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Faculty Profile: Sarah Reichard

Sarah Reichard is Research Assistant Professor of Urban Conservation Biology in the Ecosystem Sciences Division. She joined the faculty in 1997 and is based at the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH). A transplanted southerner, Sarah was born in New Orleans, LA and grew up mostly in North Carolina. Her mother was a botanist (plant geneticist) and Sarah always swore that she would be a "real" scientist, unlike her mother. Then she came to the UW, took a botany class, and after her first quarter, became a botany major.

Graduating in 1981, she began a five-year stint working at a nursery and landscaping company, becoming manager the first year. She returned to school in 1986 for a master’s degree for which she studied the systematics and horticultural potential of a primitive flowering plant found in Chile and Argentina. While doing field work in Chile, Sarah became concerned that plants she was bringing back to Wash-ington could become invasive. Searching the literature, she found that not only were there no methods available to determine invasive potential, but most of the literature said it was impossible. She was hooked! After completing her Ph.D. in 1994, successfully developing risk assessment models for introduced woody plants, she received funding from The Nature Conservancy to work on risk assessment models for plants introduced into Hawaii.

Sarah says "My first love in research will probably always be invasive plant biology. Introduced invasive plants are among the leading causes of plant endangerment in the U.S., second only to habitat loss and degradation, and they offer almost unlimited re-search opportunities in ecology and population biology. Invasive plants in natural areas have really only been recognized as a problem since the mid 1980s; now invasion biology is rapidly developing into a recognized specialty within ecology. I really enjoy the risk assessment work and am continuing to develop models for herbaceous species, both agricultural and environmental weeds. I am also interested in the effects of invaders on the natural landscape. An undergraduate student and I are investigating the effect of a rapidly spreading species in Washington, Geranium robertianum. Preliminary results suggest a possible allelopathic effect on herbaceous species, but not on woody ones."

"I am also concerned about the increasing loss of habitat in Washington, with more plant species becoming rare. With funding from The Bullitt Foundation, I launched a program that works in cooperation with state, federal, and nonprofit agencies to propagate and grow rare species for eventual reintroduction to the wild. We are currently propagating Castilleja levisecta and Hackelia venusta, both very rare, and are discussing others with potential research funders. The program received funding from The Miller Foundation to hold the first ever meeting dedicated to the research and management of rare species and ecosystems in Washington. It will be held at CUH on April 17-18, 2000, in conjunction with Earth Day 2000. We are excited about the opportunities this meeting holds for exchanging ideas and increasing collaboration on rare plant conservation!"

"I use my expertise on invasive species to provide service and have found that I really enjoy learning about the development of policy and its relationship to science. Earlier this year I participated in a review of the Plant Protection and Quarantine service within the USDA to determine whether current policies and procedures protect America’s plant resources. This review may be viewed at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/npb/safegard.html. I will continue exploring these issues in the coming year as I participate in a National Academy of Sciences study of risk assessment methods for plant related non-indigenous species."

Sarah also provides service in a number of other ways. She was recently elected as secretary to the international Society for Conservation Biology, is co-deputy chair of the Conservation Committee of the American Association for Botanical Gardens and Arboreta, and serves on the Weed Committee for Washington State, which advises the Noxious Weed Board on which species should be listed for regulatory action. She also serves on the Invasive Species Specialist Group for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and on the Science Advisory Council for the Center for Plant Conservation.

Sarah enjoys teaching, and says "I particularly enjoy lower level classes. I love taking students who don’t think they want to know much about plants and turning them on to these amazing organisms. When a student realizes that a sunflower is not a giant flower, but dozens of tiny flowers, functioning as a socialist state for the common goal of reproduction, I get the biggest charge! I know they will never look at the world in the same way again. I also enjoy teaching upper level classes, and have co-taught BIO 476 (Conservation Biology) for the last few years. I am looking forward to teaching a new invasion biology class for the three-campus restoration ecology program."

Sarah is a total plant geek (her words!) who enjoys gardening and botanizing the native flora when not researching plants. She lives on Phinney Ridge with her husband, Brian, who is amazingly supportive of her plantmania, and her cat, Tobey (a Mange Coot Cat (no, really, he is a scruffy, elderly Maine Coon Cat).

