Holiday Conversation Topics

Or…what to talk about during the holidays other than COVID!

For the past two years, we’ve heard the same conversations everywhere we go.

We’ve had those conversations with our friends and family.

“Covid” “variant” “vaccine” “mask” are the snippets we hear in the coffee shop, grocery store, or even floating the river (true story!).

For lots of us, this has been a divisive subject in our families.

So, no matter how you are celebrating the holidays; in person with your friends or family, a remote gathering or Covid testing or vaccinated, we could all use some new conversation material.

Lucky for you, I specialize in niche nerdy topics.

Let’s start with the fact that this animal exists: tasseled wobbegong. I know it sounds fictional or cryptid, but I swear this is a real thing. The only one of its genus, this thing is loosely classified as a shark…but honestly, it’s more like a cross between a rug and a manta ray. Kind of like if it was the carpet instead of the bike that always chased Calvin and Hobbes around. Give it a Google and make sure to look at pictures. Study up so you are an expert for the inevitable slew of questions!

If you want a more serious topic (maybe weird marine life just isn’t your thing), remember that good things happen every day.

British Columbia is taking unprecedented steps to protect biodiversity, by electing to protect 10,000 square miles of old-growth forest! While logging will continue in regions outside the proposed protected area, B.C aims to alter logging practices to mimic natural forest processes. The plan is currently just pending First Nations approval.

Look up some other good news before heading to your gathering to set the tone!

If all else fails and you’ve resorted to assembling that snowscape puzzle in silence, ask everyone for their best blobfish impressions…you won’t regret it!

Happy holidays, and I wish you good conversation!

Week 10 Resources!

Congratulations on making it to week 10!

I’ve always thought that “dead week” as the calm before the storm of finals…but this morning I heard a different perspective. It’s called dead week because we’re all dead tired! I don’t know about you, but this is more descriptive of my experience this term.

Remember to take care of yourself, and that there are resources and events available to help!

My favorite week 10 event includes hot cocoa, treats, and Sam the therapy dog- how could you go wrong? Come destress at the Hot Cocoa bar in the PFSC Atrium this Friday, December 3rd from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.

If you have a long study session and don’t have time to go home, remember that there is a microwave in Break Room 101 in PFSC. This room has a camouflaged door, and is located on the right side of the hallway past the FERN study area as you head towards Richardson. If you can’t find it, ask at the Student Services desk or ask one of the FERN Center staff! Please be respectful of the shared space and clean up after yourselves.

Finals Survival Guides are available in the Academic Success Center in Waldo 125. If you need more help, schedule with a strategist to plan for success. If you are experiencing other life stressors, remember that CAPS and the HSRC are also great resources. Details for these resources can be found on our announcements page, too.

Right around midterms and finals, it can be difficult to stay motivated when we are all working so hard. I find it helpful to stay future-focused. Remember your long-term goals, and why you are here in the first place.

College is your biggest investment in yourself, and in your future.

You’ve got this!

The return to “normal”

Well, here we all are again. After a long academic year of learning and working remote, we are back on campus, in person. It is great to see people doing mostly normal activities again and makes the start of fall term seem a little more real than it did last year.

I don’t know about you, but returning to in person has been a bit of a transition and remembering what my routine used to be before it became staying home and logging into my computer in leggings and sweatshirts and taking lunch hour walk and run breaks.

Being back brings a lot of uncertainty for many people. We are still navigating a pandemic and a virus that seems intent on sticking around for awhile. But it also means that we have the chance to feel more engaged. Our conversations can be more meaningful because we are not looking through a computer screen. Our experiences are more than emails and Zoom classes. There are so many interactions and activities that we may have taken for granted before the pandemic that now seem so special. And even though we are still working hard to remain safe and keep our loved ones safe, we know more about how to carry on with “normal” life.

So here’s to being back, making good choices to stay safe and enjoying the buzz and energy of “normal”.

Winter break already?

By now you have completed your final exams and have checked out for a much needed break. Congratulations on making it through fall term. It was certainly one for the records.

Because we are still dealing with what seems like a never-ending COVID-19 pandemic, this winter break might be a little different for you. Some of you might be traveling very little, or not at all. Perhaps you will not be headed home to be with family this year. So what will you do if you are staying put this year?

