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Staff Profile: Jennifer Blecha

Jennifer Blecha arrived at the College in mid-August. She works with Kelley Duffield, Director of Outreach, to coordinate the Continuing Education Program. Jennifer is returning to her home state after six years in Oregon. ("A few bars of our state song, anyone?", asks Jennifer. "From verdant forest green, caressed by silv’ry stream"). Born in Seattle, Jennifer grew up in Olympia and attended college at Pacific Lutheran University, where she graduated in 1991 with majors in anthropology, political science, and global studies. During college she studied abroad for six months, traveling to a dozen countries in Eastern and Central Europe. She then volunteered full-time for two years, first in a homeless shelter in Baltimore, MD, and then at Holden Village retreat center in the North Cascades. After coming down from the mountains, she moved to Eugene, OR, where she earned a master’s degree in cultural anthropology at the University of Oregon. The focus of her research was on ethnic minorities and human rights in the Balkans—an unfortunately timely topic for the ’90s. Moving to Portland in 1996, she worked for three years in human resources in a remodeling company that promoted progressive policies in the construction industry, and coincidentally introduced her to concepts of sustainable forestry. Jennifer has also been involved in adult education as an adjunct instructor at Linfield College in McMinnville, OR and at Portland Community College, and as Director of a small arts institute in Portland, OR.

Jennifer says, "My position here will combine several of my interests and skills, especially working with different people from many backgrounds to achieve enjoyable, educational courses and conferences. I’m excited to learn more about forests and forestry by working with faculty, students, and staff from all parts of the College." From her Camp Fire Girl days and through many hours hiking and living in the Cascades, Jennifer has deep sympathy for the health and beauty of our Northwest forests. These days she is combining her environmental concerns with her anthropological worldview to consider the social and economic health of local communities, and is doing lots of reading in her spare time on how the two can come together for mutual benefit.

Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys gardening (and planting trees!), singing, dancing, baking bread, hanging out in churches, and traveling.

Staff News

Bob Beer volunteered his time during the July 1999 news-making flowering of the Amorphophallus titanum at the UW botanical greenhouse. This was the first of its species to flower west of the Mississippi, first in a university, and tenth documented instance this century in the U.S. Bob gave brief lectures on the plant to small groups of greenhouse visitors who waited in line during the two-day open house period. As it bloomed, the flower’s characteristic stench giving the plant its nickname "corpse flower" threatened to overwhelm viewers. Bob says, "Frequent trips outside for fresh air were necessary!"

Welcome to Continuing and Professional Education’s new Program Coordinator, Jennifer Blecha, who arrived at the College on August 16, 1999. (See staff profile this issue.)

Also welcome to Paige Eagle who joined the staff on June 21, 1999, as a Research Scientist working with Dave Peterson.

Congratulations to Martha Ferguson, Chris Pfeiffer, and Barbara Selemon, who all recently completed ten years of UW service!

Patricia Gomez, Research Consultant, moved to a new position in the College of Engineering, effective June 1999.

David Haasz is the new Bloedel 311 computer lab manager. He began work at the College on August 30, 1999.

Linda Hegrenes celebrated her tenth year at CFR with a party in her honor on September 23, 1999.

Trevor Newton is the new Research Technician at the Wind River Canopy Crane, the position formerly held by Tom King.

Christina Pfeiffer is one of twenty-four "icons of success" in the "I Want to Follow a Leader" contest for area 5th-12th graders. Sponsored by The Bon Marche, The Seattle Times, and KING 5-TV, students were encouraged to write letters about why they would want to spend the day with these successful people. Other "icons" chosen were Speight Jenkins, general director of the Seattle Opera and Lori Matsukawa, KING 5 News. Congratulations Chris!

Paul Smith, formerly Gardener at the Washington Park Arboretum, accepted a new position at Seattle City Light, effective July 23, 1999.

Michelle Trudeau’s corrected title should be Student Services Manager. Sorry, for misinformation in the Spring issue, Michelle! Watch for a staff profile of Michelle in an upcoming CFR Quarterly.

Staff Reports

Phil Hurvitz reports that a well-attended ArcView training class was held on September 20-22, 1999 at Pack Forest. CFR faculty and staff attended. Phil says, "ArcView is one of the leading GIS applications used today. It is very powerful and has an easy-to-use graphical interface. It can integrate many of the data sets currently used by researchers, as well as provide new analytical and visualization capabilities that are unavailable outside GIS." The course covered the basics of ArcView operations, giving participants, by the end of the second day, the ability to explore and learn the higher functions of GIS software. Classes consisted of about eight hours of structured time during each of the first two days. The third day was open-ended, reserved to explore participants’ interests in using the software for specific interests and applications. The Pack Forest data set, data sets suggested by class participants, and Web data were used.

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