Faculty News

Susan Bolton was cited in an article entitled, "Making Room for Salmon," in the June/July issue of Sierra. The article is available for viewing on the Web at http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/199907/LOL1.frame.html.

Derek Booth, adjunct faculty member in Civil Engineering, was recently promoted to Research Associate Professor.

Gordon Bradley served as research liaison for the 1999 National Urban Forest Conference’s national program committee. He also served on the program’s local arrangements committee.

Barney Dowdle retired from the UW and his position as Professor of Forest Economics, effective June 16, 1999. Barney was first appointed to the College faculty in 1957. All of his colleagues here wish him well in his retirement!

Ivan Eastin presented a workshop on marketing and entrepreneurship to a group of Ghanaian businesspeople who were in Seattle for a three-week professional business training program. Sponsored by American Cultural Exchange, the program was held at the Seattle Pacific University campus on August 31, 1999.

Clem Hamilton reports to his new position as Director of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, CA on October 1, l999. A farewell party attended by colleagues and friends was held at the Center for Urban Horticulture on September 7, 1999 at which Clem (baseball history aficionado of the first magnitude!) was honored, feted, and presented with a gift certificate for a baseball jacket. The College wishes Clem well in his new job and thanks him for his eight years of service as Director of CUH. Clem will continue his affiliation with CFR as an Affiliate Professor in the Ecosystem Sciences Division.

Don Hanley was Chair of the Poster and Student Educational Display session at the SAF Convention in Portland, OR, September 12-15, 1999. Don coordinated the successful session in which over 100 posters and eight educational displays were shown.

Anne Kearney presented a session entitled "Values and Perspectives of Land Use Change along the Urban-Wildland Fringe," at the 1999 National Urban Forest Conference held in Seattle on August 31-September 3, 1999.

John Marzluff ‘s work with urban crows was featured in a July 25, 1999 front-page story in the Sunday Seattle Times/Seattle Post Intelligencer and in the September 1999 issue of the Seattle Audubon Society’s Earthcare Northwest. The Times-PI article can be viewed on the Web at http://archives.seattletimes.com/cgi-bin/texis.mummy/web/vortex/display?storyID=379adb7a50&query=crows.

Sarah Reichard was cited in a September 16, 1999 New York Times article entitled "What’s Eating America? Weeds."

Clare Ryan reports the recent publication with co-author Julia M. Wondolleck of the article "What Hat Do I Wear Now?: An Examination of Agency Roles in Collaborative Processes" in the April 1999 Negotiation Journal.

Kathy Wolf presented a session entitled "Nature and Commerce: Human Ecology in Business Districts," at the 1999 National Urban Forest Conference held in Seattle on August 31-September 3, 1999.

John Wott appeared on a panel concerning "Governance," as well as chairing the Student Education Committee for the annual meeting of American Asso-ciation of Arboreta and Botanical Gardens held in Vancouver, BC, July 1-3, 1999.

Faculty Reports

Bob Edmonds reports on the UW’s Institute for Teaching Excellence that he and other CFR faculty Linda Chalker-Scott, Tom Hinckley, and Kevin Hodgson attended on June 13-18, 1999. This inaugural session was held at Fort Worden, WA, under the auspices of the UW’s Teaching Academy directed by CFR Affiliate Loveday Conquest. Twenty-three junior and senior faculty members selected from a large pool of applicants from Forest Resources, Speech Communications, Fisheries, Nursing, Business Administration, Mathematics, Urban Design, Pharmacology, Community Health, Geography, Chemistry, Library Science, History, Political Science, Chemical Engineering, Management and Organization, Communications, English, and Zoology attended.