Might I suggest binging “The Best Christmas Movies of All Time” according to Rotten Tomatoes. There are 62 movies on the list! I haven’t seen them all but here are my top five favorite holiday flicks:

5. White Christmas (1954) – Who can pass up Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas”? And let’s be honest, if you don’t tear up a little when Bing and his pals put on a musical extravaganza to save the General’s country inn, then you are channeling to much Grinch.
4. Home Alone (1990) – I never watched this movie until I was an adult with kids of my own and, as a parent, I have mixed feelings about Kevin’s behavior and his dysfunctional family, but I enjoy watching it with my kids and counting the number times Harry and Marv should have ended up in the hospital or, more likely, the morgue. I know…it’s morbid but we really can’t watch this without pointing out every single plot hole. (Bonus, for more morbid holiday fun, check out Home Alone 2!)
3. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) – I’m a sucker for Judy Garland and this one has some great songs, including the very best version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. I mean come on… how can you not love this?

2. A Christmas Carol (1951) – There are countless versions of this story (including my personal favorite that includes Barbie and her little sister) and I don’t know if this is the best version, but the story of Ebenezer Scrooge treating everyone really bad and then being visited by a group of Christmas spirits who teach him about holiday cheering and caring is a classic holiday theme. Spoiler alert…Ebenezer does a complete personality 180, saves Christmas and “God Bless Us Everyone!” is born.
1. Die Hard – I’m on the side that contends this is, in fact, a Christmas movie. The whole story takes place at a company Christmas party so I’m not really sure how you argue against it being a Christmas movie when it clearly is. Besides, it has everything… action, holiday music, inept terrorists, Bruce Willis and the guy who played that loveable Dad on Family matters. What’s not to love? (FYI…Die Hard 2 also a Christmas movie.)

Honorable mentions to my list include the Rankin/Bass version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (again…the plot holes alone make this worth the annual viewing! Plus, Santa is such a jerk in this movie!!), Elf (Come on… Will Ferrell and spontaneous singing in Central Park? Yes please.) and The Nightmare before Christmas (classic Tim Burton animation, great music and both Halloween and Christmas themes? What’s not to love?)

Whatever you end up doing during winter break, be sure you are staying safe and taking care of yourself and each other. Student Services will be open during the winter break so please reach out if you are in need of support.

Happy holidays!

Remote Learning: Zoom, Teams, and screen time overload!

As we continue to work and learn remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, we may have all reached our limit of sitting in front of a computer screen (or tablet or smart phone or however you are staying connected). Or is that just me?

Everyone is using Zoom, Microsoft Teams or some other platform to attend classes, meetings or connect with family and friends. And while it’s great that today’s technology allows us to work and learn from home, it can get exhausting. So how can we maintain some type of balance?

The Washington Post recently published an article titled “How college students can make the most of remote learning” that shares some tips for how to manage your Zoom time and find a routine that works for you.

  1. Find a daily schedule and a place that works best for you – Stanford University Academic Technology Specialist Jenae Cohn suggests building a schedule around accomplishing tasks, not just when the next Zoom lecture is happening. This includes taking some time to reflect on “your ideal universe” for finishing assignments and reflecting on how you learn. Create a daily schedule and stick with it. Having a structured day can help you feel “more in control” about your coursework. Find a room or place that can be dedicated to class and study time.
  2. Limit screen time if possible – Zoom fatigue is real. It is true that having your camera on for hours during the day can be draining and create a feeling of “people looking at us” (Thomas J. Tobin). And it can be hard to stay focused and engaged during a Zoom lecture regardless of your instructors brilliance and how much you are interested in the topic being discussed. Art Markman of University of Texas Austin suggests trying to engage in discussions and be an active participant. If the professor gives you the option of turning off your camera during a lecture, this might help you listen and take notes without feeling like you are under a microscope. In addition, take breaks between Zoom classes and lectures, research and working on assignments. In other words, get away from the screen!
  3. Socializing in and out of class needs to become more intentional – as we have all learned, there is not much opportunity for side conversations or socializing during Zoom meetings. Art Markman suggests connecting with classmates and friends via text or even AN ACUTAL PHONE CALL (gasp!) to stay in touch and find out how they are doing. Find out how fellow classmates are discussing the course and materials and engaging with each other outside of class.

Ultimately, as we continue to interact with co-workers, instructors, and classmates virtually, it’s important to make sure we are limiting the distractions that prevent us from completing tasks, meeting deadlines and staying engaged. If you have questions or need help with a class concept or problem, do not be afraid to reach out to your instructor!

