Celebrating Natural Resources Winter 2018-19

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WINTER 2018 - 19 | VOL. 34

Growing Momentum Practical Applications | International Impact | Innovative Research | Strong Partnerships

WINTER 2018 - 19 Volume 34


Nursery and Experimental Forests Grow Together


National Parks Power Couple Got their Start at Idaho



Rinker Rock Creek Ranch: Massive Living Laboratory to Become Part of University



Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences Firefighter Health | Logging Safety | Biofuel Grant | Wildfire Research Fish and Wildlife Sciences Burbot Goes Commercial | Tracking the Burrowing Owl | FWS Internships

20 Natural Resources and Society Snow Research | Assessing Biomass Economics | Microbes in Smoke



24 McCall Field Campus MOSS Alumna | Water Research | McCall Kitchen | Summer Field Camp

Heady Chair Secures Grants to Improve Rangeland Management 3

Letter from the Dean


Letter from the Advisory Board Chair

2, 5 CNR News 28 Alumni News



Environmental Science Studies Bring Navajo Horse Expert Back Home

29 In Memory 30 New Faculty and Staff 31

Faculty Awards

On the Cover: Student workers Jessica Gregory and Bethany Rounds move seedlings at the Pitkin Nursery. Photo by Joe Pallen





U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue dropped in on the iFire Combustion Lab in June just as fire season was getting underway. Professor Alistair Smith talked with the secretary about current research to better understand the effects of fire and smoke. CNR’s fire lab is a one-of-a-kind facility that allows researchers to study fire and fuel behavior in a controlled environment.


Students involved in research are more likely to stay in school and graduate on time. They are also better prepared with problemsolving skills that employers value. Through generous gifts to the Dean’s Excellence Fund, incoming CNR students will have a unique opportunity this fall to learn scientific principles by applying them to real-world projects. As part of this newly established program, qualified first-year and new transfer students can receive a $2,000 stipend for data analysis, conference travel, or compensation for lab or field work.


A new aquaculture facility on the Moscow campus will help researchers to study farming saltwater fish, such as salmon, in Idaho. It is one of the only facilities in the western United States where researchers can work on genetics, nutrition, selective breeding, physiology and fish health for both freshwater and marine fish species. State funding provided $2 million for construction with the remaining $400,000 paid through the Vandal Strategic Loan Fund, which enables university entities to make strategic investments.

College of Natural Resources News


The College of Natural Resources magazine is published annually for alumni and friends of CNR. Subscription is free. The magazine also is available online in its entirety on the college’s website, uidaho.edu/cnr.

Dear CNR

alumni, colleagues and friends, s interim dean, I am excited to tell you about the progress of the College of Natural Resources. When Dean Kurt Pregitzer retired this summer, he left the college in a great place with many talented faculty and staff. CNR is once again ranked by College Factual as having one of the best natural resources programs in the country. Yes, we are in a transition period as searches for both a dean and university president are underway. But we are not standing still. We are building momentum. For example: New facilities and places including the coming addition of Rinker Rock Creek Ranch outside Hailey, Idaho providing 10,400 acres of rangeland for research, education and outreach; a $2.4 million Aquaculture Research Institute facility in Moscow; and the new Idaho Central Credit Union Arena highlighting mass timber construction from Idaho’s forest products industry. Expanded opportunities for students such as the Summer Field Camp in McCall, online graduate education and the new Undergraduate Research Experience program. We are also working on a new Internship Cooperative to give students professional experience and job connections before they graduate. Research that makes a real impact including two USDA-funded projects to improve rangeland management; groundbreaking studies on the health and safety of loggers and wildland firefighters; and long-term research that has led to the recovery of the burbot, a once endangered fish now on its way to becoming commercially viable. You will find these and many more great stories in the magazine and on our website: uidaho.edu/cnr. I invite you to connect with the college to further grow our momentum. You have helped make this an incredible place, and with your continued support, we will build an even brighter future.

Magazine Staff Dennis Becker, interim dean Sara Zaske, writer/editor Leigh Cooper, Megan Faulkner, Elise Kokenge and Lindsay Lodis, contributors Steven Hacker, senior director of operations/ outreach Tim Thomson, advisory board chair Design – Beth Case, U of I Creative Services Photography – U of I Photo Services. Other image credits noted on the pages where they appear. CNR Alumni News University of Idaho 875 Perimeter Drive MS 1142 Moscow, ID 83844-1142 Email: cnr-alumni@uidaho.edu


Dr. Dennis Becker, Ph.D. ’02 Interim Dean





s the chair of your advisory board, I want you to know that your board is hard at work for you—all the alumni and friends of the College of Natural Resources—to help build on our college’s success. First, I want to take a moment to thank Dean Kurt Pregitzer for his leadership over the past eight years; the college has never been stronger. We are also pleased to be working with Interim Dean Dennis Becker on building the college’s momentum, and the year ahead holds great promise. Our board focuses on three major areas of interest and support, and I am pleased to report on our activities: Fundraising: We are currently in contact with CNR stakeholders to secure pledges of wood product donations for the new Idaho Central Credit Union Arena. This building will not only benefit the entire university but also showcase the beautiful and efficient building qualities of wood construction. Curriculum review: To date, the board has completed three employer summits by reviewing fire ecology, forestry, and fish and wildlife sciences curricula, and soon will complete a review of rangeland sciences curriculum. By doing so, we provide input on integrating industry needs into the coursework, which will ultimately help our graduates find suitable employment. Advocacy: Our board is deeply involved in the search and selection process for a new CNR dean and university president. We feel strongly that a U of I president must understand the importance of natural resources in Idaho and the role of a land-grant institution. To that end, the board has held four president’s tours. Last June, we took President Chuck Staben to Riggins to highlight the state’s fishery and water recreation resources. We look forward to hosting the next university president on our annual natural resources tour. We are proud of the college’s accomplishments and excited for the future. As CNR alumni and friends, you play a critical role in making this one of the best colleges of natural resources in the nation. Thank you.


Tim Thomson ’72 Advisory Board Chair

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College of Natural Resources News

There will soon be a new “woodshed” at the University of Idaho, thanks in part to the College of Natural Resources. CNR leadership and advisory board played a important role in fundraising for the $48 million arena to house the men’s and women’s basketball teams and university events. Many of our stakeholders made significant financial gifts and donations of wood products to make this a reality. The 4,200-seat arena, which is scheduled to break ground this spring, will display the benefits of building with wood for generations to come.


The College of Natural Resources Advisory Board hosts a President’s Tour every year to help inform the university’s president and invited dignitaries about critical natural resources for the state. This year the tour came to Riggins where President Chuck Staben joined alumni and friends to learn about the economic and cultural importance of fisheries to the Northwest and river recreation to the area. He heard from local leaders, toured the Rapid River Fish Hatchery and took a whitewater rafting trip down the Salmon River.


More than 120 Vandals in Idaho and around the world are advancing their professional careers today via online graduate programming in the College of Natural Resources. Full- and part-time students, many of whom are working professionals, can tailor courses to match their busy schedules while earning a master’s degree from one of the top-ranked programs in the country. The online master’s program in environmental science, an interdisciplinary program with support from all U of I colleges, was recently ranked second in the nation and in the top ten for value, according to the 2019 Best and Most Affordable Online Colleges rankings published by the SR Education Group.




