Center News


Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH )

Rebuilding and Enhancing Merrill Hall—an Update 

As reported in past issues of this newsletter, funding for the rebuilding of Merrill Hall, including enhancements to the original structure and the construction of a facility for an environmental forum, remain high priorities for the UW and for CFR’s development efforts.  Linda Kaye, the College’s Director of Development, reports that although the architect’s current rebuild estimate has proven to be higher than first estimated, strong support for CUH and the rebuilding project is in place and there are promising opportunities to develop additional funding. Rebuilding is underway and the Miller Hull Architect firm has just completed the predesignstage.

We Need Your Help

The College is asking for your help to go beyond replacement of Merrill Hall to fully achieve these goals. We need your pledge of cash and “in kind” donations of materials by May 31, 2002 in order for the enhancements to be included in the building plans.  Contributions towards this effort can be sent to:

          The Urban Horticulture Recovery and Enhancement Fund

            c/o Linda Kaye
            Box 352100
            Seattle, WA  98195

If you would like additional information on the status of the rebuild or have questions please call Linda Kaye at 206-543-9505

And see the CUH website at:



An artist's rendering of the proposed lobby

To date:

•  The legislature and the UW, very shortly after the firebombing occurred, allocated $4.1 million to rebuild Merrill Hall.

•  Although the architect’s current estimate to rebuild Merrill is $5.4 million, the UW has agreed to stand by its pledge to rebuild.

•  CFR has agreed to evaluate cost cutting efforts to reduce the rebuild estimate by $0.2 - 0.4 million.

•  CFR is working with donors to develop support for the purchase of needed furniture and equipment for Merrill Hall, to secure additional funds to increase the size of the Miller Library, to construct an improved entry and lobby, to landscape the grounds, and to construct the Northwest Environmental Forum.

The College is enthusiastic about the proposals that have been developed for Merrill Hall enhancement. CUH and CFR have involved many community members in discussions about how to use this opportunity to create an enhanced building and new programs to match their vision for the future.  A set of goals emerged from these discussions for the building that include:

•  A reception area that fosters public use and information exchange

•  Improved programmatic integration

•  Space that fosters collaborative learning and interaction

•  Space that addresses the needs of CUH for the next two decades

•  A structure that maximizes and illustrates elements of sustainability

The proposals, which will need support from a wide range of alumni, friends, and colleagues in both the public and private sectors in order to be realized include:

Creating an enhanced lobby and entrance.  A reception area where visitors encounter a welcoming atmosphere and easy access to information and services about learning opportunities, current events, activities, research, and information about partner ­organizations will foster public use and information exchange while maintaining the security of other building elements. 

Creating an expanded library.  The Elisabeth C. Miller Library, the foremost horticultural library in the Northwest, serves the academic community, the Washington Park Arboretum, horticultural professionals, and the public.  Since its opening 16 years ago, the services it provides have grown exponentially.  To fully serve all visitors, the library seeks:

•  More floor space for materials

•  A small, private space for rare books that takes into account special requirements such as a metal fire door and light, temperature, and humidity control

•  A room for the slide collection and its viewing

•  A room, potentially connecting to other parts of the building, for tours, meetings, and other group activities

Designing innovative and creative landscaping.  Innovative landscaping to integrate the building, water, and their surroundings can accomplish three things: serve as a transition from the highly structured and human-impacted neighborhoods to the north and east to the wilder elements of the Union Bay Natural Area, provide interpretative and learning opportunities, and demonstrate elements of water conservation and sustainable landscaping practices. Elements accomplishing these goals include:

•  A green roof

•  A system to collect water from the green roof and from an older, steel roof, providing an opportunity to measure and interpret water conservation data

•  A cistern system to collect this water for irrigation

Ensuring sustainable construction.  At a time of growing public awareness of environmental problems, the rebuild provides an opportunity to create a model for “green” building on the UW campus. High standards of energy, water, and resource efficiency and environmental responsibility could meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, as well as provide the highest quality indoor environment.  Serving as a model for the campus and the community, a sustainably built Merrill Hall will become a point of pride for the UW. 

