COF News & Events

OSU scientist-writers win national prize for ‘Ricky’s Atlas: Mapping a Land on Fire’

Author Judith Li and illustrator M.L. Herring, both associate professors at Oregon State University, won one of five awards for outstanding science writing from AAAS and Subaru of America, Inc. Ricky’s Atlas was named the best “hands-on science book.”

Transfer Student Profile: A Friend of the Forest

Josh Friend is a senior studying Recreation Resource Management at Oregon State University. He began his college career at the Rock Creek Campus of Portland Community College (PCC). In high school, Josh had not decided what he wanted to study in college or pursue for a career. Once he started taking classes at PCC, Josh learned about the many different options and majors available to him. He decided to study forestry early on while at PCC, so it was natural for him to transfer to OSU to complete a bachelor’s degree since it is one of the world’s top forestry schools.

Because he knew he wanted to transfer to OSU, Josh was able to coordinate carefully with his PCC advisor and select courses to take so they would count towards his OSU degree. Josh said that it was very motivating to know that the courses he was taking at PCC would directly apply to his forestry degree at OSU. After spending a little over two years at PCC, he transferred to OSU and majored in Recreation Resource Management. It was a big transition as he moved away from home and adjusted to attending a university. By getting involved and spending time in the College of Forestry community, OSU became a “second home” for Josh.

Growing up, Josh spent a lot of time outside through Boy Scouts. He has always loved outdoor projects and management, and the combination of working with people and being outdoors. He continues to be very interested in pursuing both the social and ecological aspects of Recreation Resource Management, which made the major a good fit for him. He recommends that students pay attention as they go through their degree program for signs that a major is fitting their interests well.

While at OSU, Josh has had the opportunity to be the treasurer for OSU’s Society of American Foresters student chapter, and has also served as the fire marshal for his house. During the summers, he has worked in wildland firefighting and on a trail crew with the US Forest Service in Montana. These experiences gave him a unique perspective on different types of jobs for his future career. When he graduates, Josh may return to the Spotted Bear Ranger District in Montana’s Flathead National Forest, where he worked last summer. Josh is also considering working in the forests here in Oregon either with the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. He hopes to find a job that will help him to continue to learn and gain experience. Eventually he would like to pursue a master’s degree in Public Administration.

Advisor Profile: OSU Feels Like Home

McKenzie Huber is the newest Natural Resources advisor, and she also serves as the new Forestry Ambassador Coordinator. She came to Oregon State as an undergraduate in 2006 and began exploring ways to work on a college campus . She stayed at OSU after a great undergraduate experience, and earned a master’s degree in College Student Services Administration. She landed her first job at Oregon State and has been here ever since. One of the things she loves most about Corvallis is that it has become home for her. She loves working here and supporting students.

As an academic advisor, McKenzie helps her advisees to succeed both personally and academically. She focuses on helping students to accomplish their goals and get the most out of their college experience. Advisors in the College of Forestry are the consistent person that students can go to for advice on classes and academic success. McKenzie enjoys working with a team of advisors that really care about students.

McKenzie says that her Natural Resources students are passionate about solving problems, and take a critical look at our environment and our impact on it. They are involved and engaged, often getting internships and investing a lot in their education. Like many of her students, McKenzie loves the outdoors, and frequently visits the Peavy Arboretum with her dog. She also likes to travel, read and watch Netflix, of course!

As the Forestry Ambassador Coordinator, McKenzie has been further developing the Ambassador program. She created a new Forestry Ambassador website, and this winter and spring McKenzie will recruit, hire and train the new Ambassadors. The Ambassador program focuses on leadership development and connecting students to college stakeholders. To learn more, visit the Ambassador Program website.

Faculty Profile – Michael Paul Nelson: Philosophy behind the Environment

Michael Paul Nelson is a faculty member within the College of Forestry with a non-traditional forestry background. His education is founded in philosophy and ethics, which has led him to ponder the dilemmas in the natural resources world. Michael says that as a philosopher, he is trained to take on natural resource arguments and try to answer difficult ethical questions related to natural resources and conservation ethics. These skills have led him to become the OSU Lead Scientist and Principle Investigator for the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest Long-Term Ecological Research Program, an NSF-sponsored, multi-million dollar research program in the Oregon Cascades.

The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest was established in 1948 for the pursuit of long-term research, education and science-based management. The long-term data that has been collected at this site can help scientists study the impacts of different harvesting management strategies, determine how the ecosystem reacts to harvesting, and observe the legacy effect over time. Michael explains that after all this time, they are “still learning new things from these units and with climate change, this long-term data is important to look back on as the system is impacted.”

In addition to his work with the H.J. Andrews Forest, Michael also pursues many other scientific studies such as the Wolves and Moose of Wolf Isle Royale project. The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale project is the longest continuous study of a predator-prey relationship in the world, entering it’s 58th year in 2016. This project is based on a remote wilderness island in Lake Superior. Michael’s role as the “environmental philosopher and historian” for the project began with his interest in the reestablishment of wolves into an ecosystem, and the controversial nature of this topic. After being involved with this project, Michael soon realized that if “we want to have any hope or seriousness about influencing policy, that the demands for deep and serious interdisciplinary thought and work are really enormous.” This project has brought together scientists from all disciplines to improve the status of wolves both on the island and within the American culture.

