Jonathan Hunn ’15 Remembered for Campus Contributions

It is with great sadness we bring to your attention a Natural Resource students recent passing.


Jonathan Hunn ’15 — a natural resources major and co-founder of the Cornell Environmental Collaborative — died on Nov. 10 in West Bloomfield, N.Y. He was 22.

Hunn will be remembered for his contributions to the Cornell community, including the founding of ECO, his work with the Cornell Cooperative Extension, research with the Cornell Biological Field Station and additions as a field research technician to the Department of Natural Resources.

Hunn’s memorial service will be held at a later date, according to an obituary printed Sunday in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:

The Cornell Daily Sun has also provided a nice piece about Jonathan:


An Exhibit Collaboration Between DNR’s Professor Kassam and the Johnson Museum

Drawing on works by indigenous peoples from the Arctic, Australia, ancient South America, southwest North America, and the Pacific Northwest from the Museum’s permanent collection, the American Indian Program collection, and private collections, Transformations is about change in indigenous communities historically and contemporaneously. The objective of this exhibit is to engage students in addressing change among indigenous societies by transforming their perspective. It exposes students to the human ecological relations of indigenous communities with their habitat. Transformations is co-curated by Dr. Karim-Aly Kassam, Department of Natural Resources and American Indian Program and Dr. Andrew Weislogel, Askin Curator at the Johnson Museum, for the course “Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Knowledge” (NTRES/AIS/AMST 3330). The Exhibit is on view in the Johnson Museum’s Study Gallery from October 20th to November 1st, 2015.


Freda Diesing

Haida, 1925–2002, born Prince Rupert, British Columbia

Raven Inside of the Wheel, 1978


Gift of Malcolm Whyte, Class of 1955, and Karen Whyte


Clark’s Nutcrackers in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Clark's nutcracker

Since 2009, Taza Schaming, a PhD student in the Department of Natural Resources and the Lab of Ornithology, has been studying how the decline of whitebark pine is impacting Clark’s nutcrackers in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She is currently satellite-tracking Clark’s nutcrackers to find out how they adapt as their food disappears. Her ultimate goal is to aid managers in designing biologically informed management interventions to help ensure persistence of Clark’s nutcrackers in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and throughout their range.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s quarterly magazine, Living Bird, which has 50,000+ print subscribers, is featuring Taza’s research and the Clark’s nutcracker-whitebark pine story. Read more at

Taza just launched a 31 day crowdfunding campaign to fund the second year of satellite tracking. For more information on the research and the crowdfunding campaign please read more at

USDA EDEN Team Visits the LeAD Center


DILIMAN, Quezon City – The Learning and Discovery (LeAD) Center of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) was recently visited by some representatives of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). The team was in the country for a series of briefings and consultations with ATI and other partner agencies for the possible establishment of EDEN in the Philippines. As a start, the team had a meeting with the Institute’s executives about the project and to provide technical assistance in developing its framework.

The USDA EDEN is a collaboration of the various extension services to improve the nation’s ability to mitigate, prepare, prevent, respond, and recover from disasters. It provides disaster education resources delivered through the Land Grant University system and is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

In photo (L to R): Yovina-Claire Pauig, Information Officer of ATI-ISD; Virginia Morgan White, EdD, a visiting scholar of the USDA NIFA from Auburn University; Beverly Samuel, CFCS, the National Program Leader of the USDA; Joeven Calasagsag, Agriculturist of ATI-ISD; Keith Tidball, a visiting scholar of the USDA NIFA from Cornell University; and Vicente Dayanghirang, Jr., the focal person of ATI’s Climate Change Core Group. (Theresa Aurora B. Cosico)

Barbara Knuth Named to Inaugural Class of American Fisheries Society Fellows

Prof. Barb KnuthBarbara Knuth, Ph.D., of Cornell University, was named as a Fellow of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) at the society’s 145th Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. Knuth was part of the inaugural group of Fellows named under the new AFS program that designates as Fellows of the Society certain members who have made outstanding or meritorious contributions to the diversity of fields that are included in the American Fisheries Society. Contributions include, but are not restricted to, accomplishments in leadership, research, teaching and mentoring, fisheries resource management and/or conservation, and outreach or interaction with the public.

“We wanted to honor AFS members who are recognized by their peers as distinguished for their outstanding and/or sustained contributions to the discipline,” said AFS Past President Donna Parrish, who presided over the ceremony. “The Fellows program will help make outstanding AFS members more competitive for awards and honors when they are being compared with colleagues from other disciplines and support the advancement of AFS members to leadership positions in their own institutions and in the broader society.”

