It is with great pleasure that we share that Dr. Cristina Eisenberg will be joining the College as the Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Director of Tribal Initiatives in the College of Forestry. After a nationwide competitive search process culminating in the interview of three outstanding candidates, we identified Dr. Eisenberg as an excellent match for our needs and hopes for this new position within the College. 

In this role, Dr. Eisenberg will direct a new Office for Tribal Initiatives in the College, serve as our primary liaison with the nine Tribes of Oregon and with Tribal Nations throughout the Northwest, oversee the execution of the College’s DEI strategic plan, and work closely with our new Director of Student Success to improve recruitment, retention and completion of under-served student populations and help advance the College as a program dedicated to diversity, equity, justice and inclusion. Dr. Eisenberg is a first-generation Latinix and Native American (Apache and Rarámuri) scholar who comes to us with years of experience in Traditional Ecological Knowledge, restoration ecology and wildlife biology. She has previously served as the Chief Scientist at Earthwatch Institute at Harvard University, as Director at Large on the Board of the Society for Ecological Restoration and Director of the Traditional Ecological Working Group, as a member of the Board of Trustees of Prescott College, and as a member of the Board of Directors of Sustainable Northwest. She has conducted extensive work as an independent scientist and researcher. Dr. Eisenberg holds a PhD from Oregon State University, a MA from Prescott College, and a BFA from the University of California-Long Beach and was previously courtesy faculty in the department of forest ecosystems and society. Dr. Eisenberg will start in early September.

Dean Tom DeLuca plants a tree in Finland

Roughly every two years, the College of Forestry Dean leads a tour of the College’s senior stakeholders to learn about innovations in thought and practice in the world of sustainable forest management and wood product development. In May of this year, the group visited Sweden and Finland to learn about social license for forestry, and advances through the integration of digitization and artificial intelligence into assessment, harvest and supply chain practices. In Sweden, Skogforsk, the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, and the forest owners’ association Mellanskog hosted the group. In Finland, Dr. Ritva Toivonen, Dean of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Helsinki, hosted the group at her family forest/farm, and she and faculty members joined the group in a visit to the Metsä Bioproducts Mill at Äänekoski, the largest wood processing plant in the Northern Hemisphere, to learn about its energy generation and sidestream product development. The tour culminated with informational presentations from Trimble, Ponsse, and Collective Crunch, all companies working to integrate digitization into forestry practice and carbon assessment for greater accuracy and sustainability.

The trip was organized and run by the College of Forestry International Programs office. Thank you to Michele Justice, director of International Programs, for this summary of the trip!

Mill tour in Sweden
Forest management lecture in Sweden
Remote control operation of a forwarder

The Dean’s Dinner is a yearly celebration of our scholarship recipients, donors, and college community. With student recruitment and enrollment in the College of Forestry at an all-time high with over 1000 undergraduates and over 250 graduate students there was a lot to celebrate this year!

Dean Tom Deluca started the formal awards ceremony by recognizing professor emeritus Richard Waring for being the recipient of the 2020 International Marcus Wallenberg Prize for his work in developing a revolutionary computer model to predict forest growth in a changing climate.

Randy Rosenberger, Associate Dean for Student Engagement, acknowledged the work of the student clubs and organizations: Xi Sigma Pi, SAF Student Chapter, Forest Utilization Society, the Forestry Club, the Natural Resources Club, and the International Forestry Students Association. The College of Forestry Ambassadors help us recruit prospective students, represent college academic programs to legislators and key stakeholders, work with alumni groups, and represent the College at many on and off campus events. Randy recognized them for their service to the College, which is in addition to their outstanding academic performances, involvement in extracurricular activities, family responsibilities, jobs, and community connections.

The winner of the Pack Essay Award was ecampus student Duane Ackley, senior in natural resources. His essay was titled “Dying Mens’ Future”. The Photo of the Year award went to Kelly Lynne Burke, a natural resources student, for their picture titled “Patagonia Rainbows.” Each year the College of Forestry is honored and privileged to award graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships to deserving new and returning students.  These awards are made possible through the generous contributions and continued support from our scholarship and fellowship donors. The College of Forestry’s Scholarship Committee reviewed 316 applications, and 215 students were selected to receive scholarships scholarship offers totaling $774,250 for the 2022-2023 academic year.  The students who were able to attend came up in small groups for congratulations with the Dean, pictured below.

