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The Insider: College of the Environment Newsletter

From Dean Graumlich

Dean Graumlich

I find large multidisciplinary scientific meetings to be exhilarating, and this year’s annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) was no exception. The AAAS meeting shines a spotlight on the cutting edge of science, and many of our faculty, including Friday Harbor Laboratories' Emily Carrington, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs' Patrick Christie, and Oceanography's John Delaney were selected to present their work.

While I expected to be pleasantly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new scientific findings at AAAS, I was struck by the intense interest in the sessions examining the role of communication, outreach, and engagement in academic research. This topic has become extremely important, as we strive to bring scientific information to bear to address society’s many environmental problems. I am proud to note that the College of the Environment has a strong tradition in science communication, outreach, and engagement; in fact, this was a key focus of my own presentation at AAAS.

Much of our research is developed with the intention of informing decision-makers. For example, Climate Impact Group's Amy Snover and others across the College have engaged in the National Climate Assessment, and Amy will speak about this at the regional town hall meeting on March 12. Our researchers routinely speak with the media to explain their work and its implications; Earth and Space Sciences' Eric Steig was recently on PRI discussing the risk of sea level rise due to a warming Antarctica. And School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences' Bevan Series on Sustainable Fisheries continues to provide public discussions, which you can watch on their YouTube channel.

The College also excels at providing opportunities for our scientists to engage with citizens in research. One project that directly taps the interests of the public for research is JISAO's "Old Weather" project, which is crowd-sourcing the transcription of the journals from old ships to better understand weather and climate from the recent past. Washington Sea Grant’s many excellent fellowship programs, and their plans to support and enhance citizen science projects, are another excellent example of work across the College to bridge our science with society.

As with so many aspects of the College, our students are on the leading edge of efforts to increase the accessibility of our research products. I am following two new undergraduate blogs: BioDiverse Perspectives, and a blog that will be populated as students and instructors of Oceanography 444 set sail off the coast of Japan this spring. (If you’re curious about science blogging, our monthly discussion series ScienceOnlineSeattle will be exploring this topic on February 28!) Our faculty provide national leadership in this arena as well, as exemplified by the Ocean Acidification blog coming out of School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. And, I’m happy to hear that Oceanography’s Jody Deming has begun as Editor for the Ocean Science section of the new Elementa journal, an open-access publication sharing peer-reviewed research about our changing planet. These activities increase the awareness and the accessibility of both the process and the results of our research.

We are all keenly aware of the need to engage with the people whom our research affects. In fact, we have numerous Leopold Leadership Fellows who all are committed to making their science matter to the wider world. Further, over the past year we have convened faculty, staff and students from around the College to discuss how the Dean’s Office can support pathways for increased outreach and engagement. I am excited about these endeavors, and look forward to keeping you updated as we move forward. 

As scientists we are keenly aware of the environmental challenges we face. I’m proud that the College of the Environment has a strong foundation and forward momentum in making sure that our science can be brought to bear to create sustainable solutions for our society.

Lisa Graumlich Signature

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



Trevor BranchJosh LawlerTrevor Branch and Josh Lawler Named Leopold Fellows

Trevor Branch (School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences) and Josh Lawler (School of Environmental and Forest Sciences) have both been named Fellows in this year’s Aldo Leopold Leadership Program (ALLP).  Twenty new fellows were selected from 17 institutions in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  The goal of the fellowship is to provide academic environmental researchers with communication skills that equip them to more effectively connect their work broadly to NGOs, government agencies, business, and others interested in the environment and natural resource use.  Several faculty at the UW and in the College of the Environment are past ALLP Fellows, including Dee Boersma, Lisa Graumlich, Dennis Hartmann, Robert Naiman, and Julia Parrish.  In addition, there are several former graduate students of the College that have also been named Fellows this year along with Branch and Lawler, including Erika E. McPhee-Shaw, Fiametta Strameo, and John Sabo.  Read more about the ALLP and learn about the new Fellows.


Kiki JenkinsKiki Jenkins Named Sloan Fellow

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation recently announced their new fellows for 2013.  Three of the 126 fellows named are from the University of Washington, and one, Kiki Jenkins, is a faculty member in the College of the Environment’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs.  The award is meant to recognize rising stars in academia and research whose early-career achievements and scholarship position them to be among the next generation of scientific leaders.  Few ocean scientists have won this award, which stands as testament to the caliber of Jenkins’ research.  Read more about her work and the two other UW recipients. 


