IFSA to Host Yoga Fundraiser

This February, the UW Local Committee of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) is hosting the Canadian-American Regional Meeting, which will welcome 30 students from about eight different universities in the United States and Canada. These student guests will be spending a week here to learn about forestry practices and restoration work in Washington, including a trip to Pack Forest, and IFSA has organized a yoga class to help raise funds for this great event!

2017_01_IFSA FundraiserOn Saturday, February 11, IFSA is partnering with a local yoga studio, We Yoga Co, to offer a one-hour vinyasa class—which is perfect for all skill levels—with a $15 donation. The class will begin at 5:30 p.m., and We Yoga Co, located at 4511 Roosevelt Way NE in the U District, recommends arriving about 15 minutes early. They will provide yoga mats at the studio if you don’t have your own, and they will accept card or cash for the donations, which are about what a normal drop-in fee would cost at most studios. No advance registration is required, and all of the money raised goes directly to support IFSA.

All are welcome—students, friends, family, complete strangers—so come get limber with IFSA and help support a fantastic student-run event!

Next Thursday (12/8): IFSA to Host Forestry Panel

On Thursday, December 8, at 5 p.m. in the Forest Club Room, the UW local committee of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) is hosting a panel, “On the Comparison of American and European Forestry Methods.”

Featuring two SEFS undergrads who recently traveled to a forestry conference in Austria, as well as Professors Greg Ettl and Aaron Wirsing, the panel will explore aspects of forest management that lead to success across nations. The event is free and open to the public, and there will be a light reception afterward.

Visit the IFSA Facebook page or email jamesaugust@gmail.com for more information. Check it out!


Celebrate Earth Week with IFSA!

Next Friday, April 22, is Earth Day, and our UW local committee of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) has activities planned for nearly every day of Earth Week!

They’ll kick things off on Monday, April 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. with a Publication Workshop featuring Professors Rob Harrison and Marcia Ciol. Panel will talk about the publishing process, and professors will share challenges gleaned from their cumulative years of publishing and boarding publishing councils. There will also be discussion of the challenges of publishing for ESL students. Held in the Forest Club Room (AND 207).

2016_04_Earth Week ActivitiesThen, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19, they’re hosting an Alumni Networking event, which will begin right after the Xi Sigma Pi forestry lecture (which you should also attend!). UW alumni will address students on the challenges and successes of finding gratifying work. Students will have a chance to talk independently with alumni to make connections and network for their future entry into the job market. Alcohol will be served. Held in the Forest Club Room.

Next, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, they’ve put together a Resume Workshop, where you can learn how to draft resumes and cover letters. Discussions on best writing practices, current employer hiring practices, and the interview process to be included. Held in Anderson 22.

Then, from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 22, you can catch the movie premiere of KOMBIT: The Cooperative, a feature documentary film chronicling a five-year project to reforest Haiti, in partnership with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), a Haitian nonprofit farmer cooperative dedicated to feeding and reforesting the country. Haiti’s internally displaced people start a micro-garden movement to combat post-earthquake hunger and despair.

Finally, following the movie IFSA will haves its General Meeting at 5:30 p.m. to cap off Earth Day and share s’mores. They will be talking about new officer positions and plans for the 2016-17 year.

Contact Salina Abraham if you have any questions about these events. All students, grad and undergrad, are welcome, so come make the most of Earth Week with IFSA!

IFSA Students Connect in Quebec City

SEFS students Salina Abraham, Rachel Yonemura, Miku Lenentine and Cleo Woodcock recently had the opportunity to attend the Canadian American Regional Meeting (CARM) as part of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA). The conference was held in Quebèc City in Canada, just north of Maine, from February 9 to 14. As a student-run international nonprofit, IFSA engages students locally, regionally and internationally for broader understanding of forestry. CARM is the regional-level gathering that connects students from across the United States and Canada to network, learn and share current natural resource issues and management techniques.

Here’s what Salina and Rachel wrote about the experience this year!


