TRAL – Outdoor Recreation Management
Class of 2022
Hometown: McMinnville, Oregon

How did you get interested in this particular field? 
I attended an outdoor recreation conference hosted by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department at OSU three years ago. I am a big outdoor recreation enthusiast who enjoys sea kayaking, canoeing, snowshoeing, camping, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing, so it seemed only natural that I would be drawn to a program that fit in with my interests. I had graduated three decades earlier with a degree in biology with a focus in wildlife biology but have spent the last 20 years doing web development and technical writing. I longed to get back outdoors for work and thought outdoor recreation management might get me there.

What brought you to OSU?
Simply put, OSU was close. I could continue working full-time for the state while attending school. It’s certainly not the least costly university to attend, as I found out, but convenience was the big deciding factor, especially since many of the TRAL courses still are not offered through Ecampus. 

What’s the best experience you’ve had as a student?
This is a tough question to answer because COVID has negatively impacted my experience. One reason I wanted to return to school is I missed the campus life and wanted to hang out with younger students and the feel of their energy. Unfortunately, I only got to spend one term on campus before COVID hit and all classes went remote. That one term was probably the best experience I’ve had because I was back on campus and feeling the college atmosphere again after 30 years away.   

In addition to school, how do you spend your time?
I spend my time kayaking, canoeing, camping, snowshoeing, and photographing wildlife when I have the time. I also serve as a volunteer paddle trip leader and naturalist for the Tualatin Riverkeepers. I work for the Public Employees Retirement System as a desktop publisher and web developer. Paddling in the Puget Sound and around the San Juan Islands hoping for encounters with orcas is something I really enjoy doing.

What’s your goal for your education?  A particular dream job?
First, because of my advanced years (63), I know I’ll be competing for jobs against a cadre of much younger applicants, so graduating near the top of my class is important to me. I am hoping the classes I take will make me competitive for outdoor recreation management opportunities once I graduate. My dream job is to move back to New England where I was born and raised and work as a park manager at Acadia National Park in Maine.

Is there something you wish Faculty and staff knew about you or your fellow students?
At my age, pursuing a new degree and career change is a daunting and life-altering decision. Many people my age may be retired and able to easily attend college; other’s like myself are tied to full-time jobs and also may be helping to support family members. I believe it would help to have a college advocate for older students (>50) attending the university.

Natural Resources, specialization in Human Dimensions
Ecampus Junior
Hometown: Sayreville, New Jersey

How did you get interested in this particular field? 
I wasn’t really sure what major I wanted after reading through a few I discovered Natural Resources. It seemed like a good balance between science, management, and a broad (but interesting) field of study.

What brought you to OSU?
Finding a degree plan that I could complete was very important to me as I am currently in the military. I stumbled on OSU once I discovered which major I wanted.  OSU was rated very highly in regards to their online Forestry program and so it seemed like the natural choice!

What’s the best experience you’ve had as a student?
The best experience I’ve had as a student is being able to meet people outside of the military who are also interested in the things I am interested in. It has been refreshing to get to know people from all different backgrounds and walks if life.

In addition to school, how do you spend your time?
I work full time as an enlisted member of the United States Air Force, but when I’m not doing that I like to spend time watching Netflix with my husband and cat.

What’s your goal for your education?  A particular dream job?
I never want to stop learning. Even when my university career is finished I intend to always find ways to keep my education going. As for my dream job, I haven’t exactly figured that out yet, but I look forward to doing something that leaves me with the feeling that I have positively contributed to humanity in some way.

Is there something you wish Faculty and staff knew about you or your fellow students?
I hope the faculty and staff know how grateful a lot of us are for their help. I know as an Ecampus student sometimes trying to work around work and a different time zone is difficult, but there have always been people at OSU willing to help me.

Major: Forestry, Forest Management and Forest Restoration + Fire Options
Class of 2024
Hometown: Beaverton, OR

How did you get interested in this particular field?
I have always had a fascination with ecology and the management of systems. What really drew me to forestry was an internship I held the summer before my senior year in high school through Saturday Academy, Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering. I interned at Horning Tree Seed Orchard where I did inventories, data collection, analysis, and seed germination research. From this well rounded experience I decided to pursue an education in forestry to learn more about what I love.