It is also just as important for us to remember to step away from the screen, get some fresh air, exercise, and find a healthy balance! Stay healthy, wear your mask and keep washing your hands!!!

Here we are… Fall 2020.

Welcome back CoF students! And welcome to all of the new students. I hope your summer was… good?

The start of fall term means that, despite the continuing pandemic situation, recent wildfires, and remote learning, we still have some exciting opportunities in the College of Forestry. There are a variety of opportunities listed in the announcements section of the Fernhopper, including the Mentored Employment Program, Forest GUMP Mentorship Program, DEI Film Festival, Career Fair, and more!

In addition, Student Services is looking forward to seeing all of the amazing photos you took this summer (from a safe distance, of course) so be sure to submit them to the Photo of the Week contest. Email your photos to Student Services.

Peavy Forest Science Complex is open, so stop by (with your mask) and take a look around if you have not done so already. The Student Services office is open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm during the first few weeks of the term (maybe longer….fingers crossed!)

And let’s not forget that the College of Forestry has a new Dean! Dean Thomas DeLuca arrived in Corvallis in June and has been spending time jumping in and getting to know the CoF family. You can read more about Dean DeLuca in the latest issue of the Focus.

As fall term gets started, OSU and The College of Forestry will continue to support students during these challenging times. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Academic Advisor or the Student Services office if you need assistance getting connected to resources.

I also want to acknowledge our many student wildland firefighters! This has, no doubt, been a challenging fire season and many of you were (or are) in the thick of it. Please know the College of Forestry is so proud of you and the work you are doing to protect our great state. Please stay safe and reach out if you need anything.

Stay safe!

Sneak Peek of the Almost Complete Peavy Forest Science Center!

On March 11, 2020- a handful of lucky Forestry Club members, CoF Ambassadors, CoF students, and few of their cohorts were able to tour the NEW Peavy Hall, now known as the Peavy Forest Science Center(PFSC) or just Peavy as most CoF crew will likely call it! Interim Dean, Anthony Davis and Special Assistant & Project Manager of PFSC , Adrienne Wonhof, took time out of their evening to lead almost 60 students on a preview of the new home for the College of Forestry.

Check out those excited faces!
Anthony and Adrienne sharing a handful of the crucial details of the entrance and atrium of the 1st floor. In addition to the history of those beautiful steps including some of the refurbished beams from the old Peavy!
The new acoustic friendly lecture room. Would you believe that there are outlets and USB ports about every two chairs on those tables?! YESSSS…
Everything is on wheels. Classes are going to be fun 😉
Upon viewing a few offices and classrooms downstairs, we went to the next floor!
I think we are pretty darn happy with how it is all turning out 😉
Check out that view! And rockin’ panels too!
“Well, what do you think?”
I think we dig it. 🙂

Permagrins tell a story of finally having a place to call home. During the last few years of CoF students and faculty feeling somewhat misplaced, many of us (seniors especially) are quite thrilled to be able to use what this amazing college of ours created. Our research, innovations, and drive (along with support from our donors and partners) have made this state-of-the-art dream possible. We look forward to moving in and using it in the near future! Here’s to the “New” Peavy!

An Alternative Spring Break

A common goal for a lot of students is to travel internationally while in college. Some students are fortunate enough to spend a summer, a term, or even a year studying abroad. However, a lot of students never get an opportunity to go abroad due to class scheduling, money, logistics, and other responsibilities. Lucky, the College of Forestry offers multiple international trips every year that are led by OSU faculty. These trips are generally only one to two weeks long and are scheduled during winter, spring, or summer break.

Spencer Dalton, a senior studying Recreation Resource Management, spent his 2019 spring break participating in a faculty-led trip to Central Chile. The students on the trip studied wildlife, forestry, land management, and Eco-tourism. Students also got the opportunity to hike around a volcano, go white water rafting, and even visit the local university’s College of Forestry.

“The faculty-led trips are definitely a great way to go abroad” says Spencer. “Not only do they fit into your schedule better, there is a lot of scholarship money available to make it more affordable. The CoF’s International Programs Office and the faculty handle most of the logistics and that makes traveling abroad for the first time super easy. The faculty-led trips also give you course credit that you can apply towards your degree.” 

“It has almost been a year since I went to Chile and I still relate a lot of my current coursework to what I learned on the trip. It’s also nice to have a little bit of an international perspective. I also have developed multiple great friendships with some of my fellow trip mates. Overall, my Chile trip was one of my favorite experience while at OSU and I would recommend a faculty-led trip to any College of Forestry student.”

