School News


Jorge Ramos, MS 2010, (right) with thesis advisor Assistant Professor Josh Lawler at the SFR Graduation Celebration. Photo: Ramona Hickey.

SFR's 2010 graduating class got a warm sendoff at the School's annual graduation celebration on June 11, 2010. Following a formal program in Kane Hall, at which Janet Wainwright, BS '85, gave the keynote speech, graduates and their families gathered along with other faculty, staff, and students in the Anderson Hall courtyard to enjoy cake and punch and an afternoon of sunshine. The class of 117 students were awarded 73 Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources, 31 Master of Science, one Master of Forest Resources, two Master of Environmental Horticulture, and nine Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Their paths will take them to a wide diversity of careers in the public and private sector, as well as continuing study at the graduate level.


pse curriculum broadens focus

The School's Paper Science and Engineering (PSE) undergraduate program has completed its transformation into a broader Bioresource Science and Engineering (BSE) program. Program changes were motivated by a recognition that conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals will become a major industry in the 21st century, and that this is a strategic opportunity for SFR to train engineers for careers in this emerging field.

While conversion of biomass to fibers and fiber products will remain a strong international industry, it is anticipated that processes that convert biomass into fuels and high value chemicals will complement and eventually surpass it. In anticipation of this evolving industry, the faculty three years ago restructured PSE graduate and research programs to
focus on producing fuels and chemicals from biomass. The graduate program is growing and funding has been secured to build and equip laboratories and pilot areas, as well as for specific research projects.

Goals of the new BSE undergraduate program include that its graduates be well trained process engineers with knowledge of fiber processing, the physical properties of fiber webs, and the processes required to break down biomass and fractionate components to recover valuable molecules; have a strong background in the physical and chemical properties of biomass; and
have excellent problem solving skills. The curriculum is designed to complement the UW's undegraduate program in chemical engineering, and BSE students are encouraged to take advantage of the fifth year double degree option.

The Water Center legacy

The Water Center, a collaboration of several UW units, will cease operations on June 30, 2010, but its legacy will live on. The center was formed in 2001 from two UW centers focused on water-related issues. The Center for Streamside Studies was created in 1987 to help resolve controversies concerning the management of forest, fish, wildlife, and water resources in the Pacific Northwest. The Center for Urban Water Resources Management was established in 1991 with a focus on the consequences of urban land development on the region's water resources. Their combination reflected the belief that a wide variety of students, faculty, and off-campus collaborators could best improve the value of scientific research and educational outreach on water-resource issues and environmental health. 





The center's closure results from recent state budget cuts and changes in UW program directions.   Water-related  programs will continue at the UW at the Center for Urban Waters on the Tacoma campus, and in individual teaching and research programs on the Bothell and Seattle campuses. The longstanding and popular Water Seminars will be continued through SFR and will remain open to the public. An web archive of Water Center website research and educational outreach materials will remain available.

A celebration of Water Center accomplishments was held in the Lockwood Forest Club Room on June 4, 2010, where participants in the center gathered to reminisce and to toast its long service to SFR and the UW. Says Interim Director Tom Hinckley, “The Center leaves an incredible legacy in research, teaching, and outreach.  We honor that legacy and recognize the role that directors and staff, most recently Acting Director Professor Bob Edmonds and Program Manager, Debbie Livingstone, have had in piloting the Center over the last two and half decades.”

Alex Win receives travel fellowship

For the second year in a row, an SFR student has been the recipient of the Bonderman Fellows Travel Award.  Last year it was MS student Melissa Maxa.  This year it’s Alex Win, an ESRM senior, who graduated this spring.  Win was among seven undergraduate Bonderman Fellows. The award, $20,000, has a  catch.  Each student must travel solo for eight months, to at least six countries in at least two regions of the world, during which they are not permitted to pursue academic study or research. Their charge is to simply travel, learn, explore, and grow.

