W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation
April 2017 Newsletter
Andrew Whiteley
Wildlife biology professor Andrew Whiteley just received the prestigious NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award to continue his research in conservation genomics. Congratulations to this outstanding member of our faculty! 
Dean's Message
Earlier this winter, I made a trip up to Lubrecht Experimental Forest to ski and start the process of re-familiarizing myself with parts of the forest. The snow up at Lubrecht was deep and the temperatures were relatively low, -20°F passing through Potomac and -8oF at the parking lot, hard to imagine today with the temperatures in excess of 50oF. Read the rest of the message on our blog.

Upcoming Events:

Bob Ream

This month we said goodbye to a great friend of the college, Bob Ream, who passed away on March 22. Bob was a professor, our interim dean, and founder of the Wilderness Institute and Wilderness & Civilization program. Bob started so many legacies in his life, but in his own words, his favorite work was in starting and spending so many years with the Wilderness and Civilization program. Bob continues to look out for the program and the students near and dear to his heart, helping to ensure the Wilderness and Civilization program will continue to foster wilderness citizens, interdisciplinary education, and wild landscapes for learning.You can help maintain Bob's legacy with a contribution to the Bob Ream Memorial Fund for Wilderness & Civilization.  

Research Highlights
Andrew Larson is co-author on a paper recently selected as the Editor's Choice in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research. He looked at mature conifer forests in the Cascade Mountains of Wash. and how competition can alter tree growth at both the individual and stand scale.

Will ecosystems take up more carbon or release more carbon as the climate changes? Ashley Ballantyne delves into one of the great uncertainties in predicting future climate in a new paper published in Nature Climate Change.

The journal Rangeland Ecology & Management just published a special issue on reducing woodland expansion. Professor Dave Naugle and UM faculty share their insights on how to protect sage-grouse and lesser prairie chicken by maintaining healthy rangelands in a series of articles in the issue.

Other recent selected faculty publications:

Patagonia Field Course

Patagonia Field Studies Course 2017

Eight students traveled to Chilean Patagonia with director of the Wilderness Institute Natalie Dawson in January to learn about ecology and conservation. They also worked on a forest restoration project with professor Cara Nelson. 

Student Highlights
Evan Tipton, a master's student in our Recreation Management program, took first place in the statewide Shark Tank entrepreneurial competition for his start-up software company TOMIS. His marketing software is geared for tour operators and took home a $5,000 prize in the competition, beating out 25 other Montana business pitches.

Students in the Ecosystem Science & Restoration capstone course are working on their practicum projects this semester, partnering with local organizations to do restoration work around the Missoula area. Community members are welcome to volunteer at these events, including:

  • Sun. April 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Student-organized volunteer day, in conjunction with Five Valleys Land Trust, to pull weeds and plant shrubs at the Rock Creek Confluence property west of Missoula
  • Sat. April 9: Help students trim young Douglas fir from the slope above the M on Mt. Sentinel
  • Sat. April 29: Help students build erosion prevention structures on roadside slopes of the Anaconda smelting hills
  • Contact Ben Colman, ESR capstone professor, for more details on any of these volunteer opportunities ben.colman@umontana.edu
Professor Cory Cleveland and graduate students Megan Nasto and Fiona Soper recently traveled to Costa Rica to continue ongoing research there. This time, UM graduate journalism student Maddie Vincent went along as part of a collaboration between Cleveland and the School of Journalism. Read Vincent's summary of the trip on our blog. 

PhD student George Gaines and his company Chilton Skis are turning beetle-killed and other local reclaimed wood into skis. George also completed his B.S. in Forestry here and spent a year working in private forest industry before coming back to work with professor David Affleck on his PhD. The company has already won a UM business plan competition prize for best manufactured product. Watch a video about Chilton


The FireCenter received a grant from the Montana Research and Economic Development Initiative last summer to look at using drones in fire management. UM's Vision magazine recently profiled the work of Carl Seielstad, LLoyd Queen and the rest of the FireCenter team. They've partnered with private industry to develop drone technology to monitor fires and characterize fuels on the landscape. Read the article in Vision