If you are interested in learning more about the faculty-led international programs, or other opportunities abroad, check out or follow on Instagram.

Michele Justice, Director of International Programs, Phone: (541) 737-6458

Email:, Office Address: 201D Richardson Hall

Kerry Menn, International Programs Coordinator, Phone: (541) 737-4601

Email:, Office Address: 238 Richardson Hall

Summer Internship Perspective From One of Our Own

As an undergraduate, a recommended key experience is participating in an internship related to your field of study. Gaining work experience prior to graduation not only boosts your employ-ability but also allows you to see if your current path fits what you want in the future. Zena Greenawald, a current 2019-2020 CoF Ambassador, tells us a bit about what she spent her 2019 summer doing.

“This past summer I undertook a 5-week partnered internship with the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and the Oregon Department of Forestry. I had the pleasure of being hosted by the West Oregon District located in Philomath, Oregon. I worked with the State Forests Unit Manager and their staff.” 

“My internship consisted of helping with timber sale prep and stocking surveys in young plantations. Additionally, I worked with the Philomath’s fire crew dealing with trail maintenance. I was able to gain hands on experience in the field working with the State Lands Foresters who were all graduates from OSU showing me the work opportunities with my degree. “

If you’d like to do something like Zena did, or find a job or internship of your own- be sure to check out our resources within the College of Forestry, like the Fernhopper Stateside Jobs and Opportunities page, or even find an international internship abroad! There are so many ways to expand your time at OSU, learn from hands-on experiences, and narrow down your ideal goal for the future. Get out there!

Let’s Start the Term Right

The Academic Success Center (ASC) has many diverse programs and ways to help students at OSU succeed, take a peek below at what they have to offer! At the CoF, we wanted to make sure that you all knew what resources are out there for help and give you the best up to date information to assist in learning and success during your time at OSU. The ASC is located in 125 Waldo Hall on the OSU-Corvallis campus, be sure to stop by sooner rather than later 🙂

ALS 116: Academic Success Course:

They have one section of ALS 116 via Ecampus, and three sections on the Corvallis campus. They continue to see students who pass the class average a GPA increase of about .6 GPA points – what a great selling point for students wanting to improve! As a reminder, even when sections fill, they often have space for students referred to the course by an academic advisor; just email Marjorie (email below).

Supplemental Instruction (SI) Study Tables:

SI is supporting the following courses this term: BA 211, BA 213, BI 212, BI 232, CH 201, CH 202, CH 232, MTH 251, and PH 202. Their new registration system is making waitlists go smoothly, but they still encourage students to register early to maximize the benefit they can get from SI. Also, encourage we encourage students to look out for SI exam reviews!

Transfer Consults: Their team of student strategists will be offering “Transfer consults” again at the beginning of the term. They have a packet of success-related tools and can help students identify specific resources that will ease your transition to OSU. You can find more information about the event here.

Academic Coaching changes:

This past fall they reworked their coaching model a bit to promote ongoing work with an academic coach. As a result, almost a quarter of the students they worked with came in for three or more appointments. They are still doing some analysis but this pattern is exciting and they believe it’ll show greater impact!

Restock your ASC materials:

They have replenished their ASC brochures, a new design of large cards, and academic coaching business cards. If you need some, let them know!

Program or Service Contact Information
Academic Coaching 45-minute appointments available to schedule online Website:   Schedule online with reminders: Contact: Clare Creighton, Director 541-737-7971
ALS 116: Academic Success Course 3 on-campus sections for Winter 2020 M/W @ 10 am, M/W @ 1 pm, T/R @ 10 am + 1 Ecampus section Course Catalog – Available Sections For overrides, contact: Marjorie Coffey, Coordinator 541-737-6942
Strategists Drop in Hours, Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5pm   Waldo Hall, Room 125 – the ASC Main office ASC Main Office line: 541-737-2272 Contact: Anika Lautenbach, Program Lead 541-737-3760
Supplemental Instruction Supporting BA 213,BI 213, BI 233, BI 333, CH 202, CH 233, MTH 251, PH 203 Information & Registration via the SI website:  Contact: Chris Gasser, Coordinator 541-737-3762
Workshops, Presentations, & Staff Training/Meetings Workshop request form & menu Contact: Sarah Norek, Outreach & Education 541-737-6587