Thunder Rolls ...

So much for going out like a lamb! March bade us farewell last Tuesday, March 31, with an impressive thunderstorm that showered us with hail and several uncomfortably close lightning strikes—including one bolt that exploded a large grand fir (Abies grandis) at the north end of the Arboretum. Luckily, no one was standing near the unfortunate tree when it splintered so violently, leaving only a jagged snag and a debris field extending at least 150 feet in all directions. Kathleen DeMaria at the UW Botanic Gardens put together a fantastic post with more photos and info about the explosion, including how the electrical charge turned the tree into a pressure cooker, speculation as to why this particular tree might have been struck, and an odd ecological bonus that can result from a lightning strike!



New Faculty Intro: Bernard Bormann

We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Bernard Bormann as the new director of the Olympic Natural Resources Center, and as a professor of forest ecology and physiology for SEFS. His first official day in the office was April 1, and we hope you’ll join us in welcoming him to our community!


Pack Forest Summer Crew: Apply Now!

The deadline is coming up this Thursday, April 9, to apply for the Pack Forest Summer Crew. Learn more about the amazing opportunities available, and check out the spring planting slideshow below to get a sample of the action in store for interns.


Jim Furnish: Toward a Natural Forest

This Friday, April 10, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room, we are hosting a special seminar featuring Jim Furnish, former deputy chief of the U.S. Forest Service, who recently published a memoir about his career, Toward a Natural Forest: The Forest Service in Transition. The program will include a short film viewing and panel discussion, so come out and join the conversation!


2015 Spring Planting Slideshow

Two weeks ago, five SEFS students spent their Spring Break down at Pack Forest as part of the annual spring planting tradition to help with seasonal reforestation work. This year’s group included Anthony Bird, Carolyn Hartman, Will Mooreston, Trey Parry and Rachel Yonemura, and you can take a look at a slideshow of their accomplishments (special thanks to Dave Cass and Emilio Vilanova for sharing these photos)!


SEFS Recognition Event: Nominations!

This year’s Recognition Event is coming up on Tuesday, May 5, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Forest Club Room, and nominations are now open for our annual awards. Make sure to check out the categories and help us recognize your amazing students and colleagues!


April 19, 2015:

SEFS Spring Gathering, 4-7 p.m., Washington Park Arboretum

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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We are enormously proud and excited to announce that Professor Jerry Franklin has been awarded a 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Washington! In addition to receiving a $5,000 prize, Professor Franklin will be formally honored at a June 11 ceremony in Meany Hall. He’s not around to congratulate in person this quarter, but we hope you’ll join us in recognizing this tremendous honor for his career. It's a very big deal, and we are thrilled for him!

The honors don’t end there, by any means, as we have some outstanding kudos for SEFS undergrad Sophia K. Winkler-Schor, who was just announced as the College of the Environment 2015 Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist! The award is granted to students who have shown outstanding academic achievement and a commitment to leadership and service on and off campus. Winkler-Schor was awarded for her rigorous academic record, a natural aptitude and motivation to be involved in original research, her engagement as a teaching assistant, her role with the Xi Sigma Pi forestry honor society, and for her committed involvement as founder and president of the Brazil Club. The award ceremony and celebration will be on May 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the SAFS lobby. Congratulations, Sophia!

We also learned that Professor Kristiina Vogt was nominated for the College of the Environment Outstanding Diversity Commitment Award. No word on the winners yet, but this is great recognition—good luck, Kristiina!

Let’s continue with some well-deserved kudos for SEFS alumna Laura Cooper, who spent several years working on the Snoqualmie Corridor Recreation Plan with Professor Emeritus Gordon Bradley as part of her master’s work. The plan was finalized and published a couple weeks ago, so take a look at the fruits of some seriously hands-on graduate work.

