Staff Profile | Staff News

Staff Profile

Brian Thompson’s interest in gardening started at an early age—for his 7th birthday his parents gave him a dozen gladiolus corms.  As they grew and bloomed, he began to record the varying plant heights, size and number of florets, and the impact of environmental factors (such as his brother’s lawnmower!) on their success.  As other plants, bulbs, and seeds were added to that early garden, an almost equal fascination took hold with the accompanying data logs, site maps, and charts one could prepare.  Collecting catalogs and, as his allowance grew, books on gardening topics naturally followed.

“This interest in horticulture and its accompanying literature took a long time to coalesce into a career,” says Brian, “but perhaps the pleasure of recording and organizing observations from the natural world predisposed me to a later combined math and astronomy degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA.  Whitman also launched my interest in music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods in Europe.  Even today I buzz on crumhorns with the Tielman Susato Krummhorn Gesellschaft, play mammoth recorders with the ensemble Sweet and Low—and, as many of my fellow CUHers hear on a regular basis, cover flute parts with the Phoney Ventorum.”

Surrounded by such richly rewarding side pursuits, it was amongst librarians that Brian would find kindred souls in the quest for widely varying information and how to manage and share it.  This coincided with the growing awareness within the profession that computers are more compulsive than any human at tracking, organizing, and presenting knowledge. This marriage of professional tradition and new technology was just too good to be ignored.

“Serendipity continued as I began volunteering at the Elisabeth C. Miller Horticultural Library at the Center for Urban Horticulture while working on my Master of Library Science from the UW Information (née Library) School.  Like several others on the current Miller Library staff, volunteering led to being hired, culminating with my becoming Systems and Technical Services Librarian in 1997.  From this vantage point, I have managed the creation of the library’s website (, making the library’s holdings available on-line as part of the University Libraries’ catalog, and have become the book review editor of the Washington Park Arboretum Bulletin.”

This almost perfect job had a rude awakening a year and a half ago with the fire bombing of Merrill Hall.  Suddenly those few, vaguely remembered lectures on book preservation and conservation took on a whole new importance, and the much touted concept of a library without walls (or much else) was reality.  During seven months of closure, the Miller staff was scattered to other libraries on campus or to a warehouse at Sand Point, sorting library materials as they were returned from extensive restoration. Fortunately the newly redesigned Miller website allowed at least a part of the library’s mission of service to the general horticultural community and gardening public to continue during this time.

Today, from the interim library office he shares in Isaacson Hall (graciously provided by the Northwest Horticultural Society), Brian can view the remains of Merrill Hall and, like all the staff, faculty, and students at CUH, face the realities of fund-raising, new building design, communal living, and “making do” as part of daily life.  Despite this, the library has reopened in the former Isaacson classroom and graduate student study on its old schedule and has much of the collections intact and available, either on site or by request from storage.  Reference services, especially from off-site access, have actually increased through use of the ever-growing resources on the website or by calls to the Plant Answer Line (206-UW-PLANT) quick reference service.

A refuge for Brian from all the turmoil of the last 18 months has been to go back to his garden, where, he says, “the changes and additions of recent years reflect the influence and camaraderie of the other plant ‘nuts’ at CUH and the community that supports it.”  But one thing has continued through all these changes—he stills grows gladiolus!


Staff Report and News

Staff Report

Jim McCarter reports on recent activities of CFR’s Landscape Management Project. Over 3,000 copies of the Landscape Management System (LMS) software, developed in CFR’s Silviculture Lab by Jim and former CFR faculty, Chad Oliver, have been downloaded from the website

Jim says, “LMS also supports a number of research projects along with its public users. New management planning tools developed by CFR graduate student Jeff Comnick, with support from BLM, were presented in his just completed thesis ‘Development and Application of a Decision Support Tool to Analyze Alternatives for Landscapes Composed of Multiple Ownerships.’ This capability has increased the pressure to handle larger land bases in LMS, and Chris Nelson, software programmer for the project, has demonstrated that we can speed up the processing by more than an order of magnitude with binary files. These and other capabilities will be included in the LMS 3.0 release which Chris has scheduled for early next year. U.S. Forest Service inventory data for the South Deep watershed in the Colville National Forest has been assembled by CFR graduate students Michael Andreu and Luciana Ingaramo for an analysis of forest restoration alternatives in fire-prone overstocked forests. LMS analytical capabilities have been used by Heather Rogers for a project that examines fuel reduction alternatives in the Fremont and Okanogan National Forests, by Kevin Ceder to successfully facilitate consensus building towards selection of a forest management strategy for the Satsop forest reserve near Elma, WA, and by Morris Johnson to develop forest management alternatives for the Medford Watershed.  Jason Cross is working with the WA Department of Natural Resources to create LMS portfolios for watersheds within the Olympic Experimental State Forest.  Joint cooperation continues with Yale, with Megan Mattox, ’98, serving as the program coordinator for Chad Oliver and Yale’s Global Institute for Sustainable Forestry.  Megan is working with the U.S. Air Force, using LMS to develop a forest planning strategy for Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