Andre PuntAndre Punt to Continue as Director of School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS)

The Dean’s Office is pleased to report that Andre Punt will continue serving in his role as the Director of SAFS for another term.  Andre brings an exceptional focus, energy, and dedication to the job, and has been a significant contributor to the mission and international reputation of the school.  His new four-year term will begin on July 1st, 2013.



Climate Impacts GroupAmy Snover and Climate Impacts Group Join the Dean’s Office

We welcome Amy Snover as Assistant Dean for Applied Research and the award-winning Climate Impacts Group (CIG) to its new home in the College of the Environment Dean’s Office.

CIG, an internationally recognized interdisciplinary research and stakeholder engagement effort, is at the forefront of the College’s effort to link interdisciplinary, cutting edge science with the real needs of resource managers, planners and policy makers as they grapple with increasingly difficult environmental challenges. CIG research on the local implications of a changing climate has been recently applied in a USFWS decision to propose Endangered Species Act listing for the wolverine, to support long-range planning for regional water resources, and in the draft National Climate Assessment report. CIG developed the first comprehensive assessment of climate impacts on Washington state in 2007 in response to legislative request and is the State’s primary resource for climate impacts science and adaptation planning.

Amy SnoverAmy will continue to serve as Director of CIG, implementing the group’s new strategic plan for building resilience to climate variability and change within and beyond the Pacific Northwest. In the Dean’s office, she and Bruce Nelson, Associate Dean for Research, are launching a new effort to leverage CIG’s expertise for connecting science and decision making to address more of today’s — and tomorrow's — pressing environmental challenges.

Learn more about Amy, and check out CIG's website for more information about their work.


MorseThe Morse Institute at Friday Harbor Labs

In 1877, Edward Sylvester Morse—Harvard zoologist, National Academy of Sciences member, and co-founder of the scientific journal The American Naturalist—traveled across the Pacific to Japan in search of brachiopods, which are shelled invertebrates that live along the seashore.  This was his first research trip to Japan, yet it would set the course for the rest of this life.  What unfolded over the ensuing years were rich collegial partnerships, deep research collaborations, and, most importantly, the connection and exchange of ideas between two countries and their scientific communities. 

Today, this connection and exchange lives on through the launching of the Morse Institute, fostered through a collaboration between the Friday Harbor Laboratories and numerous Japanese marine labs, including Akajima Marine Science Laboratory, Misaki Marine Biological Station, Shimoda Marine Research Center, and Sugashima Marine Biological Laboratory.  The goal is simple: promote scholarly exchanges via graduate, postdoctoral, and faculty fellowships.  This will be accomplished through new collaborations, scholarly visits to new labs and field sites, development of symposia, and the exchange of technologies and insights in order to increase shared knowledge about our Pacific environments.

For more information about this endeavor, please visit the Friday Harbor Labs website.


RowingUW Scientists Assist Crew Rowing 3500 Miles Across the Ocean

A crew of four men is currently rowing their way across the Atlantic Ocean from Senegal to Florida.  Their mission: to propel themselves in a high-tech rowboat using only human power on the 3500+ nautical mile journey, collecting data on both the ocean and themselves as they go and sharing their information in real time via their website.  The entire trip in the tiny craft will likely take more than 80 days. 

College of the Environment scientists Fritz Stahr (manager of Oceanography’s Seaglider Fabrication Center) and Angie Pendergrass (graduate student, Atmospheric Sciences) are the two lead environmental scientists supporting the crew.  Pendergrass and her team of forecasters from the American Meteorological Society Student Club, as well as some grad students in oceanography, are providing daily weather and current forecasts to the boat.  Stahr is focused on getting ocean and atmospheric observations from the boat to share with the public and partners involved in educational outreach at the University of Idaho.

Read more about this expedition, and follow this incredible journey across the Atlantic via their website where additional pictures and videos are available.



New Faculty at the College

The College of the Environment is pleased to welcome several new members of our faculty this year.  In Autumn and Winter Quarters, five have begun in the various schools and departments that make up the College, including:
(from left to right)

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Save the Date

Dawg Days in the Desert

Our second Lunch and Learn Event during March’s Dawg Days in the Desert event is fast approaching.  If you plan to be in the Palm Springs area on March 27 please join us to hear from Bill Steele of UW’s Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network to learn about an earthquake early warning system being developed by UW, Caltech and UC Berkeley.  For more details and to register, check out the Dawg Days website.

California Huskies Lecture in San Francisco

If you miss Bill Steele’s talk on earthquake early warning systems in the desert, perhaps you can catch it in San Francisco on March 28.  Check out the UW Alumni website for more information and to register.

