New WSU podcast shares insights for healthy and safe forests

By Seth Truscott
Washington State University Extension Foresters launched a new podcast this fall to help Pacific Northwest landowners, and anyone who loves the woods, better understand and protect forests.

Co-hosts Sean Alexander and Patrick Shults, foresters for northeast and southwest Washington, respectively, created the Forest Overstory podcast as a new avenue for woodland education.

“WSU Extension Forestry is focused on continuing education for the public, and that includes adapting to new ways of sharing information,” Alexander said. “Podcasts let you have an informal conversation, really get down to the bottom of a subject in a way that you can’t in traditional presentations.”

Forest Overstory will examine issues and discoveries about wildfire, forest health, genetics and ecosystems, wildlife habitat, sustainable harvests, agroforestry, and other relevant topics.

The name is a play on words, referring to the overstory of forests—foliage, canopy, and crowns—as well as the broad stories hosts plan to explore.

“We want to interview professionals and talk about what they do, introduce lesser known fields, and bring in active landowners to share success stories and insights that people can apply to their land,” Alexander said.

“The field of forestry is changing all the time,” said Shults. “We’re always learning new things, and the podcast is a great opportunity to bring professionals and landowners who are doing something different into the limelight.”

“All of the information will help forest owners, but anybody who loves trees is going to be interested,” he added.

Hosts will release a new episode every month, and welcome show ideas and feedback. Their first episode, posted Oct. 1, 2021, discussed fire and the landscape with U.S. Forest Service scientist Paul Hessburg. The series is funded by the Foresters Fund of the Society of American Foresters, which promotes education for sustainable forest management.

Listen to the Forest Overstory on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher, or visit the podcast web site on WSU Extension Forestry.

Source: New WSU podcast shares insights for healthy and safe forests – WSU Insider, 2021-10-25

Tree Scientist Inspires Next Generation … Through Barbie

By Madeline K. Sofia, Maia Stern, and Becky HarlanNalini Nadkarni was one of the first people to study the canopy — the part of trees just above the forest floor to the top branches. Her discoveries have helped shape our understanding of forests.

Then in 2018, more than a decade after Nadkarni started TreeTop Barbie, she got an unbelievable phone call. National Geographic had partnered with Mattel to make a series of Barbies focused on exploration and science. And they wanted Nadkarni to be an advisor.

Source: VIDEO: Tree Scientist Inspires Next Generation … Through Barbie – NPR, 2019-09-22

Today is Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday – Celebrate with Celebrity Friends in Innovative New Animated Emoji Campaign

Today is Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday – Celebrate with Celebrity Friends in Innovative New Animated Emoji Campaign

In honor of Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday – August 9, 2019 – the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council have teamed up to celebrate the nation’s favorite bear. To ensure that Smokey Bear’s important message of wildfire prevention is heard throughout the nation, Stephen Colbert, Al Roker and Jeff Foxworthy have joined the historic campaign, lending their voices to help expand on Smokey’s iconic “Only you can prevent wildfires” catchphrase through the use of facial recognition and voice technologies.

For years, through the voice of Academy-Award nominated actor Sam Elliott, Smokey Bear has only said five words: “Only you can prevent wildfires.” Now, to complement this signature message, Smokey’s friends are stepping up to say more about wildfire prevention on his behalf and help millions of Americans understand the importance of the issue. Utilizing cutting-edge facial recognition and mapping technology, coupled with instantly recognizable celebrity voices, the animated emoji campaign has enabled Smokey’s famous friends to speak through him and further raise awareness of fire safety and wildfire prevention, in an effort to reduce the incidence of unplanned human-caused wildfires.

“I can’t think of a better birthday gift for Smokey than to have his wildfire prevention message echoed through the use of advanced social media tools like animated emojis,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “In fact, since wildfire season is year-round, Smokey’s message is even more important.”

For 75 years, Smokey Bear has been recognized as a symbol of wildfire prevention. In fact, Smokey Bear is the longest-running PSA program in U.S. history, created in conjunction with advertising agency FCB, who has developed Smokey Bear campaign assets pro bono since his first introduction in 1944. While his campaign began three-quarters of a century ago, and great strides have been made in preventing human-caused wildfires, Smokey Bear’s message continues to be as important as ever, as wildfires continue to be one of the most critical environmental issues affecting the U.S. On average, almost nine out of 10 wildfires nationwide are caused by people.

“Smokey Bear and his friends know that wildfire is not just a western issue or a summer phenomenon. It’s always wildfire season somewhere in the United States,” said Jay Farrell, Executive Director of the National Association of State Foresters. “This is why it is so important that Smokey’s message resonate year-round and nationwide with all Americans. This year’s Smokey Bear wildfire prevention campaign promises to do just that.”

Source: Today is Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday – Celebrate with Celebrity Friends in Innovative New Animated Emoji Campaign – Sierra Sun Times, 2019-08-09