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This past spring, 14 SEFS students had the unique opportunity to partner with King County to write a forest stewardship plan for the 645-acre Black Diamond Natural Area, south of Seattle near Maple Valley. Writing the plan was the focus of a course set up to provide applied, real-world forest management opportunities for students: Applied Forest Ecology & Management (SEFS521/ESRM490). Co-taught by Research Associate Derek Churchill and Professor Greg Ettl, the class culminated with the students formally presenting the plan to King County officials—so successfully, in fact, that plans are already in place to continue the partnership with a similar course next spring. Great work!



New Staff Bio: Sarah Thomas

As a Husky graduate and former School of Medicine employee of six years, Thomas brings a wealth of UW experience to her new role here as an outreach and events specialist. Read more about her background, and help welcome her to the SEFS community!


“Farm 5” Picnic Reunites UW-WSU Collaborators

On Tuesday, July 29, a group of researchers and their families met for a picnic outside of Puyallup, Wash., to commemorate the 40th anniversary of a research collaboration between the University of Washington and Washington State University—a program that laid the foundation for the current biofuels research at SEFS.


Student Technology Fee Grant Winners for SEFS

Marc Morrison was very pleased to report that four SEFS proposals—all student-driven, and totaling nearly $250,000 in funding—were recently funded by STF grants. Check out the funded projects, and find out how you can apply for a grant next year.


Record Salmon Surge in Alaska

This summer, researchers in Alaska’s Wood River Lakes System—including Professor Aaron Wirsing, who spent two weeks there in July—are witnessing a record salmon run, with more than 50,000 sockeye pouring into a single creek to spawn. Learn more about the project, including possible causes and consequences for the enormous volume of salmon.


Sept. 17, 2014:

SEFS Fall Retreat, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Sept. 19, 2014:

Graduate Student Orientation

Sept. 24, 2014:

Fall Quarter Begins

Oct. 1, 2014:

Annual Salmon BBQ, 4-6 p.m.



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Last Thursday, August 21, Professor Stanley Asah presented at a Green Bag lunch—hosted by the UW Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability office—to discuss facilitating behavior change as it relates to sustainability.

The Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) has a great program coming up on Saturday, Sept. 13, with the second edition of the hugely popular Astronomy Night! Grad students from the UW Department of Astronomy will trek out to Forks to host an interactive program, including a mobile planetarium, telescope and other hands-on, science-based activities for participants of all ages. The first session of the day, from 1-3 p.m., will be family-focused, with a later session tailored for adults from 7-9 p.m. Contact Frank Hanson if you’d like to learn more or get involved!

Keep an eye out later this fall, as well, for more installments of the Evening Talks at ONRC speaker series, starting with SEFS doctoral student Melissa Pingree in October! She’ll be talking about past wildfires on the Olympic Peninsula and their impact on the area’s soils. More details to come!


Camila Tejo Haristoy, who earned her Ph.D. from SEFS this summer, recently contributed to an article on the proceedings of the 12th North American Forest Soils Conference, published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal (cover and preview are available for free, but subscription is required to access full article). The publication made it to the front page of the journal, and Haristoy was also interviewed about it for a story on the website, “Soils overhead: Characterizing canopy soils.” Awesome work, Camila!

Professor Aaron Wirsing is a co-author on a new publication in Frontiers in Marine Science, “Seagrasses in the age of sea turtle conservation and shark overfishing,” about the impacts of increasing sea turtle populations on seagrass ecosystems—and the role of sharks in policing those populations.


Research Scientist Kathy Wolf was featured in a Seattle Times story on August 13, “A fight for urban trees: Seattle’s wealthier neighborhoods leafier,” about disparities in canopy cover between lower-income and higher-income communities.

Professor Ernesto Alvarado was featured in a Kitsap Sun story on August 9, “Washington's wet side not immune to wildfire risk,” and he also passed along some research updates from the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, including great press for SEFS alumni Laurel James (M.S., 2012) and Alan Ager (Ph.D., 1987), as well as Alvarado and Dave Peterson.


Hans Smith, who earned a B.S. from SEFS in 2001, is one of two habitat biologists working for the Yakama Nation’s Upper Columbia Habitat Restoration Program in Winthrop, Wash. He was recently featured in a piece in the Methow Grist, “In Support of Fish: Yakamas work to restore habitat.” He and his wife Sarah Schrock, who earned her B.S. from SEFS in 1999, live in Twisp, Wash.

In other great alumni news, Stith T. (Tom) Gower, who completed his Ph.D. in forest ecology at SEFS in 1987, is joining the College of Natural Resources at N.C. State University as the head of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources; he will assume this new role on October 16. Professor Gower had been working as a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (forest ecosystem ecologist) in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, and faculty director of BioHouse, a living learning community program for undergraduates majoring in biological sciences. He earned a B.S. in Biology from Furman University, an M.S. in Forest Ecology and a minor in Soil Science from NC State University before completing his doctorate at SEFS. Congratulations, Tom!