In this lecture, assistant professor Mariapaola Riggio introduces us to the sensor network in the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center.  This new building in OSU’s Oregon Forest Science Complex is a pioneer mass timber building showcasing innovative forest products and novel engineering solutions. Data are currently collected from a comprehensive sensor network in the building and investigated to cross-check assumptions made during the design phase. This truly makes it a living laboratory, and the monitoring data will provide many lessons for students, researchers and the mass timber industry.

Professor Riggio has been with the Department of Wood Science and Engineering since 2015. Her research interests include architecture, structural engineering, structural health, timber mechanics, and building design. Her work has led to important collaborations with the University of Oregon and the advancement of mass timber initiatives. Our undergraduate degree in renewable materials and graduate degree in wood science can lead to a career with innovative products and engineering solutions.

—This lecture was part of the College of Forestry’s Stay at Home lecture series, featuring presentations by College of Forestry professors, students, and researchers.

In “CLT industry enters 2020s (to face a different world than imagined),” professor Lech Muszyński looked into his crystal ball to see how the global pandemic is going to impact the future of this budding industry. Cross laminated timber (CLT) is an innovative wood panel product made from gluing layers of solid-sawn lumber together, and has been gaining in popularity.  Will that continue?

Lech Muszyński is professor of novel composite materials and advanced manufacturing in the Wood Science and Engineering department. His work has led to innovations across a number of mass timber products, including cross-laminated timber. Our undergraduate degree in renewable materials and graduate degree in wood science can lead to a career creating innovative products and building a sustainable economy.

—This lecture was part of the College of Forestry’s Stay at Home lecture series, featuring presentations by College of Forestry professors, students, and researchers.

Jim Ayorekire, a visiting Fulbright scholar at the College of Forestry, recently gave a presentation as part of our Stay at Home Lecture Series.  Dr. Ayorekire joined us in November 2019 from Makerere University in Uganda where he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism.  He talked about his research and experiences at OSU.

During his time in the College of Forestry, Jim co-taught a course in the Tourism, Recreation and Adventure Leadership degree program.  In TRAL 354 (Communities, Natural Areas, and Sustainable Tourism), he was able to share Eastern African experiences, giving the students a global perspective. In his research, he studies human-gorilla conflict in the greater Virunga landscape of Rwanda and Uganda.  This was a valuable perspective for our students!  We welcome scholars and students from all over the world to collaborate with us in our classrooms, forests and labs.

–Dr. Jim Ayorekire holds a PhD in Sustainable Tourism Management from the University of Cape Town – South Africa and a Master’s degree in Land Use & Regional Development Planning from Makerere University. His research centers on the role of tourism as a driver for natural resource conservation, and enhancement of community livelihoods and inclusive development. He also has extensive experience in knowledge transfer and curriculum design and has been focusing on innovative program and curriculum development in Tourism, Forestry, and Resource Management.

The annual Western Forestry Graduate Research Symposium (WFGRS) showcases graduate and undergraduate student research. This year, the symposium partnered with the College of Forestry’s Stay at Home Lecture Series to share student’s research through a series of 5-to-12 minute online presentations. Over the course of four webinars, topics such as ecology, forest management, forest products, and human uses were explored.

In the first session, Interim Dean Anthony S. Davis kicked off the symposium with opening remarks, followed by seven presentations ranging from sustainable forest certification costs and benefits to early successional forests of the Klamath-Siskiyou region.

In the second session, students presented their research proposals on topics as broad as riparian restoration, wildfire effects on water quality, timber faller safety, and more.

For the third session, presentations included Tree Mortality in the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest and The Economic Consequence of a Log Export Tax in Oregon.

In the final session, student presentations ranged from the use of low-grade cross laminated timber to comparing the performance of Douglas-fir and western hemlock seedlings in different nursery containers.

-The Western Forestry Graduate Research Symposium is organized entirely by College of Forestry graduate students. The purpose of this symposium is to promote academic excellence by challenging students to present their work to and receive feedback from their academic and professional peers on their proposed and current research from a diverse audience, fostering student engagement, enthusiasm, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

If you are interested in learning more about our education and research programs, please visit our website.

Where are you from? Where did you go to college?

I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!), but I went to school in enemy territory at the University of Minnesota (Ski-U-Mah) where I received my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Graphic Design.

What brought you to OSU? What is your role in the College of Forestry?

My husband and I moved to Oregon when he started a graduate program at UO. I was looking to make an industry change as I had previously only worked in professional sports, and was interested in opportunities within higher education. I saw the perfect job posted for a senior graphic designer at the College of Forestry and pounced on it! I currently act as the college’s Art Director. It has been my favorite job by far, even with the hour and a half commute!

What’s your favorite part about working for the College of Forestry?

The people and the subject matter. I work with a great team and love feeling like the work I do makes a difference.

What do you like to do outside of work? Hobbies, family, volunteer work, etc.

I have a 7 month old baby, Zoe. She takes up most of my free time outside of work. On weekends, we like to go on easy hikes and take our dog, Oliver, to the dog park. My family is incredibly dedicated to the TV show “Survivor” (yes, it’s still on!) and look forward to watching it every Wednesday night! When I can, I like to read mystery/thriller fiction and historical nonfiction. I highly recommend Tana French for the former and Erik Larson for the latter!

