newest faculty member, Ryan Kelly, Assistant Professor in the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. Read more about his research interests and background on his SMEA webpage.



Save the Date

TODAY: Altmetrics and the evolution of scholarly impacts

The unit of measurement by which scientists gauge their own and each others’ scholarly impact has traditionally been the peer-reviewed journal article. Now, in the age of the Internet, this model is evolving as researchers and developers devise ever more platforms for sharing and tracking the work that goes into scientific research: from code snippets to lab notes, from data sets to grant proposals. Join the folks at Science Online Seattle for a discussion on this topic April 24 at 5:30 p.m. in room 220 at the Odegaard Undergraduate Library on the UW Campus.


Walker Ames Scholar Lecture by Peter Brewer

The College of the Environment and the School of Oceanography invite you to a lecture on April 30, 6:30 p.m. in the Aquatic and Fishery Sciences Auditorium featuring renowned ocean chemist and Walker Ames Scholar, Peter Brewer. Hear him discuss the implications a changing climate has on the oceans in his talk titled: Common sense chemistry and a true tipping point for climate right off our shores. Read more and register for this event.



Meet, Greet, Teach: The Sublime and the Beautiful

Can environment be understood in more than scientific terms? If humanities captures the imagination, the creative mind, and the dreams of society, what does science stimulate? And what would happen if a course crossed the science-humanities divide? Join us on April 30, 5:00-6:00 p.m. in Wallace Hall (ACC) 012 for a culture clash Meet, Greet, Teach as four faculty from across the humanities and natural sciences consider the inherent contradiction of teaching environment.

Juliet Crider, Assistant Professor, Earth and Space Sciences; Program Director, Applied Geosciences
Linda Nash, Associate Professor, History
Richard Watts, Associate Professor, French; Chair, French and Italian Studies
Aaron Wirsing, Assistant Professor, Environmental and Forest Sciences

Free to attend.  Please register by Friday, April 26.


College of the Environment Awards Celebration

The Dean of the College of the Environment invites you to join us in honoring our outstanding College faculty, student and staff awardees for 2012-13. Join us and other members of our College community for what's sure to be a great year-end celebration on May 20 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. in the Ocean Sciences building lobby.


Annual Open House at the Friday Harbor Laboratories

Set aside May 18, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., to join the Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL) at their annual open house event. This is a great opportunity to meet scientists and students, and check out the world-renowned research and teaching facilities. The Labs will be open for self-guided tours, and scientists and students will showcase their research, answer questions and provide demonstrations. Visitors can also step aboard and tour FHL’s 58’ research vessel, the R/V Centennial, and check out its remotely operated vehicle, oceanographic tools, and high-tech sonar systems. Check out the FHL’s website for more information.


Jazz at the Friday Harbor Labs

Join the Friday Harbor Laboratories for an evening out on June 1 for their 12th annual Jazz at the Labs, an evening of great music, a fabulous dinner and a silent auction. Proceeds from Jazz at the Labs will benefit the Friday Harbor Laboratories K-12 Science Outreach Program in the San Juan Island elementary, middle and high schools and the Spring Street School. Doors open at 5:30 and dinner will be served from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Reservations for the event are strongly recommended—please call Friday Harbor Laboratories at 378-2165 ext. 0.


Environmental and Forest Sciences Seminar Series

A reminder that the SEFS spring seminar series runs this quarter on Wednesdays from 3:30 – 4:20 p.m. covering a variety of topics. Check out their webpage for more information on speakers and topics.


Events Calendar

Don’t forget the many on-going series of seminars of interest to researchers and laypersons alike happening throughout the College and elsewhere–you can stay current through our events calendar or by subscribing to our weekly events bulletin here.



For & About Students

Engage Science Speaker Series and Seminar

Graduate students at the UW are sharpening their communications skills in a new seminar series offered through the College of the Environment in partnership with the UW Bookstore and Seattle’s Town Hall. Open to all UW graduate students, the seminar—called Engage—focuses on training the next generation of researchers to better connect their work to the wider world. Founded on the notion that there was a divide between scientists and the public, an ambitious group of graduate students banded together in 2009 to bridge this gap. The group brought in communication experts to share best practices on how to talk about research in a jargon-free and accessible way. Soon after, a partnership with the UW Bookstore and Seattle’s Town Hall was established, giving the fledgling organization much needed visibility and access to larger crowds. Student speakers began appearing alongside some notable names appearing at Town Hall, helping elevate the series and its speakers in the local community.

Engage is currently in the middle of their speaker series at Town Hall—please visit their website to see topics and speakers that may be of interest to you.


foodNew Food Exploration Community at Mercer Court

Come join foodies at the Food Living and Learning Community in the UW's newest on-campus residence, Mercer Court. Housing and Food Services, the School of Public Health and the College of the Environment have partnered to establish this exciting new community, focused on food studies. Learn more at the Food at UW website.


