SFWS hosts Research Open House 3/22

SFWS Associate Dean of Research (pictured front right) Graeme Lockaby and Graduate Student Coordinator Audrey Grindle (pictured front left) are shown with some of the participating graduate students during the research open house held March 22.

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences hosted its Research Open House, a graduate student poster presentation and reception, on Wednesday, March 22. The open house served as a venue to showcase the diversity of the School’s research program while providing opportunities for graduate students to present their research and network with stakeholders and other members of the academic community.

Over 30 Ph.D. and Master’s graduate students representing research areas within forestry, wildlife and natural resources presented posters at the event that were judged by internal and external faculty. The following students received awards:

1st place tie – Jennifer Price Tack, The endangered hunter: A model and decision-making framework to evaluate state wildlife agency management actions aimed at increasing hunter-generated conservation funds (Maj. Prof. Conor McGowan), and John Draper, Genetic diversity and connectivity of black bears (Ursus americanus) in Alabama (Maj. Prof. Todd Steury)

2nd place – Shelby Zikeli, A methods comparison of ectoparasite quantification in white-tailed deer (Maj. Prof. Sarah Zohdy)

3rd place – John Lancaster, Whole tree transportation method for timber processing depots (Maj. Prof. Tom Gallagher)

4th place tie – Anna Tucker, A network theory approach to evaluate drivers of stopover site use by migratory shorebirds (Maj. Prof. Conor McGowan), Ellary Tucker Williams, Man vs. Pig: A look into the Alabama wild pig conflict (Maj. Prof. Chris Lepczyk), and Michael Ramirez, Impacts of 40% throughfall exclusion on water relations of an 11-year old longleaf pine stand (Maj. Prof. Lisa Samuelson)

Auburn University administration, faculty, staff and students were invited to attend the poster presentation and reception as well as donors, alumni and members of the public. The event is held annually and hosted by the School’s Associate Dean of Research, Dr. Graeme Lockaby.

Students will receive their awards during the SFWS Spring Awards ceremony to be held on Wednesday, April 12. Photos from the event may be viewed online.





2nd annual Career Fair a success for students and employers



The fall 2016 School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Career Fair, held on Nov. 30, hosted nearly 50 employers from 20 U.S.-based businesses and organizations. During the day long career fair, SFWS current and prospective students took the opportunity to network with company reps and participate in interviews with several groups. Also participating in the career fair were middle and high school students from Munford, Alabama, who came to learn about forestry, wildlife and natural resources management careers.







Thank you to all who made the day a success for our students, including:

Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Alabama Forestry Commission
ArborMetrics Solutions
Bartlett Tree Experts
Choctaw Land & Timber
IndusTREE Timber
International Paper
Larson & McGowin, LLC
Louisiana-Pacific Corporation
Regions Bank
The Westervelt Company
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Bloomington, MN)
U.S. Forest Service
West Fraser



2016 SESAF Conference Co-Hosted by SFWS

Dr. Mathew Smidt receives recognition for his dedicated leadership and outstanding service while serving as 2015 Chair of the Southeastern Society of American Foresters from Awards Committee Chair John Holzaepfel.

Dr. Mathew Smidt receives recognition for his dedicated leadership and outstanding service while serving as 2015 Chair of the Southeastern Society of American Foresters from Awards Committee Chair John Holzaepfel.


Led by SFWS professor, Mathew Smidt, as 2015 Chair of the Southeastern Society of American Foresters (SESAF), the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences cohosted the 2016 SESAF Annual Meeting with representatives from Georgia and Florida, at the Auburn Hotel and Dixon Conference Center, January 24-26, 2016.

During the conference Awards Banquet, Richard Brinker, SFWS Dean Emeritus and Professor, received the SESAF Award of Excellence in General Practice of Forestry. Two of our current students were also recognized for their research poster presentations. Pratima Devkota received the 1st place award and Charles Essien received the 2nd place award. Pratima was deeply grateful to win her award stating that it, “added more to my self-motivation and encouraged me to make a positive impact on the forests of southern US with my research.”