What brought you to OSU?
I was very blessed to have received enough funding from various donors to attend OSU entirely on scholarship, to whom I am so grateful. Along with this OSU is the premier forestry program in the United States, and that program in Sweden is too cold for my liking. 

What’s the best experience you’ve had as a student?
Being able to work as a research assistant my first year at school has been the best experience I’ve had so far. It has been such a valuable opportunity to gain work experience and applications of what I’ve learned in my classes. The autonomy I’ve been trusted with to carry out experiments has been wonderful as well!

In addition to school, how do you spend your time?
As previously mentioned, I work as a research assistant in Strauss Lab if I am not in class or taking a nap I am likely to be found working in the lab. Aside from lab work I like to study Africanisms in music, learning and playing rhythms that transcend genres and countries.

What’s your goal for your education? A particular dream job?
Following an bachelors degree I have my sights set on a masters to further my education and possibly a doctorate, although right now I am just trying to best my finals schedule of my first term of my first year! Recently I have been exploring the cross section between bioengineering and forest management practice. I hope to find myself in a career that employs both these disciplines (preferably somewhere tropical).

Is there something you wish Faculty and staff knew about you or your fellow students?
Aprendí español en mi juventud espero que pueda utilizar el lenguaje en mi futuro empleo (I learned Spanish in my youth and hope to use it in my future career.)

Major: TRAL, Outdoor Recreation Management
Double Minor in Natural Resources and Leadership
Class of 2022
Hometown: Florence, OR

How did you get interested in this particular field? 
I use a wheelchair, as well as love the outdoors. I decided I wanted to help make the outdoors more accessible to those with physical disabilities when I visited Grand Teton National Park and I was not able to do as much as able bodied people. 

What brought you to OSU?
The great community that Corvallis provides more than any other college town I have been to around the country, as well as the availability for my major. I grew up in Florence, OR which is not too far from Corvallis as well. 

What’s the best experience you’ve had as a student?
Meeting so many students on campus that come from diverse backgrounds such as large families, small ones, international students, military and veteran personnel, folks with the same passion I have for the outdoors and plenty of students with disabilities. OSU is very welcoming to all students. 

In addition to school, how do you spend your time? 
I work as a contractor for my father who is a broker for Coldwell Banker. I try to stay in contact with my three brothers and one sister and I like to go out and explore around the outdoors with my partner riding around on my adaptive hand cycle. I am a licensed pilot and try to fly planes as often as possible.

What’s your goal for your education?  A particular dream job?
I hope to work for a federal agency such as the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service or the Army Corps of Engineers to help make those areas more accessible to people with physical disabilities.  

Is there something you wish Faculty and staff knew about you or your fellow students?
We are all here because we want to be and we truly appreciate the help that the faculty and staff provide to students. I hope you know that!

Degree: TRAL Sustainable Tourism Management, Class of 2020
Hometown: Eagle Point, OR

What is your major and how long have you been studying at OSU?
I am studying Tourism, Recreation, and Adventure Leadership (TRAL) with a focus in Sustainable Tourism Management. I transferred to OSU in the fall of 2018 from Ithaca College, New York.

What would you like to do professionally after you graduate?
I would love to create travel itineraries for a sustainable travel company, or lead groups on unique travel experiences. I thrive in unusual situations and enjoy showing people new experiences. As long as I’m outside and going new places, I’ll be happy!

Have you been involved in any clubs or activities on campus? What has your experience been like with these opportunities?
Yes, last year I got involved with the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA). I am our Local Committee’s secretary, and I really enjoy it! IFSA has been a wonderful opportunity to travel, meet new people, and exchange ideas on how to create a more sustainable future with fellow students.

Have you participated in any work experience (on-campus or related to your field) during your time as a student at OSU? Has this helped prepare you for a job after graduation?
Since the summer of 2018, I have worked at the College of Forestry International Programs office. Although most of the job involves working at a desk, I love it! I communicate with people around the world, I create events for the on-campus community, and I help market our programs to students interested in traveling abroad. This job has definitely given me a perspective of post-graduation life, which may not appear glamorous in the day-to-day, but has tremendous impact on a variety of audiences.

