Restoration Ecology Lab Spotlight

Preston Brown
"I think my time at the REL was among the most invaluable during my undergraduate experience because I was introduced to a wide array of environmental issues, extraordinary people, and a great atmosphere for learning."
- Originally from Denver, CO.
- Worked on the REL Field/Lab crew as an undergraduate student, 2010 through 2012.
- B.S. Colorado State U. in Natural Resource Management 2012.
- Current: Natural Resource intern, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space, San Francisco Bay Area, CA.
- Preston also worked at the Environmental Learning Center in addition to his time working at the REL while completing his undergrad degree, eventually coordinating a research project between the two groups.
1. Proudest accomplishment while working at the REL?
Besides learning to drive a manual using big blue (pickup truck), I feel that my proudest accomplishment while working at the REL was designing a study to test plant interactions between native species of the shortgrass prairie and leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula).

2. Favorite Mark Paschke quote/memory/advice?
A great memory I have of Mark was on the 2010 Canyon de Chelly trip when on the last evening of the trip at the river junction vista point, Mark made a special presentation to all the undergrads to celebrate the end of the field work. Thanks for making us feel appreciated Mark!  I'll have to say that my other great memory of Mark were his consistent responses to Hannef's question of if he could eat a wild plant. Mark's response time after time was simply, "I wouldn't eat it". But if it weren't for Haneef's relentless asking, and getting the same stoic responses from Mark it wouldn't have been that funny. I can't be sure, but I think Haneef still ate some regardless of Mark's unswerving advice.  I also can't forget Haneef's.....uuuuhhhhhhh Brett, comments.

3. Something you learned at the REL that you had no idea you would learn before starting school?
Before I started school at CSU I never thought I would learn that bio-solids could be used as a tool to discover mechanisms for selenium accumulation in astragalus species. I feel like I may have learned too much about bio-solids in the process.

4. What is the most tedious task you have done at the REL?
I don't think tedious is not the best adjective for describing cheatgrass seed sifting. Instead I think hazardous, potentially carcinogenic, and dirty best represent my most "tedious" task at the REL, which was cleaning cheatgrass seed for Cassie's study. (No offense Cassie).

5. The best REL project you worked on that wasn't your own research?  What was so great (research, people, location, etc.)?
My favorite project I worked on at the REL was the summer field work for Amber's slash pile burn scar study. Besides being in a beautiful setting with great vistas, finding gnarly-looking mushrooms, and discovering that pushing over dead trees can be fun, I felt that learning the plants was the most rewarding. Leaving the field with so much knowledge about the plants in our local foothills was a great skill to have.

6. The worst REL project you worked on that wasn't your research?  What made is suck so bad?
As I said before, the cheatgrass seed cleaning and the bio-solid sifting were both unpleasant projects simply because of the airborne particulates, and the shame.