New Faculty Intro: Sarah Converse

This March, we were enormously pleased to welcome our newest faculty member, Sarah J. Converse, who joins us as an associate professor and the new leader of the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Sarah, who grew up in Battle Creek, Mich., brings tremendous experience as a quantitative population ecologist with a strong interest in decision analysis and decision science, conservation biology, demographic estimation, hierarchical modeling, integrated population modeling and reintroduction biology. “I build models of wildlife populations, and then I help land managers use those models to make management decisions,” she says. Learn more about her background, including what steered her away from being a lawyer!



Guest Seminar (4/27): Brett McClintock

This Thursday, April 27, you are invited to a special seminar with Dr. Brett McClintock from the NOAA National Marine Mammal Laboratory: “Hidden Markov models of animal movement: integrating more ecological realism and common challenges associated with telemetry data.” The talk will be held in Anderson 223 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., with a reception to follow in the Forest Club Room.


Donated Diploma: Noal F. Caywood (’13, B.S.)

A couple months ago, we received an inquiry about whether we’d be interested in an old framed diploma from one of our early alumni, Noal F. Caywood, who graduated with a bachelor’s in forestry in 1913. We now have the aging diploma in hand, and we’ve learned a few more details about Noal, who it turns out was a member of Xi Sigma Pi in our school's first years!


SEFS Year-End Celebration (5/23): Submit Your Award Nominations!

The party is coming up on Tuesday, May 23, from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Anderson courtyard, and nominations for our annual awards are due by Friday, May 5, to Sarah Thomas. So it’s time to get cracking on those kind words for your students and colleagues!


Native Plant Sale: May 7!

Our Native Plant Nursery, part of the Society for Ecological Restoration UW Chapter (SER-UW), will be hosting a public plant sale on Sunday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Held at the Douglas Research Conservatory, the sale will feature more than 40 different species, from vanilla leaf to Douglas-fir, so come pick out your favorite plants and support your local student-run nursery!


Xi Sigma Pi Research Grants: Apply by May 1!

This spring, the Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society will award two grants of up to $1,000 each to support graduate and undergraduate research for students currently enrolled at SEFS. These grants are based on merit and financial need and will be applicable for research activities and/or equipment that is otherwise unattainable by the student. The deadline to apply for these grants is Monday, May 1, so learn more about the application process.


Stinging Nettles and Traditional Ecology

On Saturday, April 15, Professor Emeritus Tom Hinckley and doctoral student Eve Rickenbaker joined a class field trip that included collecting stinging nettles. Those nettles will be used to prepare meals for The Living Breath Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge Symposium, coming up on May 5 and 6 at the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House.


April 26, 2017:

Student Brown Bag Lunch, 12-1 p.m., AND 207

May 23, 2017:

SEFS Year-End Celebration, 3-6 p.m.

June 2, 2017:

Climate Change Video Awards, 7-9 p.m., Town Hall

June 9, 2017:

SEFS Graduation Celebration, 9-10:30 a.m., Kane Hall 130



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We hardly know where to start with this issue, because good news—especially involving our students—has been pouring in faster than we can celebrate it!

So why not get rolling with some huge kudos for SEFS doctoral student Samantha Zwicker, whom the Northern Pacific Global Health Fellows program just selected as a Fogarty Global Health Scholar! The award, which runs from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, includes a stipend of $23,500, and research funds up to $7,500. Sam is understandably super excited about it, and so are we!

The same is true of SEFS doctoral student Catherine Kuhn, who’s been cleaning up on multiple fronts lately. First—competing against 68 grant applications representing 18 universities or colleges—she has been awarded a NW Science Research Grant for $1,500 for her work on the project, “Ecosystem scale greenhouse gas assessment of hydroelectric energy production: working towards a sustainable carbon management framework in the Columbia River Basin.”

Second, Catherine has also been accepted into the summer course, “Calibration and Validation for Ocean Color Remote Sensing,” supported by the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Program. It’s a highly competitive and intensive workshop on innovative methods to use remote sensing for ocean systems; Catherine, who works with Professor David Butman, will be applying this new knowledge to previously unstudied river and lake ecosystems.

And third, Catherine is the recipient of the first Integral Environmental Big Data Research Award, granted for her proposal, “Leveraging high-resolution remote sensing and machine learning to monitor climate change impacts to water quality for the inland waters of the United States.” The committee particularly noted that her proposal came the closest to embodying the “big data research” sense of this award, which provides $6,000 in support for Catherine’s research. Amazing work!

Big-time kudos, as well, to SEFS doctoral student Korena Mafune, who applied for, and was recently awarded, a $2,500 Mycological Society of America Forest Fungal Ecology Award. They liked her research so much, in fact, they ended up doubling the award to $5,000!

On the faculty front, we have some nice kudos for Professor Sally Brown, who will be one of four panelists on April 29—including former and aspiring Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn—at a Teach it Forward event, “Confronting Climate Change.” The panel will be held at the Impact Hub (220 2nd Avenue South) starting at 1 p.m., with a networking reception to follow at 2:30 p.m. Learn more and register to join this great event!