What’s your favorite food?

I LOVE mexican food. I could have rice and beans for every meal.

What’s your favorite time of the year? Why?

Summers in Oregon are hard to beat. The weather is beautiful.

Do you have any pets?

Yes! I have an adorable Pomeranian-mix, Oliver, and I am completely obsessed with him. It is my unbiased opinion that he is the world’s bestest, cutest and floofiest puppy dog.

What is something funny, interesting, or crazy that has happened to you in the past year?

I had a baby 7 months ago and life with her has been been every kind of funny, interesting and crazy! She keeps me on my toes!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Why?

I just want to be a witch in the Harry Potter universe. I am a Hufflepuff, by the way.

Where are you from? Where did you go to college?

I grew up near Milwaukee, Wisconsin and also spent a lot of my time in the southwest part of the state, where my father’s family live and farm. I attended the University of Wisconsin (Madison) for my Bachelor of Science degree (Forest Science and Natural Resources).

What brought you to OSU? What is your role in the College of Forestry?

My husband, Jacob, and I moved to Corvallis from Denver in early 2016. My husband is a veteran of the Marine Corps, and it was time for him to finish his Bachelor’s degree under the G.I. Bill. OSU seemed like a great option. We were both intrigued by the PNW. For Jacob, it was the coastline and for me, the forests.

I work for the COF Research Forests, managing the forest inventory, GIS, and reforestation programs.

What’s your favorite part about working for the College of Forestry?

It’s really fulfilling to work with students on building their professional skillsets. I’ve been fortunate to work with highly motivated, bright, and curious student workers. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned [and am still learning] with them and vice versa.

What do you like to do outside of work? Hobbies, family, volunteer work, etc.

I’m a part-time master’s student in the Sustainable Forest Management program, so that takes up a bit of my time. I enjoy vegetable gardening and general tinkering around my home. My husband and I both enjoy camping, fishing, backpacking and hiking.

What’s your favorite food?

For cooking, I like putting a healthy spin on American food. When eating out, I like restaurants that prepare more elaborate things that I can’t make [well] – like Japanese, Indian, and Thai food.

What’s your favorite time of the year? Why?

Fall – for sure! I prefer the cooler, refreshing temperatures, changing colors, and mist.

Do you have any pets?

I have one cat named Mesa.

What is something funny, interesting, or crazy that has happened to you in the past year?

Well, Covid-19 has been a real showstopper!

Back in July, my husband and I went to New Jersey for a good friend’s wedding. Due to thunderstorms, our flight home got delayed for a couple of days. We literally only had the shirts on our backs. After some hand-washing of laundry in the motel, we decided to use the bonus-day to tour Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. I was blown away by the history museum, and it was an unexpected, memorable change of events for us, especially on Fourth of July weekend.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Why?

I would be able to stop time, so I could fit in all of the fun that I want to have in this life.

Assistant professor Dr. Jim Rivers was a featured speaker in the College of Forestry’s Stay at Home Lecture Series.  In his talk “Uncovering the hidden world of a secretive seabird,” Jim shared findings from the Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project.  Listen in to hear about the life cycle of this amazing bird and the challenges researchers face in tracking them down.

Jim is the principal investigator of the Forest Animal Ecology lab at Oregon State University.  Members of his lab group work on a variety of organisms, including forest-nesting seabirds, woodpeckers, early-successional songbirds, and native insect pollinators, and much of the research they undertake has implications for applied management issues. If you’re interested in a career dedicated to improving our forest ecosystems, learn more about our undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

–Dr. Jim Rivers is assistant professor of wildlife ecology in the Forest Engineering, Resources & Management department.  His research is centered on understanding the behavioral, physiological and ecological mechanisms that are linked to animal vital rates.

Major: Renewable Materials; Year: Senior

Renewable Materials senior Joshua Stump is hungry for international experience.

He landed at Oregon State after earning a Jazz Piano Performance degree from Arizona State University and spending five years in the United States Navy.

“Music was my passion growing up, but my first experience in college was a hard lesson for me about what happens when you don’t take education seriously,” Stump says. “With mounting student debt hanging over my head, I joined the Navy to jump start my life financially.”

After five years, he was ready to move on to the next stage and decided to follow an interest of his since childhood: sustainability and the environment.

“I’ve always had enormous respect for nature and other forms of life,” says Stump, “My dad took me to Mount Rainier National Park as a child, and that made a huge impression on me.”

After researching degrees at Oregon State, Stump chose the renewable materials program, which he knew would lead him toward a career promoting the use of natural solutions for products we use every day, including sustainable building practices.

Stump completed an internship with Boise Cascade during summer 2018. He’s also an apprentice piano restorer.

During his Navy service, Stump traveled to Australia and several Asian countries. He has not visited Europe yet, even though he is extremely interested in the area.

“I have always been very interested in German culture,” Stump says. “I have family heritage there, and I have always been fascinated with their work ethic and interest in art and music. I think Germany would be an amazing place to live.”