Have you participated in any experiential learning opportunities? How has this impacted your student experience?
In December, I embarked on a faculty-led program to Costa Rica with thirteen other TRAL, Forestry, and Natural Resources students. We traveled with OSU Cascade’s Ron Reuter and Andrew Hawley to the southern part of Costa Rica, where we backpacked, rafted, and chatted with local communities for two weeks. It was an unforgettable experience, and I still get shivers thinking of how we could see the concepts of community-based tourism in action.

Do you have a favorite College of Forestry course that you’ve taken? If so, why is it your favorite?
It’s impossible to pick just one! There are two courses that have tied for my favorite: Nature, Eco, and Adventure Tourism with Dr. Mark Needham, and Planning Sustainable Tourism with Dr. Ian Munanura.  Mark Needham’s class was a wonderful introduction to the field of international tourism, its problems, and potential solutions. This class showed me the impact (both positive and negative) that tourism can create in the world. Ian Munanura’s class was a deep dive into everything that goes into sustainable tourism operations. It taught me the tough lesson that tourism is a massively complication field with many stakeholders, and there is never a single right answer.

What’s one thing (or piece of advice) that you would like incoming OSU students to know?
Chase what sparks you. Take the classes that sound interesting, and befriend the professor that you think is cool. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions to smart people. 

How do you like going to school in Corvallis?
I love Corvallis. The campus is beautiful, and the town life is fantastic. There’s always something to do, whether it’s dance nights downtown or hikes in any of the nearby natural areas. Studying tourism and recreation here is particularly good because there are plenty of opportunities to go out and observe trails being used, new businesses opening, and people traveling and recreating. 

Have you received any scholarships from OSU or the College of Forestry? If so, what has it helped you accomplish?
When I traveled to Costa Rica, I received some very generous funding from the Dean’s Investment Fund for International Engagement, which is available for any College of Forestry student interested in traveling abroad in order to pursue their interests through international study, research, and internships.

Danielle Melcher worked a little over 1200 hours for the Forest Service fighting fires last summer. As a Forestry major pursuing the forest restoration and fire option, she’s always been interested in the way fires and other disturbances affect different ecosystems. After her season with the Forest Service, she is also more interested in the different types of fuel reduction as well as other types of forest management that can take place.

Why did you choose OSU for college?
I talked to a lot of OSU alumni and they all talked about how great the communities were on campus. After many school field trips and talking to the staff here on campus I knew the College of Forestry usually had a smaller enrollment and that meant I would be in smaller lectures, which I strongly prefer. 

What kind of future, plans, or career are you hoping to pursue after you graduate?
After my undergrad, I hope to earn my Masters in Forestry and continue working for the Forest Service. Once my schooling is done I hope to work towards becoming a Fire Management Officer and eventually become a District Ranger. 

What was your experience like fighting fires for the forest service last summer?
Joining the crew with little to no experience in that type of work made it a little hectic at first but my crew was very helpful. In my first season, I was able to see many different kinds of fires from type 5 grass fires to type 1 forest fire. Overall, my first season was a great experience and the people on my crew made long days of work much more enjoyable.

When the devastating westside wildfires swept across Oregon over Labor Day, the Oregon State University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Fire Program was ready to respond. The program was created earlier this year to reduce wildfire risks and prepare and create fire-adapted infrastructure, communities and landscapes.

One of the program’s key objectives is education and outreach, and extension staff and regional fire specialists immediately provided resources and support to those affected by the Oregon fires.

One reason they were able to meet community needs quickly is because of the structure of the program. The program’s regional fire specialists live in the communities in which they work, which means they’re uniquely equipped to address and support the concerns of their communities and geographies. It also means they are invested in protecting the community’s resources.

Led by fire program manager Carrie Berger, there are currently four regional fire specialists located in different areas of Oregon, including the Southwest, Central, Willamette Valley and the Cascades, and the Southeast. The program also includes statewide fire specialist Dan Leavell. Since Oregon is ecologically diverse, representation across the state is needed to address the different risks and strategies to reduce catastrophic wildfire. The regional fire specialists intimately understand the specific geographies, fire regimes and climates of their assigned locations, in addition to the social and ecological dimensions. The program plans to add two regional fire specialists in the future, bringing the total areas covered to six.

