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!

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!

The College of Forestry has Some Exciting News!

Peavy Hall Has Some New Looks!

Exterior & Landscaping:

  • All exterior work on the building is expected to be completed by the end of December!
  • Landscaping is nearing completion, including in the arboretum and to the northwest between Peavy & Richardson.
  • A new covered bike rack with lighting and gutters has been installed on the south side of Richardson. More bike racks to come soon on the north side of the new Peavy.
  • The beatification of the Hatfield Courtyard has begun. The 1st-floor knuckle door to the courtyard will be closed for use (except during emergencies). You’ll see new benches installed, new plants and trees, and grass going in — that work should be completed by early January.
  • A new generator will replace the old towers in between Richardson and Peavy (in the arboretum, by the service access driveway), and you’ll see a lot of that old machinery come out in January and new equipment installed into February. The screening will be put in place around the equipment pad.
  • Outside garbage bins will be relocated in January/February. These will still be on the southside of Richardson but will move into the southeast corner of the works yard with screening and an accessible gate.
  • Outdoor classroom space is starting to shape up and I’ll be in touch with faculty who intend to use this space to discuss plans for seating.


  • The recycled/restored glulam beams from old Peavy being used for the Atrium stairs are installed and looking beautiful! The slatted feature wall inside the first floor is also going in and is also very striking. Pictures soon of that space.
  • Classrooms are coming together and our Computing Group will be working with Classroom Technology Services to start getting A/V installed and networking going beginning in early January.
  • Lab casework is being installed and the lab group homes are ready and awaiting outfitting.
  • Furniture orders have been placed with three different vendors and are expected to be delivered and installed in February & March. We are working with four craftsmen/small businesses to build our custom conference room tables each featuring a select PNW wood type.

Occupancy and Move-In:

It is our intent to hold classes in Peavy starting Spring term, barring any issues with classroom technology, outfitting, and Registrar approval. The move of folks to Peavy is scheduled for the week of Spring Break.

And finally… mark your calendars!

We are planning to hold the public opening celebration of the Peavy Forest Science Center on Tuesday, May 12. This will be an event open to everyone and will highlight important partnerships we have developed and all of the awesome features of new Peavy. We also look forward to the 1% for Art pieces that will be installed throughout the Spring and Summer.

Meet Dr. Tom DeLuca- Oregon State University’s Cheryl Ramberg Ford and Allyn C. Ford Dean of the College of Forestry and director of the Oregon Forest Research Laboratory effective June 30, 2020!

Dr. DeLuca is currently dean of the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. A forest soil scientist and ecosystem ecologist, Dr. DeLuca’s efforts in research, teaching, and administration have been focused on sustainable land management and advancing the understanding of natural ecosystem function. He currently directs a college with over 40 faculty members, 133 graduate students, and more than 750 undergraduate students.Dr. DeLuca is responsible for the management of two external research facilities, Lubrecht Experimental Forest (a 28,000-acre forest) and Bandy Ranch (a 3,600-acre cattle ranch). Prior to his current post, he served as the director of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington.

During the past 20 years, Tom has conducted research on a variety of topics across temperate, boreal, maritime, and Arctic settings. His primary research interests include the influence of disturbance on nitrogen and carbon cycling in forests, prairie and tundra ecosystems; the fire ecology of temperate and boreal forests; biological nitrogen fixation in forest ecosystems; sustainable forest management; and forest restoration. A highly cited scholar, he has published more than 100 refereed research papers, including in Science and Nature. Tom received his Ph.D. in soil biology and biochemistry from Iowa State University; his master’s degree in soils from Montana State University; and his bachelor’s degree in soil science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

What a wonderful year we have to look forward to at the College of Forestry! I’ll be sure to keep you up to date the best I can. 🙂 -Destiny Pauls, NR, CoF Ambassador

An Unexpected Journey Turned into the Adventure of a Lifetime by Zena Greenawald

My time in the old continent was short-lived but jam-packed with knowledge and adventure. I was blessed to start my summer of 2019 in the beautiful European Alps, an utterly breathtaking experience. My short two-week journey started in the small European country of Slovenia and ended in the vineyards of Italy. Before my trip, I had never traveled outside of the United States, which made the notion of traveling over 5,800 miles terrifying. After all the nerves and panicking my journey started and it did not leave me with an ounce of regret. My point being, if you have the opportunity to travel abroad– go. Take the chance, I promise you will not regret the time you spent and the friendships that will be made. Once I overcame my angst here’s what happened:

  1. Independence

2. Patience

3. Friendship

4. Appreciation of Home

5. Opening My Mind to New Perspectives

6. Confidence

Go abroad friends, whether for study, business, or leisure- it’ll change your world.

News You Can Use at the Upcoming Career Fair!

Just over a week away is our annual College of Forestry Career Fair. On November 14th, 2019 we will be hosting a diverse group of both private and public employers looking to fill seasonal, part-time, and full-time positions, as well as share internship opportunities! This event takes place in the CH2M Hill Alumni Center from 10am-2pm.

The College of Forestry encourages students to participate and meet face to face with leaders of their field study; whether that may be forestry, forest products, natural resources, or outdoor recreation. This is a day you do not want to miss!

Prepare early and begin viewing employers registered and register yourself on Handshake!

Students who attend have a good chance of finding summer internships or seasonal work and finding out about permanent positions. There will be great networking opportunities for a vast amount of interests and options for all!

For example, Avid4Adventure wants to connect with RRM and TRAL students! They are holding an info session on November 13th and will be at the career fair! Lone Rock, GreenWood Resources, Hampton Lumber, and PotlatchDeltic will be interviewing on the 14th and 15th. Students should stop by their tables if they want to find out more and sign up for an interview.

There is even a job fair prep workshop on November 12th for students wanting help with resumes and networking tips. Register Here!