W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation

Dean's Message

In early September, I joined a couple thousand other trail runners exploring the landscape of Big Sky Ski area and the inner depths of our sanity while running the Rut Mountain Race. The W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation was well represented with faculty, staff and students in every race: 11k, 28k, and 50k. Read more.

Franke Dedication

We're so grateful for the Franke family's support of our students, faculty and research programs. At the end of August we dedicated our building signs to recognize their generous gift to our college - and their gift to our friends across campus in the Franke Global Leadership Initiative. Thank you to Bill, Carolyn, Dave, Paige, Brian and Rebecca for helping us unveil these beautiful new signs.

Frankes.jpgDave, Bill, Carolyn, Paige, Brian and Rebecca – members of the Franke family on campus in August to help us dedicate two new signs in our building celebrating their $18 million gift to our college. 

Wildfire Season

2017 was a very active fire season in Montana. Fire danger levels were declared "high" or "extreme" across much of the state. Governor Steve Bullock declared emergencies for the fires as well a drought disaster declaration. According to theNorthern Rockies Coordination Center, as of Sept. 26, 2017, Montana had experienced a total of 1,867 fires burning 1,247,575 acres. Not surprisingly, local and national media outlets covered the Montana fires from many angles — and reached out to our faculty for expert explanations. From Wired magazine to NPR’s All Things Considered, our faculty weighed in. Read More.

fires.jpgStudents in our student fire club did prescribed burning at Lubrecht Forest in 2016 to help manage the forest. Former club president Shale Pagel took this shot. After he graduated in May, Shale spent the summer working on Montana fires.

Upcoming Events

  • Mondays from 4:30-5:20 p.m. BRIDGES Seminar. View thefull schedule for upcoming seminar speakers.
  • Wednesdays from 11-11:50 a.m. FORS 594 Grad Seminar. View the full schedule of upcoming seminar speakers.
  • Tues. Oct. 3, 5 p.m. in CHCB 452 Info session for Chile-Patagonia study abroad course. Learn how you can earn six-credits experiencing Patagonia and its unique ecology, culture, and conservation and restoration efforts, while traveling through some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth.
  • Sat. Oct. 7, 8:30 a.m. Fall Smoker hosted by the Forestry Club. Contact umforestryclub@gmail.com to participate in tours of local organizations and activities at Lubrecht.
  • Fri. Oct. 13, 3:30-5 p.m. LA Bldg. Foyer W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation’s Reception with UM Distinguished Alumnus ’87 PhD Ramakrishna Nemani.
  • Sat. Oct. 14: UM Homecoming Forestry Class of 1967 Reunion Activities on Sat. and Sun.
  • Mon. Oct. 16: Deadline to apply for Franke Sustainability Fellowship.
  • Thurs. Nov. 9: W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation Impact Advisory Board meeting

2017 Distinguished Alum

RamaNemani.jpgRamakrishna Nemani Ph.D. ’87 of Sunnyvale, California has received a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Montana, along with four other alums. A pioneer in satellite-driven ecological forecasting technology, Nemani, who earned a doctorate in forestry from UM under advisor Steve Running, is the director of NASA’s Ecological Forecasting Laboratory. His work, which he started at UM, is the basis of NASA Earth Observing System’s weekly monitor of global plant production, a unique global dataset used by scientists worldwide. Read More

Lisa Eby Earns National Excellence in Fisheries Education Award

LisaEby.jpgThe American Fisheries Society recently recognized Lisa Eby with its Excellence in Fisheries Education Award at the American Fisheries Society’s annual meeting this summer. “I am very honored to receive this award by our national professional organization,” Eby said. “The excellent undergraduate and graduate students at UM make my job fun and rewarding.” Eby, who serves as the faculty adviser to the student chapter of the American Fisheries Society at UM, is a core educator in the fisheries and aquatic ecology tracks of study in UM’s wildlife biology and ecosystem science and restoration degrees. She has instructed more than 400 undergraduates and guided dozens of students in aquatic-focused graduate programs across the nation during her 15 years at UM. Read More


Research Highlights

Brian Chaffin, an assistant professor of water policy, received an NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Track 4 fellowship. Chaffin received $214,000 to partner with ecologists in Nebraska to study the coupling of social and ecological changes in the Middle Platte River watershed of central Nebraska. Chaffin hopes to discover links between policy mechanisms and ecological change in order to isolate causes of environmental degradation and inspire improvements toward sustainability of agriculture, human well-being and ecological diversity in that system. Read More

The Montana Climate Assessment was released on Sept. 20, co-authored by Nick Silverman, research scientist in the Montana Climate Office. The report is the first-ever focus on climate trends and their consequences for three of Montana’s vital sectors: water, forests and agriculture. Kelsey Jencso, director of the Montana Climate Office says “For years, stakeholders across the state have wondered how much Montana’s climate has changed and how much will it change in the future,” said Kelsey Jencso, director of the Montana Climate Office at the University of Montana. Silverman received his PhD from UM in 2014. Read More

A UM research team including Ruth Swaney, coordinator of the Native American Natural Resource Program and associate dean Mike Patterson, has been awarded $1.8 million to promote professional success for Native American faculty in STEM fields. The grant supports development of a model that contains a mentoring program, grant preparation, management training activities and an institutional support program. Read More

Phil Higuera and colleagues have received a grant from the National Science Foundation to reconstruct the causes and ecosystem impacts of large wildfires in the Rocky Mountains over the past 2,500 years. Read a great Missoulian story about this research.

A New Home

As you all know, the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation is one of the nation’s oldest and most influential forestry schools. As a leader in the field, we can and should showcase the next generation of scientific solutions addressing climate change and sustainable forest management. One way to do so is through a bold new facility that demonstrates an innovative solution to current environmental and industry challenges.

With the support of visionary private investors, we propose to construct a new home for the University’s sustainability sciences – the region’s first tall, wood structure made entirely of cross-laminated timber (CLT). The new building will house our world-class faculty and provide modern learning spaces for students. Alongside our historic Forestry Building, constructed in 1924, the new structure will provide the space we need to create an integrated, collaborative environment. This incredible showcase will provide one more reason to choose the University of Montana – both for talented teachers and researchers and for students.

We are in the initial conceptual planning and design phase and are actively seeking support from private donors for a new building for our college.

Student Highlights

Kaitlyn Anderson, a Resource Conservation major, received a Boren Scholarship to study in Kyrgyzstan. Kaitlyn, from Kalispell, is currently in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. For her first semester, Anderson will further her Russian language skills and learn more about the culture and history of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. During the second semester, she will intern with a conservation organization that works to end illegal wildlife trade in Kyrgyzstan. Read More.

Student clubs are ramping up for the year. The student chapter of The Wildlife Society is at the annual TWS conference. Society of American Foresters student members are preparing to head to Albuquerque in Nov. for the annual SAF convention, and the forestry club hosts the annual fall smoker Oct. 7.