At the virtual 2022 Oregon Society of American Foresters (OSAF) Annual Meeting on April 28, 2022, Jacob Putney received the Forester of the Year Award. This award is given annually to the OSAF member who has been recognized by his or her peers for contributing to both the profession and the public through application of his or her professional skills to the advancement of forestry in Oregon and through public service that benefits his community or some larger segment of society. 

“Although Jacob is new to his position in the OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension program, he clearly has already stepped up as a leader and collaborator, helping coordinate programs to best meet the needs of the community,” says Lauren Grand, the forestry and natural resources extension agent for Lane County. “He is the team leader for a carbon publication, has hosted numerous podcasts on forest management, and is one of the lead organizers of Tree School Eastern Oregon and Life on the Dry Side.”

A graduate of Oregon State University, Putney is an active OSAF member, serving as secretary and chapter chair for the Blue Mountain Chapter, delegate-at-large for OSAF in 2021, general chair for the 2021 OSAF Annual Meeting, program chair for the OSAF 2022 meeting and is OSAF chair-elect for 2023. He is also on the SAF National Quiz Bowl Committee member.

Additionally, Putney is an associate member of Oregon Small Woodlands Association, secretary for the Northeast Oregon OSWA Chapter, and has been instrumental in reviving, restructuring, and revitalizing the Baker OSWA Chapter. He is an inspector for the American Tree Farm System and co-chair for the Baker Resources Coalition. He participates in several collaboratives including the Blue Mountain Forest Partners, Northern Blues Forest Collaborative and ‘My Blue Mountains Woodland’ partnership. Not to waste a spare moment, Putney is also a volunteer firefighter for the Baker Rural Fire Protection District.

OSAF and its 15 local chapters represent all segments the forestry profession within the state. The society includes public and private practitioners, researchers, administrators, educators, and forestry students. Its mission is to advance the science, education, technology, and practice of forestry; to enhance the competency of its members; to establish professional excellence; and to use the knowledge, skills, and conservation ethics of the profession to ensure the continued health and use of forest ecosystems and the present and future availability of forest resources to benefit society.

On April 27, 2022, Beavers everywhere came together for Dam Proud Day, a 24-hour online event dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of the Oregon State University community. As part of this event, we raised over $72,000 for College of Forestry scholarships, which help ensure all of our students can afford this world-renowned education.

The amount raised is equivalent to over 23 additional scholarships for College of Forestry students. For many students, scholarships are life-changing, and financial gifts of all sizes can help. For example, $120 in scholarship support is equal to more than 10 hours of work at $12/hour – that’s 10 more hours a student can use to study or to participate in professional organizations, leadership training or other opportunities, making the most of their time at Oregon State.

Thank you to the 81 generous donors who gave anywhere from $5 to $25,000!

The Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST) has selected four members of the Oregon State University Department of Wood Science and Engineering community to serve as “Women Ambassadors Creating the Future of Wood Science.”

Associate professor of wood design and architecture Mariapaola Riggio, wood science and engineering alumna Balkis Bakar (PhD, ’19), former OSU graduate faculty member Andreja Kutnar, and Anne Toppinen, who completed her sabbatical at OSU in the 1990s, will be recognized throughout the following year for their contributions and mentorship of women entering the wood science field.

Committed to the field of wood science for the future, the SWST has created a sponsored exhibition piece designed to celebrate women ambassadors in the field. The four members of the OSU community, along with 12 other women, will be a part of a traveling exhibition over the next year to recognize their efforts.

The first exhibition will occur during the 2022 SWST International Convention in Kingscliff, Australia, from July 10-16. It will travel worldwide until the 2023 SWST International Convention in Asheville, North Carolina. The exhibition will be displayed at Oregon State during the Fall 2022 term. The announcement coincides with the International Day for Women and Girls in Science, which the United Nations created in 2015 to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Have you ever hiked in the McDonald Forest and found a perfectly placed bench, appearing just as you need a moment to rest and enjoy the forest? You have just come across a commemorative bench! These benches commemorate an individual, a group, or an event and support the OSU Research Forests Recreation and Engagement Program, which creates and maintains the trails in the OSU Research Forests.

The most recent bench addition can be found on the Beautiful Trail. Long-time friends and avid trail runners Steve Strauss and Gary Barnes generously donated the bench “to honor all who run and appreciate the beauty of the forest and the joy of connection”. Strauss is a Distinguished Professor of Forest Biotechnology in the College of Forestry.

