Thursday, July 3, 2008

Seminars of interest to volunteers

Along with volunteer projects, there are many opportunities coming up for volunteers (or anyone else interested in issues relating to national parks) to learn or participate in seminars, discussions, or classes. Here's a sampling from my e-mail in-box:

July 10: Climate Change in National Parks Web-seminar SeriesThe National Park Service is pleased to present a series of web-based seminars on climate change offered bi-monthly starting July 10th, 2008. These web seminars will be facilitated by Dr. Leigh Welling, NPS Climate Change Coordinator. This series is intended to help connect NPS employees, volunteers, and partners with scientists and experts in the field of climate change research. Our goal is to provide a Service-wide forum where researchers can share credible, up-to-date information and research materials about the impacts of changing climate in national parks and where NPS employees, volunteers, and partners can participate in a discussion with the researcher about climate change in National Parks. Presentations will begin at 2pm EDT and last about 60 minutes (20-30 minute presentation and 20-30 minutes for questions). To participate, register at the web seminar website using the link provided below:

Presentations and other related materials should be available prior to each event on the climate change forum web-site http://nrpcsharepoint/climatechange/default.aspx, enabling anybody to access and download them in advance and follow along by phone if internet connectivity isn’t available or reliable. This site will also contain an archive and recordings of previous presentations. [Note: I believe this is an internal National Park Service website and not accessible outside our intranet. I think the presentation itself will be accessible outside our network, but if not, volunteers will be welcome to join us at Mount Rainier to participate.]

Dr. Lisa Graumlich's, Director of the School of Natural Resources at the University of Arizona, will open the webinar series on July 10th at 2pm EDT with her talk on The Impacts of Climate Change on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites. Dr. Graumlich's position as Director of the School of Natural Resources at the University of Arizona allows her to combine her career-long interest in mountain regions with her concerns for sustainability. As a researcher, she uses tree-ring records to investigate how climate variation affects forests. The focus of her work is treeline, the boundary between forest and tundra on high mountains. Documenting and understanding changes at treeline is particularly interesting because, if projections of future global warming are correct, treeline is likely to be one of the first natural ecosystems to register the change in climate. Her work in the Sierra Nevada documented how climate events of the past 3500 years caused rapid change in the structure of treeline forests.

Future presentations are planned for Thursday, September 11th, with Dr. Max Boykoff, Research Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for the Environment, and on Thursday, November 13th with Dr. Nathan Stephenson, Director of USGS's Sierra Nevada Global Change Research Program.

For more information about this webinar series contact: or Thanks for your interest; we look forward to having you join us.

July 12: Northwest Science Writers Summer Event--Research in Olympic National ParkNSWA is excited to announce a summer NSWA Event: A day in the Olympics. More information to come soon, but mark the day on your calendar. More info and photos on the NSWA website:

* Spend Saturday July 12 in the Olympics with wildlife experts and scientists
* Learn about ongoing research in Olympic National Park, including research related to the slated Elwha River dam removal
* Hike Hurricane Hill
* Enjoy a barbecue dinner in the foothills of the Olympics
* NSWA Members: $25, Nonmembers: $30—NSWA van from Seattle available, or drive yourself
* Seating for for the talks is limited; guests and families welcome on the hike and barbecue
* RSVP ASAP to NSWA Treasurer Deanna Frost (Subject: ONP Event)
* Questions? Event Organizer Stephen Hart (Subject: ONP Event)

We’re still nailing down specifics—and plans could change depending on weather—but here’s the tentative schedule (appropriate breaks not listed):
7:30 am—NSWA van leaves Seattle for Port Angeles
10:30 am—van arrives in Port Angeles
11:00 am—Meet at Olympic National Park headquarters to hear about research in the park. Jerry Freilich, Ph.D., Research Coordinator, Olympic National Park and Coordinator, North Coast & Cascades Research Learning Network, will give us an overview of research going on in the park—some 60 projects—and introduce specific projects and researchers. Jerry can also help with contacts on other projects going on in the park. Speakers to be announced. Examples include:
* The All Taxa Biotic Inventory in the Elwha River valley, part of the preparation for the removal to two dams on the river to restore salmon runs
* Research on the Olympic Marmot, an endemic species
* Reintroduction of the fisher, a large weasel that disappeared from Washington in the late 1800s/early 1900s because of overtrapping and habitat loss
* The Plate Boundary Observatory, a large, NSF-funded and nationwide (but mostly Western) project using specialized GPS monitors--capable of accuracies as close as 1-2 millimeters--to measure the movement of the earth's tectonic plates
12:30 pm—Eat (bring your own sack) lunch while driving to Glines Canyon dam, one of two to be removed.
1:30-4 pm—Drive to Hurricane Ridge for a casual guided hike to Hurricane Hill. Expect great views of mountains and wildlife.
5:00 pm—Drive down the hill for a BBQ dinner at Stephen Hart's home in the foothills of the Olympics.
5:30 - 8:30 pm—Feast on local salmon, burgers, hot dogs, local organic veggies and fruit and delicious homemade desserts.
8:30 pm—Leave barbecue for the ferry and Seattle.

September 3: The Way In: The Future of Access to Northwest National ParksWednesday, September 3rd
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
University of Washington
Kane Hall, Room 110
Filmed by WTV

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is planning to host a panel discussion on global climate change and how it will affect our national parks, especially Olympic, Mount Rainier, and North Cascades National Parks. This panel will focus on the effect of climate change on these parks and the future of access to them.

The floods and windstorms of 2006 were just the latest storm events to ravage Washington’s public lands. Given the high likelihood that future storms will cause similar damage, NPCA is facilitating a discussion on how the federal government can best sustain long term access to places such as Mount Rainier that make sense from an economic and ecological standpoint. We propose a panel discussion open to the public that would include experts in climate change, outdoor recreation, economics, wildlife and roads and trail construction, among others.
Led by Congressman Jay Inslee, we plan to hold this panel discussion at the University of Washington on September 3rd.

This event is co-hosted by other organizations from the Washington Parks and Forest Coalition, including Washington Trails Association, the Student Conservation Association, The Mountaineers, and Washington's National Park Fund.

Confirmed Participants:
Moderator – Professor Michael Robinson-Dorn, Director Berman Environmental Law Clinic, University of Washington Law School –
Representative Jay Inslee - Kiersten Hutchins, Scheduler - (invited, but not completely confirmed)
Dr. David Louter – History Program Manager, Pacific West Region, National Park Service -
Jonathan B. Jarvis – Regional Director, Pacific West Region, Nation Park Service -
Dr. Clifford F. Mass – Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington -
Michael Case – Research Scientist, WWF Global Climate Change Programme -
Paula Swedeen, Ph.D. – Ecological Economist, Swedeen Consulting –
Clara Conner - Division Engineer, Western Federal Lands Division, Federal Highway Administration -

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