Now the Reel Fun Begins!

For months, the entries trickled in for the UW Climate Change Video Contest, but the pace really ramped up during the last week, with a flood of submissions nearly crashing our system in the final hours! An internal judging committee is now reviewing those videos to select 10 finalists—five each in the undergrad and high school categories. Then, to decide the top winners, we’ve assembled a talented panel of judges, including Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace and the creator of The Story of Stuff Project; Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, a composer, multimedia artist and writer who created The Book of Ice, which explores the impact of climate change on Antarctica through the prism of digital media and contemporary music; scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson, who produces feature films about major issues in science; and Dean Lisa Graumlich from the College of the Environment. The final screening and award ceremony should be a great show, and we hope you’ll join us at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 15, at Town Hall in downtown Seattle. Mark your calendars today, and we’ll have more details to share soon!



Xi Sigma Pi Research Grants: Apply Now!

This spring, the Xi Sigma Pi forestry honor society is offering two $1,000 research grant awards for SEFS undergraduate and graduate students. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on May 8, so check out the guidelines and get a proposal together!


Networking Skills Workshop and Social

This Wednesday, SEFS students are invited to attend a free networking skills workshop at 4:30 p.m. in Anderson 223. Learn how to be confident and professional in conference settings, and then polish those skills with industry professionals and alumni at a networking social afterward. Sign up today!


Director's Message: Spring 2015

Tom DeLuca reflects on the institutional memory and experience we’re losing with recent retirements, and also the period of opportunity we’re entering with a series of new faculty hires.


Taking Flight

This past February and March, SEFS doctoral student Lisa Hannon took advantage of a rare opportunity to combine a research visit to Costa Rica with an intensive field course in Argentina studying hymenopterans, the third largest order of insects, including wasps, bees and ants.


SEFS Recognition Event: Nominations and Silent Auction!

This year’s Recognition Event is coming up on Tuesday, May 5, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Forest Club Room. Don’t forget that award nominations are due to Sarah Thomas by the end of today, and we’re also starting to collect items for the Silent Auction. Contact Karl Wirsing if you have any items or experiences you’d like to donate!


April 22, 2015:

Networking Skills Workshop and Social, 4:30 p.m., AND 223

May 5, 2015:

SEFS Recognition Event, 3-5 p.m., AND 207

May 15, 2015:

UW Climate Change Video Contest Award Ceremony, 7 p.m., Town Hall

June 12, 2015:

SEFS Graduation, 10 a.m., Kane 130



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Two weeks ago, we had the great fortune and pleasure of announcing some major awards for our school, and it turns out the fun wasn’t over! We have another big round of kudos to hand out for two more College of the Environment Award winners for the 2014-15 academic year, including Miku Lenentine, who won the Outstanding Community Impact Award (Student), and Samantha Zwicker, who was named the Graduate Dean’s Medalist. This is simply wonderful news, and a fantastic tribute to the character and ingenuity of our students. Congratulations, Miku and Sam!

We also have some kudos for Professor Sharon Doty’s Plant Microbiology Lab, which participated in the annual “Paws-on Science” outreach event at the Pacific Science Center, April 10-12. Lab members Shyam Kandel, Robert Tournay, Neil Fleck and Jack Emery all did a terrific job managing the plant microbiology booth!

The kudos continue for ESRM major Chika Acholonu, who has been chosen to receive a Mary Gates Research Scholarship. This competitive award is given to undergraduates currently conducting research with a faculty member. During the past year, Acholonu and Professor Dorothy Paun have been investigating the statistical relationship of environmental performance (i.e. greenhouse gas emissions) and corporate financial performance (profits) over time. Acholonu’s goal, after graduation in December, is a career related to sustainability, and he aspires to “help corporations assess and improve their environmental and social responsibility.”

In other student news, Carrie Sessions, who is pursing a joint master’s with SEFS and the Evans School, recently joined the Natural Capital team to attend the Natural Capital Symposium, held March 22-25 at Stanford University. At the conference, Sessions presented her thesis research, “Measuring Recreational Visitation Through Crowd-Sourced Photographs,” which assesses the validity of using photos posted online to infer visitation rates and visitor demographics at national parks in the western United States.

