OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

hatfield marine science center

Surveying sea floor animals for offshore renewable energy

CORVALLIS, Ore. – There is growing interest in developing offshore wind and wave energy facilities in the Pacific Northwest. But not much is known about the sediment and animal life along the sea floor in the region.

That presents a problem for renewable energy companies because they need to consider environmental implications before constructing facilities in the ocean.

A team of Oregon State University researchers have helped address that problem by using a 500-pound device with jaws to grab squares of sediment from the ocean floor at eight sites off the coasts of northern California, Oregon and Southern Washington.

In a just-published paper, they outline research that found relationships between sediment characteristics and animal life (mostly pencil eraser-sized clams and worms) were consistent across the sites they sampled.

That’s significant because it could allow renewable energy companies to reduce collections of marine animal life to characterize a potential development site. That type of analysis is costly and time intensive because it involves identification work by humans.

Instead, companies could primarily conduct sediment analysis, most of which can be automated. Once the sediment analysis is done it could be cross-referenced with the findings of the Oregon State team to predict the marine animals likely to be found at a site and potentially determine impacts.

The research, led by Sarah Henkel, a marine biologist at Oregon State’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, involved collecting sediment from 137 spots ranging in depth from about 160 to 360 feet, depths currently targeted for wave energy development.

The spots clustered around eight locations, from two to 10 miles off the coast of Eureka, California, six Oregon locations (Bandon, Siltcoos, Reedsport, Cape Perpetua, Newport, Nehalem) and Grays Bank, Washington.

In the Pacific Northwest, there has been recent interest in energy development off the coast of the several coastal Oregon areas, including Reedsport/Coos Bay, Newport and Tillamook, Henkel said.

Although recent plans to build a wind farm off the coast of Coos Bay fell through, Henkel currently is conducting similar collections and analyses at the depths targeted for offshore wind development in anticipation of future wind projects off Oregon.

Offshore renewable energy development is still in its infancy in the United States, with the first off-shore wind project recently completed in Rhode Island. European countries have a longer history of offshore renewable energy development.

The just-published paper, “Small proportions of silt linked to distinct and predictable differences in marine macrofaunal assemblages on the continental shelf of the Pacific Northwest,” was published in the journal Continental Shelf Research. Kristin Politano, who formerly worked in Henkel’s lab, is a co-author.

The research was funded by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Oregon Wave Energy Trust.

Media Contact: 

By Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, sean.nealon@oregonstate.edu

Source: 

Sarah Henkel, sarah.henkel@oregonstate.edu, 541-867-0316

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Sarah Henkel box core

Sarah Henkel box core

Sarah Henkel

OSU President: University remains committed to addressing climate change

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray today reaffirmed the university’s unwavering commitment to address climate change.

Ray’s memo to faculty, staff and students was prompted by the Trump administration’s announcement last week that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation.

“I want to assure the Oregon State University community that we remain steadfast in our resolve to advance our institution’s commitments toward the global challenge of climate change,” Ray wrote. “We are resolute in our work to reduce the institution’s carbon footprint; to pursue world-class research that improves knowledge and informs strategic actions; and to empower our students and communities through education and capacity building.”

Ten years ago – in April, 2007 – Ray signed what was then known as the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, now known as the Carbon Commitment. It set Oregon State on an ambitious path to reduce and ultimately eliminate the university’s planet-altering institutional carbon emissions. During the last decade, OSU has reduced its annual per-student carbon emissions 38 percent.

The university has no intention to reduce or defer its commitment to climate action; instead it must continue to invest to decrease emissions further, Ray wrote.

As a sun grant university, OSU is an international leader in research efforts to develop renewable and low-carbon sources of energy including wave, wind, nuclear and solar energy systems. For example, in December, OSU’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center was awarded up to $40 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to create the world’s premier wave energy test facility in Newport.

As the home of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, OSU also participates in a network of more than 150 researchers throughout the state, including partners in state and federal agencies, who are working to address many climate issues, including ocean acidification, rising sea levels and changes in water availability and quality.

Ray concluded his memo with these words: “Let me assure you that we are unwavering in our commitment to address climate change, one of the world’s most pressing issues. We will continue to be a strong partner and collaborate with other universities, cities, states, and key federal entities. With our collective and continued resolve in these efforts, I am confident that Oregon State will continue to be a leader in climate change research and sustainability to provide a healthy planet for all of us.”