Gary Barnes and Steve Strauss enjoy testing out the newest commemorative bench.

There are currently 14 benches installed throughout the McDonald Forest. OSU Research Forest Recreation Field Coordinator Matt McPharlin and College of Forestry students construct the benches, using wood sourced from trees in the forest. In addition to the benches, the Research Forest honors people with memorial rocks and other installations.

“We’ve seen a notable increase in interest for our commemorative bench program,” says Jenna Baker, the Research Forests Recreation and Engagement program manager. “As a result, we’re in the process of thinking up some other creative and meaningful ways for people to commemorate and donate to our Recreation and Engagement program.”

The McDonald Research Forest, a short 15-minute drive from the Oregon State University campus, is part of the OSU Research Forests. These forests serve as a living laboratory and outdoor classroom for students, researchers and managers to learn about forest ecosystems and management. OSU utilizes the Research Forests to find new ways to sustainably manage forests for conservation, education, business, and recreation. If you are interested in learning more about how you can contribute and get involved with the Research Forest Recreation and Engagement program, contact Jenna Baker at jenna.baker@oregonstate.edu!

Position at Oregon State University: PhD Candidate, Graduate Research Assistant

Tell us a little bit about where you are from…
I’m originally from the foothills of Colorado. I went to Grinnell College in Iowa for my BA in anthropology and biological chemistry, then moved to Portland to get back to mountains and forests.

What brought you to OSU? What is your role in the College of Forestry?
When I lived in Portland I was part of the Oregon Mycological Society, which hosts monthly talks. In one of these I heard about research going on in the college making sustainable products using fungal pigments, and was particularly interested in the use of one of them as a semiconductor. I quit my corporate job and came to OSU to get involved finding new ways to make a better world with fungi.

What’s your favorite part about working for the College of Forestry?
The diverse resources that we have for projects and the excellent people that I work with.

What’s a cool work-related project you are working on right now?
I’m working on a project using ectomycorrhizal fungi for bioremediation of heavy metal treated wood waste. At the moment, wood treated with metals like arsenic and copper is disposed of in landfills where these metals can move into the environment. Fungi are known to sequester metals or produce compounds that will react with them, reducing their toxicity and potential environmental issues. Some species of ectomycorrhizal fungi in particular are known to tolerate heavy metal environments, and initial work has shown they may be able to reduce metal toxicity. Use of ectomycorrhizal fungi may be a sustainable way to reduce the environmental impact of these metals and potentially allow for reclamation.

What do you like to do outside of work?
My primary hobby is mushroom hunting. I’m in the forest looking for fungi most weekends. I am also into plants, both growing them and admiring them in the wild. I have a large collection of tropical orchids in a vivarium and a bog of carnivorous plants, plus more orchids in my yard. I’m particularly enthusiastic about parasitic plants and others that are dependent on fungi. I also am a woodworker, mostly woodturning, and like to cook.

What’s your favorite food?
Matsutake mushrooms.

What’s your favorite time of the year? Why?
I love late summer/early fall. The mushroom season has started on the coast by then and my favorite species of chanterelle is out, plus there are still huckleberries to snack on. Also it is still warm and sunny outside, and gardens are going crazy. Definitely the best time of year.

Do you have any children or pets?
Just plants and fungi.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Why?
This is incredibly specific, but I would love to be able to look at a plant/fungus and know exactly what it needs to be happy. I work with high maintenance ectomycorrhizal fungi which are normally in symbiosis with trees, and we really do not know how to replicate what the tree (or other organisms in the ecosystem) normally provide to the fungus. There are many genera that no one has figured out how to culture. I’ve been playing around in the lab working on medias, but it would be so nice to just be able to know so we can do research on them more effectively. Knowing what plants need would also be nice for my orchid habit. An alternative superpower would be to instantly make things sterile and/or being able to select what grows in culture – that would be wonderful.

Position at Oregon State University: Student Services Specialist

Tell us a little bit about where you are from…
I grew up in Dallas, Oregon but lived in the Midwest and South for about 15 years before returning to Oregon in 2013. So I guess technically I’m a “native Oregonian”.