We have a call for some kudos, as well, for SEFS grad student Lisa Hannon and undergrad Christina Alice Pom from Professor Sharon Doty’s Plant Microbiology Lab. The two presented some of the lab’s phytoremediation and biofuel research at the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) “Expanding Your Horizons” seminar on Friday, March 27. AAUW sponsors half-day seminars for high school girls at Bellevue College featuring workshops presented by women who have careers in areas based on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The seminar aims to encourage young women to continue to take STEM courses during their high school years and beyond. Nice work, Lisa and Christina!

We can barely keep up with all the good news around here, as Marc Morrison just passed along word that SEFS was funded for all four Student Technology Fee (STF) grants we applied for this year! We’ll have more info to share soon on the specific projects funded, but all told, the school will receive $326,128.94 in STF grant money. Well done!

Students, last chance! Don’t forget to submit a video for our first-ever UW Climate Change Video Contest. Deadline for submissions is this coming Monday, April 13, and did we mention the top prize for undergraduates is $5,000?! The finalists will have the films shown at an award ceremony on Friday, May 15, at Town Hall in Seattle, so time to put the finishing touches on your masterpiece!

Also, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 2015 SEFS Spring Gathering, which is coming up on Sunday, April 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Washington Park Arboretum. It’s a potluck-style picnic that brings together all ages in the SEFS community, from first-year students to some of our longest-tenured staff, faculty and alumni. Families are warmly welcomed, and we hope you’ll join us for an afternoon of old friends and new faces. You are ALL invited, so RSVP as soon as possible if you’re able to join us!


The spring shuffle of room and lab assignments continues, and we have the following decisions to share:

* Bloedel 311 is getting converted into a shared space for graduate students. Contact Amanda Davis if you have students who might be interested in having a work space there when this room is ready.
* The Washington Pulp and Paper Foundation has moved into a new office space in Anderson 06, the previous office for the Center for Quantitative Science, which is in the process of relocating to Wink 22.
* Anderson 107E, formerly the office of Marc Morrison, will soon be converted into a shared space for emeritus faculty.
* Anderson 107G will serve as Professor Bernard Bormann’s temporary office until we have his permanent office ready to go in Wink 203.
* Professor Eric Turnblom will be moving his lab space to David Guenther’s former office in Bloedel 178A.
* Professor David Butman will be moving some of his lab equipment into Professor Dean Glawe’s former office in Bloedel 234.

Did you get all of that?


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


Professors Sergey Rabotyagov and John Marzluff are coauthors on a new study published last month in Urban Ecosystems, “How much is that birdie in my backyard? A cross-continental economic valuation of native urban songbirds.” Earlier today, Michelle Ma at UW News wrote an excellent story about the paper, “Common birds bring economic vitality to cities, new study finds.”

Professor Peter Kahn has a great new piece in the nonprofit magazine Talking Writing, “Why Technology Can’t Fix What We’ve Already Forgotten.”


Professor Josh Lawler and Mary Ruckelshaus of Natural Capital co-authored an op-ed in the Seattle Times on Monday, March 23, “Climate change: The debate now is about how we adapt.”

Professor Lawler, along with some other UW faculty and students, was also part of a recent video campaign, “MoreThanScientists," that launched a few weeks ago.

Kelly Knickerbocker at the College of the Environment has a great new story up about Professor Patrick Tobin, “Beyond ecology: invasive species affect our culture and economy too.”

You should definitely check out a new 4-minute segment featuring Professor John Marzluff, “Make Your Yard More Bird-Friendly.”

SEFS doctoral student Ben Dittbrenner was featured in an article on March 26, “Beavers are great for the environment. As neighbors, not so much.” He says the headline initially gave him pause, but the story itself was right on point!


Back on March 24, when Michelle Trudeau was out at ONRC for the “Career Exploration Day” with Peninsula College, she reconnected with Bill Wells ('03., B.S.), who 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. If you’d like to connect with Wells and learn more about his work—including possibilities for collaborations and/or employment with the DNR—you can reach him anytime at or 360.640.3066.