Philanthropy - Making a Difference

Private gifts and grants make all the difference in the lives of our students, faculty, and programs. Did you know the College is the beneficiary of hundreds of gifts and grants annually from generous and far-sighted donors whose philanthropy make possible student scholarships and fellowships, the advance of critical research, and outreach involving multiple corporate, nonprofit, agency, and community partners?  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.

Professor David Battisti, holder of the Tamaki Chair, and Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, has received a generous gift from an anonymous donor to support research and outreach focused on climate change and global food security.  The funding will enable David to launch a two-year pilot project aimed at a "proof of concept" exploring the cascading effects of climate change on global food production, especially in regions of the world most susceptible to a changing climate.  The donor has provided crucial private support over many years, allowing David, his students, and other collaborators to pursue short term projects aimed at exploring and determining the impacts of such varied topics as geoengineering, and pests and food security/production. Their science-based findings are shared with key global non-profits and public agencies here in the U.S. and abroad, providing a scientific basis for emerging policy determinations.

Private support from individuals, foundations, and corporations enabling faculty and students to tackle "early stage" research is often a crucial lever in later pursuing and securing major federal funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF). This donor has played the crucial role of angel philanthropic investor and through regular progress reports and frequent communications, David and this donor have formed a vital and results-oriented partnership which is expected to continue producing concrete results.  As importantly, this latest gift and others like it serve as a springboard to securing additional private and public support for critical research and outreach focused on critical contemporary global environmental issues. 


Friday Harbor Laboratories is the beneficiary of a $100,000 gift from the Los Angeles-based Seaver Institute, enabling the Labs to purchase an electron microscope. The Seaver Institute has long been a generous supporter of research at FHL, and this gift once again illustrates the Institute's commitment to the building and growth of top-notch facilities and research capabilities at the Labs. We are very grateful for the Institute's continuing and generous support.


Private Funding Opportunities

Seeking private funding for your project or program? Below are recent corporate and foundation opportunities. If your project fits the criteria or you have other thoughts on how to engage corporate and foundation funders please contact Chris Thompson, Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations, at 206-221-6372 or csthomp@uw.edu or Lauren Honaker, Associate Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations at 206-685-4423 or lhonaker@uw.edu.


National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Program: Conservation Partners RFP Spring 2013
Award amount: Typical grant awards will range from $50,000 to $250,000.
Deadline: April 23, 2013
Through this request for proposals, Conservation Partners will fund organizations to partner with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field offices to deliver technical assistance for high priority conservation objectives. Priority for funding will be directed to proposals that target species and ecosystems of shared interest between NFWF and NRCS, including but not limited to the following: Landscapes Supporting Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) Targeted Species; Northeast Forests; Upper Mississippi River Basin; Pacific Salmon Rivers; and Northern Great Plains and Prairie Pothole Regions. All grant recipients are required to provide a minimum 1:1 match of cash, contributed goods and services, or a mixture of both from non-federal sources. For more information or to apply, visit the National Fish and Wildlife Federation website.


Gates Foundation 2013 Grand Challenges Explorations

Program: Increasing Interoperability of Social Good Data
Award amount: $100,000
Deadline: May 7, 2013
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is accepting applications for Round 11 of its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative, an accelerated grant program that encourages bold approaches to improving the lives of the world's poorest people. Anyone—students, scientists, entrepreneurs—with a transformative idea is invited to apply. The goal of this challenge is to solicit new and innovative approaches to increase the interoperability of data that can be used for social good. We are looking for approaches that deal with both the technological and policy barriers to achieving interoperability, and encourage projects that embrace the complexity of these issues. We seek solutions that span issue areas (e.g. education, health, etc.) and/or geographies to the widest extent possible. For more information or to apply, visit the Grand Challenges in Global Health website.


Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

Limited Submission Opportunity
Program: Improvement of Technological Capabilities to Enhance our Understanding of Climate and Arctic Polar Ice Changes
Award amount: $75,000-$200,000
Number of applications UW can put forward: 2
Internal deadline: May 16, 2013

Program Description: The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation invites your organization to participate in its request for letters of intent for proposals on the improvement of technological capabilities to enhance our understanding of climate and Arctic polar ice changes. Specifically, we seek proposals whose focus is on the improvement of Arctic observing capabilities in regards to physical and chemical measurements. Such improvements could occur through expanded technology deployment, development, repurposing, and/or novel implementation. Proposals should address the specific data gap being targeted, the manner in which the data would be collected and shared with the larger research and modeling community, and the insights and impact this capability would have on the current understanding of climate and/or polar ice changes. Proposals are welcome from single investigators or groups of collaborators.