Knuth is a professor of Natural Resource policy in the department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, and serves as Dean of the Graduate School and Senior Vice Provost overseeing undergraduate admissions, financial aid, and the university registrar. Her research focuses on the human dimensions of fisheries management, specifically risk communication and management associated with chemical contaminants in fish. She served as president of the American Fisheries Society in 2004-2005.

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Founded in 1870, the American Fisheries Society (AFS) is the world’s oldest and largest fisheries science society. The mission of AFS is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals. With five journals and numerous books and conferences, AFS is the leading source of fisheries science and management information in North America and around the world.

Challenges To The Catskills Forests Program

Challenges to the Catskills Flyer Final 9 9.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro









On November 13th, 2015 the event Challenges to the Catskills Forests: Understanding Issues, Moving Towards Solutions program will take place at the Windham Mountain Resort in Windham, NY.

Our regional trees and forests are being impacted by invasive insect pests, overwhelmed by competing ground vegetation, and eaten by deer!

Why should we care? Trees and forests clean our water and air, sequester carbon, support wildlife, provide local energy and valuable wood resources, plus provide places to recreate and relax. Come hear about these topics, have discussions on how we can find solutions and learn about valuable resources to help deal with these issues.

This program is for anyone who cares about trees and forests including municipal officials, forest landowners, resource manag-ers, foresters, loggers, and agencies and organizations working on these topics. Credits will be available for planning board members, SAF foresters and TLC loggers.

For additional information and to register visit our website click here


Master Naturalist Volunteers Participate in Climate and Stream Resiliency Engaged Learning Weekend

group pic

Kristi Sullivan led a group of Master Naturalist volunteers from across the state on a 3-day, engaged learning trip to   the northern Catskills. The goal of the event was to engage volunteers in a meaningful, climate -focused project that  would improve climate change awareness and response. Topics highlighted during the event included current and  future climate change predictions, potential impacts to ecosystems and water resources, and adaptive strategies for   addressing stream and community impacts. The program was a successful collaboration with the outstanding staff  from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene, several of whom are part of the Hudson River Estuary  Stream Resiliency Project, a project designed to address the challenges of flooding,  stream and watershed  management, and climate change.

stream picVolunteers visited several sites in the Catskill Creek Watershed and saw first-hand the devastation brought about by Hurricanes Irene and Lee. They learned that some common practices targeted at stream and water management, such as placing boulders and stones along the stream banks, lead to channelization which can increase water velocity and potential erosion downstream. Local educators demonstrated the benefits of having riparian tree and shrub plantings for bank stabilization, as well as the importance of maintaining undeveloped floodplains and wetlands to slow stream flow and protect downstream communities during heavy rain events. Joining forces with the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Trees for Tributaries Program, participants worked together at three separate sites in the Catskill Creek Watershed to weed around planted tree seedlings and shrubs, stabilize tree tubes, and take other actions to maintain recent streamside plantings. Local partners noted “They are a great bunch of folks and it is energizing to be with such engaged and interested people” and “Thank you. It is so important to the future stability and function of the Catskill Creek to maintain the riparian buffers.”

Participants also discovered the world of aquatic insects, explored their use as indicators of stream health and learned about the Department of Conservation’s Water Assessment Volunteer Evaluation (WAVE) program. Volunteers are now able to take the knowledge and skills they acquired during the engaged learning weekend back to their own communities where they will apply them locally and educate other community members, leading to more resilient communities statewide.

grass picThe New York Master Naturalist Volunteer Program develops natural  resource stewards and empowers them to  educate others in their  communities, monitor for environmental change, and participate in on-  the-ground  conservation projects.

Each year, volunteers contribute over 1,500 hours of work to vital  projects such as wildlife monitoring, invasive  species control, and  habitat restoration. The service-learning weekend in the Catskill  Watershed resulted in  significant benefits to local riparian buffer restoration and monitoring efforts, and volunteers were exposed to a  myriad of different learning opportunities and management techniques. While building climate science and stream  ecology skills, Master Naturalist volunteers learned about the impact of heavy rain events on local biodiversity and the importance of stream resilience, especially in a new era of higher magnitude weather events. The volunteers summed up the weekend’s expedition, saying “This training gave me first-hand knowledge of the potential of severe weather events and the impact they can have on our streams and waterways.  It was interesting to learn of the simple act of planting the right trees and shrubs and the impact they can have on stream bank stability.” and “I loved being part of the community of volunteers! Great group and for me a real sense of trying to do something worthwhile.  I left really motivated to go find other ways to get involved with stream and wetlands work.”