Starker Lecture Series 2021


Resilience in the face of disturbance: Learning from disasters

Natural disturbances and disasters have a long history of presenting opportunities for society to learn, adapt and thrive. The multiple disasters and challenges of the last year have proven the need for society to be resilient, learn and adapt to new realities. Whether dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic or devastating wildfires, the past year has forced all of us to overcome and look at new ways to live and work.

 This year’s Starker Lecture Series focuses on how communities, industries and organizations across the forest landscape have responded to recent and previous disasters, shown resilience in the face of adversity, and are ready to play critical roles in creating a better future. The four-part panel series will focus on forest economics, recreation, education, and research. The series will provide insight into the difficulties of the past year, the issues we might face in the future, and what we can do to ensure a better future for ourselves, the organizations we work for, and the communities where we live.

The Starker Lectures Series is sponsored by the Starker Family in honor of TJ and Bruce Starker, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute and the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

2021 Events

Lecture One: Recreation
January 28, 2021, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Watch on YouTube

In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires have impacted outdoor recreation systems both in the United States and around the world. These disturbances can influence how people recreate, where people recreate, and impact the behavior of visitors to parks and protected areas. Such changes in recreation use and related impacts to natural systems can lead to challenges for outdoor recreation management. This panel will take a local and global view of how these natural disturbances and disasters have affected recreation systems and how outdoor recreation managers are responding to these disruptions.


  • Ben Lawhon, Director of Education and Research, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
  • Cailin O’Brien-Feeney, Director, Oregon Office of Outdoor Recreation
  • Nikoleta Jones, Principal Research Associate, University of Cambridge
  • Catherine Pickering, Professor of Environmental Science, Griffith University Australia

Host: Ashley D’Antonio

Lecture Two: Education
February 10, 2021, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Watch on YouTube

The concept for the education discussion is to explore the impacts of disturbances on students through the various stages of K-16, education through employment. The lecture will explore how K-12 education is impacted including CTE, trade schools and workforce. We will then take a look at how current college students are recruited and taught in a virtual world, and what opportunities are they finding next.


  • Reynold Gardner, Oregon Department of Education, Natural Resources / Forestry / Agriculture Content Education Specialist
  • Shannon Harwood, Manager of Student Engagement, College of Forestry
  • Nicole Kent, Manager of Advising & Academic Relations, College of Forestry
  • Mariel King, ' 20 Natural Resources, College of Forestry
  • Wade Christensen, Sustainable Forest Management, College of Forestry 

Host: Julie Woodward

Lecture Three: Economics
March 3, 2021, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Watch on YouTube

The COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Labor Day Fires have had major economic impacts on Oregon’s forest sector. Our speakers represent small and large Oregon land and processing facility owners and a major forestry consultant. They will discuss the impact and how the Oregon forest sector is responding to them.


  • Tyler Freres, Vice President of Sales, Freres Lumber Company
  • Kellye Wise, SVP of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Roseburg Forest Products
  • Roger Lord, President, Mason, Bruce & Girard

Host: Tammy Cushing

Lecture Four: Research
March 10, 2021, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Watch on YouTube

How do we best study rare disturbances? What have we learned about disturbances? How can these research findings help prepare research studies, forests, buildings, and society as a whole for future disturbances?


  • Fred Swanson, Research Geologist (retired), US Forest Service
  • Katy Kavanagh, Associate Dean of Research, College of Forestry
  • John van de Lindt, Harold H. Short Endowed Chair Professor; Co-Director, NIST Center of Excellence for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning, Colorado State University

Hosts: Klaus Puettmann, John Nairn

More about the series

The Starker Lecture Series takes inspiration from the Starker Family's history of leadership in supporting sound forestry and vibrant communities through scientifically grounded education and positive, sustained action. The Starkers' long-time recognition of the value of closely observing and learning from actions and outcomes "in the woods" also inspires an integration of technical knowledge with practical, on-the-ground experience. An emphasis on issues and opportunities in the active management of forest resources, through lectures, in depth discussions, and field based events, will further honor the unique and exceptional example provided by the Starker Family.

All lectures are free and open to the public. The lectures will also be available via streaming video from this web site. A reception will be held immediately before the lectures. A capstone workshop will be held after the lecture series is complete to deepen the practical understanding and discussion of the lecture topics.