Sustaining Our World Lecture

The College of the Environment and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences will feature Thomas Knittel—vice president and project designer with HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm—for the 2013 Sustaining Our World Lecture.  The lecture will focus on how nature can inspire and inform our built environments for a more sustainable future.  Mark your calendars for Thursday April 4, 6-7 pm in Kane Hall.

Description: anner boxNational Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium

Across the United States, shorelines are getting squeezed. Expanding populations, industries and potential uses for coastal areas add up to increasing conflicts over access to waterfronts. Communities both large and small are seeking creative solutions to address evolving waterfront challenges.  The third National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium — sponsored by Washington Sea Grant, in coordination with Oregon Sea Grant, scheduled for March 25-28 in Tacoma — will address these challenges. For more information, visit the symposium website.

HuskyFest is Back!

HuskyFest will take place on April 19. Last year’s debut event—which was part of our 150th anniversary celebration—involved three days of festivities. For 2013, the University is packing it all into a one-day, block party–style event. There will be live music in Red Square throughout the day as KEXP hosts its “Hood-to-Hood” concert. The event will also include an Earth Day celebration, exciting giveaways, showcases and more. Be on the lookout for more details soon.

imag2Paws On Science at the Pacific Science Center

Huskies of all ages are invited to Paws-on Science: Husky Weekend at Pacific Science Center, April 5–7. From building a racecar to creating and measuring a mini-earthquake, the whole family can interact with exhibits and hands-on activities from UW scientists and research programs. The Husky Marching Band and other special guests will make appearances. All UW alumni, donors, students and staff receive discounted admission with UW or Alumni Association ID. For more, check out the Pacific Science Center’s website.



For College of the Environment Faculty and Staff: if you plan on participating in either HuskyFest or Paws On Science this year, we'd love to hear about it. You can send a note to Andrea Fleming at abyrd@uw.edu.

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

career fair2013 Environmental Career Fair

The College hosted the annual UW Environmental Career Fair on February 7 in the Mary Gates Hall Commons, featuring nearly 40 employers from industry, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, ranging from Puget Sound Energy to The Nature Conservancy to Taylor Shellfish Farms. The fair attracted over 600 students interested in career-level positions and internships. Students can check out the College of the Environment Careers and Funding Blog any time to search for career opportunities.


Conversations on Defining Diversity: Should Diversity Be Required?

If a university is a bastion of academic freedom, can the students be required to take diversity courses? If a university is a bastion of academic freedom, isn't it just the place where students can, and should, learn about diverse ideas, cultures, approaches, disciplines, languages, experiences, and people? In 2012, the UW Student Diversity Coalition proposed to establish a diversity course requirement for all students. They stated that such a requirement is central to a core value of the University - to produce educated global citizens.

This event will explore:
- What’s important enough to be a requirement for all UW students?
- What do general education requirements say about the university’s values?
- Who gets to (should) decide what’s core to a student’s basic education?
- What difference would one course make?
Join the latest Conversation on Defining Diversity in the College of the Environment as we look at all sides of this issue.

Panelists include Enrico Abadesco, Senior in Civil Engineering, member of UW Student Diversity Coalition; Nives Dolšak, Associate Professor, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs; Helen Fillmore, Senior in School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, member of UW Student Diversity Coalition; Kerry Naish, Associate Professor, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences; and
Kristen Rasmussen, Graduate Student, Atmospheric Sciences.

This event will take place March 4, 3:00-4:00p.m. in Wallace Hall, Program on the Environment Commons. Register by February 28 for this event.


Research and Class Opportunities at Friday Harbor Labs

The Friday Harbor Laboratories, located on the San Juan Islands, are currently accepting applications for their spring quarter session. Offerings include the Zoo-Bot class (Zoology and Botany), and two research apprenticeships (Ocean Acidification and Marine Sedimentary Processes, focusing on the impacts of the Elwha Dam Removal).   Students live at the FHL facility in San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor for the quarter, utilizing both a classroom and field-based setting.  For more information about exciting opportunities to live, work, and learn at FHL, visit their website.


Description: Macintosh HD:Users:jjmeyer:Desktop:HCN_HP1[1].jpgHelp Out Students through the Husky Career Network

We all understand the value of receiving advice from someone who came before us. Give back and support current students or fellow alumni by joining the new Husky Career Network today! As a Husky Career Network volunteer, you can play an integral role in strengthening the Husky community while helping others find careers they are passionate about. As a Husky Career Network volunteer, you will offer job-search advice and provide information about your industry, company, or geographic area to students and alumni. Registering will take less than 10 minutes and then you will be listed in the online network of volunteers.  Check out the website for more information.