This year the theme was, “The Changing Landscape of Forest Management,” which included several expert speakers from the industry. Both students reiterated they felt the conference provided unparalleled opportunities for professional development. Graduate student Charles commented that the speakers, “gave [him] hope as well as responsibility to actively and passionately advocate for the sustainability of the forestry industry.”

Scott Enebak, SFWS Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, feels that the students’ presence at the conference indicates that there is a strong interest in the Society. Further stating, “It is especially beneficial that these students have the opportunity to meet, interact and learn from those who they may someday replace as the older members retire.”

Student Poster Presentation Winners, Charles Essien and Pratima Devkota shown with their posters.

Student Poster Presentation Winners, Charles Essien and Pratima Devkota shown with their posters.














SFWS News, V1, I1, Fall 2015 now available for download.

New Student Organization Launched for Natural Resources Management Students

Auburn’s 1st Tiger Giving Day a Success for Kreher Preserve

Auburn University donors contributed more than $411,936 during the university’s first-ever Tiger Giving Day, a 24-hour university-wide crowdfunding initiative on Dec. 1. The university set out to raise $327,500 for 24 unique projects based in Auburn’s colleges, schools and units. Of those 24 projects, 18 met or exceeded their goals, some by as much as 350 percent.

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Office of Development chose the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center (KPNC), an outreach program of the School, as its focus for the inaugural crowd-funding campaign, with a project funding goal of $6,000 for the purchase and installation of a spider web playground apparatus for its nature playground.

The KPNC nature-based playground, one of the first of its kind in Alabama, offers children rich naturalistic play spaces and creative structures such as a beaver lodge, eagle’s nest, tree house, and teepee. With this funding, the KPNC will incorporate a “spider web” into the playground to compliment the other structures in the play area. The bouncy character of the secured rope web offers children of all ages the opportunity to develop climbing skills. As they master the web, the climbing helps the children to develop their muscle strength and coordination, while building their self-confidence and a positive association with arachnids.Spider web photo

The SFWS is grateful to the donors who helped the campaign to exceed its initial goal, raising a total of $9,370 or 155% of its goal, during the 48 hour period. Additional funds beyond the cost of the apparatus will enhance the playground area with with an Arachnid Learning Kiosk and a much-needed picnic area for visitors to the playground.

This campaign was considered a success for many reasons. The AU Tiger Giving Day was an excellent opportunity for the SFWS to raise awareness in the community about the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center and to underscore its purpose to help youth by exposing children to the wonders of nature, educating them about conservation, and encouraging them to be active and fit.

Since 1993, the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center has provided the community with an outdoor preserve – complete with five miles of hiking trails, an amphitheater, a pavilion and a nature playground – open from sunrise to sunset with no admission fees. Louise Kreher Turner and Frank Allen Turner gifted the 120-acre property to Auburn as a place where School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences students and faculty could engage the community through educational programs and also conduct field studies and academic research. Now one of the area’s most popular nature destinations, the preserve attracts more than 25,000 visitors annually and provides educational programs for nearly 5,000 K-12 students and 3,000 residents each year.

To read more about Auburn University’s Tiger Giving Day, visit AU Newsroom.

Former SFWS Student, Jeff Chieppa, Receives Masters Thesis Award

chieppajeffAuburn University Graduate School has chosen SFWS graduate, Jeff Chieppa’s thesis, “Interaction of future climate change scenarios of elevated tropospheric ozone and altered rainfall on loblolly pine seedlings inoculated with ophiostomatoid fungi” as one of six award winners for the Auburn University Graduate School’s 2015 Master’s Thesis Awards. The thesis awards recognize student’s achievement and excellence in scholarship and research.

The Auburn University Graduate School’s special Awards Committee, made up of faculty members with established records in each disciplinary area, select thesis projects on the basis of their significant contributions to the discipline area, methodology, and substantive quality.

States Dr. Arthur Chappelka, SFWS Alumni Professor of Forest Biology, “Jeff was a joy to have as a student. He is very bright and a very hard worker. In fact is one of the hardest working graduate students I have been involved with.”