Grow Together

Pitkin Nursery and Experimental Forests

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Cooperation Helps University

Self-Supply Seedlings for Annual Planting his summer, students took part in a long tradition at the University of Idaho Experimental Forest near Princeton, Idaho. First they watched as Forest Director Rob Keefe felled a pine tree that was likely grown by former students several decades ago at the university’s nursery.

The Alumni Connection The U of I Experimental Forests and Pitkin Nursery not only employ students but also graduates of the College of Natural Resources. Alumni, many of whom were former student workers, also come back and purchase seedlings from the nursery.

When the tree hit the ground, they went to work, plucking ripened cones from its branches and putting them in burlap bags. “We use our own seeds back in the forest, and students participate in every step of the process,” said Keefe, who is also an associate professor of forest operations. “The cones are collected by students, the seedlings are grown by students at the nursery, and we will have students planting seedlings this spring as well as helping oversee and check the quality of contracted planting.” Bethany Rounds, a senior in conservation biology who normally works at the nursery, was out that day to try her hand at picking cones. “I like that I’m working in conservation in some way,” she said. “We grow a ton of native trees that get used in reforestation.” This past year, more than 62,000 seedlings were planted on the Experimental Forest, all of which were grown at the Franklin H. Pitkin Forest Nursery operated by the College of Natural Resources. Some of the seeds collected in summer 2018 will ultimately be part of a future planting.

DON REGAN ’98, MS ’02, has worked at the nursery for 20 years. Starting as a graduate student under director Dave Wenny, Regan rose from a greenhouse coordinator to become the nursery manager. MATT HAJOS ’18 is a new forester for the U of I Experimental Forests. A military veteran, Hajos recently earned two bachelor’s degrees at University of Idaho in forestry and fire sciences.

This mutually beneficial relationship is unique, according to Andrew Nelson, assistant professor of silviculture and nursery director. Most other universities that plant trees on their school forests get their seedlings from a federal or private nursery. “We’re really the only university that has the ability to work this closely on regeneration,” said Nelson, who also holds the Tom A. Alberg and Judith Beck Endowed Chair in Native Plant Regeneration. “We have this great ability to grow our own crop.” For many years, the nursery grew trees in open fields, but former nursery director Dave Wenny, Ph.D. ’82, worked with the state legislature in 1984 to build greenhouses at the Parker Farm site off Highway 8 on the eastern edge of Moscow. Today the Pitkin Nursery has seven operational greenhouses and the capacity to grow 500,000 seedlings for research and commercial production. The nursery is not just a business, however. “One of the great things we’ve been able to do is to integrate the nursery with our educational and research programs to fulfill our mission as a land-grant university. That’s why we employ a lot of students here,” Nelson said. Jared Deatherage, a senior in forest resources and fire ecology, found a love of silviculture by working at the nursery and now wants to go into the field. He had high praise for his work experience. “We grow 60 different species here. They all grow and germinate differently, and need different fertilizers at different times. It’s a more challenging environment,” he said. “So if you can learn how to grow all the crops that are grown at Pitkin, you can probably work at any nursery.” After picking cones, the Experimental Forest’s student logging crew bucked the downed trees into logs and decked them for delivery to a local sawmill. Student logging at U of I has been active for over 40 years and in 2018, helped provide wood for the new university president’s residence on the Moscow campus. This year, students will also help supply wood for the new arena.

LAUREN GOSS ’17 was a student worker at the nursery as a greenhouse irrigation tech. Today she is the nursery’s sales and outreach coordinator – and she’s once again a student, this time working toward her master’s degree. She will be studying the effect of different fertilizer regimes on container grown western larch.





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National Parks Power Couple

Got their Start at Alumni Pair Credit Career Success to Education at CNR

ich and Sheri Fedorchak’s résumés read like a list of the best places to visit in the country: Mount Rainer, Carlsbad Caverns, Lassen Volcanic, Zion, Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain national parks. The Fedorchaks have worked at all of them and in a wide range of positions. Sheri, MS ’84, has been a park interpretive guide, resource manager, firefighter and environmental assessment planner. Rich ’84 has worked in park law enforcement as well as firefighting and interpretation. Over time, he rose to become chief of interpretation and education at both Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain national parks. Today, Rich works as the national partnership coordinator for the National Park Service, helping all the parks strengthen their relationships with nonprofit organizations. He is based in Colorado where Sheri works as an outdoor recreation planner at Rocky Mountain National Park. “It’s just been magnificent,” said Sheri of their shared journey, noting that it all started at the University of Idaho. “I can’t imagine going anywhere else and ending up doing what I did.” “It’s all because of Idaho,” Rich agreed. Sheri met Rich the first day she arrived on U of I’s Moscow campus for her master’s program in 1982. The two were thrown together on several projects by their major professors Jim Fazio and Sam Ham, faculty in the Department of Wildland Recreation Management (now known as Natural Resources and Society). “I think it’s the best way to meet someone,” Sheri said. “First we were students, then friends, then we started to date. We both had a dream of working for the National Park Service—how handy.”

Sheri wanted to work in parks ever since she was a young girl growing up in Indiana. Rich came to the profession from another direction. He first earned his associate degree in arboriculture and became an arborist in his home town of Framingham, Massachusetts. A later position with the Young Adult Conservation Corps brought him to Alaska. He enjoyed the outdoor education work so much he decided to go back to school to finish a related degree at University of Idaho. “My trajectory in the world changed when I went to Idaho,” Rich said. “It changed not only the way I looked at the world but also how I participated in it. It was about making a difference in conservation and preservation.” Rich and Sheri have returned to Moscow many times and enjoyed life-long friendships with their former professors Ham and Fazio as well as Ed Krumpe and the late Bill McLaughlin. Rich said their teachers left an “indelible impression” on him. “They had such high bars for students, and you could see that in them,” he said. “They are constantly learning.” The Fedorchaks are strong supporters of the College of Natural Resources and recently made a gift to the McCall Outdoor Science School. They also regularly recommend U of I to prospective students. In turn, they hope CNR graduates will consider careers in the National Park Service. “We need good people working for the parks now more than ever,” said Sheri.





Massive Living Laboratory to Become Part of UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO 10 |

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Working Ranch Offers Opportunities for Research, Education, Conservation and Recreation

The Rinker Family Legacy


he University of Idaho will soon become the official owner of Rinker Rock Creek Ranch, which spans 10,400 acres of rangeland in Idaho’s Wood River Valley, just a few miles southwest of Hailey. This working ranch is a unique asset. Few other universities in the United States have a property of this size and scope that encompasses such diverse opportunities for research, education, conservation, community outreach and recreation. “The University of Idaho has a long history of research and extension on range issues in southern Idaho,” said Dennis Becker, interim dean of the College of Natural Resources. “The Rinker Rock Creek Ranch provides an accessible, living laboratory for the public to observe that work on different grazing and restoration practices.” With its thousands of contiguous acres, the ranch itself is huge, but it is also surrounded by 11,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management property where the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is actively grazing cattle. “It’s becoming increasingly rare to find property of this size and location,” said Scott Boettger, the Wood River Land Trust’s executive director. “Not only does it contain some of the best sage-grouse habitat in the state, but along with its public lands allotments, it encompasses more than 20,000 acres of an important sub-watershed of the Big Wood River.” Research based at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch can help land managers across the Intermountain West make informed decisions about how people live, work and recreate on rangelands. This is especially important in Idaho, where rangeland makes up over half of the landscape, about 28 million acres. The ranch will be jointly managed by the College of Natural Resources and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to provide researchers, U of I Extension faculty, and students the opportunity to collaborate with conservation organizations, ranchers, and local, state and federal agencies. An advisory board that includes representatives from The Nature Conservancy and the Wood River Land Trust, the two nonprofits that played key roles in the property’s acquisition, will collaborate with the university to provide management direction. Initial research will include: •