Tremendous work went into the placement of these regional fire specialists to live and work in areas of strategic focus across the state. Multiple partners in Colleges across OSU utilized GIS to determine locations across Oregon that were at highest risk for catastrophic fire. The College of Forestry continues this GIS work to develop relative fire risk and situational assessments for each geographical area.

The Extension fire program focuses a significant amount of effort on proactive measures, including educating communities, planning, and supporting fire-adapted infrastructure. One component of its educational outreach is the development and integration of fire science into Oregon’s K-12 curriculum. After the recent wildfires, the program proved it also can inform Oregonians on fire ecology and behavior, explain the different types of fire and forest management, and provide an opportunity for people impacted by fires to connect.

The program, along with agency and organization partners, facilitated a virtual listening session to hear from those affected by the fires. Over 400 people attended the call to listen, learn and ask questions of staff and partners like the Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon Health Authority. In addition to obtaining information and resources for next steps, the call acted as a space for people to share their experience and receive support.

After the listening session, the fire program hosted a series of post-fire recovery webinars, developed tools and educational materials for dealing with the effects of fire, and conducted site visits to assist homeowners and landowners.

The recent and extreme fires highlight how the Extension fire program can educate and prepare Oregonians and our diverse landscapes to be fire-adapted, resilient and support a safe and effective wildfire response.

“The fires that happened over Labor Day weekend were devastating. Many people lost everything in those fires,” says Carrie Berger, fire program manager. “We need to change the culture of fire and be more proactive, not reactive. The fire program will be part of Oregon’s wildfire solution.”

More information on OSU’s Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Fire Program is available online. 

As skies turned red and large scale fires tore through Oregon’s forests and communities, Oregon State University College of Forestry researchers stood ready to share research and answer questions from reporters. They also sprung into action to support the state’s response, developing research proposals to help inform future policy decisions.

The College of Forestry produces fire-related research that expands knowledge about fire history and ecology, fuels treatment (thinning and prescribed fire), and risk analyses to help inform future decisions. The College also explores some of the important social dimensions present in fire research, like work in governance, social justice and equity, and how to improve livelihoods.

Researchers are active nationally and internationally, tracking and contributing to science and understanding. They bring this knowledge to their undergraduate and graduate students in the classroom and labs. Meanwhile, OSU’s world-class Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Program is the final, critical link, distributing information beyond the campus and helping communities become more fire-adapted.

Some of the ways the College of Forestry’s fire research work aides Oregonians includes:

The research helps guide the way towards a more fire-adapted future and contributes to a more collaborative and productive science-informed conversation about how we co-exist with fire.

The College of Forestry announces the selection of Dr. Cristina Eisenberg as a 2020 Alumni Fellow. Dr. Eisenberg, who received a PhD in Forest Resources in 2012 and served as a post-doctoral fellow immediately after, integrates her Native American and Latina heritage with her scientific expertise to achieve environmental restoration that honors traditional practices.

Her acceptance presentation, “Indigenous peoples’ social justice in academia and natural resources conservation in a COVID-19 world”, can be viewed here.  The Alumni Fellows recognition program was established by the OSU Alumni Association in 1988 to acknowledge alumni who have distinguished themselves in their professions and communities. 

Dr. Eisenberg is Latina and of mixed Native American Heritage (Raramuri and Western Apache). She is the first person in her family to graduate from college. Today, Dr. Eisenberg seeks to integrate Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into environmental restoration practice in Western North America. Dr. Eisenberg is a Smithsonian Research Associate and served as the Chief Scientist at Earthwatch Institute from 2014 until 2019, where she oversaw a global research program focusing on ecological restoration, social justice for Indigenous peoples, and sustainable production of natural resources. Dr. Eisenberg is the author of numerous books, journal articles and book chapters and is currently writing a book on bison rematriation for OSU Press. 

Dr. Eisenberg serves on several boards and is the vice-chair of the Board of Trustees at Prescott College, her alma mater for her master’s degree, where she chairs the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. She also serves as the Director at Large and chairs the SER TEK Working Group for the Society of Ecological Restoration (SER).  

