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Jessica Farmer, left, and new SEFS Alumni Group Co-Chair Colton Miller, who has recently joined the team to help expand our alumni engagement.

Summer Greetings!

I am very pleased to introduce our new co-chair for the SEFS Alumni Group, Colton Miller, who earned his master’s in forest resources in 2013! Colton’s research focused on forest soils and exploring methods to improve reforestation of a surface coal mine in Centralia, Wash. After receiving his degree, he worked for the Quinault Indian Nation as a pre-sale forester in the Bureau of Indian Affairs office, located on the Olympic Peninsula. He returned to SEFS in 2015 to pursue research opportunities in tribal forest management and wildland fire science. Colton also works with the Center for Quantitative Science and serves as an officer for the Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society. He appreciates the tight-knit community at SEFS, and he hopes to bring even more enthusiasm and energy to the Alumni Group.

We're excited to welcome him to our team, and we look forward to seeing you soon—starting, we hope, at the Salmon BBQ on October 7!

Jessica Farmer & Colton Miller
Alumni Group Co-Chairs



Alumna Spotlight: Cindy Dittbrenner

Dittbrenner (’07, M.S.), the natural resources program manager for the Snohomish Conservation District, recently spent 18 months taking part in the AgForestry Leadership Program. Read more about her great experience with this program, which focuses on Washington State issues ranging from public policy to media relations and the criminal justice system.


Save the Date: Salmon BBQ!

You are cordially invited to our annual salmon feast and celebration, which will be held on Wednesday, October 7, in the Anderson Hall courtyard. We’ll have more details to share soon in a separate email invitation, but we hope you’ll block off that afternoon and make plans to join us!


Arboretum Gets Top Honors

According to a recent rating by Best Colleges Online, the Washington Park Arboretum was ranked in a tie for first among the “50 Most Amazing University Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in the U.S.”


Director's Message: Summer 2015

SEFS Director Tom DeLuca reflects on his recent tour of the Hoh River Trust lands on the Olympic Peninsula, and how this ecosystem—which shares elements of the wild and of human management—has such enormous research potential for sustainable forestry and the forest products industry.


SEFS Graduation Celebration

On Friday, June 12, we honored the Class of 2015 with a packed ceremony in Kane Hall, and then a lunch reception afterward in the Anderson Hall courtyard. Take a look at a slideshow from the day’s festivities.


Professor Jerry Franklin Wins 2015 UW Distinguished Teaching Award

The award honors Professor Franklin for the legions of students he has inspired and mentored during his long career, as well as his enormous influence as a forest ecologist. In addition to receiving a $5,000 prize, he was formally recognized on June 11, 2015, at a ceremony in Meany Hall.


UW Climate Change Video Awards

At an awards show and screening on Friday, May 15, we announced the winners of our first-ever UW Climate Change Video Contest. The 3-minute videos of the 10 finalists are available online if you’d like to check out some of the impressive creativity and inspiration of Washington’s high school and undergraduate students—including one of our own, Sarra Tekola, who won the top prize in the college category!




What are your favorite memories of Anderson Hall?

Roots_Tell Us_072315

Read what Jenniffer Bakke (’03, B.S.), who is now a wildlife biologist for Hancock Forest Management in Independence, Ore., recalls about her time in Anderson!

Next Issue: What was your favorite spot on campus—a place to study, to eat lunch, to go for a walk? Please send submissions, of no more than 250 words, to, and we’ll publish at least one response in the next issue of Roots, and also on the "Offshoots" blog.






Clarence Smith (’15, M.S.) moved to Washington, D.C., this summer to accept a job with the U.S. Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry organization. Working in an outreach position, he’ll be helping promote the Community Forest Project to Native American tribes. 

Ross Braine ('09, B.S.), tribal liaison with the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, was awarded a 2015 Distinguished Staff Award from the University of Washington. 

A few weeks ago, Sam Israel ('15, MFR) started a new position as lead forester with Lomakatsi Restoration Project in Ashland, Ore. His early projects have involved working with Klamath Tribe foresters in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, and also planning and monitoring private landownerships in the Rogue River valley with the goals of reducing fuels and improving forest health and habitat. 

Cynthia Welte ('03, B.S.) was recently hired as the new executive director at the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden Foundation in Shoreline, Wash. 

At the 2015 Spring Gathering, Ara Erickson (’04, M.S.) received the annual “Honored Alumna Award” in recognition of her work in forestry and natural resources management, and for her tireless efforts to strengthen and grow the SEFS Alumni Group. 

Alex Thomas (’12, B.S.) accepted an offer to pursue his Ph.D. in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley. He’ll be working in the lab of Professor Jill Banfield and studying soil microbial communities. He was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to support his studies. 

Starting on May 1, Michael Hannam (’13, Ph.D.) accepted a position as a postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md. He’ll be conducting research on shoreline and watershed predictors of habitat for submerged aquatic vegetation and river herring in the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. 

Bill Wells (’03, B.S.) is now the coast district manager for the Olympic Region with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR). His position is responsible for all upland management activities on approximately 287,000 acres of trust lands managed by the DNR in the Coast District. 

Earlier this spring, Shannon Armitage (’13, MFR) was hired by the Washington Department of Natural Resources as a forester in Forks. 

John L. Walker (’71, Ph.D.) passed away on March 27 at his home on Bainbridge Island. Born in 1940 in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Walker completed his doctoral work with Professor Barney Dowdle. He went on to have a successful career in the forest products industry with Weyerhaeuser and then Simpson Lumber Company. 

Roots is the official e-newsletter for School of Environmental and Forest Sciences alumni. It is jointly produced by SEFS and the SEFS Alumni Group, and new issues are mailed three times a year (Winter, Spring/Summer and Fall). Please submit alumni news, “Tell Us” responses, “Class Notes,” events and other story ideas to Back issues are available in the online archive, and if you’ve been forwarded this message and wish to subscribe, contact Roots today