The idea behind this and future institutes is to expose faculty to the latest concepts in teaching and to form a community of teachers on campus who will continue to exchange ideas. The Institute consisted of morning instructional workshops taught by UW faculty and a UWired crew. Examples of instructional workshops were: Using the Web in Course Design, Incorporating Active Learning Strategies into Courses and Lectures, and Using Writing as a Teaching Tool. Afternoons were devoted to small group discussions and preparation of teaching demonstrations. Emphasis was on undergraduate education. Bob says, "We also had a number of evening conversations on topics like: ‘What do students understand?’; ‘How teaching is courageous’; and ‘Teaching as a scholarly activity.’ There was also plenty of time for socializing, playing softball and volleyball, and hiking on the grounds of Fort Worden State Park. There was even a late night film festival for insomniacs!"

The inaugural Institute was a great success and other CFR faculty are encouraged to apply for June 2000. In addition to having transportation, room, and board paid, a small stipend is also awarded. For more information on the Institute see the web site http://www.washington.edu/oue/academy/institute.html or contact Loveday Conquest (543-1708 or conquest@cqs.washington.edu).

Don Hanley reports that he and Bob Edmonds recently completed a videotape for Washington State University Cooperative Extension entitled "The Rotten Truth: Control of Common Forest Root Rots of the Pacific Northwest." The video, which shows forest managers ways to prevent, diagnose, and manage three types of root rots common in Pacific Northwest forests, was jointly produced by CFR, the WSU Department of Natural Resources, WSU Cooperative Extension, and USDA Forest Service R-6 Cooperative Programs. Don reports that, "laminated root rot, which most often strikes Douglas fir and grand fir, is the most serious of the three and can result in stands that are riddled with downed trees. Armillaria root rot most often attacks conifers but will also infect hardwoods and shrubs. A white fungal growth between the bark and the wood at a tree’s base is a symptom of this kind of root rot. The third rot covered by the video, annosus root and butt rot, is present in the Northwest in two separate strains, one that attacks pines and the other Douglas- and grand fir and hemlock." These fatal diseases, caused by pathogens that travel root-to-root, can infect large pockets of seemingly healthy trees, and learning to understand and control them is a high priority for Pacific Northwest forest managers. The new video was featured in an August 27, 1999 article in the Salem, OR Capital Press.

Reini Stettler reports on the second year of a project with Mt. Si High School using the Snoqualmie River as a study object for high school science classes. The 1999 project involved CFR faculty, staff, and affiliates, including Jeff Braatne, Joan Dunlap, Paul Heilman, Phil Hurvitz, and Stewart Pickford, all working with Mt. Si science teacher Rachel Lloyd. The basic idea was that a close examination of the changing nature of a river would familiarize students with some of the fundamental processes of river dynamics. The insights gained would also prepare students to deal with such issues as river regulation, management of water quality, and restoration of riparian wildlife habitat.

As in the 1998 project, the research focused on physical changes caused by recent flooding, the nature and distribution of organic debris deposited, and the growth and stand dynamics of black cottonwood, the prevailing tree species colonizing the riparian floodplain. "One of the lessons learned in the first year," says Reini, " was that inquiry-driven studies (formulated by the students) were not very suitable for this project, given the constraints of time and logistics." This year, six group projects were defined in advance, along with guiding protocols for data collection, analysis, and interpretation for each. Students chose among the six projects.

"All projects were designed to give meaningful results," say the project leaders, "but not all results were predictable; all had the potential for surprise. Results of the topographic survey and maps, when compared with those of 1998, nicely portrayed significant changes brought about by fall floods. The organic debris projects developed a pictorial record of the different types of debris and their biological significance and also raised the question of the effectiveness of revetments on erodable banks. The project on stand dynamics of black cottonwood revealed severe competition within even-aged stands and height and diameter growth differences of stands on silt vs. stands on sand."

The presence of scientists during the field collection of data enhanced the process of scientific inquiry. Each group had its own mentor who could explain the pros and cons of different sampling schemes, discuss the limitations of various measurements, and emphasize the importance of record keeping. Students agreed that close, informal interaction with a practicing scientist in a field setting was a fun experience. Project leaders were even able to arrange a summer internship for one of the students in the laboratory of a leading plant molecular scientist.

Reini says, "The successful conduct of the Snoqualmie River Project in its second year has whetted the appetite among students, teachers, and scientists for a project in 2000; the stage seems set for a continuation of this fruitful collaboration!"

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