To read Ray's full statement visit: http://bit.ly/2r3DN5T

Media Contact: 

Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, sean.nealon@oregonstate.edu

Source: 

Annie Heck, 541-737-0790, annie.heck@oregonstate.edu

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Edward J. Ray

OSU President Ed Ray

AAAS and Oregon State University announce 2016 Fellows

WASHINGTON D.C.— Three Oregon State University professors have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

The OSU honorees are: Peter Clark, a distinguished professor of geosciences in the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences; Alan Mix, a professor of geological oceanography in CEOAS; and Michael A. Osborne, a professor of history of science in the College of Liberal Arts.  

Clark and Mix were selected as part of the section geology and geography. Clark was elected for his seminal contributions toward understanding linkages among climate, ice sheets, and sea level over the past 100,000 years.

Mix was elected for distinguished contributions to the field of paleoceanography and paleoclimatology, particularly for improvement of proxy applications and understanding of the Quaternary ocean and climate dynamics.

Osborne was selected as part of the history and philosophy of science section. He was elected for distinguished contributions to the fields of the history of science and medicine with particular attention to the role of French colonialism and natural history.

This year 391 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The Fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science Nov. 25.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Feb. 18, 2017, during the 2017 AAAS annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members or by the AAAS chief executive officer.

Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected. Each steering group reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

 


 

About the American Association for the Advancement of Science: AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances, Science Immunology, and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert! (www.eurekalert.org), the premier science news website, a service of AAAS. See www.aaas.org.

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Source: 

Nkongho Beteck, 202-326-6434, nbeteck@aaas.org

Public meeting on design of OSU’s Marine Studies Building to be held Nov. 17

NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon State University will host an informational meeting and open house on Thursday, Nov. 17, to present the schedule and design process for the interior of the new Marine Studies Building in Newport.

The building is a key component of OSU’s Marine Studies Initiative (MSI). It will support marine studies research, education, and outreach and engagement conducted by OSU.

The event will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center, 2030 S.E. Marine Science Drive, Newport. The presentation will be led by Bob Cowen, director of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, and Bob Zimmerman of YGH Architects. The architect’s presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

OSU is planning the construction of the Marine Studies Building, an approximate 85,000-square-foot facility within the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) campus. The building is expected to include:

  • Classrooms and teaching labs
  • Flexible, state-of-the-art research labs
  • Faculty offices
  • Facilities for visiting faculty and scholars
  • Meeting rooms open to the greater HMSC and Newport community
  • Vertical evacuation features

In addition to the opportunity to be a world-class research and teaching facility, the Marine Studies Building will demonstrate leading seismic and tsunami-resistant building design and campus improvements.

In deciding the location of the building, OSU President Edward J. Ray has required that the building will be designed, engineered and constructed so that it will:

  • Survive an associated tsunami resulting from a catastrophic natural event, such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone event,
  • Be repairable following an L-level tsunami,
  • Be built to provide a safe and accessible, vertical rooftop evacuation site alternative for those with impaired mobility in the event of an XXL-level tsunami,
  • Fully serve the Hatfield Marine Science Center campus by preferred horizontal evacuation systems.

The building will exceed current and soon to be updated national American Society of Certified Engineering standards for buildings in inundation zones.

Source: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 29

GLENEDEN BEACH, Ore. – Registration has opened for Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which will be held Oct. 29 at the Salishan Spa and Golf Resort.

The event is designed to bring together the public, scientists, business and community leaders, fishermen, resource managers, teachers, students and conservationists so they can learn about current marine research and issues facing the coast. There are fees for attendance.

The keynote speaker will be Emmy-winning Michael Bendixen, a videographer and editor with Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Field Guide. Bendixen, who has worked with Oregon Sea Grant, has spent his career focusing on communicating science through art. He’ll talk about how he learns the science, crafts a story and produces a video.