Three plane rides to our destination, special orders of fleece-lined jeans, and the preparatory Skype meetings could not have prepared us for the week we were about to experience. After being transported from the Pacific Northwest into the winter wonderland that is Quebec City, we successfully dragged our suitcases across the snow-covered campus of the Université Laval. In a few short hours, we were surrounded by many other students sharing our passion in environmental science—and confusion for what was to come. This year’s CARM, after all, went above and beyond the historical precedent of a two- to three-day weekend conference filled with various lectures, site visits and bonding activities.

In case the red glow doesn’t give it away, you’re looking at the foresters' Valentine’s Day party!
In case the red glow doesn’t give it away, you’re looking at the foresters’ Valentine’s Day party!

The Université Laval Organizing Committee ensured that the international attendees to this conference were integrated into all aspects of life in Quebec City. CARM students participated in a wide range of activities, from snowshoeing through Forêt Montmorency, the world’s largest teaching and research forest; learning about Université Laval’s wood engineering program; and a delicious and informative visit to a traditional “sugar shack” to uncover the secrets to maple syrup engineering. The conference workshops covered topics such as IFSA International structure and updates, regional obligations and opportunities, as well as ways to improve engagements with our community, and understanding our role as emerging young professionals in the forestry sector and world of environmental science. We also heard from a local hydrologist, the dean of Université Laval, Canadian professional organizations, and a number of graduate and undergraduate students presenting on their newest research.

Creating an inclusive, well-connected community was one of the major takeaways from this trip for all of the students. During our week we shared dorms, halls and conversations with the students in Quebec City. These conversations expanded our perspectives on forestry, and our eager expositions on the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest surely expanded some perspectives as well. After a foresters’ Valentine’s Day party, where we found our ‘matches’ and a day full of forestry competitions and games, it was apt that we closed the conference in the apartments of U-Laval students. Gathered on the limited couch space or floor with musical instruments in hand, we sang songs in French and English and felt the warmth of an inclusive, open space. That’s the type of community our local committee of IFSA hopes to cultivate continually at SEFS.

One of the most essential pieces to CARM and regional meetings is that they serve to maintain the strength of IFSA as a nonprofit organization. Regional meetings are opportunities for IFSA international officials to meet with members and share the organization’s accomplishments and new opportunities, and enable local committee members to step up into leadership roles. As head of the International Processes Commission of IFSA, Salina wanted to take the opportunity to use CARM as a thermometer for youth attitudes on regional and international issues.

“As my commission is tasked with representing IFSA members globally on an international stage, it is imperative that we continually have these conversations with each other to fully understand what that means,” she says. “Through assistance from Professor Indroneil Ganguly, I was able to do an independent research project to dive into this topic through focus groups at CARM. Thanks to my commission and SEFS support, this method will be replicated at regional meetings across the globe—with Northern Europe and Southern Europe coming next. It is my hope that we, students, can be better represented through and informed about international environmental policy.” (Read more about Salina’s research.)

For those interested, do not worry, our conversations with our Canadian and American counterparts have not ended! Everyone is welcome to join us at our Northern America IFSA Coffee Hour held on the third Monday of every month at 8:30 a.m. through Google Hangouts (the next one is on April 18; email Miku for details at miku.ifsa@gmail.com). IFSA has a bunch of events lined up for Earth Week next week, as well, including publication and resume workshops, an alumni networking event and even a movie premiere. Also, U-Laval created a summary video of CARM if you wanted to check out some of the fun.

And as always, stay tuned for IFSA updates—new officers, new positions and new events!

Photos © UW IFSA.

CARM attendees in the middle of Forêt Montmorency, the world’s largest teaching and research forest.
CARM attendees in the middle of Forêt Montmorency, the world’s largest teaching and research forest.

Director’s Message: Winter 2016

While I was biking into work this past Monday, the air was incredibly cool and crisp, and the sky was actually somewhat blue for a change. I remember thinking, “What a perfect way to start another work week in January.” Then, as I walked into Anderson Hall I heard the sound of someone playing piano up in the Forest Club Room. Those notes reinforced my optimistic feeling for the week and made me think of our wonderful community at SEFS—and, in many ways, how much of it revolves around that room.

The 26-foot noble fir, brought up from Pack Forest for the SEFS Holiday Party this year, soars toward the ceiling of the Forest Club Room.
The 26-foot noble fir, brought up from Pack Forest for the SEFS Holiday Party this year, soars toward the ceiling of the Forest Club Room.

