Welcome to the first edition of the CNR Alumni Newsletter! As an alum myself, I am honored to be at the helm of our great college. One of my priorities is to increase connection among our CNR family—alumni and students as well as current and former faculty and staff. In this newsletter, you will find the latest news from not only the college but also your peers and former professors.
This college has an impact on the state of Idaho and the world that far outstretches our size. Sometimes we don’t shout loudly enough about it. And it’s an exciting time: we’re ranked in the top ten best colleges of natural resources in the United States. We recently opened a new Aquaculture Research Institute facility in Moscow, assumed ownership of the 10,400-acre Rinker Rock Creek Ranch outside of Hailey, and broke ground on the new ICCU Arena that will be a national model for mass-timber construction. Our work is also helping address some of our most pressing natural resource issues from wildfire to bringing back declining species to educating kids about lead exposure.
Help us get the word out. Share this newsletter and share your own news with us! You are at the heart of a CNR community that makes a difference in this world. We want to hear from you.
Wildlife Education One Tweet at a Time
Sophie Gilbert’s office isn’t just on the University of Idaho campus – it has expanded to Twitter. Gilbert, an assistant professor of wildlife ecology, has created a name for herself in the “science Twitter” community by merging science education with light, irreverent humor. She was also recently featured “Rain Deer” a short film produced by hunter Randy Newberg in which she travels to Alaska and learns to hunt one of her research subjects: the Sitka Black-Tail Deer.
Capstone Project Starts Alum’s Career in Water Research
It’s not exactly easy for Cody Piscitelli to get into a boat. A motocross accident as a teenager confined Piscitelli to a wheelchair. But that didn’t stop him from fully participating in his environmental science senior capstone project, which involved placing probes in three different locations in a wetland near Coeur d’Alene. Piscitelli ’17 credits that experience with helping him succeed in graduate school.
A Fond Farewell to Two Beloved Faculty
Steven Daley-Laursen and Penny Morgan started graduate school together at the University of Idaho, and after full careers and many accomplishments, they also retired together this spring from the College of Natural Resources. More than a hundred colleagues, friends and students honored Penny and Steven at the CNR Awards Banquet in April and again at a special joint retirement party in May.
Breaking Ground: The New ICCU Arena
On June 6, the university put shovels in the ground to kick off work on a new basketball arena and events center. The 4,200-capacity arena will be an engineered wood, mass-timber facility, providing not only a great venue for sports and events but a showcase for building sustainably and beautifully with wood. Planning for the structure was first launched by a wood innovation grant from the USFS, and Chief Vicki Christiansen travelled to Moscow to help mark the occasion. Many Idaho forest industry leaders are also lending their support this project. As Dean Becker pointed out: “This is an Idaho project. This is Idaho wood that we’re harvesting off the mountain that is going to Idaho companies with Idaho employees to build this arena right here at the University of Idaho.” Timber donated from the U of I Experimental Forest will support construction of the building.
National Honors: Kathryn Roeder ’82 (wildlife resources) has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
United Nations Calling: Markie Miller M.S. ’17 (environmental science) was invited to present at a special interactive dialogue at the United Nations.
A Big Fish Tale: CNR alum, Jake Kremer ’18, was one of the first to catch a burbot when the season opened. Burbot, once near extinction in Idaho, has had an incredible recovery with the help of CNR research.
CNR in the News
Prescribed fire, a key tool for reducing wildfire, has decreased in the West according to a study by Crystal Kolden that made headlines across the nation. Watch Kolden’s interview on PBS News Hour.
Carbon emissions from wildfire have been overestimated according to a study lead by Ph.D. student Jeff Stenzel. The story was picked up by the AP and reprinted in dozens of outlets across the nation. You can also read about it in the Spokesman Review.
"Pygmy Rabbits bounce Back from the Brink” in the High Country News highlights work led by Ph.D. student Stacey Nerkowski to study the rabbit’s genetics and help the local species recover.
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