Interactions between livestock grazing and wet meadows preferred by sage grouse

Differences in nutrition and meat quality from cattle grazing on rangelands versus irrigated pasture

Electronic monitoring of cattle movements and efficiency of grazing

Modeling early detection of invasive plant species

Vegetation mapping using satellite imagery to develop computer and mobile apps for improved land and livestock management

Virtual livestock fencing

The ranch will host outreach and education events, such as Sagebrush Saturdays, a summer program that provides opportunities for the public to visit the ranch and learn about its history, ecology, wildlife and sustainable grazing practices. “We live in a state that is changing fast,” said Lou Lunte, deputy director for The Nature Conservancy in Idaho. “We need to make thoughtful decisions about how we use and manage our natural lands for the benefit of people and wildlife. The collaborative efforts at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch will help land managers make informed decisions in addressing the significant challenges facing western rangelands.”

HARRY RINKER, a land developer and conservationist, knew he wanted to conserve the ranch he had owned for nearly four decades. He and his wife Diane initiated a series of gifts involving the University of Idaho Foundation, the Wood River Valley Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, and Idaho Fish and Game—all of which led to the long-term protection of 10,400 acres of iconic Idaho rangelands. To thank the Rinkers, the University of Idaho and the Foundation hosted a celebration in Ketchum last summer and recently re-named the property, Rinker Rock Creek Ranch, in the family’s honor. “The research, learning opportunities and community engagement at the ranch are a boon to understanding and promoting effective rangeland management and conservation for all of Idaho,” University of Idaho President Chuck Staben said. “We are grateful for the Rinkers’ vote of confidence in that vision for U of I and for our state.”






Wildland Firefighter Health Studies Gain National Attention

Using Technology to Improve Safety on Logging Sites



As fire seasons grow longer, wildland firefighters are getting really tired. Randy Brooks knows exactly how tired. This summer, the forestry professor tracked 18 smokejumpers with the help of advanced motion monitors that use an algorithmic fatigue model originally developed for the U.S. military.

Logging is the most dangerous profession in the United States. Associate Professor Rob Keefe is leading research to use technology to make harvesting timber safer. Loggers work in remote areas, and one practical way to improve safety is simply increasing awareness among coworkers where their colleagues are at any given time, especially in relation to falling trees, moving equipment and logs, and other jobsite hazards.

The Associated Press got wind of Brooks’ work in August and the resulting article was published in more than 65 media outlets across the country. “Ultimately, I hope this research, and the attention it has received, will help save lives,” Brooks said. Both of Brooks’ sons are wildland firefighters. After a tragic fire killed three fellow firefighters in 2015, Bo Brooks asked his father if he could help through research. So Randy Brooks and doctoral student Callie Collins started with a survey of more than 400 wildland firefighters that pointed to fatigue as one of the main contributors to accidents. A pilot study followed in summer 2017 with nine smokejumpers who were outfitted with motion monitors that keep detailed data on sleep and activity. The firefighters spent more than 42 percent of a month working in impaired conditions with reaction times slowed by 34 to 100 percent. They also lost muscle mass over the season, despite their physically demanding work and high caloric input. Brooks’ team followed 18 smokejumpers in summer 2018 and plans to expand the project in 2019 to follow as many as 100 firefighters as well as explore possible interventions.

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With the help of an $825,000 grant from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Keefe’s team has been developing ways to use GPS-based devices to increase that location awareness among logging crews. “The great thing is there are now multiple technologies we can use to map people and equipment in the woods where there’s no cell service,” said Keefe. “We can go through satellites and use miniature radios that pair with your phone to allow safety apps to work offline.” Keefe and doctoral student Eloise Zimbelman recently received a grant from the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center to use GPS activity watches, like those made by Garmin and Fitbit, to monitor work activities and send alerts to coworkers nearby if a possible accident has occurred on logging site.



Tackling the Northwest’s Wildfire Problem from Many Angles

Investigating the Sustainability of Biofuels



Wildfire in the Northwest is not going away. According to Associate Professor Crystal Kolden, the best thing people can do is learn how to live with fire by mitigating its impacts. As a fire scientist, Kolden is doing just that. She is leading a multidisciplinary project funded by a $2.8 million National Science Foundation grant to help communities become more resilient to wildfires.

Assistant Professor Tara Hudiburg’s team is hard at work after receiving a $750,000 grant from the Department of Energy to study biofuels. The project is part of a larger $104 million initiative involving 60 researchers across 17 institutions to create a new generation of sustainable, cost-effective bioproducts and bioenergy. Hudiburg’s team, which includes doctoral student Danielle Berardi and post-doctoral fellow Jeff Kent, is leading the biogeochemical modeling portion of the initiative. They are working on assessing greenhouse gases, improving predictions of future crop yields and determining the impacts of different cropping systems on soil health, biodiversity and water quality.

“It’s about finding solutions people can embrace, so they are prepared because the one thing we can just about guarantee is that larger and more extreme wildfires are inevitable,” she said. Kolden is a pyrogeographer who studies how wildfire impacts large landscapes. The project team also includes hydrologists, economists and social scientists as well as art and architecture faculty. The project, called FireEarth, will ultimately identify Northwest communities that are most vulnerable to fire’s negative impacts and model potential management solutions to help communities better adapt. The key, Kolden said, is addressing the problem from both physical and social angles by projecting where fires will have severe consequences and matching potential solutions with what is feasible for those communities. For example, it is not realistic to expect every homeowner in a lower-income rural community to spend thousands of dollars remodeling homes to be fire-resistant. But that same community may be able to build and maintain a firebreak on private lands.

“This project will advance the energy security of the U.S. while examining the economic sustainability and environmental impact of a bio-based economy,” Hudiburg said. “We are taking a holistic approach to help improve U.S. energy supply and reduce environmental impacts.”

Keep up with Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences! Visit uidaho.edu/cnr/getnews to sign up.





USDA-Funded Projects Aim to

IMPROVE Rangeland Management

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ason Karl is very busy these days. He is the lead investigator on two projects recently funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Services’ Conservation Innovation Grant program. Both projects involve using technology to improve rangeland management. Each is funded by a USDA grant worth more than $600,000 with matching funds from U of I and other partners.

The Power of an Endowed Chair

USING SATELLITE IMAGERY TO STUDY GRAZING PATTERNS Ranchers and land managers would like to know more about how their cattle use the land—specifically, when, where and how much forage they consume. Karl is leading a new project that combines satellite imagery and GPS technology with on-the-ground observations to give ranchers a new grazing management tool. In the three-year project called Deploying CERT (Climate Engine Rangeland Tool), researchers will equip 300 to 400 cows with special GPS collars developed by Karl at the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve in Oregon, and on private ranches and Bureau of Land Management lands in southern Idaho. The resulting maps and forage utilization data will be built into the CERT, an online tool to analyze and visualize information on how much forage livestock consume. The data will also be linked to field observations of forage utilization with remote sensing techniques for mapping forage availability and change developed by Vincent Jason, who recently earned his Ph.D. from the College of Natural Resources. “Ultimately our goal is to create online maps that ranchers and land managers can use to see how forage availability and livestock consumption are changing over a growing season,” Karl said. “That will help them make more informed decisions on when to move cattle and how to better to manage their lands.”

