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College of Forestry and Conservation

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2012 Climate Change Internships

The following internships are supported through a USDA Higher Education Challenge (HEC) grant to develop internships in the area of natural resources and climate change. The goal of the HEC grant is to train leaders in climate change and natural resources through experiential and field-based learning.

Student:Matthew Delaney, Resource Conservation major
For the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station - Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, Matt examined trends in the Northern Rockies region National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) indices to determine climate change effects on the NFDRS.  Matt's internship is part of an ongoing study by Dr. Faith Ann Heinsch and the Missoula FireLab examining how climate change affects the NFDRS calculations with hopes to provide insight to fire managers in light of climate change. See Matt’s presentation.

Student: Katie Arledge, Resource Conservation major, Geosciences minor

For the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Katie researched and wrote a literature review on the properties of biochar and its potential to serve as a carbon sink.  Katie also researched and wrote about carbon trading systems.  Katie is in the process of using this knowledge to write a case study of biochar produced by RMRS and how they could work as an offset project under the California Global Warming Solutions Act. See Katie’s presentation.

Student:  Jesse Young, Economics major, Climate Change Studies minor
For his internship with the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Jesse Young applied the accepted Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) production accounting approach to quantify carbon stores in harvested wood pools (HWP) for individual forests in Region 1.  This was accomplished both visually with time line graphs and verbally with a written description of trends, variance, maximums and minimums.  Jesse compiled this information along with a forest description, which included location, history of borders, acreage, reserves, forest cover type, and natural disturbance, into individual forest reports designed to assist local foresters calculate how much carbon is in their forest's HWP.

Student: Josh Meek, Forestry major
For the
Bureau of Business & Economic Research (BBER,) Forest Industry Research Program, Josh assisted with the logging utilization studies that the BBER puts out on a routine basis for the Western United States. The project included visiting active logging sites, measuring felled trees, recording data, entering data into an Excel spreadsheet, and performing data analysisto crunch these numbers to come up with a detailed estimate of the forest residues left at logging sites that are potentially available for biomass supply. In addition, Josh created a professional poster that will be used at several nationally recognized forestry and biomass related conventions.

Student:  Karin Mayn, Resource Conservation major, Climate Change Studies minor
Karin worked in the U.S. Forest Service’s Region One Headquarters to utilize gridded global climate model datasets in GIS software to project possible climate change impacts in the Crown of the Continent. The project included clipping datasets to the area of interest, symbolizing the gridded data appropriately, and creating maps and histograms as visuals to exhibit possible temperature and hydrological changes in the Crown during the mid-21st century. These maps and histograms will be integrated into a new Forest Service website featuring climate change in various ecological regions to help increase climate change awareness and understanding while managing the nation’s natural resources. See Karin’s presentation.

Student:  William George, Resource Conservation major
For his internship with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, William developed an independent research question through analysis of internal documents pertaining to timber harvest related to Inventoried Roadless Areas and future wilderness Designation in the Tongass National Forest. William developed an original investigative research question and brought to fruition a series of maps and a research paper. William’s work will continue the following year and be developed into a working/active research question.

Student:  Zach Brown, Environmental Studies major, Climate Change Studies minor
For his internship with the Greater Yellowstone (GYC), Zach analyzed the major watershed restoration needs across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, gathering information on the location, scope, and estimated cost of specific watershed restoration needs. He produced a report of restoration projects that, if completed, would enhance watershed health and resiliency to climate change. Ultimately, the report will assist GYC in advocating for the protection and restoration of rivers, streams and trout populations as a direct response to climate change. Zach’s final work can all be viewed on GYC’s website.

Student: Drew Larson, Resource Conservation major
For his internship with the Clark Fork Coalition (CFC), Drew compiled the organization’s energy consumption, air and road travel, and printing purchases into a database to be assessed by Clear Sky Climate Solutions.  Drew submitted his findings to ClearSky Climate Solutions and received a report and recommendations on CFC’s greenhouse gas emissions.  Together with Jill Alban, CFC’s Outreach Manager, Drew evaluated and made suggestions so that CFC can reduce its carbon footprint.

Student: Tess Barker, Business Administration and Environmental Studies major, Climate Change Studies minor
Working directly with Amy Cilimburg (Montana Audubon, Missoula Office), Tess gathered information and conducted activities around issues of renewable energy development in Montana.  Information was geared toward helping Montana Audubon derive good renewable energy policy and communication.  Tess had the opportunity to work independently and through a variety of mediums, including web sites, newsletters, photo or video documents, and the like. Read an interview of Tess’s here.

Student: Mike Moerlein, Resource Conservation major
For Missoula Urban Demonstration Project, Mike assessed the renewable energy potential at their new tool/ truck rental site. The project included building a weather station, collecting data, and talking to renewable energy installers in the area. Mike also developed a step by step manual for people to follow that allows them to assess their own potential for renewable energy. See photos of Mike installing a weather station.

Student: Hank Stein, Wildland Restoration major, Climate Change Studies minor
For the Montana Renewable Energy Association Hank interviewed and drafted written profiles of five renewable energy businesses across the state. The purpose of the profiles are to educate the public about how small scale renewable energy businesses benefit communities within Montana, and the benefits of renewable energies as an entity. The profiles will also be used to educate legislators about how these businesses will be affected by their policies. Hank’s profiles can be found at http://www.montanarenewables.org/.

Student: Madison Matthew, Communication Studies major, Climate Change Studies minor
Through her internship with the ASUM Sustainability Center, Madison observed and analyzed the contributing factors to the University Center commons’ significant amount of waste. She accomplished this first by observing the behavior of users of the UC commons. Then, using her knowledge of these behaviors, formulated a survey with questions geared towards people’s knowledge of recycling, their awareness of their behavioral patterns, and opinions on waste issues the University faces. With her gathered research she will give the ASUM Sustainability Center and UC Dinning Services her recommendations to reduce the waste generated from the UC commons. 

Student: Mara Menahan, Environmental Studies major, Climate Change Studies minor
For her internship with Emily Harrington Illustration, Mara developed scientific illustrations to help convey the complexity and meaning of climate change. Working closely with Emily Harrington, Mara created a set of visual aids which depict three different systems through the lens of a changing climate: alpine ecosystems, coral reefs, and industrial agriculture. Her watercolor originals are overlaid with text to create digital final products that can be shared across the web and in the classroom. Mara’s illustrations can be seen here.      

Student: Becca Boslough, Resource Conservation major, Climate Change Studies minor
As a major part of its climate change educational outreach program in the Northern Rockies, The Wilderness Society launched a new, interactive website that focuses on climate change issues, impacts, and adaptation projects in Montana. Becca was responsible primarily for creating stories, compiling educational slide shows, writing a blog, and social media. The website can be found here: http://climatechangemt.org/.