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The Morel of the Story

Few mushrooms are as beloved as the morel. From recreational pickers jealously protecting their secret hunting spots, to world-class chefs coveting them for their springtime recipes, morels have acquired an almost mythic status. Yet despite the enormous popularity of morels, surprisingly little research has quantified how the mushrooms respond to one of the greatest disturbances in their natural habitat: a forest fire. Now, several researchers—including SEFS Research Ecologist Alina Cansler (’15, Ph.D.)—have helped fill part of that hole in the literature with a new study of how morels responded to the 2013 Rim Fire in California. Read more about the research, including its management implications for sustainable morel harvesting!

BLOG BITS

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Mission Earth Camp Opens

This August, SEFS doctoral candidate Isabel Carrera Zamanillo is leading the first-ever Mission Earth Scout One science camp, which will guide more than 35 middle and high school students through four weeks of hands-on STEM activities and exploration. The camp has a focus on bilingual students from underrepresented communities, and several SEFS graduate students, faculty and staff members are chipping in as volunteer instructors.

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Alaska Bear Project: Year Five

Professor Aaron Wirsing just returned from Bristol Bay, Alaska, where he and other researchers have been non-invasively studying brown bears hunting along six sockeye salmon spawning streams since 2012. This year, the team added motion-activated trail cameras to capture video of the bears, so learn more about the Alaska Bear Project and check out one of the new clips they've collected: a mother brown bear leading her two cubs.

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Professor Prugh Hits the Field with Current and Future Grad Students

This summer, Professor Laura Prugh has taken two trips to the field—first with one of her current graduate students near Mount Rainer, and then to southeast Alaska with a master’s student who’s joining her lab and starting at SEFS this fall.

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Fun Workshop: Building a Wetland in a Bottle!

As you might remember from this year’s Silent Auction, SEFS graduate student Joel Bidnick donated one of his amazing planted aquariums, a community of plants, microbes and invertebrates that live in one liter of water. Now, you have a chance to make your own at a workshop coming up tomorrow evening, Tuesday, August 9, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Cost is $30—sign up today!

UPCOMING EVENTS


Aug. 19, 2016:

Summer Quarter Ends

Sept. 21, 2016:

SEFS Annual Retreat

Sept. 28, 2016:

Fall Quarter Begins

Oct. 5, 2016:

Salmon BBQ, 4-6 p.m., Anderson Courtyard

 

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & KUDOS

We are very pleased to announce the hiring of Jack Lockhart as our new financial services manager! Jack brings extensive experience in pre- and post-award grant and contract administration, as well as a wealth of knowledge with compliance and UW and sponsor rules and regulations. He also has a passion for native habitat restoration and has been a volunteer for many years in various communities. Today is his first day in the office, so we hope you join us in welcoming him to our community!

Big-time kudos to Professor Jerry Franklin, who was one of 12 UW faculty members elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences this year!

We'll add some kudos for K.C. Deterling, too, who generously (and mercifully) brought popsicles to share a couple weeks ago when Anderson Hall was a sweltering sweatbox!

Kudos, as well, to the Vogt Lab, which just launched a great new website, and they invite other members of the SEFS community connect with them on Facebook and Twitter!

This Friday, August 12, the Evening Talks at ONRC speaker series will feature three ESRM students—Katherine Jesser, Allison Erskine and Alec Meade—who are working as interns this summer out on the Olympic Peninsula near Sappho, Wash.: “Updates on the Experiment at the Long Term Ecosystem Productivity Site in the Olympic State Experimental Forest (OESF).” Their talk is open to the public and will be held at 7 p.m. at the Olympic Natural Resources Center.

This month, you are invited to visit an exhibition of David Fishman's botanical portraits, which pair his love of horticulture and photography with his skills in photo restoration and graphics to create stunning photographs of plants and flowers. David's art will be on display at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library through August 31.

In other fun news, we are very pleased to share that John Tylczak will be hosting his third photography exhibition in the Forest Club Room this October! For the past two years, he has featured a variety of large format, black-and-white images from his collection, Views from the Northwoods: 1983-1995. So far, he has showcased shots out in the woods, but this year he’s shifting focus to capture the faces of workers in Washington’s timber mills. We’ve seen a couple advance pics, and they are fantastic!

Finally, the second session of the middle school girls science and technology camp, which is using Anderson 22 and 10, begins today and runs through Friday, August 19. Once again, please let us know right away if you experience any excessive noise or disruptions, and we’ll work with the camp to make sure things operate as quietly as possible. Thank you for the extra patience!


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COMMITTEE NOTES

Incoming faculty member Brian Harvey, who will arrive in March 2017, will be moving into Susan Bolton’s former office, Bloedel 244, and taking over Darlene Zabowski’s former lab, Bloedel 340.

We have received approval to advertise for two faculty positions this fall: one in soils, and the other to fill the director’s role. Work is underway to finalize job announcements and search committees (with the Dean’s office leading the external director search).


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SEMINAR SCHEDULES

Wildlife Seminar: Done until the fall.

SEFS Senior Seminar: Done until the fall.

SEFS Seminar Series: Done until the fall.


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PUBLICATIONS

Professor Aaron Wirsing was a co-author on a recent perspective piece in BioScience, “Saving the World's Terrestrial Megafauna.” In the open letter, more than 40 authors stress that humans are driving mass extinctions around the world, and that a swift and global conservation response is urgently needed to prevent the world’s iconic terrestrial megafauna—from gorillas and lions to rhinos and tigers—from being lost forever. The story drew immediate national attention, including stories in National Geographic, “Urgent Global Action Needed to Stop Extinction of Earth’s Last Megafauna,” and the Huffington Post, “Conservationists Warn Endangered Species Will Vanish Forever Unless We Act Now."


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SEFS IN THE PRESS

On Sunday, July 4, Lynda Mapes from the Seattle Times wrote a long feature that quotes Professor Jerry Franklin, “Collateral damage: Rushing to stop a fire that never came, Forest Service logged miles of big trees, critical habitat.” It’s a great, in-depth story about a controversial emergency logging, and it includes a dynamic, interactive map of the affected area.

On July 29, Lynda Mapes also did an extended feature in the Seattle Times about Professor Tim Billo’s backpacking course, “What it’s like to spend 9 days in PNW backcountry: ‘A reset for the human spirit.’” While Tim’s course is hosted through the Program on the Environment, this year’s class included a couple of our ESRM students, including Jacob Wessel in the one of the photos!

On July 26, High Country News ran a nice story that features Professor David Butman, “The Colorado River’s unexpected carbon footprint.”

Also, last week The Nature Conservancy’s “Cool Green Science” blog featured two posts about SEFS Research Associate Derek Churchill’s recent research on the management of dry, fire-prone forests of eastern Oregon and Washington. The first post, “Maintaining Healthy Forests Takes More than Planting Trees,” ran on August 2, and the second, “Technology to the Rescue for Foresters in the Thick of It,” ran the next day. Great stuff!


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ALUMNI UPDATES

The new paper on morels, in case you didn’t click through to read more (for shame!), includes five other coauthors who graduated from SEFS, including lead author Professor Andrew Larson (’03, B.S.; ’09, Ph.D.) from the University of Montana; Professor Jim Lutz (’05, M.S.; ’08, Ph.D.) from Utah State University; Mark Swanson (’99, B.S.; ’07, Ph.D.), now a professor in the School of the Environment at Washington State University; and two former SEFS undergrads, Sienna Hiebert (’12, B.S.), who is running her own business, Lost Creek, LLC, and Tucker Furniss (’11, B.S.), now a graduate student at Utah State.