NATIONAL GRAZINGLAND INFORMATION SYSTEM While a wealth of information exists on grazing and management practices for rangelands, it can be challenging to find. The information is spread across the internet, and current search technologies are not tuned to rangeland management terms. Karl is leading the National Grazingland Information System project to help put information at the fingertips of ranchers and extension specialists. Drawing on the deep expertise of the Rangelands Partnership, a collaborative of rangeland professionals and librarians in 19 states, and the GlobalRangelands.org information portal, Karl’s team will organize and catalog information to build a modern system for discovering and accessing relevant reference materials. One of the project’s goals is to create a web-based, mobile-friendly app with online and offline capabilities, so land managers can use the app whether they are in the office or out in the field. Near the end of the project, Karl’s team will host workshops and training sessions delivering the new information portal and mobile app back to these stakeholders.

Endowed chairs and professorships help recruit star faculty and provide funding to support their research, including opportunities for student research. They also help establish a legacy of leadership at the College of Natural Resources. Jason Karl is a prime example. He joined the CNR faculty in 2017 as the Harold F. and Ruth M. Heady Endowed Chair in Rangeland Ecology. Harold Heady, ’38, was a noted rangeland ecologist who helped found the Society of Range Management. The generous fund he and his wife Ruth left behind is meant to carry this legacy at University of Idaho. The chair helped bring Karl to CNR, and his leadership is already apparent. In addition to the USDA grants awarded in his first year on the faculty, Karl is also the head of the University of Idaho Drone Lab, which brings together faculty and students from multiple colleges at the university to collaborate and share information about using this new technology.





FISH AND WILDLIFE SCIENCES Burbot Make a Stunning Rebound

Graduate students Neil Ashton and Moureen Matuha measure a small burbot.

with the Help of CNR Research Burbot are staging a comeback in Idaho. Ken Cain, a professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences, has helped rebuild Idaho’s burbot population. This blotchy brown fish with an eel tail and catfish head numbered fewer than 50 in the Idaho wild in the early 2000s, but a conservation effort led by the Kootenai Tribe has increased Idaho’s wild population to around 20,000 adults. The repopulation effort was so successful the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will initiate a recreational burbot fishery in 2019 in the Kootenai River. Now Cain wants to shift from conservation to commercial aquaculture. Currently, burbot are not farmed commercially for food in the United States. “We have to domesticate the fish,” said Ph.D. student Neil Ashton. “We are trying to fine-tune their growth and reproductive biology for the aquaculture setting.” Once hatched, baby burbot go through what scientists call a larval stage. “When they hatch, they are so small you can’t feed them an artificial diet like young trout or salmon,” Cain said. “They are basically the size of an eyelash.” Instead, baby burbot feed on small plankton before graduating to brine shrimp and finally artificial pellet feed. Ashton spent the past few years tweaking the burbots’ diets and nursery conditions to increase survival. “A fish can carry a million eggs, and survival is low in the wild. We are getting up to 20 percent survival through larval stages,” Ashton said. “That is a really good percentage for these fish.” But raising live food is labor-intensive and expensive compared to pellet feed. Cain hopes the researchers can reduce the time baby burbot spend eating live food by speeding their growth or introducing smaller dry diets at earlier stages. In addition, the team will test how different commercial feeds affect the growth and health of burbot. Burbot are a coldwater fish. Adults only spawn in late winter when the water is just above freezing. If the water temperature rises even a few degrees, most eggs won’t hatch. On the plus side, the fish will likely grow well across northern states, Cain said. But inducing a spawning event and caring for eggs and larvae can be tricky. Ph.D. student Moureen Matuha will vary tank temperature and day length, which is short in late winter, to see if adult burbot will spawn outside of their regular spawning time. In 2017, Cain’s group worked with U of I Aquaculture Extension Specialist Gary Fornshell, the College of Southern Idaho and Leo Ray, owner of the Idaho Fish Breeders company, to provide burbot to a southern Idaho restaurant. Roughly 150 customers who ordered burbot — a mild, white meat ­— completed surveys, and overall the fish received rave reviews. As part of her project, Matuha, who is from Uganda, will continue studying potential markets for burbot, including surveying other restaurants. She will also investigate other uses for the fish; in Europe, the eggs are used as caviar, the skin made into designer leather purses, and the liver sold as a delicacy. ARTICLE BY LEIGH COOPER

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THUNDER BASIN DONATION CLOSES CRITICAL RESEARCH GAP ON RARE BIRD urrowing owl populations are plummeting in many areas across the West while in other places, they are doing just fine—and no one knows exactly why. Biologist Courtney Conway is leading an effort to find out if the owls’ migration is the key. He is working to track the owls by using small solar-powered satellite transmitters that fit like tiny backpacks on the birds. While burrowing owls are small, the project to track them is massive, spanning eight years and the entire Western half of North America. Conway’s goal is to put as many transmitters on owls as possible. But to do that, first he has to find the right hole in the ground. Burrowing owls nest in holes dug by other animals like prairie dogs.

Solving the Mystery of the

Disappearing Burrowing Owl

Over the years, Conway, U of I Ph.D. student Carl Lundblad and their collaborators managed to place transmitters on burrowing owls in all western Canadian provinces and US states that still support reasonable numbers of migratory owls except one: Wyoming. Initial grant funding had run out, but his colleagues at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department connected Conway with the Thunder Basin Coal Company. “We are always looking for projects that enhance our reclamation efforts and benefit species, like the burrowing owl,” said Lecia Craft, environmental supervisor for the Thunder Basin Coal Company. “What’s exciting about this project is it gave us the chance to do something outside of the box.” To date, the company has donated more than $100,000 to support Conway’s research, allowing him to purchase the transmitters as well as satellite time to track the owls on their migration routes. “Wyoming is in the middle of the owl’s breeding distribution,” Conway said. “Without the funding from Thunder Basin, we would have had to complete this project with a hole in the middle of the species range.” Conway is in the process of placing 10 satellite transmitters on owls who nest in Wyoming. Andrea Orabona of Wyoming Game and Fish Department provides logistical support and on-the-ground knowledge of where to find the owls. So far, the researchers have learned some owls migrate to parts of California, and northern and central Mexico. As more information is collected, Conway hopes to discover whether the owls’ winter homes are impacting their population success. PHOTOS COURTESY OF COURTNEY CONWAY (TOP) AND THUNDER BASIN (BOTTOM).

The researchers found nesting owls on the reclamation area of Thunder Basin’s Black Thunder Mine. They fitted an adult owl with a transmitter and banded five juvenile owls to obtain information about their migration patterns.