We have similar kudos for Professors Josh Lawler and Aaron Wirsing, who will both be participating in the next Labs Unlocked event with the College of the Environment, coming up on Tuesday, May 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Learn more and RSVP by April 30!

A week later, on May 9, Aaron—busy much?—will be one of four panelists at the College of the Environment’s next edition of Amplify: Conversations About Science Communication, with the theme, “Communicating Science in a World with Differing Values.” Held in the Vista Café at the William H. Foege Genome Sciences Building (GNOM), Amplify begins with a happy hour at 5 p.m., followed from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. by the panel and conversation. Register now!

Kudos to Aaron, also, for being nominated a second time for a UW Distinguished Teaching Award. He didn’t win this year, but the selection committee noted the tremendous quality and breadth of his student and faculty support letters.

And kudos, finally, to Wendy Star, who was nominated for the 2017 Standing Ovation Award from the Professional Staff Organization at UW!

Phew. That was a LOT of great news to share. Now, in other news …

If you missed Anthony Sinclair’s wonderful talk at our 2017 Sustaining Our World Lecture, we now have the video online for your viewing pleasure. Give it a watch!

On the way-distant horizon, Professor David Butman shared this talk that might interest quite a few folks in our community. On Thursday, October 26, at 3:30 p.m., Dr. Kamini Singha will be giving a talk as part of the Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecture Series in Groundwater Science, “The Critical Role of Trees in Critical Zone Science: An Exploration of Water Fluxes in the Earth’s Permeable Skin.” The series—which has reached more than 85,000 groundwater students, faculty members and professionals—honors Henry Darcy of France for his 1856 investigations that established the physical basis upon which groundwater hydrogeology has been studied ever since.

A competition to consider: In collaboration with the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS), Case Studies in the Environment, a peer-reviewed journal, is offering a $2,000 prize for the best environmental case study, as well as two $500 honorable mention prizes. Read more about the contest details. The deadline for consideration is June 30.

Also, don’t forget that another Student Brown Bag Lunch is coming up this Wednesday, April 26, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Forest Club Room. Bring your lunch and come hang out with fellow students (staff and faculty also invited)!



UW’s Race & Equity Initiative recently put together a great story, “New Course Shines Light on Environmental (In)Justice,” that highlights SEFS master’s student Jessica Hernandez—as well as Isabel Zamanillo and Kristiina Vogt—and her work teaching the new “Decolonizing the Environmental Discourse” class. Good stuff!

The Race & Equity Initiative will be hosting a free workshop on Monday, May 8, “Leading with a Racial Equity Lens for Structural Transformation.” Register online if you’d like to attend this workshop, which comes highly recommended.

On Wednesday, May 3, the College of the Environment is hosting “Meet, Greet, Teach: An informal conversation on interdisciplinary approaches to teaching,” from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Fishery Sciences 203. The theme this spring is “Expanding the Universe, Braiding the Path: Can non-Western ways play a role in expanding science education? How might we weave together multiple starting points to create a greater, integrated whole?” Among the four speakers will be Professor Ernesto Alvarado, and you can RSVP for free online (by May 2).



The search committee for the new soils faculty candidate has released a schedule for the four on-campus visits and talks (with more details to come about the specific candidates):

Monday, May 1: Candidate #1 will talk with graduate students from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Anderson 107A; drop in anytime, no assigned schedule. His/her research talk will take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room.

Monday, May 8: Candidate #2 will talk with graduate students from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Anderson 107A; drop in anytime, no assigned schedule. His/her research talk will take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room.

Monday, May 15: Candidate #3 will talk with graduate students from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Anderson 107A; drop in anytime, no assigned schedule. His/her research talk will take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room.

Monday, May 22: Candidate #4 will talk with graduate students from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Anderson 107A; drop in anytime, no assigned schedule. His/her research talk will take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room.



Wildlife Seminar: Mondays, 3:30-4:50 p.m., Kane 130

ESRM 429 Seminar: Tuesdays, 8:30-9:20 a.m., AND 223

SEFS Seminar Series: On hiatus until Autumn 2017



Professor Brian Harvey, one of our newest faculty members, is a co-author on a paper that just came out in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), “Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes.” The lead author is from the University of Colorado, which put out a great release about the research, “New era of western wildfire demands new ways of protecting people, ecosystems.”

On April 14, the U.S. Geological Survey published a release, “Freshwater Ecosystems are an Important Part of the Alaskan Carbon Cycle,” about a new paper in Ecological Applications, “Inland waters and their role in the carbon cycle of Alaska,” on which Professor David Butman is a co-author.



On April 21, Professor Phil Levin co-authored an op-ed—with Mary Ruckelshaus from Natural Capital—in the Seattle Times, “March for Science, stand as a community.”

On April 19, The New York Times Magazine ran a great feature, “Our Climate Future Is Actually Our Climate Present,” that includes quotes from Professor Peter Kahn.



The Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) is proud to announce the inaugural issue of its brand-new newsletter, The Learning Forest, which is produced in partnership with the Washington Department of Natural Resources. There’s tons of great stuff in there, including a story by SEFS alumnus Ryan Haugo (’06, M.S.; ’10, Ph.D.), who makes his second straight appearance in the Straight Grain.