Using funding from the SEFS Capstone Fund and the Precision Forestry Cooperative, SEFS undergrad Caileigh Shoot attended and presented at the Northwest Scientific Association (NWSA) Conference, April 1-4 in Pasco, Wash. One of the conference focus areas was sagebrush, which was a perfect fit for Shoot’s capstone project researching the use of LiDAR to detect shrubs. Her presentation went really well, and she got a lot of ideas for her own research—as well as some leads on possible internships and master’s programs that would allow her to continue researching shrubs.

Coming up on Tuesday, May 26, the University of Washington will be hosting a special lecture with Professor Linda Steg, an environmental psychologist from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. The talk, “How to inspire people to engage in pro-environmental actions,” will be held in the Alder Hall Auditorium at 6 p.m., and it is free and open to the public.

Oh, and in case you missed the 2015 Sustaining Our World Lecture, the video of Molly Steinwald’s talk is now available online. It will also be airing on UWTV on the following dates: Sun, 5/3 @ 6 a.m.; Sun., 5/3 @ 11:30 a.m.; Mon., 5/4 @ 1:30 p.m.; Wed., 5/6 @ 8:30 p.m.; and Thurs., 5/7 @ 1:30 p.m.



We are in the process of hiring Assistant Professor Laura Prugh from the University of Alaska Anchorage as a quantitative wildlife ecologist (to join the faculty this fall).

As of today, we are also in the process of hiring Assistant Professor Beth Gardner from North Carolina State University. 

More details on these developments will be available soon.



Wildlife Science Seminar
: Mondays, 3:30-4:50 p.m., KANE 120

Water Seminar: Tuesdays, 8:30-9:20 a.m., AND 223

SEFS Seminar Series: Wednesdays, 3:30-4:20 p.m., AND 223

Advanced Silviculture Seminar: Thursdays, 9:30-10:30 a.m., Odegaard Library, Room 320



Professor Dan Vogt and Professor Emeritus Bob Edmonds are coauthors on a new book, Soil and Plant Analysis for Forest Ecosystem Characterization, which provides an overview of physical, chemical and biological methods used to analyze soils and plant tissue using an ecosystem perspective.

Along with two of his students—Justin Dellinger and Carolyn ShoresProfessor Aaron Wirsing is a coauthor on a new paper in Restoration Ecology, “Resolving the value of the dingo in ecological restoration.” The three of them recently joined a group of Australian ecologists to publish this paper proposing a dingo reintroduction experiment in Sturt National Park (western New South Wales, Australia) to test the top-down effects of this top predator on smaller carnivores and ecosystem function. The experiment would involve repositioning part of the 5,500-kilometer dingo-proof fence inside the park, effectively allowing dingoes to recolonize one or more areas from which they have been excluded for many years. Dr. Thomas Newsome, who spent time collaborating with the SEFS Predator Ecology Lab as a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar last year, served as lead author for the paper, which has garnered considerable media attention in Australia.



Professor John Marzluff is featured in a great new story on, “The Common Crow Brings a Surprising Gift: Increased Home Values,” published on April 14.

Also, in the last issue we mentioned SEFS alumna Laura Cooper and the Snoqualmie Corridor Recreation Plan, which she helped produce as part of her master’s work. The published plan is already generating some excitement, as the Washington Trails Association put together a nice piece highlighting some of the potential developments that could result from it. Great to see some hard work appreciated!



A couple issues ago, we reported about two new publications from Michael Hannam, who earned his Ph.D. from SEFS in 2013. Well, he’s been busy, and he recently accepted a position as a postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md. He’ll be doing research on shoreline and watershed predictors of habitat for submerged aquatic vegetation and river herring in the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, and he starts on May 1. Congratulations, Michael!

In much sadder news, we learned that John L. Walker passed away on March 27 at his home on Bainbridge Island. Born in 1940 in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Walker earned his Ph.D. from SEFS in 1971 while working with Professor Barney Dowdle. He went on to have a successful career in the forest products industry with Weyerhaeuser and then Simpson Lumber Company. A remembrance ceremony will be held on May 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. at IslandWood, 4450 Blakely Ave., Bainbridge Island.