New Internships

Give Students Jumpstart on Careers


ll students in fish and wildlife sciences complete a 300-hour internship work experience as part of their major. These experiences can have lasting impacts on their lives and careers. This summer, 50 students participated in internships with many different employers including Pacific States Marine Fisheries, the U.S. Forest Service, Zoo Boise, and the fish and game departments in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Two new internships began in summer 2018:

Hagerman Fish Culture Experiment Station José Ortiz thinks a lot about what fish eat. Ortiz, a junior fishery resources major, recently completed the first CNR internship at the Hagerman Fish Culture Experiment Station in southern Idaho. Over the summer, Ortiz attended his first professional conference, helped spawn fish and worked with Assistant Research Professor Vikas Kumar on a project that aims to substitute animal protein with plant protein in fishmeal, a project that would not only reduce costs but also decrease the amount of wild fish harvested for use in fishmeal. Through these tasks, Ortiz began to see the potential impact of his career choice. “There is an increased demand globally for food due to population growth — to help produce a sustainable food source for people all over the world would be really meaningful,” he said. Ortiz enjoyed the internship so much he is planning to return in summer 2019.

Want to hear more about Fish and Wildlife Sciences? Visit uidaho.edu/cnr/getnews to sign up.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity,” he said. “Honestly, learning as much as I have, this summer is probably one of the best summers of my life.” ARTICLE BY LINDSAY LODIS

Mexican Wolf Recovery Project The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warns prospective interns with the Mexican Wolf Recovery Project that they will work long, irregular hours often in remote areas with extreme environmental conditions. Still, when Reagan Barron, a wildlife resources major, saw the posting, she jumped at the chance. She was accepted and the Gratson Field Experience Award provided a stipend and travel funds to take her to the project headquarters in Alpine, Arizona. Barron did work hard. To monitor wolf movements, she set up remote cameras and hauled diversionary food caches, often heavy boxes of roadkill, to sites in the Gila and ApacheSitgreaves National Forests.

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CNR EXCELLENCE FUND Help Create Life-Changing Student Experiences

The CNR Excellence Fund supports: n Undergraduate leadership training opportunities and travel n Student research opportunities n Field work with landowners, private industry, agencies and nonprofits n Technology and facility improvements that enhance learning environments

Jennifer Farnum, Ph.D. ’06 Director of Development 875 Perimeter Drive MS 1138 Moscow, ID 83844-1138 208-885-5145 | jfarnum@uidaho.edu


For more information or to make a donation, contact:

“It was difficult but very rewarding at the end of the day,” she said. The caches are meant to divert the wolves from killing area cattle and supplement food for packs with pups. From this internship, Barron gained new scientific and practical skills from searching for animal sign and triangulating with telemetry to using a firearm and improving her 4x4 driving. Most of all, the experience helped advance her career. “I really learned a lot from this job, and it helped me narrow down what I want to do,” she said.






Our department reorganized under the title Natural Resources and Society (NRS) in 2015. While it’s a relatively new name, NRS encompasses many areas that should be familiar to alumni. We study the social-ecological system, the nexus where humans meet the environment. Social science is still in our DNA, and we’ve added exciting new ecological dimensions. Many demands are placed on our natural resources, including economic development, conservation, recreation and habitat preservation. NRS brings multiple disciplines to bear on these issues, and the stories below offer a small sample of our work. We invite you to connect with us to learn more.

Snow Drone Research Aims to Improve Water Level Measurement in Northwest STUDENT’S NASA-FUNDED PROJECT WILL CREATE AERIAL LIDAR LANDSCAPE MODEL

ground methods that can be combined with aerial remote sensing techniques, so we can better estimate snow on a landscape scale.”

On a snowy day in McCall, doctoral student Micah Russell flies a drone around a snow-laden tree. It may look like a game, but Russell’s work is part of an effort to improve estimates of water availability on Northwest landscapes, funded in part by an Earth and Space Science Fellowship from NASA.

The most accurate method for testing the model involves measuring snow on trees with terrestrial lidar, which uses lasers to create 3D point cloud images of a target measured down to a millimeter, first of trees without snow and then with snow. However, the process is so time consuming only about twelve trees can be analyzed in a day.

Snow pack is critical to spring water supplies. Historically, water from snow has been estimated by combining measurements of snow depth on the ground and snow density. This method misses one big area: snow caught in forests on tree limbs. This “intercepted” snow can contribute to streamflow or be blown away, but until now, there has been no easy and reliable method to measure it. Over the past two winters, Russell has been working with Assistant Professor Jan Eitel to develop a model that can be applied to large forest spaces to predict just how much snow is stuck in the trees. “Historically people have tried to study this, but it is resource intensive,” said Russell, who has also received CNR’s prestigious Curt Berklund Graduate Research Scholar Award. “We are testing

Using drones, which create 3D point cloud images down to a centimeter, could accelerate the process immensely. A drone can fly a large span of forest in 30 minutes, making it more feasible to measure vast areas. Plus, drones can fly into places that are either logistically impractical or dangerous to send researchers. This winter Russell and Eitel will be using both terrestrial lidar and drones in their research. The hope is that when they compare the data, there will be sufficient correlation that drones could be the sole tool used to obtain measurements in the future. “Drones take this stunning imagery, and they come back and land themselves,” Russell said. “When things go right, it is incredibly powerful. It is really easy to get information from remote areas that are inaccessible.” ARTICLE BY ELISE KOKENGE

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Ground-Breaking Research Looks at Microbes Transported by Smoke FIRE AEROSOLIZES BACTERIA AND FUNGI THAT CAN AFFECT HUMAN AND FOREST HEALTH Some microorganisms can not only survive a forest fire but use its smoke to travel. Associate Clinical Professor Leda Kobziar, has been sampling plumes of smoke and has found fungi and bacteria, both living and dead. “I’m interested in what this means for the ecosystems where they land downstream and what that means for the people who are breathing smoke, both fire professionals and the public,” said Kobziar, who is also director of CNR’s Master of Natural Resources graduate degree program.

Policy Analysis Group Helps USDA Assess Biomass Economics NATIONAL STUDY TO INFORM LOCAL USE OF BIOMASS TO HEAT UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO Forest biomass is often touted as a component of renewable energy plans designed to reduce carbon emissions. But many see it as financially unviable. To provide reliable information for policy makers, Assistant Professor Greg Latta is leading an in-depth analysis for the USDA Office of the Chief Economist to examine the use of forest-based biomass from a market perspective.

While many “aerobiologists” have studied the role microbes play in atmospheric chemistry, few have looked at the effects of living microorganisms in smoke from wildland fire. Kobziar and her team are pioneering this new field “pyroaerobiology.” Their first paper on the topic was published in fall 2018 in the journal Ecosphere.


This movement of microorganisms could have both positive and negative implications for human and forest ecosystems. Smoke may be releasing microbial irritants to human lungs like Aspergillus or helping to spread forest diseases such as white pine blister rust. On the other hand, fire might also transport beneficial organisms like nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which are critical for life on earth.

The project involves refining a national forest market model to better account for regional timber harvests, mill infrastructure, road networks and competing demands for wood products. The model is being used to evaluate changes in forest stocks associated with biomass power expansion in five states: Minnesota, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington and Virginia. The results highlight the importance of where biomass is procured, the markets affecting competing uses of forest products, and how those interactions affect carbon dioxide emissions, one of the main contributors to global warming. So far, Latta, who leads CNR’s Policy Analysis Group, and his colleagues have found that existing forest industry configuration limits utilizing biomass resources and that transportation costs often make procuring biomass from elsewhere too expensive. The best biomass scenario from a climate perspective is when a power plant can use local logging residues, which would otherwise be burned in wildfires. To test that theory, CNR is partnering with the U of I steam plant to study the feasibility of using biomass residues from its Experimental Forests. The plant currently produces 90% of the steam needed to heat the entire Moscow campus. “We want to take some of what we learned at the national level and use that insight on our local conditions,” said Latta. “We’ve got this great case study right here.”

