Restoration Ecology Lab Spotlight

Tim Hoelzle
"My experience at the REL shaped where I am today. The knowledge I gained in the classroom was driven home through my work experiences at the REL, providing me with demonstrable experience in the field of ecological restoration. And the relationships I formed through the REL have helped to shape my career and the people that I currently work with. Three of the thirty employees of my firm can trace their roots back to Dr. Pashcke's REL!"
- Originally from Buffalo, NY.
- Worked at REL 2005 through 2010.
- REL work included undergrad Field/Lab crew (2005-2007), Field crew leader (2008), and M.S. student (2008-2010).
- B.S. from Colorado State U. in Rangeland Ecology 2007.
- M.S. Rangeland Ecology from CSU 2010.  Thesis title: Factors controlling long term community development of a sagebrush steppe ecosystem.  View the project Summary or full MS thesis (PDF, 1MB)
- Current: Associate Ecologist, Great Ecology, Denver, CO.
1. How long did you work at the REL?

I worked for the REL for 4.5 years and even did some collaborative work with the team during a stint with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences between by BS and MS. I started out at the REL during undergrad as a research technician, returned a year later as the summer field crew leader, and then transitioned into a MS program under Dr. Paschke.

2. Proudest accomplishment while working at the REL?

My proudest accomplishment would definitely be presenting my MS thesis research to a variety of on-the-ground natural resource practitioners at the Restoration of Disturbed Sagebrush Steppe Symposium. This was a great opportunity for me and others that participated to communicate the important findings of our research that we spent so much of our lives focused on during our graduate degrees.

3. Favorite Mark Paschke quote/memory/advice?

I think my favorite memory is driving around the former Summitville Mine listening to Mark's stories of searching the valleys and mountains for populations of native seed during his early years with the research group. Although, trying to find a decent restaurant/bar in Vernal (on a separate project) was great adventure, too.

4. Something you learned at the REL that you had no idea you would learn before starting school?

I have a background in construction and came to CSU to pursue my interests in ecological studies. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how closely the ideas and concepts associated with restoration ecology theories relied upon my background in construction in the practice of ecological restoration.

5. What is the most tedious task you have done at the REL?

That's an easy one- seed scarification!

6. The best REL project you worked on that wasn't your own research?  What was so great (research, people, location, etc.)?

My first field work assignment with the REL was to travel to Yakima, Washington and collect data for a study examining control mechanisms for invasive knapweeds. What made it great?- the research and the people! Working on this project opened my eyes to the many facets of what research entails, and the people that Dr. Paschke assembles to work on his projects are always top notch!

7. The worst REL project you worked on that wasn't your research?  What made is suck so bad?

Collecting wellpad revegetation data in Parachute, CO. The incessant bugs- nothing stopped them! I guarantee that anyone who was there will agree with me.