The SFWS Awards Over One Quarter Million in Student Scholarships for the 2015-2016 Year


Shown in the photo from left to right, back to front: Patti Moultrie, Dan Moultrie, Aubie, Student recipient – Zach Slay, Chuck Sykes – ADCNR, Director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Commissioner Gunter Guy

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences (SFWS) recently hosted its 2015 Student Scholarship & Fellowship Ceremony and Reception on Saturday, August 22. One hundred and seventy donors, alumni, students, parents, faculty, and staff were present for the annual ceremony to honor the benefactors and students receiving awards for the 2015-2016 academic year. Heather Crozier, Development Director for the School, stated, “We are fortunate to have so many generous donors who are willing to support the educational pursuits of our students. Today we gratefully recognize the impact that legacy is having in our School and the lives of these young people.”

Gathered in the School’s conference hall, the ceremony opened with remarks from Dr. Scott Enebak, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a pre-recorded address from Dean Alavalapati. On behalf of the scholarship recipients, SFWS students Brandon Loomis, Vick Fellow, and Matt George, President of the Wildlife Society and Undergraduate Research Fellow; thanked the SFWS scholarship benefactors for their generous contributions which have allowed so many of the School’s students to achieve their academic goals.

For many donors, participating in the ceremony provided connection to the next generation of students and a platform to honor industry leaders. Chairman and President of the Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation, N. Gunter Guy, presented the inaugural wildlife scholarship from the Dan Moultrie Fund for Excellence to Zachary Slay, a natural resources management sophomore from Five Points, Alabama. Commissioner Guy stated about the fund, “I am very pleased that the Foundation can join with Auburn University through this scholarship to recognize the conservation achievements of Dan Moultrie to the State of Alabama. This scholarship will enable young people to pursue educational goals and careers that will help to conserve, enhance and ensure the sustainable benefit of Alabama’s rich natural resources.”

Among those students awarded scholarships, Luke Carlson, of Pike Road, Alabama and recipient of the Burgin Companies’ Endowed Scholarship in Forestry, stated, “The support from the Auburn donors is unparalleled. I would not have had near the same experience these past four years had it not been for the generosity of our donors here at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.”

Luke had the unique opportunity to personally thank Robert Burgin for his endowed scholarship, stating of the interaction; “They not only spent time getting to know me and my family, but Mr. Burgin offered to take me on two separate trips this upcoming semester to hear speakers talk on current issues in the forestry industry and to hear more of his story at his own farm. He is also going to check in to make sure I am keeping up my grades.” Like Luke, many of the students echoed sentiments of gratitude and meaning for having met the donors who have had such an influence on their college experience.

For many students, receiving a graduate fellowship has provided inspiration to pursue doctoral studies. Charles Pell, a master’s forestry student and recipient of the Lyle C. Tom Endowed Graduate award, is considering pursuing a PhD in forestry with a focus on ecophysiology with plans to return to the Northwest. According to Pell, receiving his award from Lyle’s widow, Mrs. Suzanne Tom, was a great honor and he looks forward to applying the knowledge and skills gained at Auburn University to his career in the forestry industry.

Among the awards, many of the scholarships were presented for the first time this year, including the Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund/Jim Leist Memorial Endowed Scholarship, created in memory of longtime employee, Jim Leist, a 1982 graduate in Forest Engineering from Auburn University, and made possible by a bridge gift from Cherie Leist, Jim’s widow. A registered forester in three states, Jim served as Director for Southern Timberlands and was a member of many boards and associations. The endowed scholarship was presented to Kyle A. Malone of Springville, Alabama, a sophomore forestry student.

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences awarded more than 80 scholarships and fellowships, totaling nearly $270,000, to students pursuing degrees in forestry, wildlife sciences, and natural resources management for the 2015/2016 academic year. States Dr. Jodie Kenney, SFWS Director of Student Services, “We truly have a wealth of opportunity available for our students who apply a focused effort toward their studies. This level of support proves that finances needn’t be a barrier to success.”





Auburn Oaks at Samford Park


2015 SFWS Homecoming Barbecue

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