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, non-profit, agency, and community partners?  For more information on ways to make a gift, or programs you can support, please contact Marilyn Montgomery, CoEnv's Assistant Dean for Advancement, at 206-221-0906 or mmmontg@uw.edu.

Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, the College of the Environment has received a $1 million gift to support the development of the Cascadia Sensor Network (CSN).  The CSN is a constellation of land- and sea-based sensors designed to provide early detection of earthquakes and tsunamis, provide new scientific insights into the cause and likelihood of coastal earthquakes/tsunamis, and contribute to the development of an associated early warning system aimed at mitigating damage and loss of human life among vulnerable coastal populations in the Pacific Northwest.  This support, in conjunction with other private support already in hand, and additional private commitments we continue to seek, will help lay the groundwork for what is envisioned to be a large-scale integrated off-shore and land-based system.   We are grateful for this visionary gift, and excited to embark on this important project involving globally renowned scientists at the College and other universities, public agency scientists, government and corporate decision makers, and individual philanthropists and private foundations.

The G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation has made a generous gift of $185,000 to support the School of Oceanography as well as the research of Kristin Laidre of the Polar Science Center. Based in New York, the Vetlesen Foundation has long supported the College’s work in oceanography, climate change, and related scientific explorations, including Kristin’s research on narwhals in Greenland. This year’s gift provides continued support for Kristin as well as the highest priority research needs in the School of Oceanography as determined by its director Ginger Armbrust.  We are grateful for the Foundation’s continuing generosity towards the College and its programs and research.

College Advisory Board member L. Patrick (Pat) Hughes and his wife, Mary Ellen, have made a remarkable year-end gift to the College of the Environment Scholarship Fund. The College’s Scholarship Fund is used at the Dean’s discretion to support worthy students across the College. Student scholarships are essential to ensuring that current and future generations of students will receive a top-notch education and can participate in often-costly experiential research in the field.  We salute and thank Pat and Mary Ellen for their thoughtful philanthropy and service.


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.

American Educational Research Association Seeks Applications for Research Using Large Scale Data Sets

Grants of up to $35,000 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.
Deadline: September 1, 2013

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ocean Fund Offers Support for Marine Conservation Work

Grants of up to $40,000 will be awarded to nonprofit organizations conducting marine conservation activities, including research, education, and innovative technologies.  Ocean Fund grants are made annually to a variety of nonprofit groups and institutions conducting activities directly related to marine conservation. The mission of the Ocean Fund is to support efforts to restore and maintain a healthy marine environment, minimize the impact of human activity on this environment, and promote awareness of ocean and coastal issues and respect for marine life.
For more information or to apply, visit the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ocean Fund website.
Deadline: Rolling

Climate Adaptation Fund Releases 2013 RFP

Awards will be made to nonprofit conservation organizations for applied, on-the-ground projects focused on implementing priority conservation actions for climate adaptation at a landscape scale. Interested organizations should carefully review the information outlined in this Request for Proposals (RFP) and the Applicant Guidance Document for instructions.
For more information or to apply visit the Climate Adaption Fund website.
Deadline: March 15, 2013.

The Rockefeller Foundation Launches the 2013 Centennial Innovation Challenge

The Rockefeller Foundation announced a new competition in search of solutions that will improve livelihoods for poor or vulnerable workers in the world’s informal economies. Launched in celebration of The Rockefeller Foundation’s centennial anniversary, the Centennial Innovation Challenge will consider as many as 10 of the finalists for the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to $100,000 and win support in proposal writing to enable the further development of submitted ideas.
For more information or to apply visit the Rockefeller Foundation website.
Deadline: April 1, 2013



CoEnv Community Spotlight

The CoEnv Community Spotlight is an ongoing series that will introduce you to the many members that make up the College community.  These include faculty, students, philanthropists, staff, and many more.  In each newsletter, we will feature a member’s unique story and how they help make the College the vibrant place that it is.


Description: Macintosh HD:Users:jjmeyer:Documents:Profiles:Faculty :Josh Lawler - SEFS:JL images:Lawler-infield_1.JPGJoshua Lawler
Associate Professor, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Beneath Josh Lawler’s laid-back demeanor is a heavyweight scientist who is helping solve some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time.  His work touches on climate change, how we use our landscapes, and the benefits that humans get from healthy ecosystems. 

