SAFS Autumn 20 / Winter 21 Newsletter – Director’s Message

André PuntDear Friends,

As I look out of my office window, I see the first snow of 2021—a reminder to me that even with everything that is going on, there is still some normality.

Enhancing SAFS through increased diversity is an ongoing priority—the importance of which has been underscored by events this past year. In this issue, learn about some of our efforts and activities to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in SAFS. I also encourage you to view the seminars from this year’s Bevan Series, which are focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. These are uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Sadly, in late 2020, we lost two of our emeritus faculty: Bruce Miller and Glenn VanBlaricom. Bruce passed away at the end of October 2020. A brief summary of his career, along with thoughts from his friends, colleagues, and past students about his role as a mentor and marine biologist extraordinaire can be found here. Glenn passed away on Christmas Eve 2020. We will include a memoriam for Glenn in our next issue of the newsletter and invite thoughts and comments from his former students and other friends to include in our tribute.

In this issue we feature three of our long-term staff members who have recently been awarded principle investigator status. Rebecca Buchanan and Jennifer Gosselin, research scientists with Columbia Basin Research, are stepping into the role of leaders of a research group that provides managers and decision makers with the key scientific information needed for the conservation of salmonids throughout the West Coast. We also profile Jason Toft, who took over the leadership of the Wetland Ecosystem Team (WET) after the retirements of Charles “Si” Simenstad and Jeff Cordell (see page 8 to learn more about Jeff and his 40+ years at the UW). Jason and his team conduct research to support conservation and restoration efforts, with a focus on our very own backyard here in Seattle.

Many of you have asked how SAFS is handling the pandemic. Building coordinator Jon Wittouck has worked to ensure that we are able to run some labs, and some of our fieldwork has also taken place; but, like most of you, our lives are a long sequence of Zoom meetings, punctuated by watching cats and other pets invading screens.

I would like to thank all of our supporters for their contributions during the last year. Your gifts give the School the ability to support students who would otherwise not be able to attend the University of Washington as well as research projects that are advancing knowledge but are not yet sufficiently well developed to be supported through traditional funding routes. We profile one of our long-term donors, Chuck McCallum (CEO of the Chignik Regional Aquacultural Association) on page 9.

Finally, I would like to highlight a new fund that will support the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice and Community Service Recognition Award, a way to recognize those individuals who are going above and beyond to make SAFS more welcoming and successful.

Keep well and keep safe.

André Punt

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