We have a couple exciting hires to report, starting with Dr. Patrick Tobin, who has accepted the post of Assistant Professor of Disturbance Ecology! Joining us from the U.S. Forest Service, Tobin will provide expertise in the areas of disturbance ecology, entomology, forest health and quantitative sciences. His starting date will be October 1, 2014, and he and his family will be relocating to the Seattle area during the summer.
Also, the Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) is very pleased to announce the hiring of Fred Hanson as the new education and outreach coordinator! Hanson brings a wealth of experience as a lifelong educator, and his family also manages a small private forest. His first day was May 1, so please introduce yourself and welcome him to the SEFS community!
Among other duties, Hanson will be helping continue the Evening Talks at ONRC speaker series. The most recent talk, on Friday, May 9, came from SEFS graduate student Rachel Roberts: “The Olympic Experimental State Forest—Stakeholders’ Perspective.” (If you’re a grad student and interested in sharing your research with the Forks community, including earning a small travel stipend and a free night of lodging at ONRC, contact Karl Wirsing or Frank Hanson anytime.)
We have some big kudos for the 2014 Xi Sigma Pi research grant winners! Among the awards were: $500 for Angela Klock (“Biogeography and ecological constraints of microbial diversity and antibiotic resistance along a stream network”); $250 for Kaeli Swift (“Is the function of American Crow 'funerals' danger learning and avoidance?”); and $250 for Chris Vondrasek (“Improving riparian floodplain habitat delineation with LiDAR and imagery”). Great work!
Using Director’s Travel Funds, SEFS graduate student Alexandra Harwell recently attended the Society of Ethnobiology’s 37th Annual Conference, held May 11-14 in Cherokee, N.C. Harwell says she enjoyed spending several days surrounded by fellow “plant geeks” and researchers from around the world. She primarily attended research sessions that focused on traditional ecological knowledge, people and place, forest management, and resource management and conservation. She also presented her project during a poster session on the final day of the conference, and she left feeling motivated and encouraged in her own research. Nice work, Alex!
Don’t forget to send us word of publications involving you or your students!
On May 27, Sandra Hines at UW News put together a terrific story about the restoration plans for Yesler Swamp, “UW students, neighbors join forces down on the Union Bay ‘bayou'.” Yesler is Seattle’s second-largest swamp and once site of the historical Yesler sawmill. Now, with the help of UW students and neighborhood supporters, work has started on the first phase of a 1,200-foot boardwalk trail in the swamp, a six-acre area on the shore of Union Bay just east of the Center for Urban Horticulture. (The Seattle Times ran its own great story on the project, as well: “UW students restoring portal into Lake Washington’s past,” published on May 25.)
In other news, Research Scientist Kathy Wolf was featured in a Newsweek story on May 1, “Money Growing on Trees,” about the public health and other benefits of trees in urban areas.
SEFS alumnus Scot Medbury (1990, M.S. Forest Resources), one of John Wott’s former grad students, recently received the National Medal for Museum and Library Service from First Lady Michelle Obama at a ceremony at the White House. Medbury is president of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and his master’s thesis was on the history of the Washington Park Arboretum. Congratulations, Scot!