School News

thomas deluca is director FINALIST

Professor Thomas DeLuca, Bangor University, Wales

College of the Environment Dean Lisa Graumlich has announced that she is in negotiations with Dr. Thomas DeLuca, the finalist among four candidates recruited in a nationwide search who visited the UW in Spring Quarter 2012.  DeLuca is a soil and ecosystem scientist currently holding the position of Professor and National Environmental Research Council (NERC)-University Joint Chair in Environmental Sciences, in the School of Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, Wales. It is anticipated that he will assume the position of SEFS Director in Autumn 2012, subject to approval by the Board of Regents.

DeLuca has a BS in Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a MS in Soils from Montana State University, and a PhD in Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry from Iowa State University. He has held faculty positions at Slippery Rock University and at the University of Montana, where he was promoted to Professor in 2003. In 2006, in a move to combine science and policy in an applied setting, he left the Montana State University to work as a senior forest ecologist with The Wilderness Society. A chance to work in an international setting led to his current position at Bangor University, where he serves as head of the forestry group and "champion" for the University (Treborth) Botanic Garden. He also holds an administrative post as Environment Leader for Pontio Innovation, an initiative to recruit and inspire faculty in interdisciplinary research and collaboration.

Over the past 20 years, De Luca has conducted research on a variety of topics across temperate, boreal, maritime, and polar settings from micro- to landscape scale, focusing on the influence of disturbance on N and C cycling in prairie, forest, and tundra ecosystems; fire ecology; and restoration ecology. Ongoing projects include studies on the intersection of archaeology and ecosystem function in subarctic ecosystems, N and C cycling in boreal forest and Antarctic ecosystems, and a Royal Society infrastructure grant for the refurbishment of the largest rhizotron in Europe into a modern below ground carbon laboratory at Treborth.

Says DeLuca, "Curiosity, passion, dedication, and a strong desire to share are facets of my character that have shaped my career. Expanding our understanding of soils as an essential natural resource, furthering our understanding of natural resource sustainability, and reaching students, the scientific community, and the greater public with a message of environmental awareness and ecosystem stewardship are my primary objectives In teaching, my approach has always been one of enthusiastic engagement and participation within the lecture hall and in the field setting. I find that students thrive in the natural environment and love the opportunity to place new found knowledge in an applied and practical context.

I hope to focus on these objectives by taking a primary leadership role in promoting the activities and aspirations of a diverse faculty and student body and advance a collaborative, collegial, and dynamic academic environment."


The Spring 2012 Denman Forestry Issues Series, "Forests and Carbon: Role of Forests and Forest Products in Carbon Mitigation and Energy Independence," was held on May 15, 2012, at UW Botanic Gardens. Speakers from SEFS, Oregon State University, the University of Wisconsin, the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the University of British Columbia, Plum Creek Timber Company, Weyerhaeuser Company, Yakama Power, and Climate Solutions explored the topics "Forests, Forest Products, and the C Cycle"; "Carbon Mitigation and Energy Independence"; and "Successful Examples and Concerns." Speaker sessions were followed by a panel discussion.   Denman programs are recorded by UWTV and broadcast nationwide on the UWTV cable channel. They can also be viewed via streaming video at the UWTV website. The series is funded with support from Mary Ellen and W. Richard Denman.


WPPF Conference

The Washington Pulp and Paper Foundation (WPPF) held its 43rd Annual Conference, "Preparing our Students for a Bio-Based Industry," on May 24, 2012 on the UW campus. WPPF, an organization of member companies, alumni, and friends centered at the UW, strives to prepare dedicated graduates in Bioresource Science and Engineering (BSE) and Chemical Engineering through financial support, UW linkages, and research, networking, and public outreach. 

Luncheon speaker Tim Eggeman of ZeaChem, Inc. discussed the ZeaChem Process of manufacturing biodiesel from cottonwood trees, in a collaboration with Professor Rick Gustafson, who is leading a $40,000,000 USDA biofuels research grant. The conference also featured a lively student poster session and lab tours and demos showcasing the BSE curriculum.  The evening banquet program began with a spirited BSE Student Appreciation video and words of thanks by Kathleen Kelleher, ’12.  Thomas Friberg, ’82, received recognition for his outstanding and enthusiastic contributions to WPPF, particularly his leadership on the Alumni Steering Committee.  Also acknowledged were Jay Worth, ’93, as Outstanding Alumni, and Bob Harris, Chairman and Founder of the Harris Group, Inc., as the Wall of Fame awardee. The evening ended with a keynote talk by Todd Amundson of Bonneville Power Administration, who spoke on “Energy Efficiency Cultivates Opportunities with Industry.”