Shelby Green, an environmental science senior who is working with Leda Kobziar, prepares to catch microbes in smoke.

Learn more about Natural Resources and Society! Sign up at: uidaho.edu/cnr/getnews





Alumna Credits McCall Outdoor Science School with Changing her Life MOSS TOOK ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST OUT OF HER COMFORT ZONE When LaKysha Harris first arrived at CNR’s McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) in 2014, she had some doubts. “I just suddenly moved far away from home. I had no idea what to expect, and I was one of the only African-Americans in this town,” recalls Harris, who grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. Soon, however, Harris was embracing her MOSS graduate program in environmental education and science communication. She found herself canoeing to class, taking a week-long camping trip in the remote Frank Church wilderness and working directly with K-12 students, teaching them about the environment at CNR’s lakefront McCall Field Campus in the Idaho Rockies. “I knew nothing about Idaho before attending MOSS, but I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made,” Harris said. “It was a life-changing experience.” Harris—who holds a bachelor’s degree in biological science from Mississippi State University and worked previously as a natural resource advisor on the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico— brought a lot of scientific knowledge with her, but MOSS helped her improve her communication and team-building skills.


Today, Harris, MS ’15, is working as an environmental scientist at the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality where she collects samples for assessment and works to ensure corporations are in compliance with environmental laws. She feels the skills she learned at MOSS prepared her well for educating the public about environmental science. “When speaking to people about environmental concerns, I take things that I learned from MOSS, such as breaking down technical language into layman’s terms, to avoid misunderstandings,” she said.



McCall Kitchen Brings Place-Based Values to Meals CHEFS SUPPORT LOCALLY SOURCED, SUSTAINABLE FOOD The McCall Field Campus is the home of McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS), a national leader in science education, which engages students by directly connecting them with the place they are studying. Now, the campus is also becoming a player in another place-based concept: the local food movement in Valley County. “I love that the McCall Field Campus is becoming a place where local food is served—where we support local growers through providing outlets for their food, and where we all can talk about why this matters for the social and ecological systems that we’re part of,” said Karla Eitel, associate professor and MOSS director of education. Food systems and sustainability team members Megan Faulkner and Betsy Delph have spearheaded the effort the past two years to create a food culture at the campus centered around nutritious, made-from-scratch meals for the thousands of annual visitors. They co-created meal plans to fit a variety of dietary needs, prioritizing high quality, minimally processed ingredients from as many local and regional producers as possible. The reactions so far have been positive. A recent MOSS sixth grade student wrote a note to the kitchen staff: “Thank you for the wonderful food. It’s really good and makes me feel good about myself.” The kitchen crew is continuing to expand its partnerships. This past fall, the kitchen was stocked with organic potatoes grown by MOSS alumna Bre Anderson, MNR ’18. “As a new grower in Valley County, I am so thankful that they are determined to make local food a part of the MOSS experience,” she said. ARTICLE BY MEGAN FAULKNER

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Clear Waters: RESEARCH AIMS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND TRIBAL CONCEPTIONS OF TIME AND SPACE TO IMPROVE WATER GOVERNANCE Water quality planning involves multiple agencies and governments, spans decades, and varies across political boundaries. To many Native American tribes, the scope is not near large enough. As one Northwest tribal leader told a forest supervisor, the decisions made now on water quality would affect his tribe for the next 1,000 years. “Many tribes see far vaster expanses of time,” said Teresa Cohn, a CNR research scientist based in McCall. “They may be thinking about many generations of managing water.” Cohn is leading a National Science Foundation-funded project to better understand tribal conceptions of time and space as they relate to water quality governance. The goal is to create a process that better incorporates tribal participation and perspectives in water quality plans across the country. The project involves two very different landscapes, locations and people. In Nevada, the team will work collaboratively with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe which is deeply connected with Pyramid Lake, a terminal basin fed by rivers and streams from Lake Tahoe in California and the city of Reno, Nevada. The other half of the project focuses on the sprawling network of waterways found on over 13 million acres of aboriginal territory that the Nez Perce Tribe has occupied and used since time immemorial, which now comprises north-central Idaho, southeast Washington, northeast Oregon, and parts of Montana. In the two areas, faculty are working with graduate students who are also tribal members. The first phase is a survey of tribal members to identify areas of water quality interest followed by a participatory mapping process, using GIS and community input.


“The goal is to better understand how water quality is perceived, and how fundamentally different world views can impact water governance,” said Cohn.

Summer Field Camp is Back in McCall It’s been more than 25 years since summer field camp has been in McCall. This past summer 11 undergraduates in forestry and related disciplines returned to the banks of Payette Lake. They took two courses over an intensive three weeks, learning forest ecology and forest measurements from Research Assistant Professor Mark Kimsey and Ph.D. student Kathryn Baker, while working with professionals in the field. In summer 2019, forestry camp will expand giving students a competitive edge. Plans are in the works to add more majors and “bridge” programming to incoming students even before school starts to help them find a cohort and get a jump on their education.

U of I graduate student Sierra High Eagle takes water measurements near Lapwai, Idaho.






Environmental Science

Helps Bring Navajo Horse Expert Back to His Roots RUDY SHEBALA ’09, M.S. ’14, PH.D. ’18, NEVER STOPPED PURSUING KNOWLEDGE


hen Rudy Shebala left the Navajo Nation in 1983, he didn’t know it would take him 35 years to move back to his northern Arizona home. Oddly enough, it was his graduate studies at the University of Idaho that helped bring him back. The interdisciplinary nature of environmental science allowed Shebala to combine his interests in range management, animal science and the horse culture of his people. Now at 61, Shebala is a new Ph.D. holder and a leader in his tribe as a chapter manager, a position similar to a county manager, at the Navajo Nation that spans 27,000 square miles. He handles all kinds of issues for his tribe from flooding problems to veterans’ assistance to redevelopment plans. Recently he was nominated to the board of directors representing the Chinle Agency for the Navajo Agricultural Products Industries, a successful longtime Navajo Nation enterprise. “As Dr. Rudy Shebala, people listen to me. I have a heck of a title,” he said. “A Ph.D. can make tremendous change for the betterment of a people or situation. If I don’t know something, I know how to find it through research.” Shebla grew up in a small community on the reservation in Arizona. He recalls the deep red stone canyons, ponderosa pine forests and prairie grass lands of his youth—and he remembers always being around horses. “Anything to do with horses that’s what I did as a kid,” he said. After high school, Shebala worked summers in forests in Oregon and Idaho and that’s when he first heard about University of Idaho. He was accepted at U of I in 1983. When he told his ailing grandfather that he intended to go to college, his grandfather replied in the Navajo

Rudy Shebala (right) with his advising professor, J.D. Wulfhorst.

language, “you will not fail.” But Shebala did not succeed right away. He dropped out of college after a few semesters. He found different jobs in Idaho, fighting forest fires and manning heletack stations. One day while working at a local sawmill, he saw an advertisement for the Nez Perce Tribe’s horse program under a grant written by faculty at U of I. He applied and the Nez Perce Tribe hired him to lead the program. He helped revive the horse culture of the tribe, long known for its historic connection to the Appaloosa. Even after the grant ended, Shebala continued working on developing a new breed, the Nez Perce horse. The job also reconnected Shebala with U of I, and he returned to school, attending alongside his oldest daughter. Shebala studied animal science and this time succeeded, graduating with a bachelor’s in 2009. After the position with the Nez Perce Tribe ended, Shebala went on to pursue graduate work, focusing on environmental science, which allowed him to broaden the scope of his studies. He earned a master’s degree in 2014 and then a doctorate in 2018. His dissertation focused on the history and science of the Navajo horse culture. “It’s kind of a unique Ph.D.,” he said. “It’s traditional Native American culture. It’s not folklore. It’s actually science: the flora, the fauna, the livestock, the range, the earth and the sky.” Shebala’s educational journey has been a long one, but he never stopped learning. “It was a challenge, and I really wanted to learn new things,” he said. “As a child I was given a nickname that meant “He Reaches Up For It” because when I was very little they’d put things out of my reach, and I’d stretch and stretch until I could get it down. That is what my life has been.”

