Alumni Focus

Alumnus gives SEFS winter lecture

Dr. Eric Dinerstein, ’79, ’83,  the World Wildlife Fund’s Chief Scientist and Vice President  for Conservation Science, gave the SEFS 2012 “Sustaining our World” Winter Lecture, "All Together Now: Linking Ecosystem Services, Endangered Species Conservation, and Local Livelihoods.” The lecture, on March 1, 2012, was co-sponsored by the School and the College of the Environment.

Dinerstein is a 24-year veteran of the World Wildlife Fund, where he has led an unprecedented effort to identify every ecoregion on earth and define the most biologically important wildlife species. Known as the “Global 200,” this effort guides WWF’s fieldwork in more than 100 countries and has helped develop key strategies to protect a number of endangered species, including tigers, elephants, one-horned rhinos, and snow leopards. Most recently, Dinerstein has joined a team of tiger conservationists through the Global Tiger Initiative of the World Bank to help double the number of wild tigers by 2022.

In his lecture, Dinerstein talked about innovative approaches in wildlife conservation that include considering the needs of both humans and wildlife. In his view, “the single greatest challenge for conservation worldwide is to stop the loss of habitat around the world.” Any approach, especially for endangered large mammals, must respond to deforestation and other causes of local extinctions and “range collapse,” where species are confined to increasingly limited habitats. And to consider human needs, they must also link conservation to improving local livelihoods in impoverished regions.

These innovative approaches, including a “wildlife premium market,” currently a pilot project in countries as diverse as Nepal, Kenya, Peru, Thailand, and Madagascar, hypothesize that investors and philanthropists will be more likely to contribute to payment schemes for carbon and other ecosystem services provided by forests if those forests also support charismatic and endangered wildlife. The market approach allows stakeholders to earn income by recovering and maintaining threatened “keystone” species that indirectly protect other species sharing the same habitat, and provides a financial benefit to local communities that engage in conservation stewardship.

But the plight of the tiger was the focus of Dinerstein’s talk—of the approximately 350 protected areas worldwide in the tiger’s range, none are now large enough to support a viable population. Dinerstein began his conservation work in 1975 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, where he conducted a census of the tiger population in the Karnali-Bardia Wildlife Reserve, and where he began to champion the idea of looking at species protection beyond the boundaries of a park to include their habitat at the larger landscape level. Considered ground-breaking at the time, this is now standard practice for large-mammal conservation, and, in his lecture, he discussed landscape-scale approaches, including high tech programs using LiDAR to map carbon in tiger habitats.

Interacting with the public, drawing attention to the importance of conservation and related issues such as climate change, is important for Dinerstein, who says, "I try to make people, especially those in their teens and 20s, understand that they could see the end of many species in their lifetime." His prize-winning 2007 book, Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations, is an engaging introduction to conservation biology via the memoirs of a scientist who has traveled throughout the world to study and defend endangered species.

Alumni News

Alumni of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences have gone on to incredibly diverse careers across a wide spectrum of environmental and natural resources science and management. Here is a snapshot of alums from four recent decades:

Charles Wick, ’71, ’73, ’79, a microbiologist with the U.S. Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Maryland. Wick credits his ability to “see” as a scientist to an experience he had as anundergraduate walking around the UW campus with now-Professor Emeritus Reinhard Stettler. Wick asked Stettler what he should study to become a scientist; Stettler pointed to a pine tree and said, "Why don’t you study that? See what you can learn about it on your own, then get back to me." “What Professor Stettler taught me that day was how to look closely at things,” Wick says. Read more about Wick in UW Columns

Vicki Christiansen, '83, Acting Regional Forester for the USDA Forest Service's Northern Region, an area that covers Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and parts of South Dakota, with responsibility for some 25 million acres of national forests and grass-lands. Her previous positions have included Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Manage-ment in the Forest Service's Washington office, Arizona State Forester, and Washington State Forester, where she had a 26-year career with the state's Department of Natural Resources.

Felix “Tony” Basabe, ’92, Air Quality Analyst for the Swinomish Tribal Community in La Conner, Washington. Basabe recently worked on an innovative woodstove change-out program that has drama-tically improved tribal health and removed tons of pollutants from the air. He has been involved in air management for the tribe for more than 13 years, for whom he has also conducted research on bio-accumulative toxics in Native American shellfish.

Elaine Oneil, '03,' 06, Executive Director of the Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM), a 15 university consortium that conducts life cycle inventory and life cycle assessments on wood products from cradle to grave. She also holds a research scientist position at SEFS. For her graduate work, Oneil studied climate change impacts on forest health in Inland West forests, while also working on forest carbon, forest manage-ment, and Washington State’s timber supply analysis. Before her mid-career return to academia, Oneil worked as a Professional Forester.

Other alumni news briefs include:

Glen McDevitt , ’77,  is a science teacher at Alderwood Middle School in Lynnwood, Washington.

Sharon Buck, 82, is the dean of business and workforce education at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington.

Nalini Nadkarni, ‘83, University of Utah biology professor and director of the Center for Science and Math Education, was recently honored by the world's largest general science society — the American Association for the Advancement of Science—with its 2011 Public Engagement with Science Award.

Alexander Friend, ’88, is acting station director of the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station in Albany, California.

John Withey, ’02, ’06 is assistant professor in Florida International University's Department of Biological Sciences in Miami, Florida.







Stephanie (Peterson) Martin, ’06, is habitat division manager for the Makah Tribe Natural Resources Fisheries Department in Neah Bay, Washington. She previously worked with the Makah Forestry Department.

Miguel Amat y Leon, ’08, is a recreation planner for
the USDA Forest Service’s Umpqua National Forest in Roseburg, Oregon.

Doug Marconi, '10, '11, is a forester for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Colville Agency in eastern Washington, working on forest and fire management and timber sale administration. He says the SAF-accredited Master of Forest Resources (MFR) program "allowed his course of study to make a valuable connection with the world outside academia."

Jack Corkery xxx Benjamin BryantxxxKenton Miller

iN Memoriam

Jack Corkery, '39, worked in the timber industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Boeing Company before entering the U.S. Coast Guard in 1943. When he left the Coast Guard in 1946, he and his brother George started the Corkery Brothers Painting Company in Seattle. The Corkery family were strong supporters of SEFS for decades, through their warm friendship and their generous gifts, including the Corkery Family Endowed Chair. He attended many School events
and remained in contact with School throughout his life.

Professor Emeritus Ben Bryant,’48, devoted his life, after his career as a professor of wood and fiber use technology at the UW, to developing and promoting his low-tech press for making fuel briquettes out of agricultural waste, seeking to stop deforestation and improve the lives of women in developing countries. He continued to attend School and alumni events after retirement.

Kenton Miller, '62. '63, had a long career in conservation, working on all continents, including Antarctica, and was a recognized leader in park and protected areas management. He served as director general of The World Conservation Union from 1983 through 1988. As an officer of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), he headed FAO's Latin American Program on Wildland Management. He authored the first text on park planning for the Spanish-speaking world and introduced and developed internationally the concepts and tools for managing wildlands by bioregions and categories of land use.

Other alumni we remember:

Don Lee Fraser, ‘41
Joseph Zaremba, ‘48
Leonard Burkart, ‘49
Allen Fisher, '49
Lyndley Smith, ‘49
Rodney Knudson, ‘50
Winchell Epperson, '50
Donald Morgan, '51
Robert Zeller, '51

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