Presentations will include the following topics:

  • an update on coastal legislation
  • what’s happening with wave energy
  • how and why the changing oceans are being monitored
  • the 50th anniversary of Oregon’s beach bill
  • innovations in coastal planning
  • harmful algal blooms
  • innovative approaches to engage youth in marine science, industry and issues in their communities
  • the effect of ocean oddities on fish ecology, such as “The Blob,” a huge patch of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean

Additionally, students from various universities in Oregon, including Oregon State University, will talk about their coastal research. Also, cooking demonstrations will teach participants how to prepare various types of seafood.

Registration in advance is recommended as space is limited. Cost is $35 for the public and $25 for students and includes lunch and a reception. Doors open at 8 a.m. and the conference starts at 9 a.m. For more information and to register, visit www.stateofthecoast.com. Salishan is at Gleneden Beach, about five miles south of Lincoln City.

Source: 

Flaxen Conway, 541-737-1339, fconway@coas.oregonstate.edu; Jamie Doyle, 541-572-5263, Jamie.Doyle@oregonstate.edu

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Sara Shaw Roberts, a former master’s student at Oregon State University, talks about her research at the 2015 State of the Coast Conference in Coos Bay. (Photo by Anne Farrell-Matthews)
2015 State of the Coast


Marie Kowalski, a former master’s student at Oregon State University, talks about her research on mitigating microplastics at the 2015 State of the Coast Conference in Coos Bay. (Photo by Anne Farrell-Matthews)

2015 State of the Coast

Tours available on OSU research vessel to dock in Portland at end of STEM cruise

NEWPORT, Ore. – For three days this week, Oregon high school students and teachers are joining scientists at Oregon State University aboard the research vessel Oceanus to gain at-sea research experience off the Oregon coast as part of a project to enhance their STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math skills.

This Friday, the young scientists and their professional partners will journey up the Columbia River aboard the R/V Oceanus and dock at Riverplace Marina in Portland, where they will spend the weekend doing a series of activities, including tours for K-12 students and the public.

The public tours will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. Space is limited and advance registration is required. For more information or to register for a tour, visit: http://bit.ly/2bTKyQ0.

The project is a collaborative effort from Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, which serves educators, students and communities along the Oregon coast and is located at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. The students and high school teachers participating in the cruise are from Bandon, North Bend, Waldport, Newport and Warrenton.

“This is an opportunity for Oregon high school students and teachers to work with marine researchers and really dig into investigative scientific methods,” said Tracy Crews, marine education manager for Oregon Sea Grant. “It also provides an opportunity for graduate students to work as mentors with these young students alongside top scientists addressing some very real issues facing our oceans.”

Leigh Torres, a principal investigator with OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, will serve as chief scientist on the cruise, which will include line transect surveys for marine mammals and seabirds off the Oregon coast.

“We will record where and when we observe different species assemblages of marine mammals and seabirds off the Oregon coast, and link this data with habitat and prey data collected during the cruise,” Torres said. “This will demonstrate the patchiness of ocean resources and how species are distributed differently relative to their particular needs.”

“We’re really hoping that this hands-on experience will trigger interest in STEM and enthusiasm for working on environmental challenges,” added Stacia Fletcher, director for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub.

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Tracy Crews, 541-867-0329, tracy.crews@oregonstate.edu

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Research vessel Oceanus; photos by Pat Kight

R/V Oceanus

Oceanus004PK

Comprehensive report of world’s transboundary water basins finds hotspots of risk

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Environmental stresses including climate change and population growth will have an enormous impact on the world’s waterways that cross international borders, a new report concludes, but economic development may have consequences just as far-reaching.

The United Nations Environmental Group has just completed the most comprehensive assessment of the world’s 286 transboundary river basins yet attempted and identified “hotspots” where geopolitical risks are projected to increase in the next 15 to 30 years.

“The proliferation of dams and diversion of water from countries that are upstream from other nations that are dependent on that water is of growing concern,” said Aaron Wolf, an internationally recognized water treaty expert from Oregon State University, who was involved in creating the report. “There simply isn’t enough water to go around.”

These transboundary river basins and other waterways span 151 countries and include more than 40 percent of the world’s population and land area. The analysis, “Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme,” was a collaborative effort between eight international organizations and research institutes and Oregon State University.

Among the areas considered hotspots, the report concludes, are the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin.