Faculty PublicationS

Recent publications in major peer-reviewed research journals have included SEFS faculty, staff, student, and alumni co-authors. Examples include two articles in PloS ONE, "Predicting the Timing of Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC and Mid-Atlantic States in Response to Climate Change," and "Ecological Importance of Large-Diameter Trees in a Temperate Mixed-Conifer Forest"; and an article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, "Dispersal Will Limit Ability of Mammals to Track Climate Change in the Western Hemisphere." Authors involved include James Freund, Soo-Hyung Kim, James Lutz, Josh, Lawler and alums Tristan Nunez, ''11, Carrie Schloss, '11, and Mark Swanson,'99, '07.

John Marzluff is co-author with artist and naturalist Tony Angell, of Gifts of the Crow, recently published by Free Press. The book, a followup to the authors' In the Company of Crows and Ravens, marvels at the birds’ behavior: They play, take risks, reward people who help (or feed) them, use cars as nutcrackers, seek revenge on harassing animals, and dream—all things we humans might find strangely familiar.


Meadow in Washington state.

A conference on plant biodiversity was held at UW Botanic Gardens, March 13-14, 2012. Entitled "Conserving Plant Biodiversity in a Changing World: A View from Northwest North America," the confernce focused on the uncertain future for conserving biodiversity, economically, politically, and climatically. Participants from throughout northwestern North America presented papers and posters on a wide wange of topics, including habitat restoration, climate change effects, conservation and public engagement, indigenous landscape management, and disturbance ecology. Keynote speakers were Peter Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, and SEFS Associate Professor Josh Lawler.


Four SEFS faculty members have been promoted to Associate Professor (with tenure) effective September 16, 2012: Jon Bakker, Renata Bura, Greg Ettl, and Soo-Hyung Kim.

Generous support from the Lockwood Foundation provided for the establishment of the Byron and Alice Lockwood Endowed Professorship in Forest Resources. The fund will enhance the School's ability to recruit and retain distinguished faculty who can respond to dynamic changes in the global forest resource while preserving fundamental aspects of sustainalbe forestry and natural resource management.

The David Briggs Endowed Student Support Fund in Forest Management became fully invested by the UW and will be available for SEFS use in January 2013.

SEFS graduate students participated in Engage: The Science Speaker Series, “UW Science Now,” hosted by the Seattle Science Lectures at Town Hall during Winter 2012. This student-created and run lecture series engages the public in learning about UW research, and gives students the opportunity to learn how to communicate science to a broad audience.

The SEFS Graduate Student Symposium was held March 2, 2012; this annual event sponsored by SEFS and Xi Sigma Pi provides a forum for SEFS graduate students to share their research with fellow students, faculty, staff, and members of the UW community.

The Olympic Natural Resources Center welcomed about 100 native American youth, young adults, and tribal educational leaders from all of the tribal
nations from the west and east ends of the Olympic Peninsula (Makah, Quileute, Hoh, Quinault, Lower Elwha, Jamestown S’Kallam) for a UW Native American Career Planning Day on March 20, 2012.  Representatives from 10 UW units traveled to Forks to provide information about applying to the UW, available financial aid, and a wide variety of career possibilities.

The April 16, 2012 Northwest Environmental Forum session on "Water: A fundamental forest environmental service," focused on an assessment of scientific literature to help develop a scientifically-sound knowledge base supporting payment programs for water quality, water quantity, and the timing of water flow from private forestland. Two key geographic watersheds, Snohomish and Nisqually, emerged from the June 2011 Forum breakout group discussions, and were the primary focus of the 2012 Forum. Participant exchange at the Forum also focused on transactional progress within the two watersheds, and how to best catalyze water service market transactions within these two initial watersheds through the rest of 2012.

The 2012 Urban Forest Symposium on May 14, 2012 at UW Botanic Gardens addressed the concerns of municipalities, NGOs, and educational groups whose work involves volunteer planting and care for the urban forest.

SEF's 2012 graduating class got a warm sendoff at the School's annual graduation celebration on June 8, 2011. The class of 152 students was awarded 97 Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources, 30 Master of Science, 6 Master of Forest Resources, 4 Master of Environmental Horticulture, and 15 Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Graduates will go on to a diversity of careers in the public and private sector, as well as continuing study at the graduate level. Following a formal program in Kane Hall, at which Professor Bob Edmonds, '68, '71, gave the keynote speech, graduates and their families gathered along with faculty, staff, and students in the Anderson courtyard to enjoy cake and beverages and an afternoon of camaraderie, undiminished by a typical Seattle June rainstorm.

Kim Littke Hanft,PhD forest soils, '12, gets ready to receive her diploma certificate in Kane Hall. Photo: Lauren Grand.