Providing a Northwest Environmental Forum.  A new facility at CUH, the Northwest Environmental Forum, will provide a space for collaborative problem solving related to a wide variety of environmental and natural resource issues.  Envisioned as an addition and enhancement to Merrill Hall, the fundraising goal will likely be in the range of $2-3 million. To accomplish this vision, the facility will have a virtual and real connection with other buildings at CUH, CFR, and UW.  The forum will contain a meeting room seating 75-100 people with several smaller breakout rooms. The main room will be arranged in an elliptical pattern with easily accessible state-of-the-art computer connections and multi-media projection equipment. The equipment will allow presentation, visualization, and analysis of information for discussion, analysis, and resolution of complex natural resource issues. Management information and decision support systems will allow policy options to be analyzed and visualized in a real-time environment with options for simultaneous broadcast to remote sites.  Offices, a kitchen, and other service facilities will be included.

The Northwest Environmental Forum will facilitate integration with other UW units involved with environmental and natural resource issues, enhancing and promoting application of the best science—whether it be horticulture, forestry, ecology, fisheries, geology, landscape design, or other disciplines—to complex environmental and natural resource problems.

Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program 

The Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program, located at CUH, is dedicated to conserving Washington’s native rare plants through methods including in situ and ex situ conservation, rare plant monitoring, reintroduction, and education.  It is the first plant conservation program focused exclusively on vascular plants designated as rare in Washington State, and plant material is being collected and grown in the greenhouse for eventual reintroduction into native sites. This method is described as inter situ conservation.  Program staff, students, and volunteers also monitor rare plant populations located throughout Washington.  Goals of the program include the following:

CFR graduate students, staff, and faculty planting golden paintbrush at Ebey's landing, Whidbey Isand, WA.

•  Collection, storage, and propagation of seeds of rare plants.

Reintroduction of rare and endangered plants to native habitat.

Monitoring of rare plant populations throughout Washington.

Conservation research of rare species native to Washington.

Training of students and volunteers to be involved in all aspects of the program.

Joining a national network of institutions working to preserve biological diversity (the Center for Plant Conservation).

Creating educational materials and programs for all ages.

Last year, 27 volunteers monitored 66 rare plant populations in Washington State.  In the process, they discovered 18 new populations of the monitored species.  A recent project is the propagation and reintroduction of the golden paintbrush, Castilleja levisecta.  Considerable progress was made this year on the micropropagation of showy stickseed, Hackelia venusta, another rare plant.

Symposium on Extinction

CUH hosted the Sigma Xi And Washington Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa Winter Quarter lecture on February 27, 2002.  Entitled “Extinction is forever—or is it?,” the symposium featured Eugene Hunn, UW Professor of Anthropology, speaking on the extinction of cultures; Sharon Hargus, UW Associate Professor of Linguistics, speaking on the extinction of languages; and Peter Ward, UW Professor of Geological Sciences, speaking on the extinction of organisms. 

Washington Park Arboretum (WPA)

Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2002

WPA thanks the Arboretum Foundation for putting together another spectacular Preview Party at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in February. Both attendance and revenue at the preview increased from last year. The Arboretum’s display garden entitled “Moonlight Soiree” was designed to evoke a 1930s-era grand home and garden on the shores of Lake Washington. The display earned a Northwest Flower and Garden Show bronze medal and featured plants fashionable at the time of the Arboretum’s founding as well as a terrace, arbor, rose garden, woodland garden, and moonlit night backdrop.

Second Northwest Meeting of Small Gardens

WPA hosted the second Northwest Meeting of Small Gardens.  Representatives from 15 Pacific Northwest gardens attended the meeting; also attending were representatives from the Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in San Francisco, CA and the San Antonio Botanical Garden.  Attendees discussed the purpose and scope of a network of emerging and established public gardens in the Pacific Northwest, as well as fundraising ideas.  Small gardens in the region are working on developing a brochure for visitors to public gardens.

Heritage Preservation 2002 Conservation Assessment Program Grant

WPA has been awarded a Heritage Preservation 2002 Conservation Assessment Program grant, with work to begin after June 2002.  The award will allow the Arboretum to meet additional challenge grants awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR)

China Market Development Program

In November 2001, CINTRAFOR, in cooperation with the Evergreen Building Products Association (EBPA), the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA), the Softwood Export Council, the State of Washington, and the APA-The Engineered Wood Association, launched the China Market Development Program for US Building Materials.  Funded by a U.S. Department of Commerce grant and industry participation, the program, called US-China Build, was created to promote Chinese markets for wood frame construction and wood-based building materials. Wood frame construction technology will be taught through technical seminars, specification manuals, and a question and answer forum on the program website  U.S. products and services will also be promoted through activities such as trade missions, directories, and a wood design award competition.