The Tigris-Euphrates river basins are the focus of much of the stress in the Middle East, Wolf pointed out. Turkey is building dams upstream, which could reduce water previously used by Iraq and Syria. Political destabilization and the control of some dams by ISIS further complicates the issue.

“It is a blueprint for trouble,” Wolf said, “when a country upstream wants to build a dam and has no agreement with the country or countries downstream.”

Central Asia became a hotspot after the breakup of the Soviet Union, which once controlled the water in the region. In recent years, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have developed plans to construct dams that would reduce water now being used for irrigation downstream in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Increasing use of water from Central Asian river has resulted in the lowering of the Aral Sea, and increased dangers from toxic waste deposits.

The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin has a similar issue, which is repeating itself through the Chinese Himalayas, said Wolf, who is a professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

“China has massive energy requirements and has been very active in building dams as they try to wean themselves off coal,” Wolf said. “Water is being impacted on many of the rivers in the Himalayas in one form or another and 1.5 billion people downstream rely on it. In some of the delta, as the rivers drop, salt water intrudes and further destabilizes the environment.”

The Nile basin faces similar issues, Wolf noted.

Not all of the troubled areas are because of political issues, the OSU researcher pointed out. The southwestern United States and northern Mexico rely almost solely on the Colorado River and the Rio Grande for water.

“We have great agreements with Mexico,” Wolf said. “But there’s just not a lot of water there. And climate change may make it worse.”

Many of these hotspots have been known about for some time, but the baseline data in the assessment combined with the first comprehensive look at the impact of multiple stressors may allow policy-makers to get ahead of the curve before disaster strikes, Wolf said.

“From a geopolitical standpoint, if you can identify places where things have the potential to blow up before people realize it, you can jump-start the conversation and begin what we call “preventive diplomacy,’” Wolf noted. “Imagine if we could have had such a conversation about the Klamath River basin in Oregon before the drought of 2001.”

One area of potential trouble, Wolf said, is in the Salween basin, where water from China may be dammed before it can get to Myanmar and Thailand. “All three countries have development plans for the region,” he said, “and none of them are compatible.”

The Helmand and Harirud basins, shared by Afghanistan and Iran, also have the potential for flare-up, Wolf said.

“The U.S. wants Afghanistan to develop its economy and become more independent, but Iran downstream also wants that water and has tenuous relations with us. We hope that the information in this report will provide early warning so appropriate actions can be taken to prevent escalating tensions.”

The report is available online at http://twap-rivers.org/

Partners in the assessment include the Center for Environmental Systems Research, Germany; Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University; City University of New York, Delta Alliance; International Union for the Conservation of Nature; International Geosphere-Biosphere Program; Oregon State University; Stockholm International Water Institute; and the United Nations Environment Program-DHI Partnership.

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Aaron Wolf, 541-737-2722, wolfa@geo.oregonstate.edu

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Fish traps at the site of a proposed dam on the Mekong River at the border between Laos and Cambodia. This photo is available at: https://flic.kr/p/FMkr5H 
















dam
A micro-hydro facillty on the Salween River in Yunnan Province, China, along a stretch of river slated for large dam development.

 

OSU’s Hatfield Center to host Marine Science Day on April 9

NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center will open its doors to the public on Saturday, April 9, for its annual Marine Science Day, when visitors will have an opportunity to visit laboratories behind-the-scenes, connect with scientists, and learn more about emerging oceanographic technologies and current marine research.

The free event also features hands-on exhibits and opportunities to talk to scientists from OSU and several federal and state agencies that have operations at the Newport center. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the center, located southeast of the Highway 101 bridge over Yaquina Bay. 

The science to be shared with the public includes talks, exhibits or information on:

  • The Ocean Observatories Initiative, which includes high-tech underwater sensors, platforms and robots, recently deployed in the Endurance Array off the coast of Newport;
  • Aquaculture including oysters and a newly-developed variety of dulse, a seaweed that when cooked tastes like bacon;
  • Whale and seal research by the internationally-known Marine Mammal Institute; and
  • A behind-the-scenes look at the Visitor Center’s animal husbandry program and a chance to meet the aquarists, hosted by Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon Coast Community College

A lecture at 2:30 p.m. by oceanographers Bill Peterson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Jack Barth of OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences will look at the past, present and future technologies of ocean observing. The talk will be in the Hennings Auditorium. 