When Agnes Anderson donated the financial support to build Anderson Hall in the early 1920s, she stipulated that the large room on the second floor was to be known as the Forest Club Room, and that it would forever be dedicated to students within our School. Her intent was to create a reading room and a common space where students could gather, discuss, study, invent, reflect, forecast and celebrate. The room also happens to be visually impressive, as it has a vaulted gabled ceiling with chandelier lights, a balcony, a large fireplace that we use at annual events, and tall multi-paneled windows that create a cozy, naturally lit atmosphere. It has picked up a few other more eclectic features over the years—such as the elk head mounted on the balcony railing—yet is has remained a warm and inviting space.

For us, as well, it means so much more. Since coming to the University of Washington in 2012, I have emphasized the importance of community within the School, and the Forest Club Room plays a key role in uniting us as friends and colleagues. Sure, the couches are a bit tattered and the tables wobbly—and the carpet seems to attract a remarkable assortment of crumbs—but the room represents so much that is great about our programs, our history, our integrity, our enthusiasm and dedication to our science. It’s the staging ground for scores of meetings and social events, and a catalyst for interdisciplinary activities. Just in the past few months, the room has hosted receptions after SEFS graduate seminars; it was the site of the SEFS Holiday party, a Pecha Kucha night with the International Forestry Students’ Association, and a couple Dead Elk parties that echoed laughter through Anderson Hall late into the evening. In the next few months, the room will be home to a Natural Resources Career Fair, the Graduate Student Symposium and prospective graduate student weekend, a Capstone Poster Session to showcase undergraduate research, thesis and dissertation defenses, and so many other solo and group work sessions. The secret is out, too, as just last year the UW Daily ranked the room as one of the best study spots on campus.

Even as we plan for Anderson Hall to get a major refurbishment in the next several years, we will make sure the Forest Club Room remains almost exactly as it is today, just with updated lighting, insulation and windows. After all, the room is like so much of what we offer in our School—unpretentious, welcoming and enriching. On chilly and rainy winter days, especially, it is both a place of retreat and the platform for an advance. It is part of the very fabric that makes us such a special and cohesive program. So, as the piano softly plays in the Forest Club Room, I welcome you as students, colleagues, alumni and friends to come and enjoy this warm and wonderful space during the cold, dark months of winter—and any other time you find yourself in these halls.

Tom DeLuca
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Next Wednesday (1/6): Pecha Kucha Night!

Coming up after the SEFS Seminar and reception next Wednesday, January 6, the UW Local Committee of the International Forestry Students’ Association will be hosting its second-annual Pecha Kucha Night in the Forest Club Room at 5 p.m.!

Pecha Kucha 2016Developed in Japan, Pecha Kucha is a rapid style of presentation designed to elegantly yet efficiently introduce people to new research or discussion topics. Typically, presentations are well practiced and on par with the quality of a TED talk, and you can expect to see about six mini-talks on Wednesday highlighting a diverse range of research interests from undergraduate and graduate students at SEFS. Twenty slides, 20 seconds each—that’s a lot of tightly packed brilliance!

All students, staff, faculty and friends are welcome, and you can contact Rachel Yonemura for more information.

See you there!

The 43rd International Forestry Students’ Symposium

by Miku Lenentine,
SEFS Doctoral Student

What kind of conference lasts for two weeks, allows you to completely immerse yourself in another culture and way of viewing natural resource management, creates opportunities to meet more than 100 forestry students from more than 40 countries, and provides a chance to experience the world of forestry through an international youth perspective? Why, the 43rd International Forestry Students’ Symposium, of course!

Salina Abraham (left) and Miku Lenentine.
Salina Abraham (left) and Miku Lenentine.

Through the official establishment of the UW IFSA Local Committee in February 2015, Salina Abraham and I had the chance to be the first-ever delegates representing SEFS, UW and the West Coast at this amazing event. It’s hard to capture the magnitude of this experience in a few short paragraphs, but I will try!

IFSA World is an international nonprofit run completely by students. It is the largest student-run organization of its kind, and it strives to be the voice of global youth in conservation and environmental management. With partners like IUFRO, CIFOR and FAO, IFSA truly is the voice for students and future resource managers, and it offers a direct pathway to attending and representing youth at events like the UNFCCC COP 2015 in Paris this year.