An equally important component of the US-China Build program is to educate U.S. manufacturers, through seminars and research, about China’s housing and construction market. CINTRAFOR is producing a sourcebook for U.S. exporters that will include information about factors that influence China’s housing market such as the economy, distribution system, housing regulations, and competition. Ongoing research over the next three years will focus in growing detail on building materials distribution and the residential construction industry.

Precision Forestry Cooperative (PFC)

Student Support

Matthew Walsh, currently a master’s student in the forest engineering and hydrology program (FEH), reports on his involvement in precision forestry projects and in the PFC. Matthew says, “I graduated from CFR in 1997 with a BS in forest engineering.  While working on my degree, I also worked for the WA Department of Natural Resources on several projects, including road abandonment, harvest layout, harvest planning, and intranet development.  After graduation I worked for Champion Pacific Timberlands doing computer network administration and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). At Champion I had the opportunity to develop harvest plans for various blocks of Champion property and to develop mapping and analysis tools to provide managers and foresters with direct access to GIS data, a resource they previously did not have. After Champion Pacific became part of International Paper and then part of the Campbell Group, I left to do private consulting in GIS and worked on projects for PFC and the Rural Technology Initiative (RTI). Currently I am working with the PFC on a visualization project in the Tiger Mountain area, near Seattle. My work involves a case study using visualization within the Raging River area of Tiger Mountain State Forest that will show various management options as they would be visible from I-90 and local communities. I am also working on methods to make visualization tools more accessible to forestry professionals.  In January, 2002 I began the graduate program in FEH where my main focus will be on the use of visualization tools in forestry decision making.”

Visualization projects are among the priorities of PFC, which also include radio frequency identification technology (to help track tree information such as originating nursery, type of tree, planter, and even GPS location), light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology (to measure tree locations and develop high-resolution canopy and topographic data), and forest navigation and other decision support systems.

Rural Technology Initiative (RTI)

Annual Technical Review

RTI held its annual technical review on January 10-11, 2002.  The event was held at CFR with the participation of rural advisors, extension agents, and UW and WSU faculty. Thirty project reports were presented, followed by discussion and review from rural advisors. Advisors commented that “the number of projects and on-the-ground impact was beyond their expectation for the first full year after a start-up year,” and that “the quality of the young people making presentations and doing the work in the field was outstanding.”  Meeting participants also discussed new projects, leading up to a first cut on priorities for the coming year.

Presentations and Conference Participation

RTI presentations included:

•  On January 24th, 2002, Kevin Zobrist was the featured speaker at the weekly Studium Generale hosted by Peninsula College in Port Angeles, WA. The audience included students from an environmental studies class at the college and members of the local community.  Kevin discussed the importance of non-industrial private landowners to the state, and presented the westside case studies as examples of how such landowners are impacted by unintended consequences of regulation. 

•  Kevin Gehringer made a presentation to the Committee for Monitoring and Environmental Research (CMER) on February 21, 2002. He discussed results of a statistical analysis for modeling old forest plots as samples for the desired future conditions (DFC) target under the new Forest and Fish Regulations.

•  Bruce Lippke spoke at the Small Diameter Timber Symposium held in Spokane, WA on February 25-27, 2002.  In addition to a general presentation on RTI, he discussed a project to design fire-risk-reducing management regimes that are responsive to local values, including important un­allocated costs and non-market values. 

•  Larry Mason gave a presentation on the programs and projects of RTI on March 7-8, 2002, at the annual Northwest Environmental Conference in Camas, WA, hosted by the Associated Western Pulp and Paperworkers Association.

•  Bruce Lippke made a presentation to the Washington Contract Loggers Annual Meeting on March 16, 2002 in Yakima, WA.  He summarized findings from RTI case studies on the impact of the New Forest and Fish Regulations on non-industrial private forest landowners and presented recently prepared fact sheets on the case studies findings. 