He is planning to participate in the short-term, faculty-led Alpine Europe program. The program, offered through the college’s Office of International Programs, takes students to the European Alps and provides a holistic view of the sustainable wood products industry. He is also interested in completing an internship focused on piano restoration in Austria

“I am hoping to combine my interests,” Stump says. “Playing piano has been what has defined me since childhood, and I would love to focus on alternatives for soundboards in pianos. They are made exclusively with Sitka spruce. With Sitka forests disappearing due to climate change, I want to help find alternatives for soundboards.”

Stump says he would love to live in Europe someday.

“My dream is to build a completely self-sustaining home,” Stump says. “I would spend my time repairing and tuning pianos and use my free time to engaging in environmental activism.”

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry. Learn more about College of Forestry research facilities and collaborations.

Major: Forest Engineering; Year: Junior

Josh Fix says he’s never seen a photo that accurately portrays just how green the forests in Oregon are.

“They’re almost glowing,” he says. “I love the simplicity of the forest; how quiet and different everything is. They provide a breath of fresh air and create wonder in me.”

Fix, who grew up in Minnesota, first fell in love with the forests of Oregon as a child during a visit to the state.

He initially declared a major in civil engineering at Oregon State before realizing he wanted to work outside.

“I found forest engineering and it was the perfect major for me,” he says. “It allows me to solve the same kind of problems and use applied science, but I get to do it outside where I see a bigger impact because of everything outdoor spaces provide.”

When he’s not studying, Fix works with the College Research Forests as a recreation field assistant. He found the position through the college’s job shadow program. He shadowed Ryan Brown, former Research Forests recreation and engagement program manager, and learned about the open position. Fix, who loves recreation as well as engineering, thought the job sounded like a perfect fit.

“I do trail maintenance, manage invasive species and repair interpretive materials at our trailheads,” Fix says. “There is something different every day.”

Matt McPharlin, recreation field coordinator and volunteer coordinator, is Fix’s supervisor, but Fix says he’s more than that.

“Matt has been a great mentor to me,” Fix says. “He encourages me to think outside the box and get the most out of this work.”

Fix says his favorite part of working in the College Research Forests is interacting with people recreating in the forests.

“I like to stop and say ‘hi,’” he says. “I meet interesting people from the community, many of whom have lived in Corvallis for years and have been using the forests longer than I’ve been alive. I like being able to talk to people and share stories.”

Fix says one of his most impactful experiences on the job was interacting with a group of blind and visually impaired hikers.

“It made me realize how special the College Research Forests are,” he says. “They are able to enjoy the forest in a completely different way than I do. It made me think about how to make the forest more accessible for differently abled individuals.”

When he’s not working, Fix utilizes the forests as a student during labs, but enjoys the forest most when he’s able to enjoy it in his free time.

“When I’m in the forest, I don’t feel the pressure of school,” he says. “I can take a deep breath and dream about my goals to manage and care for a working forest like this one day.”

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry. Learn more about College of Forestry research facilities and collaborations.

When the State of Oregon needed to increase revenue for outdoor recreation facilities and maintenance, they turned to Oregon State University for answers to their questions, and for scientific data to help inform their decisions.

A study completed by Randy Rosenberger, professor and College of Forestry Associate Dean for Student Success, connected outdoor activities on trails to health savings by utilizing and recalibrating a tool called the Outdoor Recreation Health Impacts Estimator. The tool was originally developed to focus on transportation decisions (walking, cycling or utilizing public transportation as opposed to driving) to estimate changes in life expectancy and quality of life.

The tool converts positive health effects into monetary unit, and even includes the cost of treating certain diseases as well as the loss of productivity illnesses cause.

The study became part of the 2019-2023 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

“In my research, I quantify things that aren’t normally quantified,” Rosenberger says. “Things like recreation aren’t traded in markets with prices. They don’t have voices. This study gives them a voice, and I think through it, people are starting to realize that recreation is at the nexus of everything. It’s not just something we like to do if we have the time. It’s creating healthier communities and saving those same communities money on health services.”

Rosenberger replicated the study for the McDonald and Dunn Forests, two of the College Research Forests. The college owns more than 15,000 acres of working forests around the state that are utilized for research, outreach and education with some open to the public for recreation. He found that recreation on the Research Forests saved $754,395 in cost of illness savings in 2017 alone. This data can now be used by private and public agencies for planning, budgeting, assessment and grant applications.

By The Numbers

In 2017, the McDonald-Dunn College Research Forests saw 17,271 individual recreation visitors who accounted for more than 155,000 total visits.

McDonald-Dunn Recreation Activity

Walking/Hiking51.5%
Dog Walking19%
Running/jogging16%
Mountain Biking12%
Horseback riding/misc1.5%

Recreation visits to the McDonald and Dunn Forests resulted in $754,395 in cost of illness savings, or health benefits, associated with eight chronic illnesses; and accounted for 14 percent of the total health benefits estimated for all of Benton County ($5.4 million).

Did You Know?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorousintensity aerobic physical activity.

60 percent of adults in Oregon meet this recommendation. 63 percent of adults in Benton County meet this.

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry. Learn more about College of Forestry research facilities and collaborations.