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2017 SEFS Graduation

Check out a photo gallery from our June graduation celebration, which featured alumnus Brian Kertson (’10, Ph.D.), a carnivore research scientist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, as the keynote speaker.

Summer Greetings!

This June, we hosted three candidates in our search to find a permanent replacement for former SEFS Director Tom DeLuca. It has been a highly involved process, with each candidate giving two talks on campus—one about their research, and another about their vision for our school—and meeting extensively with students, staff, faculty and alumni. The search committee has since collected and evaluated all feedback and delivered its findings to the full faculty, which voted on a recommendation in mid-July. We were hoping to share news of a hire in this issue, but we haven’t quite concluded the process and are still awaiting final word about who will be taking over the director role.

It’s an anxious and exciting time for all of us, and we will share the news with all of you as soon as we have it!

Colton Miller
Alumni Group Chair



Alumna Spotlight: Olivia Moskowitz

Shortly after graduating this spring, Olivia flew to Chicago to spend a week training for her Chicago Botanic Garden Conservation and Land Management Internship. The competitive program matches interns with federal agencies or nonprofit organizations involved in land management work across the country. For Olivia, that meant heading to Idaho Falls, Idaho, to begin a five-month assignment with the U.S. Forest Service.


Photo Gallery: Pack Forest Summer Crew Gets Underway

On June 19, four SEFS undergrads—Nicole Lau, Xin Deng, Brian Chan and Joshua Clark—began a nine-week internship at Pack Forest as part of the long-running Summer Crew. It’s a hallowed experience in SEFS history, and you can check out some great photos from their first couple weeks of work.


Two Alumni Partner for Owl Research Project

Stan Rullman (’12, Ph.D.), research director for Earthwatch Institute in Boston, Mass., and Dave Oleyar (’11, Ph.D.), senior scientist for HawkWatch International in Salt Lake City, have joined forces as part of a collaborative study of small forest owls in Utah and Arizona.


Interim Director's Message: Summer 2017

As she enters her final months as interim director, Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh reflects on what she’s learned about SEFS through vigorous discussions at faculty meetings—and how those conversations have brought more clarity about the future vision for SEFS on the eve of a new leadership change.


SEFS Students Win Silviculture Challenge

This March, a team from SEFS brought home the plaque in the 2017 International Silviculture Challenge against the University of British Columbia. Given 24 hours to develop a stewardship plan for a 35-acre, 100-plus-year-old forest tract on King County Parks land, three students—Paul Albertine, Aoife Fae and Timothy Seaman—delivered the winning prescription.


The Publication Power of Collaboration

More than 10 years ago, a group of researchers launched a collaboration now known as the Nutrient Network (NutNet). Their intent was to explore the relationship between productivity and diversity in grasslands, and NutNet has since grown to include almost 100 sites around the world. Professor Jon Bakker joined soon after it began, and his involvement has led to a number of publications—including four co-authored in 2016 alone.


Save the Date: Annual Salmon BBQ, Oct. 4

We’ve set the date for this year’s salmon feast for Wednesday, October 4, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Anderson Hall courtyard. We’ll send out official invitations later this summer, but we hope you and your family will mark your calendars and join us for our autumn kick-off celebration!


2017 UW Climate Change Video Awards

On Friday, June 2, we hosted the third annual UW Climate Change Video Awards at Town Hall Seattle. The evening featured a keynote from Dr. Peter Kareiva, KUOW environment reporter Ashley Ahearn as the emcee, lively discussion among our four judges and student finalists, and the screening of the top six videos from the contest—all of which are now available online for you to watch.




New Faculty Spotlight: Professor Sarah Converse


This March, Sarah J. Converse joined SEFS as an associate professor and the new leader of the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Sarah, who holds a joint appointment with the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, brings tremendous experience as a quantitative population ecologist. “I build models of wildlife populations, and then I help land managers use those models to make management decisions,” she says.






Hunter Decker (’11, B.S.; ’12, MFR) is one of two foresters working for Clark County Public Works in Vancouver, Wash. 

Dana Reid (’17, B.S.) is currently on a seasonal U.S. Forest Service crew in Lassen National Forest working on a variety of surveys, ranging from birds and bumblebees to lava tube caves and trail cameras. 

Mike Tulee (’15, Ph.D.) has taken on a new position as executive director for the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation in Seattle. Mike grew up on the Yakama Indian Reservation and came to SEFS with funding through the National Science Foundation’s IGERT Program. 

Cody Sifford (’16, M.S.) was featured on the cover of the Spring 2017 issue of Winds of Change, the magazine of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). 

Melissa Pingree (’17, Ph.D.) has begun a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Idaho with Dr. Leda Kobziar, a fire ecologist in the Department of Natural Resources and Society. Melissa will be working on projects relating fire disturbances to soil heating and repercussions for soil ecological processes. 

Ryan Haugo (’06, M.S.; ’10, Ph.D.), senior forest ecologist at The Nature Conservancy, was featured in a Seattle Times story on April 3, “Thinning of forests aims to reduce fire risk in Central Cascades.” 

The U.S. Forest Service recently published a spotlight on Phillip Chi (’04, B.S.; ’08, M.S.), a silviculture forestry technician with the Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest. 

On June 12, Civil Eats featured Carson Beebe Sprenger (’06, M.S.) of Rain Shadow Consulting, “Is Biochar a Game-Changer for Sustainable Farms?” 

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, “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