Much of the business of running IFSA and cultivating this leadership takes place at the annual symposium, and this year’s gathering was held in the Philippines from July 28 to August 10. The range of activities and experiences there was incredible. At the Senate of the Philippines in Manila, we got to attend presentations from industry professionals and top researchers from the University of the Philippines, Los Banos. We participated in local natural resource management field tours, including planting mangrove trees, hiking through the Los Banos experimental forest (largest in the country), and visiting a rice museum to learn about the challenge of rice cultivation and balancing extractive resource management with food productivity.

Miku at the rice museum.
Miku at the rice museum.

We also attended the IFSA General Assembly, which feels like a mini-United Nations. That’s where all of the elections and business decisions for IFSA World are conducted for the coming year. It was a very new and educational experience for me, and all protocols for behavior and communication were quite formal. Before anybody spoke, for example, they were expected to stand and state their name and country. As part of this year’s General Assembly, as well, Salina and I were both nominated for IFSA World leadership positions, and we are now a part of the 2015/2016 IFSA World Officer team. Salina serves as the International Processes Commission Head, and I am the regional representative for the United States, along with a counterpart in Canada.

Giving my talk, “People Matter – Effectively Gauging Social Acceptability in Natural Resource Planning,” was my first experience presenting my preliminary research results to an international audience, and my first experience speaking to a group larger than 50 people! I thought I would be a minority in studying human dimensions, but I was surprised by the number of people who said my presentation resonated with them. In fact, a major theme of the symposium was becoming a “society-ready” forester.

One of the biggest things I learned from attending the symposium was that the term “forestry” is not just about silviculture and timber harvests. Forests mean life. Everything is forestry—it encompasses and is connected to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, too. We are all foresters in this sense, even me (I am apparently a social forester!).

Students learning how to catch hermit crabs.
Students catching hermit crabs.

Another important takeaway for me was getting to know the other participants and learning more about forestry conditions in their countries. The level of informal knowledge we shared was amazing, even with simple questions like, “What is your forest like?” Also, with more than 100 of us traveling everywhere together in overstuffed open-air taxis called Jeepneys, we all grew quite close. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together, laughed together, got lost together, sang karaoke together, and many of us made new friends for life in the process.

By far the greatest value for me from attending IFSS 2015, though, was experiencing an overwhelming sense of camaraderie and inspiration as I connected with my newfound peers and friends from around the world. We are all working on this together, ushering in a new generation of sustainable resource management for the future. And though the challenges we face are daunting, I am inspired to continue, inspired to do better, and inspired to create a new path forward together.

I want to end with a special shout-out to Sajad Ghanbari, former SEFS student and current founder of a new IFSA local committee at the University of Tabriz in Iran, who inspired the whole thing by saying, “Gosh, why don’t you have a UW IFSA?” And now we do!

Photos © Miku Lenentine.


SEFS Christmas Tree Sale: Place Your Orders!

This fall, working with the UW chapters of the International Forestry Students’ Association and the Society of American Foresters, the Forest Club is once again proud to organize one of our most popular community traditions: the annual Christmas Tree Sale!

The Forest Club is one of the oldest and longest-running clubs on campus, and every year the group sells freshly cut noble fir (Abies procera) Christmas trees to folks at the University of Washington and throughout the city of Seattle. We’ve been getting phone calls and emails asking when the sale will happen this year, and now it’s ready to go!

Xmas Tree Sale
Community members pick up their trees from the Center for Urban Horticulture.

Sean Jeronimo, one of our grad students, is leading the tree sale this year. He and his crew of volunteers will head out to harvest the trees on Saturday, December 5, and then have them ready for pick-up on Sunday, December 6, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Center for Urban Horticulture (3501 NE 41st Street) —on the blacktop on the east side of the property, between the greenhouses and Yesler Swamp.

Our beautiful noble firs come from Hunter Farms, and they are typically 5 to 7 feet tall (you can email a special request for a larger size, which the Forest Club will try to honor, depending on availability). All trees, regardless of size, are $45, and all proceeds benefit the Forest Club.