SUPPORT TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCES at the McCall Field Campus Thousands of Idaho K-12 school kids are learning about natural resources, science, technology, engineering and math through outdoor, hands-on activities provided through the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS).

Graduate students, working directly with K-12 kids, are improving their science teaching skills while helping the state of Idaho attain its education standards.

A new Undergraduate Summer Field Camp is underway, giving CNR students a chance to study in the field with natural resource professionals.

Faculty researchers are tackling social and ecological questions that will improve our understanding and management of natural resources.

For more information or to make a donation, contact:

Jennifer Farnum, Ph.D. ’06 Director of Development 875 Perimeter Drive MS 1138 Moscow, ID 83844-1138 208-885-5145 | jfarnum@uidaho.edu





ALUMNI NEWS C. Eugene Brock (B.S. Forest Management ’61) retired after 32 years with the U.S. Forest Service and 20 years as a career ranger. Since retiring, he has written for The Idaho Magazine as well as authoring and co-authoring several books. He recently wrote and published a history of the Forest Service in Valley County, “Another Time—Another Way, U.S. Forest Service History, Valley County, Idaho, 1920-1970s.” Joseph Colwell (B.S. Wildlife Management ’69) retired from the U.S. Forest Service and published a novel, “Sands of Time.” He has also published two books of nature essays, “Canyon Breezes” and “Zephyr of Time.” Dustin Miller (B.S. Environmental Science '03) was appointed the director of the Idaho Department of Lands in August 2018. Previously, Miller was the administrator of the Governor’s Office of Species Conservation and a member of the Governor’s Natural Resources Cabinet since 2012. Brian Fillmore (B.S. Fishery Resources ’04) was selected as the new supervisor of the Oklahoma Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office in Tishomingo, Oklahoma in March 2018. He was previously employed at the Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery for 12 years where he raised and released alligator gar, Arkansas River shiner, channel catfish, paddlefish and various sunfish species. Fillmore was on the leading edge of culturing the alligator snapping turtle, a rare and understudied species. Robert Sanchez (B.S. Forest Resources ’04) was named the new supervisor of the Siuslaw National Forest in September 2018. The national forest covers 630,000 acres, mostly along the coast from Tillamook in the north to Coos Bay in the south. Prior to this appointment, Sanchez was the deputy supervisor of the Coconino National Forest in Arizona. Cailin O'Brien-Feeney (PSM Environmental Science ’12) was named Oregon’s first director of the state’s new Office of Outdoor Recreation in June 2018. O’Brien-Feeney has worked in outdoor recreation for 15 years, including stints with the U.S. Forest Service and as a river guide in Idaho. Sam Bourret (M.S. Fish and Wildlife Resources ’13), a fisheries biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, used forensic techniques to trace illegally introduced fish in a Montana lake back to their home lake 192 miles away. National Geographic highlighted his work in October 2018. He is lead author on scientific article about the work published in the November 2018 Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Amanda Chenowith (B.S. Wildlife Resources ’17) placed 32nd among a field of national competitors in the 2nd Annual Stihl Timbersports U.S. Women’s Division qualifier in Albany, New York in June 2018.

Connect with CNR! Submit your Alumni News at uidaho.edu/cnr/alumni or email cnr-alumni@uidaho.edu. Mail to: CNR Communications, Office of the Dean, 875 Perimeter Drive MS 1138, Moscow, ID 83844-1138

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2018 Alumni Awards ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Zachary L. Penney (Ph.D. Natural Resources ’13) is the manager for the Fishery Science Department of the Columbia River InterTribal Fish Commission in Portland, Oregon. Sebastian Martinuzzi (Ph.D. Natural Resources ’10) is an associate scientist with the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

MID-CAREER ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Ben Poulter (B.S. Forest Resources ’97) is a research scientist in the Earth Science Division at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and an adjunct associate research professor at the University of Maryland.

HONOR ALUMNI AWARD Bill Higgins (B.S. Natural Resources ’94) is the resource manager for Idaho Forest Group, LLC and responsible for resource procurement for IFG’s Grangeville and Lewiston sawmills. Nancy Warren (M.S. Wildlife Resources ’79) has held a number of positions with the U.S. Forest Service, including forest wildlife biologist at the Flathead National Forest, Montana and endangered species program leader at the Rocky Mountain Regional Office. Now retired, she serves on the board for the Rocky Mountain Forest Service Association.

BRIDGE BUILDER AWARD Lou Lunte, (B.S. Microbiology ’84) is the deputy state director with The Nature Conservancy in Idaho and has 29 years of experience with the Idaho Chapter in a variety of positions.


IN MEMORY Cheryl Marie Hatch, 72, a longtime member of CNR family, passed away July 15, 2018 in Spokane. Cheryl spent a lot of time at the college’s nursery as the daughter of nursery manager, Professor Franklin Pitkin. She later worked in the college’s fiscal office. In 1983, she married Charles Hatch, then CNR’s associate dean, and many knew Cheryl as the dean’s wife when her husband led the college from 1995-2001. Michael Loehring, 37, died on October 13, 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska after a long battle with cancer. Mike worked as a CNR recruitment and placement specialist and as assistant director of CNR College Recruiting from 2006-2010. He served as U of I’s assistant director for strategic enrollment management in the Admissions Office from 2010-2012 before taking a position at the University of Nebraska. Walter A. Mallory, 101, (B.S. Forestry ’40) died Friday, March 23, 2018 in Lewiston. As a U of I student, Walter worked summers for Potlach Corp. on a logging railroad survey crew. He was hired shortly after graduation and worked for more than 40 years at Potlatch before retiring in 1981. Stewart Brandborg, 93, (M.S. Wildlife Management ’51) a conservationist and longtime leader of The Wilderness Society, died on April 14, 2018 in Hamilton, Montana. Stewart was influential in the passage of the landmark Wilderness Act of 1964 that set aside millions of acres of land for protection from development. During his 12-year tenure at the helm of The Wilderness Society, more than 70 wilderness areas in 31 states were brought under the protections of the Wilderness Act. Herbert Schroeder, 88, (B.S. Wood Utilization ’52) died on July 2, 2018 in Fort Collins, Colorado. Herb served as chief chemist for rocket propellant analysis in the Air Force, as a research chemist for the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory and then as a professor in forest products chemistry at Oregon State University. He spent his longest tenure as a professor of wood chemistry at Colorado State University from 1968-1992 and consulted for several companies and international universities. Herb published in over 30 journals, and held five patents and seven disclosures of invention.