Pre-Proposal Instructions: Please submit a two-page letter of intent with a list of all anticipated investigators, description of proposed aims and approach, biosketch of the PI, and a letter of support from the Dean or Chair to research@uw.edu by Thursday, May 16, 2013. This letter of support signifies that the Dean or Chair have ensured that the nominee and application are likely to be of sufficient quality to be competitive nationally. Please feel free to email us at research@uw.edu with questions.


American Honda Foundation

Limited Submission Opportunity
Program: Grants 2013
Award amount: $20,000-$75,000
Number of applications UW can put forward: 1 per 12-month period
Internal deadline: May 16, 2013

Program Description: The American Honda Foundation engages in grant making that reflects the basic tenets, beliefs and philosophies of Honda companies, which are characterized by the following qualities: imaginative, creative, youthful, forward-thinking, scientific, humanistic and innovative. We support youth education with a specific focus on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in addition to the environment.
Funding Priority: Youth education, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the environment, job training and literacy. Learn more about the American Honda Foundation online.

Pre-Proposal Instructions: Please submit a two-page letter of intent with a list of all anticipated investigators, description of proposed aims and approach, biosketch of the PI, and a letter of support from the Dean or Chair to research@uw.edu by Thursday, May 16, 2013. This letter of support signifies that the Dean or Chair have ensured the nominee’s eligibility per the sponsor’s requirements, and that the nominee and application are likely to be of sufficient quality to be competitive nationally. Please feel free to email us at research@uw.edu with questions.


American Educational Research Association

Program Description: Research Using Large Scale Data Sets
Amount: Up to $35,000
Deadline: September 1, 2013
Grants will be awarded to academics conducting studies of education policy and practice using quantitative methods, including the analysis of data from the large-scale data sets. With funding from the National Science Foundation, the American Educational Research Association has announced the continuation of the AERA Grants program, which provides small grants and training for researchers conducting studies of education policy and practice using quantitative methods, including the analysis of data from the large-scale data sets sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics and NSF.
For more information or to apply, visit the American Educational Research Association website.



Community Spotlight

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


“Over the next 20 years, environmental issues are going to become huge economic drivers,” remarks John Eyler, former CEO of Toys ‘R’ Us and member of the College of the Environment’s Dean’s Advisory Board. At its core, a healthy business environment and a thriving natural environment are fundamentally linked. And in this increasingly crowded planet–where an expanding global citizenry requires the continued delivery of goods and services–acknowledging this linkage becomes more important than ever.

John joined the Advisory Board to help bring a variety of perspectives to the table, advising the dean and College leadership about ways to successfully connect the environmental science community with that of the wider world. “I can serve as a business sounding board,” says John, who is eager to see the College grow into the premier environmental sciences and policy institution in the world. To ultimately be successful, there needs to be more “cohesion, communication, and multidisciplinary” approaches to problem solving, a concept he sees as integral to the College’s very fabric. 

To help foster that, John and his wife Gail have made a generous pledge to launch the College of the Environment’s Strategic Opportunities Fund. These venture funds are meant to aid College leadership in their recruitment and retention of the most promising and accomplished faculty from across the country and indeed the world.  As the Eylers note, by attracting other academic leaders, the College will be even better positioned as a leader in the environmental sciences and policy arena.

Both John and Gail’s careers are rooted in the upper echelons of the business world. But beyond boardrooms and bottom lines, each has a lifelong connection to nature as well. John traces this to growing up in the Pacific Northwest, where being surrounded by immense beauty and interacting with nature was a daily occurrence. His appreciation for a healthy environment was further enhanced by decades of travel to places where he saw the ill effects of an ignored environment. “In Shanghai,” he recalls “the air pollution was so bad that I couldn’t see the river from my hotel room—and it was right there.” 

Now in retirement, both John and Gail travel extensively to experience firsthand some of the wildest places on earth, including a recent trip to Bhutan to meet with the World Wildlife Fund—where Gail is a member of its National Council—to discuss strategies to save endangered tigers and their natural habitat. They are devoted to working with numerous environmental organizations and volunteer their time and expertise to help promote the well-being of humans and the natural environment alike.



Distinguished Staff Awards

http://www.washington.edu/facultystaff/files/2012/08/Awards-of-Excellence-crop.jpgCongratulations to the many College of the Environment nominees for Distinguished Staff Awards this year. Awards will be given at the Annual Awards of Excellence in June.  Nominees include:

Fred Averick
Program Operations Specialist
Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean

Amanda Davis
Graduate Counseling Services Coordinator
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Nancy Kachel
Research Scientist
Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean

Joe Kobayashi
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Program on the Environment

Anita Smith
Financial Assistant
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Robin Weigel
Fiscal Specialist I
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences



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