Trees are available for pre-order now through Friday, December 4. You can order your tree one of three ways:

1. Use the super-easy online form and pay with credit card.
2. Fill out and mail the paper form with a check for $45—made out to the UW Forest Club—to: UW Forest Club, Box 352100, Seattle, WA 98195
3. Print and hand deliver the form and payment—using cash, check or card—to Anderson 130.

Remember, all forms must be received by close of business on Friday, December 4, before the crew heads out into the woods, so don’t delay!

Email uwforestclub@gmail.com if you have any questions, and thank you for supporting the Forest Club!

Photo of Forest Club members harvesting firs below © Matt Davis.

Matt Davis

IFSA Welcome Meeting: October 15!

Among the 867 registered student organizations (RSOs) at the University of Washington, and the 44,786 students now roaming around campus, it can be both difficult and overwhelming for students to chart a path through the many options. In the field of environmental sciences, particularly, it can be very easy to become absorbed in the Pacific Northwest and our native species, and to lose track of our shared problems and practices with the rest of the globe. Miku Lenentine and Rachel Roberts, graduate students at SEFS, recognized a gap in our student groups last year and began working to fill it through forming the first UW chapter of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA).

Today, in its second full year as an RSO, IFSA is filled with excitement and the possibilities to connect the UW community and the world through forestry. After sending two delegates to the International Forestry Students’ Symposium (IFSS) in the Philippines this summer (a separate story on our adventures coming soon), we are better equipped to serve the UW community and bring the ‘IFSA spirit’ to our campus.

One of the trees Salina and Miku helped plant in the Philippines as part of the symposium this summer.
One of the trees Salina and Miku helped plant in the Philippines as part of the symposium this summer.

IFSA is a nonprofit organization that, first and foremost, is an international network of forestry and environmental science students. Through this active network, we share study and job opportunities abroad, along with information about varying environmental management practices for greater awareness. IFSA also works to bring students together through both casual and formal meetings, serving to represent youth in international forestry processes. We send delegations of students to important events through our partnerships with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Forum on Forest, UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and others. We are sending delegations to COP 12 in Paris this fall and even have a few UW members selected to attend the Global Landscapes Forum during COP! Rather than passively attending, as well, IFSA often works to organize side events at to provide students with more opportunities to lead, speak and share their insights.

To inform our fellow students about these opportunities for the SEFS community, we (the UW Local Committee) are holding our first “Welcome Meeting” on Thursday, October 15, at 4:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room. This meeting is a perfect opportunity for all who want to get involved to learn more. We will have refreshments and boundless enthusiasm about the fun we can have together in this next year. If I have learned one thing from being an IFSA member, it is that when we students come together for a greater purpose, we are incredibly powerful!

Check out the global IFSA organization (“The World”) and the UW IFSA chapter for more info.

Hope to see you soon!

Salina Abraham
VP of Public Relations – IFSA UW
Head of International Processes Commission – IFSA World

Delegates at the International Forestry Students' Symposium in the Philippines this summer.
Delegates at the 2015 International Forestry Students’ Symposium in the Philippines.

Free Networking Skills Workshop and Social for SEFS Students

Planning to attend a conference or professional meeting this year? Want to learn the basics of networking and make the most of attending professional social functions? Then sign up for a special networking skills workshop and networking social coming up on Earth Day next Wednesday, April 22!

Students will learn the basic skills to be confident and professional in conference settings, and then have a chance to practice those new skills with SEFS alumni and industry professionals at a real networking social afterwards. Don’t miss this chance for a fun event and great experience!

Networking Skills Workshop:
4:30-5:30 p.m., Anderson 223 (immediately following the SEFS Seminar)

Networking Social for Students w/ SEFS Alumni & Industry Professionals
5:30 p.m., Anderson 207 (Forest Club Room)
Snacks and beverages will be served

The event is being organized by the SEFS local committee of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) in partnership with the SEFS chapter of the Society of American Foresters and the SEFS Alumni Group—along with some help from a guest speaker from the UW Career Center.

All students are welcome, and please email Miku Lenentine to RSVP for the event (and specify workshop and/or social)!

2015_04_Networking Event and Social