USDA Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Pacific Northwest Research Station
333 SW First Ave.
Portland, OR 97204

(503) 808-2100

US Forest Service
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Recruiting Future Forestry Leaders and Scientists

Jeromie and Spus.The Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station has entered into an agreement with the University of Washington’s School of Forest Resources to create leadership and learning opportunities for Native Americans pursuing graduate degrees in the forestry sciences. The effort, coordinated by the School’s Ernesto Alvarado, provides a broad spectrum of opportunities to students who are tribal members, focused on recruitment, retention, and successful completion of their graduate degree programs. Students are offered financial, educational, cultural, and social support, and provided with mentored work experiences on research projects in their field of interest. The skills, knowledge, and experience gained by the students significantly enhance their ability to contribute to the advancement of science-based forestry both on and off of tribal lands. In addition, their ability to integrate traditional knowledge with modern science has significant benefits to both the university and research agencies where they work.

Three Native American graduate students have been recruited and are working on research projects led by PNW Research Station scientists and university faculty. Two students, Tmthspusmen “Spus” Wilder, and Jeromie Gritts, enrolled at the beginning of the 2010-2011 academic year. A third student, Christopher Beatty, is doing project work during the summer and will begin coursework in fall 2011.

Spus is interested in the ecological effects of different policy frameworks and restoration practices among forest landowners east of the Cascade crest. Starting summer 2011, his research project will examine stand structure and composition parameters on national forest, state, and Yakama tribal lands in eastern Washington to determine how forest health is affected by management and restoration strategies. During summer 2010, Spus assisted with research projects conducted by the PNW Research Station on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and at the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences laboratory in Seattle.

Jeromie’s research project, also beginning in summer 2011, will examine the decline of whitebark pine on the Flathead Reservation in Montana. He is working under the mentorship of scientists at the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station to model the effects of different silvicultural and fire management regimes on whitebark pine. His research will factor in the cultural values tribes associate with whitebark pine that are not typically included in ecological studies.

Both Jeromie and Spus have been involved with other Native American students in the School of Forest Resources on efforts to integrate traditional knowledge with forestry sciences, and have co-authored a paper that has been submitted for publication. They have also been assisting with the development of a national natural resources research agenda for the Intertribal Timber Council. They have helped develop and administer a questionnaire for tribal managers and leaders to ascertain research needs, and Christopher will be completing the final report documenting research priorities during summer 2011.


US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
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