Liz Van Volkenburgh Named Interim Director

In case you missed the news a couple weeks ago, Professor Liz Van Volkenburgh has agreed to serve as interim director of SEFS beginning January 1, 2017. Liz is a professor in the UW Department of Biology, and she is the principal investigator in the Plant Growth Lab (where, among other things, she is researching how bean plants respond to drought, and how to improve their yield in stressful conditions). She has a longstanding relationship with SEFS, including as an adjunct professor, through her work with the UW Botanic Gardens, and her service on the SEFS graduate student advisory committee. We look forward to working with her as we begin our transition period after Tom DeLuca departs, and we hope you will join us in welcoming her to our community!



This Wednesday (12/7): SEFS Holiday Party!

A bonanza of wines to taste, catered snacks and ugly sweaters, a massive noble fir and loads of holiday cheer: What’s not to love about our annual SEFS Holiday Party?! All students, staff, faculty, family and friends are welcome, and all you need to bring is yourself (or a dessert item for the potluck competition, if you are so inclined). The fun runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room. See you there!


2016 Wott Fellowship Winner Announced

SEFS master’s candidate Kelsey Taylor has won the John A. Wott Botanic Gardens Endowed Fellowship for 2016. Her current research looks at the physiology and competitive ability of garden loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris), a Class B invasive wetland plant. The project focuses on the trade-offs of competition with native wetland plants and looks at the potential for restoration at infested sites.


This Thursday (12/8): IFSA to Host Forestry Panel

The UW Local Committee of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) is hosting a panel, “On the Comparison of American and European Forestry Methods,” at 5 p.m. in the Forest Club Room. Featuring two SEFS undergrads and Professors Greg Ettl and Aaron Wirsing, the panel will explore aspects of forest management that lead to success across nations. It’s free and open to the public, and there will be a light reception afterward.


Next Tuesday (12/13): Farewell Party for Tom DeLuca

Next Tuesday, December 13, from 4 to 7 p.m., we will head over to Big Time Brewery to help us swallow the bitter pill of Tom’s impending departure. Come early, stay late, and let’s swap toasts and good stories from the past few years!


Next Monday (12/12): The Latte Cart Returns to Bloedel!

On Monday, December 12, from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Bloedel Hall first floor hallway, the College of the Environment will be hosting its annual holiday latte cart. So disengage from your computer’s tractor beam long enough for some free lattes and pastries for staff, faculty and students!


Search Engine That Supports Tree Planting

Professor Anthony Dichiara recently passed along the idea of using Ecosia as your primary search engine, as the organization—based in Berlin, Germany—donates 80 percent of its advertising revenue to nonprofits that focus on planting trees (at our last check, the site says it has supported planting nearly 6 million trees). Anthony is already using Ecosia (and swears he has no financial ties to it!), so ask him what he thinks or go ahead and make the switch yourself.


Dec. 7, 2016:

SEFS Holiday Party, 4:30-6:30 p.m., AND 207

Dec. 8, 2016:

IFSA Forestry Panel, 5 p.m., AND 207

Dec. 13, 2016:

Farewell Party for Tom, 4-7 p.m., Big Time Brewery

Dec. 16, 2016:

Fall Quarter Ends



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We’ll start with the sad news—for the rest of us, anyway!—that two distinguished titans of SEFS have announced their retirement plans. First, Professor Jerry Franklin, who joined our faculty in 1986, will be retiring as of June 2017, remaining on at 40 percent until then to continue teaching. Second, Professor Kern Ewing, who joined our faculty in 1990, has announced he will be retiring as of June 2018. There’s really no way to quantify the impact these two have had on our school, state, region and country—from training and teaching scores of students, to influencing policy and management decisions at every level—and we hope we can thank them fully and properly in the months before they leave our ranks!

On the additions front, though, we are very pleased to welcome our newest staff member, Elena O’Neill, who joined us as our new grant coordinator on November 14. Elena will be handling pre- and post-award duties and is sharing an office with Laura Davis in Anderson 107E. If you get a chance, please stop by her office to introduce yourself, or send her an email!

From there, we’ll run with some kudos for SEFS doctoral student Hyungmim “Tony” Rho, who was recently granted Director’s Student Travel funds to help with attending the 2016 International Annual Meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, held November 6 to 9 in Phoenix, Ariz. Tony gave an oral presentation about endophytes increasing water use efficiency in rice, and he also participated in the elevator speech competition and a couple of workshops for graduate students and early career members. Nice work!

Kudos, as well, to SEFS doctoral candidate Carol Bogezi, who received travel funds in October to present at the 2016 Student Conference on Conservation Science, held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Her presentation, “What fosters ranchers’ participation in mitigation strategies to coexist with wolves,” drew from interviews she conducted with ranchers in Washington from 2013 to 2014.

Kudos for SEFS doctoral student Matthew Aghai, who received travel funds to attend the 2016 IUFRO Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania in Beijing, China, at the end of October. Matthew gave a talk on the potential utility of microbial endophytes for use in reforestation efforts, and he was also a panelist for a technical session consisting of reforestation professionals and U.S. Forest Service scientists discussing target plant production and showcasing nursery and reforestation work from around the globe. Great stuff!

We’ll end with some great kudos for Professor Sally Brown, who—this very day, which happens to be “World Soil Day”—is sitting on a panel at a workshop in Washington, D.C., hosted by the National Academies’ U.S. National Committee for Soil Sciences. The workshop, “Soils: The Foundation of Life,” is intended for decision-makers, members of the public and private sectors, and anyone whose work depends on knowledge and awareness of the latest soil research.

Undergrads: In case you missed the email last week, the SER-UW Native Plant Nursery is looking for two interns for Winter Quarter 2017! The Native Plant Nursery is a student-run, on-campus native plant nursery looking for people who are excited about native plants and willing to learn more about them. The internship counts as ESRM 399 credit or your department's equivalent; applications are due this Friday, December 9. For more information, contact!



Nothing new to report.



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

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



SEFS alumna Carrie Sessions (’15, M.S.) and Professor Sergey Rabotyagov, along with Spencer Wood and David Fisher from the Natural Capital Project, are coauthors on a new paper in the Journal of Environmental Management, “Measuring recreational visitation at U.S. National Parks with crowd-sourced photographs.”



On November 18, King 5’s Alison Morrow aired a segment about SEFS graduate student Mitchell Parsons and video he recently captured of fishers, “Rare fishers caught on camera near Mount Rainier.” Check out the great 2:30-minute clip about Mitchell and his research!



During his time in China for the IUFRO Regional Congress, Matthew Aghai was able to catch up with SEFS alumna Luyi Li (’15, M.S.) for some touring of her hometown of Beijing. Luyi now works for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and sends warm greetings to all her friends here!