We are exceptionally fortunate to have Dr. Eisenberg affiliated with OSU and the College of Forestry and thrilled she is receiving the Alumni Fellow as recognition for her outstanding knowledge, dedication, and accomplishments. Although she was subjected to overt racism and bias as a student and colleague in the College, she remains committed to working with us and helping the College and OSU overcome the structural racism that haunts us to this day. She continues her engagement and support of OSU as Graduate Faculty and as Courtesy Faculty in the College of Forestry and the College of Agricultural Sciences. She also serves on the OSU Press Advisory Editorial Board.  In 2019, she was recognized by the College of Forestry as an outstanding alumna in Forest Ecosystems and Society.

The Oregon Society of American Foresters awarded four members of Oregon State University’s College of Forestry with prestigious awards at their 2020 Annual Meeting. Stephen Fitzgerald, Professor and Extension Specialist and Director of OSU Research Forests, received Forester of the Year. Dr. Jim Rivers, Assistant Professor in the College of Forestry, Forest Engineering, Resources and Management Department, received the Research Award. Lauren Grand, Oregon State University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Agent for Lane County, received the Young Forester Leadership Award. Samuel Zamudio received SAF’s OSU Student Award.

Stephen Fitzgerald, SAF Forester of the Year

This award is presented annually to a member of the Oregon Society of American Foresters who has been recognized by their peers for contributing to both the profession and the public through application of their professional skills to the advancement of forestry in Oregon and through public service that benefits their community or some larger segment of society.

Fitzgerald is a dedicated and experienced forester, manager, and extension specialist. His knowledge of forestry is unique in that he has been with OSU and the Extension Service since the 1980’s in various positions and locations throughout the state. Throughout, he has been able to provide mentorship to OSU forestry undergraduates and graduate students, as well as forestry peers. His research interests include fire ecology, forest health and silviculture and he is now providing guidance through OSU extension to forestland owners affected by the devastating Oregon fires. Fitzgerald has a M.S. in Education and Training, Forest Management from University of Idaho, a B.S. in Forest Biology from the State University of New York, and an AAS from Holyoke Community College.

Dr. Jim Rivers and Stephen Fitzgerald

Dr. Jim Rivers, SAF Research Award

This award is presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in any branch of science leading to advancement in either the science or practice of forestry in Oregon.

Dr. Rivers is lead researcher in early-seral communities and forest management practices effects on multiple species of wildlife and pollinators. These include:

  • Marbled Murrelet reproductive success
  • Post-fire wildlife demographics and recovery
  • Herbicide treatment effects in managed forests
  • Biological diversity trends over time
  • Animal behavior patterns
  • Snags and harvest residue effects
  • Habitat linkages

Dr. Rivers has produced over 50 peer-reviewed publications and numerous outreach publications. He presents frequently, including at the SAF National Convention in Portland, at forest health conferences, at managed forest landscapes workshops, at early seral biodiversity and management workshops, and fisheries, wildlife, and ecology symposia. He has conducted invited talks for the Oregon Forest and Industries Council, Pacific Northwest Reforestation Council, and National Council for Air and Stream Improvement. His work is funded by both large and small grants from a range of sources, for both basic and applied research. 

He has a Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Barbara in Biology and a M.S. from Kansas State University.

Lauren Grand, Young Forester Leadership Award

The Young Forester Leadership Award recognizes “outstanding leadership by a young forestry professional in the development and promotion of an individual program or project, or for a sustained leadership role benefiting the practice of forestry and the Society of American Foresters.” The award is reserved for people under the age of 40. 

Lauren has been the OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Agent for Lane County since 2016. As the OSU Extension Forester for Lane County, Lauren has demonstrated leadership and produced content and tours to benefit the practice of forestry in the county and the state. Lauren has a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of California, Berkeley and a M.S. in Forest Resources from University of Washington.

Samuel Zamudio, SAF OSU Student Award

The award is presented to an OSU forestry student who is a member of the Society of American Foresters, participates regularly in OSU SAF activities, including a leadership role of some kind, represents the OSU SAF Student Chapter at state or national SAF gatherings, and who demonstrates good academic standing, good citizenship and excellence in extracurricular and professional work activities.

Samuel excelled as the OSU SAF 2020 Student Chapter Vice-President and was responsible for coordinating the Career Fair for the College hosted by OSU SAF. 

Sam graduated in the spring of 2020 with a B.S. degree. 

Congratulations to all of the award recipients!