What brought you to OSU? What is your role in the College of Forestry?
I came to OSU after I moved back to Oregon and worked for Eastern Oregon University for a short time. I was spending a lot of time in Corvallis and decided I wanted to make it my permanent home and it worked out that the College of Forestry had a position that was available around that same time. And here I am. My current primary role in the College of Forestry is supporting our scholarship program, managing the Mentored Employment program, supporting student clubs, and supervising the FERN Center and Student Services student staff. I also work with employers who would like to share out their career or internship opportunities with students.

What’s your favorite part about working for the College of Forestry?
My favorite thing about working in the CoF is getting to know the students. I feel much of what I do impacts our students’ experience, either directly or indirectly, which makes coming to work each day a little more enjoyable.

What’s a cool work-related project you are working on right now?
I am currently preparing for the College of Forestry Career Fair (my eighth career fair!) and training our new FERN Center and Student Services student staff who will be supporting Student Service activities.

What do you like to do outside of work?
When I’m not at work I enjoy spending time with my kids (when they are not hiding out in their rooms or off with friends) and reading. I took up running during the stay-at-home pandemic year so now I’m in a love/hate relationship with running. I also enjoy watching Blazer basketball and all Beaver sports.

What’s your favorite food?
My favorite food is a tie between tacos or enchiladas. Or freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Basically I could live on these three foods and feel they should be at the top of the food pyramid.

What’s your favorite time of the year? Why?
Summer is my favorite time of year because I love the sun and the long days that come with summer and despite being born and raised in Oregon I do not love rain or gray skies.

Do you have any children or pets?
I have six children. Three of them no longer live at home and the remaining three are in middle and high school. I also have a dog (Casey) and a cat (Pumpkin).

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Why?
I’d like to possess the power to look at the ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator and come up with a creative and delicious dinner. In less than 30 minutes. That everyone would eat. With minimal clean-up. That would be an excellent superpower.

What is your job?
I’m the Department Head of FERM. My other job is as an associate professor of forest soils. I am particularly interested in carbon and organic matter and sustainability of management on soils. I have 5 students in my lab – 4 Corvallis based (3 grad, 1 undergrad) and 1 on-line MNR student.

How did you become interested in soils?
I got my bachelor’s degree in environmental science. At the time, I had several professors that got me interested in biogeochemistry, and I was also interested in forest fires. After my undergrad, I worked for a couple of years at a engineered wood R&D lab owned by Louisiana Pacific (now LP) in Sherwood, OR (while living in downtown PDX). When I was working there for a couple of years, I still had a lot of questions about things like forest fires and biogeochemistry, so I often visited the library at Portland State University to try to find answers. I discovered that if I wanted to understand how plants responded to fire or how biogeochemistry responded to fire, it all circled around soil. I applied for a lot of different grad programs, and finally found one that was a fully funded RA at the University of Washington. At that time, I was lukewarm on soil, but during my third quarter at UW, I took a genesis of morphology class that describes how soils form. In that class, I found that soils are like these awesome chemical incubators where so much is happening and so much is unknown, but at the same time, I can dig a hole and tell you a story about that place. You can dig even deeper and look at the chemistry of the soil and that will tell you stories as well. I’m really enthralled by the stories that soils can tell. They record stories that go back thousands of years.

What’s your favorite part of the work you do now?
My favorite part about my work is probably just being confused most of the time and having the epiphany and enlightenment. This happens often because we’re asking many questions that no one else is. If you work hard enough your frustration turns into some sort of payoff.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I have a family. Reyna (wife) is home with our ten-year-old daughter and eight-year old twins. When it’s nice out, we do a lot of camping. Currently, I’m trying to get my family into mountain biking. I’ve cycled my whole adult life. I’ve gotten back into mountain biking, and now own a full suspension bike. I enjoy hucking myself down trails on my bike.

What else are you interested in?
I enjoy making things. I like to cook and bake. We have slowly been renovating our house and have tried to do a bunch of that ourselves.

What kinds of things do you cook?
I’ll find any excuse to cook over a fire. I like making things like chicken skewers that cook in 20 minutes to a 14-hour brisket. I enjoy it all. I also built a pizza oven out of soil in my back yard. The soil in this area isn’t the best because it shrinks a lot, so my oven cracked a lot, but it does get really hot.

What about baking? What are your favorite treats?
I like to make cookies around Christmas time. I make all my kids’ birthday cakes. Lately, I’ll make the cake and frosting and my wife decorates because she has the more steady hand and artistic eye.