Conference participation included:

Kevin Ceder and Kevin Zobrist attended the January 18, 2002 10th Annual NIPF Foresters Workshop in Spokane. WA. Kevin Ceder and Jim McCarter attended the January 22, 2002 quarterly Growth Model Users Group meeting in Portland, OR. Kevin Ceder, Jim McCarter, and Chris Nelson participated in the 2nd Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) Conference on February 12-15, 2002 in Fort Collins, CO, where Kevin presented a paper entitled “Linking tools of forest and wildlife managers: wildlife habitat evaluation using the Landscape Management System.

Stand Management Cooperative (SMC)

Membership in SMC Increases

Boise Cascade, a founding member of the SMC, recently rejoined the cooperative, bringing the membership to a total of 36.

SMC Field News

The SMC field crew, Bob Gonyea and Bert Hasselberg, have been visiting installations in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia to conduct scheduled plot measurements, perform treatment trigger checks, and conduct treatments on plots that have reached trigger conditions, all work that is performed during the dormant season. A summer field crew will be hired to conduct understory vegetation surveys that are scheduled the summer following plot measurements. These surveys are important for understanding overstory/understory growth interactions, as well as for measuring changes in diversity associated with stand development and treatments. Visitors to SMC plots can view the wide range of conditions that can be created in these installations.

Upcoming Meetings

The SMC Spring Meeting will be held on April 24-25, 2002 at McMenamin’s in Troutdale, OR.  The Fall Meeting will be held on September 16-18, 2002 in Campbell River, BC, and will feature trips to a variety of research sites of the BC Ministry of Forests

Center for Streamside Studies (CSS)

Graduate students surveying at the North Creek UW Bothell site. Jeff Shellberg (CFR) and Chris Brummer (Earth and Space Sciences) debate about who has to go in the deep end!

Annual Review of Research

The Center for Streamside Studies and the Center for Urban Water Resources Management (CUWRM) presented their 2002 Annual Review of Research on February 6, 2002 at the HUB West Ballroom on the UW campus.  Topics covered in the review included research projects relating to watersheds and streams and the effects of land use on stream ecology. Over 400 people attended this year, coming from agencies, tribes, industry, and academia.  Abstracts and fact sheets were made available, including new fact sheets on bull trout habitat and large woody debris. These documents are all available from the CSS website at

Information Transfer Committee

CSS’s Information Transfer Committee met on February 7, 2002 to discuss strategies for information exchange and to identify priorities for research, information, and data.  Managers and policymakers provided input concerning priority topics for a 2-3 day technical workshop.  An interactive website is planned so that constituents can view and comment on the results of the meeting, identify and discuss current, pending, and proposed research related to identified priorities, and identify potential collaborative research efforts.  They will also be able to add to the list of research priorities and provide information on current research reporting. 

Student Support

Graduate students receiving research support from CSS during Winter Quarter 2002 included: Jennifer McLean and Julie Hall (School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS)), “Potential genetic differentiation of Sockeye Salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka, spawning in the mainstem and an off-channel pond of the Cedar River”; Steve Rentmeester (SAFS), “Large woody debris recruitment”; Joshua Strange (SAFS), “Thermal refugia use by adult salmonids in the Klamath Basin”; and Chris Brummer (Earth and Space Sciences), “Drainage area control on the transition from colluvial to alluvial channels.”  Tim Brown and Virginia Travers (CFR) received a PRIME fellowship from the College of Engineering to support their work with middle school math and science teachers.  Undergraduates Ashley Adams (CFR) and Annalissa Ritchie (Zoology) assisted in the urban hyporheic project, Ashley collecting samples and Annalissa sorting and counting hyporheic invertebrates.

CFR undergraduate Ashley Adams and graduate student Jon Honea surveying cross sections at the North Creek UW Bothell site.

Walker-Ames Nomination

CSS and CUWRM’s recent nomination of Robert Costanza, Professor of Biology in the University of Maryland’s College of Life Sciences, as a candidate for the UW’s Walker Ames lecture series, has been approved.  Dr. Costanza, whose research involves modeling ecological systems at several scales ranging from microcosms to large regional landscapes and examines the interactions between ecological and economic systems, will speak in the series sometime in the next two years.  The Walker-Ames Lectures bring to the UW campus outstanding scholars in a wide range of fields. 


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