Win's hometown is Yangon, Miyanmar, and his interest in the environment extends beyond the classroom  and into volunteer positions with EarthCorp, the Seattle Aquarium, and the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at UW Botanic Gardens. Through traveling, Win wants “to see the fish, wildlife, and natural landscapes I’ve seen on television growing up.” He plans to explore the jungles of Papua New Guinea to witness the “weird and wonderful birds-of-paradise and find the bright and deadly frogs of Panama, snorkel the dwindling colorful coral reefs in Indonesia and Belize, feel the hot sand between my toes in the deserts of Gobi, stop by the ever-growing cities of China, and hop across the border to journey with the seasons in the company of nomads in rural Mongolia.”

As if that weren’t enough, Win also plans to spend time in the Himalayas and India. His trip is structured around learning about the “social, cultural, and financial impediments present in various landscapes and societies to see how they might hinder conservation efforts and find ways to balance the immediate needs of the people with the needs of the wildlife.”


In faculty news, faculty promotions included Josh Lawler, promoted to Associate Professor; and Sarah Reichard, promoted to Professor — both appointments are effective September 16, 2010.  Daniel Underwood, faculty member in ecological economics at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington was appointed Affiliate Assistant Professor.  L. Monika Moskal advanced to President-Elect of the Puget Sound American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. Susan Bolton was honored at the College of Engineering’s Diamond Awards Banquet on May 7, 2010 for her work as a faculty mentor for the UW student chapter of Engineers Without Borders; Bolton is an Adjunct Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and in Global Health.

A new name for the school, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, was recently approved by the SFR faculty and will be forwarded to the UW administration for approval.  The vote was the culmination of a process originating in the School’s strategic planning over the past decade. 

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed HB 2503 amending the bill’s previous language on membership of the Washington Board of Natural Resources; the new language provides that the Director of the UW School of Forest Resources sits as a Board member.

SFR was a co-sponsor of the UW's Graduate Diversity Fellows Dinner on February 18, 2010.  

Dave Peterson gave the Sustaining our Northwest World Lecture, sponsored by SFR, the College of the Environment, and the UWAA, on March 11, 2010.  He spoke on “Climate, Forests, and Future: A View from Treeline.”  Watch the video produced by UWTV.

On April 15, 2010, the Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory hosted a day-long technical exchange, in partnership with the UW Geospatial Club and the Puget Sound American Society for Photogrammetry. Remote sensing scientists, industry professionals, and students attended from Washington and British Columbia.

Gary Machlis (’75) gave SFR’s Distinguished Alumni Seminar on April 23, 2010.  A faculty member at the University of Idaho and the first-ever Science Advisor to the Director, National Park Service, Machlis spoke on “On the Shoulders: An Interdiscplinary Life in Conservation, Science, and Politics.”  Watch the video.

SFR participated in meetings with candidates for the deanship of the College of the Environment as three finalist candidates visited the UW campus in April: Mark Abbott, Dean of Oregon State University’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences; Sanjayan Muttulingham, Lead Scientist for the Nature Conservancy; and Lisa Graumlich, Director of the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Graumlich  was appointed to the position, effective July 1, 2010.

Garb Day, sponsored by the School’s Forest Club, was held May 15, 2010 at the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest in Eatonville, Washington. Alumni, faculty, staff, and students gathered to enjoy a day of camaraderie with events that included a salmon barbecue, guided nature hikes, and a forestry quiz bowl.

The Denman Forestry Issues program, “Forest Landowners and the Health of Puget Sound,” was held on May 18, 2010 at UW Botanic Gardens. Presenters included SFR's Professor Rob Harrison; Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark; Tulalip Tribe Natural Resources Commissioner Terry Williams; Cascade Land Conservancy Policy Director Dan Stonington; Family Forest Foundation Director Steve Stinson; consultant John Lombard;  and biologists Robert Bilby (Weyerhaeuser), Peter Bissell (U.S. Forest Service), and Tom Quinn (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife).  Denman programs are recorded by UWTV and broadcast nationwide on the UWTV cable channel and the ResearchChannel. They can also be viewed via streaming video at the UWTV website. The series is funded with support from Mary Ellen and the late W. Richard Denman.

SFR participants in the Tribal Renewable Energy Workshop held on the UW campus May 11-13, 2010, included graduate students Laurel James,  Everett Isaac, and Steve Rigdon, who are studying in the Bioresource-Based Energy for Sustainable Societies IGERT program, and alumni Phil Rigdon, BS '96, and Don Motanic, BS '78.