The Landscape Management Project has also contributed to a multi-institution re-search project designed to analyze the full environmental life cycle for wood products. The Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM), presented research findings, using LMS as the forest management simulator, to the annual Forest Products Society meeting in Madison, WI in June 2002, including demonstrating the impact of forest man-agement alternatives for carbon stored in the forest and the forest products pipeline.  CFR graduate student Carolina Manriquez developed spreadsheet links of the CORRIM research finding to LMS outputs and presented her preliminary analysis at the Western Forest Economists annual meeting in May 2002.”

Staff News

Emmanuel Amaefule joined CFR as a Budget/Fiscal Analyst in April 2002. Emmanuel provides assistance with sponsored research proposals and administration.

Brian Boyle has been hired to work on fundraising for the Northwest Environmental Forum.  Brian is also a new member and the new Chair of the CFR Advisory Board.

Jason Cross, ’02, joined the Olympic Natural Resources Center staff as Research Coordinator, effective May 1, 2002.

Zoe Edelstein was hired as a Research Technician, effective January 20, 2002.

Jim Fiore’s last day at CFR was April 6, 2002.  Jim was a nursery worker at the Center for Urban Horticulture.

Patricia Gomez went on a sailing trip donated by David Ford at last spring’s silent auction scholarship fund drive. She reports: “David donated a day of sailing on his sailboat for a party of four, lunch included. I placed the winning bid and I took three of my friends along on the trip on Saturday, August 24th. It was great and David was a wonderful host. This type of faculty involvement in fundraising for scholarships provides a wonderful example.” Patricia also placed the winning bid on a day of dogsledding with John Marzluff, hopefully, this winter.

CFR welcomes Steve Hettinga, who will serve as Assistant Director of Development, effective September 3, 2002.  He comes to CFR from the UW Office of Development, Annual Giving Program.

On August 11, 2002, Stan Humann was given a retirement sendoff from CFR at Pack Forest. Stan, ’60,

Stan enjoying salmon barbecue with friends and well-wishers.

worked for CFR as the College Lands Manager for 20 years.  He continues to serve on the CFRAA advisory board. Stan’s farewell began with a salmon barbecue and included a tribute/roast for his many years of service. (See related article)

Phil Hurvitz and Luke Rogers attended the 22nd annual ESRI Geographic Information Systems User Conference in San Diego, CA on July 5-12, 2002. Topics ranged from emerging technologies to cutting-edge research.  Over 12,000 GIS professionals, researchers, and educators from around the world attended.

Fred Hoyt recently assumed overall supervisory responsibilities for the grounds, greenhouses, and building facilities at the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Washington Park Arboretum (WPA).

Linda Kaye accepted a new development position with the UW Center for Women and Democracy in June 2002. She will be missed by CFR, but we congratulate her on this opportunity to bring all of her skills, energy, and commitment to the success of an exciting new UW venture.  The Center develops and supports vital programs on women’s leadership and participation in local, national, and global affairs.

Lara-Karena Kellogg was hired as a Research Analyst, effective April 1, 2002.

CFR welcomes Shane Krause to the permanent staff.  Shane is a Senior Computer Specialist, effective April 1, 2002.

Stephanie McAfee is a new Research Scientist at CFR, effective August 16, 2002. 

Brett Mercier has been hired to manage the facilities at the Washington Park Arboretum, as well as managing the lobby and receptionist volunteers and providing administrative help.

Chris Pfeiffer, horticulturalist at the Arboretum since 1987, left CFR in May 2002.  We wish Chris well on her new endeavors!

Monica Ravin attended an August 2002 meeting of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta in Hamilton, Ontario.

John Shipman accepted a permanent position in CFR’s Financial Services Office in April 2002. 

Doug St. John resigned his position as Executive Director of the Precision Forestry Cooperative (PFC) effective July 31, 2002. Doug says, “I have great admiration for my time with PFC and its goals and hope to continue contributing to the cooperative.”

Michelle Trudeau, Student Services Manager, participated on behalf of CFR in the Colville Confederated Tribes’ first annual Education Summit on August 5-6, 2002 in Omak, WA. The event’s theme was “Bridging the Educational and Cultural Divide in Indian Country,” and offered two days of sessions, presentations, lectures, and educational display booths. Entertainment included a concert by Jim Boyd, who performed on the film soundtrack of “Smoke Signals.” Michelle says, “The conference was informative about best practices and featured great role models for the young people attending. Several college, university, and program representatives were present, as well as many tribal members.”

Congratulations to Rebecca Work, promoted to Gardener II, effective December 16, 2001.

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