What Michael suggests for new students looking into the College of Forestry is to “sample broadly” and go out of your initial comfort zone. He urges students to “go to seminars, pay attention, ask questions, challenge thinking. You can learn so much and college is not just about classes. Take advantage of these opportunities, learn to be empathetic to the speakers in order to learn from them – what do they believe, what are they taking for granted, what are they arguing ought to be done? That is what college is about.”

To learn more about the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest visit : andrewsforest.oregonstate.edu/lter

To learn more about the Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale visit: www.isleroyalewolf.org

“GoPro: Trail Masters” Video Features Oregon’s Single-Track Trails And Those Who Build Them

Even though he grew up riding, Oregon Forestry Specialist Reid Brown admits that even he didn’t know his current job existed, until he got into college. He attended Oregon State University, and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Resource Management, with a minor in Forest Management.

Ambassador Profile: The Forest Called Her Name

Alyssa Forest is a junior from Sacramento, CA majoring in Natural Resources, with an option in Natural Resource Policy and Management. Being in Northern Central California, she grew up near amazing landscapes including blue Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and the monumental Redwood Forests. These landscapes inspired Alyssa’s deep-rooted love for nature.

“My family always loved outdoor recreation; and adventuring through the beautiful forests of California gave me a sense of responsibility to respect the environment,” she explains.

When it came to choosing a university, the beautiful state of Oregon was practically calling her name. When Alyssa visited Oregon State University, it truly felt like home.

“The town of Corvallis, combined with the welcoming campus, was the right choice for me instantly, and I knew there was nowhere else I’d rather attend college,” Alyssa recalls.

Initially, Alyssa declared a major in Graphic Design. At the beginning of her third year, she decided to change her major to Natural Resources because she wanted to apply her love of the outdoors and protecting the environment with her degree.

“Natural Resources gives me the chance to learn all of the science surrounding natural areas, along with the policies that have the ability to shape their future,” she says. “I hope to be a bridge between science and policy, so that the decisions of our leaders reflect the best possible future.”

As a Forestry Ambassador, Alyssa hopes to learn leadership skills that will help shape her future career. She also wants to encourage new and prospective students to realize their true potential through Oregon State University. Meet the Forestry Ambassador team.

Forest recreation to be the focus of annual Starker Lecture Series

Hiking, biking, camping and other types of recreation draw thousands of outdoor enthusiasts to the woods every year. When conflicts arise, users can be at odds with each other and with the businesses and agencies responsible for managing forestland. The annual Starker Lecture Series at Oregon State University will explore this issue with presentations, discussions, forest tours and a capstone field trip.

How the World's Smallest Birds Survive the Winter

In cold weather, hummingbird bodies enter into an "energy-conservation mode called torpor," according to Oregon State ecologist Adam Hadley. Birds that stay north for the winter experience a nightly "mini-hibernation," in which their 107-degree body temperatures can plummet to 48 degrees.

Mark Needham Honored with Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Mark Needham, an associate professor of nature-based recreation and tourism, social science, and natural resources in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, was recently honored with the national Excellence in Teaching Award from The Academy of Leisure Sciences, the leading organization of scientists focusing on park, recreation, and leisure research. Dr. Needham received the award at the 2016 National Recreation and Park Association conference in St. Louis, Mo.

Administered and voted on by The Academy of Leisure Sciences, the Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes a colleague who has demonstrated outstanding ability as a teacher of parks, recreation, and leisure services over the course of her or his career.

In his 12th year at OSU, Dr. Needham has routinely been recognized for excellence in both teaching and research. He received the College of Forestry Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching and Advising Professor in 2009, and the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society Graduate Students’ Award for Outstanding Faculty in 2013. In 2007, Dr. Needham was recognized with the College of Forestry Dean's Award for Outstanding Research Professor.

From 2012 to 2015, Dr. Needham held the OSU Gene D. Knudson Chair in Forestry. This endowed chair position was established to recognize and reward outstanding teaching, advising, and mentoring of undergraduate students, and visible leadership of undergraduate education. During his time at OSU, Dr. Needham has advised 15 masters and doctoral degree seeking students, taught several courses every year, and served on numerous other curriculum and student advisory committees.

An accomplished researcher, Dr. Needham has published 57 refereed articles in leading journals, authored one book and nine book chapters, and presented over 130 papers at local, national, and international conferences. He serves as the Director of the Natural Resources, Tourism, and Recreation (NATURE) Studies lab at OSU, and is also Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Human Dimensions of Wildlife.

Dr. Needham received his bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Victoria in Canada, and his Ph.D. degree in human dimensions of natural resources, recreation, and tourism from Colorado State University.


The Academy of Leisure Sciences was founded in 1980 with its central purpose as the intellectual advancement of leisure sciences.

Economics of forest biomass raise hurdles for rural development

In a model of the forest industry, researchers in the College of Forestry combined an evaluation of costs for collecting, transporting and processing biomass with the potential locations of regional processing facilities in western Oregon. Each location was chosen because it is adjacent to an existing or recently-closed wood product operation such as a sawmill or plywood manufacturing plant.