“Marine Science Day will highlight the rich history and emerging technologies around ocean observing,” Barth said. “With a long-standing legacy of off-shore research, OSU is ushering in a new era of oceanography centered around the Endurance Array now in operation off the coast of Oregon. Visitors will have a unique opportunity to learn about the diverse ways scientists observe the ocean.”

Visitors may also learn about the progress of OSU’s Marine Studies Initiative, which seeks to host 500 students-in-residence in Newport by 2025. Fundraising is well under way for the new teaching and research facility in Newport. 

“Marine Science Day offers a great opportunity to understand why we are so excited about bringing the Marine Studies Initiative here,” said Hatfield Center Director Bob Cowen. “The hands-on experiences for students are remarkable.” 

Multimedia exhibits will include a new film on the challenges of ocean acidification; undersea exploration of fisheries, volcanoes and marine mammals using video and acoustics; and fascinating images of microscopic plankton by the Plankton Portal program. 

A public feeding of the octopus Montgomery will take place at 1 p.m. in the Visitor Center and special activities for children and families can be found throughout the event.

More information on the event is available at: http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/marinescienceday/

Story By: 
Source: 

Maryann Bozza, 541-867-0234, maryann.bozza@oregonstate.edu

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Visitors gather at the octopus tank during a previous Marine Science Day

Octopus

Ocean-observing equipment and technology

ocean observing

Science Pub to focus on Pacific Ocean warming

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Laurie Weitkamp, a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will discuss the consequences of Pacific Ocean warming at the Corvallis Science Pub on Monday, March 14.

Weitkamp specializes in the estuarine and marine ecology of Pacific salmon and the factors that affect their survival. The Science Pub is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. 2nd St., in Corvallis.

In the spring of 2014, a body of water several degrees warmer than the surrounding ocean appeared in the Pacific off the Oregon coast. A year later, one of the largest El Niños in recorded history began forming at the equator and has been changing weather around the world.

Weitkamp will describe these two phenomena and their physical effects at sea and on land in the Pacific Northwest. She will also highlight the many changes observed in marine ecosystems from Alaska to Mexico during the last year.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

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Source: 

Laurie Weitkamp, 541-867-0504

OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center to turn 50 years of age

NEWPORT, Ore. – Fifty years ago this summer, Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center opened its doors as a fledgling research and education facility envisioned to help the depressed central Oregon coast economy revive.

Today it stands as one of the most important and unique marine science facilities in the country, bringing together a plethora of scientists from different agencies to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the world’s oceans, educating a new generation of students about these issues, and reaching out to inform the public about their impacts.

This month, OSU and the Hatfield Marine Science Center will commemorate their half century of success with a celebration and reception on Friday, Aug. 7, at the center. The public is invited.

“This is an opportunity to look at the past and honor the people and events that have made the Hatfield Marine Science Center such a special place,” said Bob Cowen, director of the center. “It’s also a time to celebrate the future, as OSU is launching its Marine Studies Initiative and working on plans to expand the center and its capacity.”

The 50th anniversary celebration will begin at 4:30 p.m. just outside the Hatfield Marine Science Center, located south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport. The celebration will feature speakers, displays, a historical slide show, and a video featuring faculty, student and community perspectives on the center’s future plans. A reception will follow from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; the events are free and open to the public.

Earlier in the day, a special presentation by Rick Spinrad, chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will be held in the Visitor Center Auditorium. His talk, “How Oceanography Saved the World,” beginning at 3 p.m., is part of the 50th Anniversary Alumni Speaker Series. He is former vice president for research at OSU – and a former graduate student at the center.

Other speakers include former Oregon State President John Byrne, a former NOAA administrator.

Event information and links to HMSC archives, historic photos, video and a timeline of landmarks for the Hatfield Marine Science Center can be found at: http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/50th.

Story By: 
Source: 

Maryann Bozza, 541-867-0234, maryann.bozza@oregonstate.edu;

Bob Cowen, 541-867-0211, robert.cowen@oregonstate.edu

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Link to archival photo: https://flic.kr/p/wh6uPg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Resources Leadership Academy 2012