One thing that’s clear is Lawler, associate professor of environmental and forest sciences, wants his work to matter in the real world.  He runs a lab that addresses conservation issues and how some of the world’s plant and animal species will react and adapt to a changing environment.   For example, he and a graduate student recently published a paper indicating that nearly 10% of North American mammals will be unable to move to suitable environments fast enough to keep up with a changing climate; that number soars to over 40% in some areas when you look globally.

Lawler wants his work to lead to solutions that allow for the continued prosperity of humans that goes hand-in-hand with a thriving environment.  As such, he engages in conservation planning activities, which include developing models that decision makers can use when evaluating different policy pathways and outcomes.  Another way he provides insight into the value of a healthy environment is through his research on ecosystem services—the ”free” services a functioning system provides, like clean water, building materials, and protection from natural disasters. For some scientists, this is a new way of thinking about science and how it applies in the wider world.

“Although the research itself is gratifying,” says Lawler, “I like going one step further, engaging with people who make decisions about how we use natural resources.  The types of questions we are answering and the tools we are developing can be really helpful to them.”  Lawler regularly connects with agency heads and nonprofit organizations to bring science to the table,  which is something he encourages his graduate students to do as well.

“It’s exciting to do this kind of research because conservation practitioners, resource managers, and policy makers are asking for it,” says Lawler.  “It’s rewarding.”  Lawler thinks one of his next big steps will be to focus research on the connection between human and environmental health.  Not only is a healthy environment good for economies and the bottom line, but for the health and well being of people too.

His work is possible through multiple partnerships with organizations that can benefit from his research.  These include the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of the Interior, and groups such as the Packard and Wilburforce Foundations.

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Description: http://uw.edu/news/archive/images/20031204_pid19772_aid19771_TomLeschine_ML_0032_w400.jpg Congratulations to Tom Leschine, Professor and Director of the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, on his appointment as Chair of the Marine Board of the National Research Council. Formed in 1965, the Marine Board is an internationally recognized source of expertise on maritime transportation and marine engineering and technology. The Marine Board identifies research needs and provides a forum for exchange of information relating to new technologies, laws and regulations, economics, the environment, and other issues affecting the marine transportation system, port operations, coastal engineering, and marine governance.


Description: Macintosh HD:Users:jjmeyer:Desktop:Riz panorama.jpeg Riz Reyes, an Environmental and Forest Sciences alum and UW Botanic Garden employee, was awarded the Founder’s Cup at this year’s Northwest Flower and Garden Show. The Founder’s Cup is the highest award given at show.  Using movies as inspiration, Reyes borrowed from several blockbuster Hollywood hits to put together his garden titled “The Lost Gardener – A Journey from the Wild to the Cultivated.”  Read more about his award-winning garden.

Congratulations to the UW Botanic Garden Flower and Garden Show Committee for winning the 2013 Outstanding Marketing Display award at this year’s Seattle Flower and Garden Show.  This was a team effort that beautifully showcased information on the efforts and activities of UW Botanic Gardens, including their special events, kids camps, educational seminars and much more.

Congratulations to the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) as their internship program was named one of Seattle’s Coolest in the January issue of Seattle Met magazine. A profile on the work of 2011 summer intern Rachel Pausch was featured, focusing on killer whale research in the waters around the San Juan Islands. JISAO is listed along with other “cool” internship programs at Microsoft, KEXP, and the Seattle Seahawks. Read the article on Seattle Met’s website, and learn more about JISAO's internship program.

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:jjmeyer:Desktop:GarfieldAaquarium.jpegThe winning team in this year’s Orca Bowl—a friendly competition showcasing high school student’s knowledge about our oceans—was Seattle’s Garfield High School, narrowly beating out last year’s champion Friday Harbor High School.  Congratulations to all the participants of the winning team, as well as the 20 other high schools from around Washington State that participated.  Garfield will now go on to compete in Washington, D.C. at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. 


Description: Macintosh HD:Users:jjmeyer:Desktop:SeaGrass Folks.jpeg.pngKudos to the Friday Harbor Laboratories and meeting organizers for hosting a successful workshop “The Future of Pacific Northwest Seagrasses in a Changing Climate”.  Seagrasses provide habitat for ecologically and economically important marine species, including fish, birds, and invertebrates.  Their importance is reflected by the state of Washington’s goal to increase habitat in Puget Sound by 20% by the year 2020. Organized by Sandy Wyllie-Echeverria (FHL, UW), Renee Takesue (USGS), Doug Bulthuis (PBNERR, WDOE), Cinde Donoghue (WDNR), Jim Kaldy (EPA) and Ron Thom (PNL), the goal was to determine the impacts of climate change on Pacific Northwest seagrasses and implications for seagrass research and restoration.



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