Remembering Watershed Professor Freeman Smith

A group of colleagues, family, and admirers gathered to remember Watershed Science Professor Freeman Smith and commemorate the planting of a Colorado blue spruce in his honor on Earth Day, April 22, 2015. 

 

“Freeman was a teacher, mentor, and friend,” recalled Professor John Stednick. “He taught me how to teach. The passion he had in the classroom is still something I strive to emulate today.”

 

After completing his Master of Science at the University of Arizona in 1969, Smith went to work for the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Reynolds Creek, Idaho. He came to Colorado State University in 1971 to work on the International Biome Program Short-grass Steppe Program. For his doctoral research, he developed a volumetric infiltration method for grassland soils. Shortly thereafter, he was hired to teach principles of watershed management in the Department of Watershed Science, later becoming the Department of Earth Resources, which is now the Geosciences Department. He developed courses in watershed systems and watershed modeling. He retired in 2006. 

 

Smith led the development of the international natural resources management program for the College of Natural Resources. He led teaching and research efforts in watershed management in a number of countries. Nearly two thirds of his graduate students were international students. 

 

“He always said the way to write a thesis was to do the cover page and the back page and then just fill it in,” Stednick added. “He was the student’s go to guy. He was always optimistic and would get creative to help students solve their challenges.” 

 

“He loved students and teaching,” said Walter Smith, one of Smith’s sons. “As a father he did for my brother and I what he did for his students.” Smith added, “He had a real knack for pointing people in the right direction.” 

 

Emeritus Professor George Wallace shared a story about a day when he was frustrated with his students for underperforming. When he expressed his frustration to Smith the response was simple, “George, just remember, everybody is somebody else’s kid.” Wallace was so touched by the sentiment that it still remains with him. 

 

“It’s really appropriate to have a Colorado blue spruce to honor Freeman,” former professor Jim Meiman, who donated the tree for the memorial, said. “It’s good to do this during Natural Resource Days and on Earth Day because he was so dedicated to the protection of natural resources and so in tune with the students.” 

 

Individuals wishing to support the Freeman Smith memorial can make donations to the Colorado State University Foundation, with FM Smith in the memo line.

 
 
 

The largest global change you’ve never heard of

Dr Jill Baron doing field workWhen discussing climate change and its causes, most people think of carbon dioxide. But are there other, less well-known factors that could be causing just as much damage to our environment?  Find out more from the new director of the North American Nitrogen Center (and ESS affiliate faculty member), Dr. Jill Baron.  READ MORE
 
 

Dan Binkley honored with Wallenberg Professorship

Dr. Dan BinkleyThe Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry has named ESS Professor Dan Binkley as the holder of the 2015 KSLA Wallenberg professorship. Professor Binkley will be spending the Spring 2015 semester in the Department of Forest Ecology and Management at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå, to strengthen and broaden interest in the topic of forest management.

Professor Binkley is a world-class scientist who can be expected to contribute to the renewal of forest science in Sweden. Professor Binkley has an extensive and very well-cited scientific publication list, focused on issues related to forest biogeochemistry and dynamics, ranging from empirical studies to scientific syntheses.