John Harold “Jack” Helle, 83, (B.S. Fishery Management ’58, M.S. Fish & Wildlife Science ’61) died in Eagle, Idaho on July 23, 2018. John had a long, and successful career as a fisheries research biologist at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Auke Bay Laboratories in Juneau, Alaska. Jack led the Bering Aluetian Salmon International Survey (BASIS) which developed into a collection of data widely hailed by scientists all over the world. He received numerous awards including lifetime achievement awards from the University of Idaho and the federal government upon his retirement for his 49 years of service. Edward D. Hansen, 77, (B.S. Forestry ’64) passed away on May 15, 2018 in Richland, Washington. Edward started his career in the paper products industry at Crown Zellerbach in West Linn, Oregon. He also sold equipment and chemicals to the paper mills and worked for Scott Paper in Everett in 1987, which later became Kimberly-Clarke, before retiring in 2002. David Lee Wenny, 78, (Ph.D. Natural Resources ’82) professor emeritus and long-time director of the Idaho State Nursery, passed away January 8, 2018 in Spokane. Dave was a professor of forest regeneration, director of the Idaho State Nursery and director for the Center for Forest Nursery and Seedling Research from 1982 until his retirement in 2007. He was recognized with the College Outstanding Researcher Award, the College Outstanding Continuing Education Service Award and the U of I Outreach Excellence Award. Richard Folk, 71, (Ph.D. Natural Resources ’92), professor emeritus, passed away on January 23, 2018 in Lewiston. Richard earned “Outstanding Graduate Student” during his studies at U of I and was later named an “Outstanding Student Advisor” twice. Richard served as a professor in the department of forest products from 2003-2004. He was also a coach for the Idaho Logger Sports Club for seven years and an accomplished competitor himself, winning the All-Around World Champion Lumberjack in 1995.





WELCOME New Faculty Jocelyn Aycrigg, Assistant Research Professor, Fish and Wildlife Sciences Jan Eitel, Assistant Professor, Natural Resources and Society Charles Goebel, Department Head of Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences; Professor of Forest Ecosystem Restoration and Ecology Jocelyn Aycrigg

Charles Goebel

Jan Eitel

Jason Karl, Associate Professor of Rangeland Ecology; Harold F. and Ruth M. Heady Endowed Chair of Rangeland Ecology Arjan Meddens, Assistant Research Professor of Remote Sensing and Society Steve Shook, Associate Dean of Academics Alistair Smith, Interim Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, and Professor of Wildland Fire Sciences and Combustion Physics

Jason Karl

Arjan Meddens

Steve Shook

Chloe Wardropper, Assistant Professor of Integrated Water Resources J.D. Wulfhorst, Director of the Environmental Science Program

Alistair Smith

Chloe Wardropper

J.D. Wulfhorst

New Staff Greg Alward, Senior Researcher, Policy Analysis Group

Matthew Hajos, Forester, University of Idaho Experimental Forests

Luke Oliver, Research Specialist, Fish and Wildlife Sciences

Grant Brink, Scientific Aide, Fish and Wildlife Sciences

Michael Hanks, Scientific Aide, Fish and Wildlife Sciences

Jon Patton, Building Technician, McCall Field Campus

Cody Cochrell, Research Aide, Fish and Wildlife Sciences

Ian Hellman, Research Specialist, Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences

Betsy Delph, Food Services Assistant, McCall Field Campus

Kelsey Jutila, Academic Advisor, Student Services

Elizabeth Dorsey, K12 Program Coordinator, McCall Field Campus

Elise Kokenge, Administrative Specialist, Natural Resources and Society

Eric Everett, Program Specialist, Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Lindsay Lodis, Communications Specialist, College of Natural Resources

Jennifer Farnum, Development Director, College of Natural Resources Lauren Goss, Sales and Outreach Coordinator, Pitkin Forest Nursery 30 |

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Travis McCarley, Research Support Scientist, Fish and Wildlife Sciences Andrew Meyers, Research Scientist, Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Ron Perry, Web Coordinator, College of Natural Resources Gail Pollard, Financial Specialist, College of Natural Resources Paul Robinson, Watershed Research Project Manager, Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences Mike Shelton, Administrative Assistant, Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences Eric Winford, Associate Director, University of Idaho Rangeland Center Sara Zaske, Marketing and Communications Manager, College of Natural Resources


FACULTY AWARDS National Awards Association for Fire Ecology Biswell Lifetime Achievement Award — Penny Morgan 2018 Order of Acipenser Award, NA Sturgeon and Paddlefish Society — Dennis Scarnecchia 2017 Fellow of The Wildlife Society — Lisette Waits 2017 AAAS Fellow in Biological Sciences — Lisette Waits Association of Fire Ecology Presidential Service Award — Leda Kobziar

Penny Morgan

Dennis Scarnecchia

Lisette Waits

Leda Kobziar

Travis Paveglio

Frank Wilhelm

Tim Link

Ryan Long

Kerri Vierling

International Association of Wildland Fire Early Career Award – Travis Paveglio

University Awards 2018 U of I Excellence Award in Teaching — Frank Wilhelm 2018 U of I Donald Crawford Graduate Faculty Mentoring Award — Tim Link 2017 U of I Alumni Award for Excellence Inspirational Mentor — Ryan Long 2017 U of I Alumni Award for Excellence Inspirational Mentor — Kerri Vierling 2017 U of I Alumni Award for Excellence Inspirational Mentor — Frank Wilhelm

Professional Awards 2017 Jean’ne M. Shreeve NSF EPSCoR Research Excellence Award — Lisette Waits Sechi Disk Award, the Washington Lakes Protection Association (WALPA) — Frank Wilhelm

Andrew Nelson Named Tom A. Alberg and Judith Beck Endowed Chair in Native Plant Regeneration


n spring 2018, after a competitive international search, Andrew Nelson was selected as the Alberg and Beck Chair in Native Plant Regeneration. The chair was established by husband and wife, Tom Alberg and Judith Beck, in 2013 to recognize faculty excellence in forest nursery and seedling management, research and advancement for native plant regeneration. Nelson has served as an assistant professor in the Department of Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences since 2015 and as the interim director of the Center for Forest Nursery and Seedling Research and Franklin H. Pitkin Forest Nursery. Along with the endowed chair, he became the permanent director of the center and the nursery. His research program focuses on native plant regeneration with an emphasis on environmental, physiological and morphological factors influencing early seedling survival, growth and quality. He is also a leader in University of Idaho’s nursery project in the African country of Togo, which seeks to empower local people to reforest their landscape with native trees.




COLLEGE OF NATURAL RESOURCES 875 Perimeter Drive MS 1142 Moscow, ID 83844-1142

College of Natural Resources POINTS OF PRIDE •

CNR ranked #8 among the best natural

resources and conservation programs in the country, College Factual 2019 •

CNR ranked #1 for value, College Factual 2019

McCall Outdoor Science School won

a national Award of Excellence from the University Economic Development Association •

Environmental Science Program marked its 25th anniversary in 2018

Environmental science online master’s program ranked #2

for best online program of its kind in the nation and #10 for affordability—2019 Best and Most Affordable Online Colleges rankings, SR Education Group

Fire Ecology and Management, one of the oldest programs of its kind, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018

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