REL In The News

~ Congratulations to the REL Spring 2014 Graduates! Amber Shanklin earned a M.S. in Ecology and now works in Colorado Springs for the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, serving as a Program Director. Garrett Stephens also earned his M.S. in Ecology and now works as a Conservation Forester for the Jefferson Conservation District. Kelly Chesus earned a B.S. in Natural Resource Management and will pursue a M.S. in Ecology under Dr. Ocheltree at CSU. Kelsey Correia earned a B.S. in Rangeland Ecology and will pursue a M.S. in Forestry as a Chevron Graduate Fellow at CSU.

~ Congrats to the 
REL Fall 2013 GraduatesStephanie Barr earned a M.S. in Rangeland Ecosystem Science and is continuing her position with the USFS at the Pawnee National Grasslands. Catherine Cumberland earned a M.S. in Ecology and is now attending the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Chris Hitsman received his B.S. in Forestry and is now a Natural Resource Specialist Intern with the BLM in Taos, New Mexico. Damon Vaughan also received his B.S. in Forestry, and is now working with the Colorado State Forest Service. 

~ REL grad student Stephanie Barr took home 1st prize in the student poster competition at the American Society of Mining and Reclamation meeting in Laramie, WY, June 3rd, 2013.  Her poster, titled Restoration of Surface Disturbances on the Shortgrass Steppe of Northeastern Colorado, examines optimal seed mix and seed rate combinations for restorating native plants following disturbance.  Way to go Steph!

~ Congrats to the REL Spring 2013 graduatesTravis Brooks has earned a M.S. in Natural Resource Management and is moving to Pagosa Springs to be the Banded Peaks ranch manager.  Ann Bishop is receiving her B.S. in Natural Resource Management and will be researching bats in western Colorado this summer.  Fin Eifert will get his B.S. in Rangeland Science (restoration ecology) and has several offers as a range technician.  And Mark Klein will get a B.S. in Forestry and work with the CSU Colorado Forest Restoration Institute this summer.  Congrats to all our REL grads, off to the real world with great jobs.  Proud of them all!!

~ 4th Annual Native Plant Sale Just in time for spring planting and Mother’s Day, come support the Society for Ecological Restoration Student Guild at the 4th annual Native Plant Sale. Along with many natives, there will also be ornamental shrubs. All grown under the careful eye of student guild members and ready to be planted in your garden. May 7th through May 9th in front of the Natural Resources building.

~ Mark Paschke was recently featured in High Country News along with several other faculty from the CSU Warner College of Natural Resources in an article titled "An Industry Funded Education?" (Special issue: Natural Resource Education, page 20).  Mark commented on the positive impact energy companies financial support has had on his research, specifically Shell and the Shell endowed chair in Restoration Ecology.  The Restoration Ecology Lab is also participating in the collaborative mule deer and rare plant research in the Piceance basin funded by ExxonMobile highlighted in the article.  Congrats Mark!

~ The REL is celebrating 4 graduations Fall term 2012: Cassandra Kieffer-Stube is graduating with her Master's degree from GDPE and will be working with the City of Boulder greenways program.  Baili Foster will receive her B.S. in Natural Resource Management and begin work with the BLM as a range technician in Meeker, Colorado, Keenan Haneef Bender is graduating with a B.S. degree in Rangeland Ecology and will work with the US Forest Service in Gunnison, Colorado, as a range tech, and Kelsey Gilstrap has earned her B.S. in Natural Resource Management.  Congrats to all the grads!

~ Congratulations to Cassandra Kieffer-Stube, who successfully defended her MS thesis "Interaction between Bromus tectorum L. (Cheatgrass) and native ruderal species in ecological restoration" on September 19th, 2012.  Cassie's research looked into mechanisms of early succession and the potential benefit of native early seral species in restoration.  Congrats Master Cassie!

Congratulations to all the REL Spring 2012 graduates!!  REL Lab/Field crew member Dan Loiz graduated with his degree in Wildlife and Conservation Biology and is working with the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory in Fort Collins.  Preston Brown received his degree in Natural Resource Management and is working at the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space agency near San Francisco.  Bri Stone is pursuing her career in culinary arts at Johnson and Wales in Providence, RI, and working at a wildlife refuge on the side.

~ The 3rd annual native plant sale for the CSU Restoration Ecology Club was a huge success over three days May 3-5th, 2012.  Under the guidance of REL staff, CSU students volunteered their time cultivating and potting the plants and learning a bit about growing native plants from seed along the way.  The sale featured nearly 30 attractive native species, including many potted shrubs, just in time for Mothers Day.  The SER Student Guild uses the plant sale to promote the use of native plants throughout the Fort Collins community.  All proceeds go to the CSU SER Student Guild and are used to promote and facilitate student involvement in restoration activities in Colorado.

~ Dr. Mark Paschke, Director of the REL, has been named Shell Endowed Chair of Restoration Ecology.  The $2 million grant from Shell Oil Company will help continue to pay for Dr. Paschke's research into how disturbances from oil and gas development change plant communities, and developing methods for restoring disturbed areas back to native ecosystems.  This story received fantastic press, including a press release from CSU as well as many other news sources.  Congrats Mark!


Élan Alford successfully defended her dissertation, titled "Soil Microorganisms Mediate Plant Selenium Hyperaccumulation and Phytoremediation" on July 26th, 2011. Élan's research aimed to identify if and how soil microorganisms may influence Astragalus sp. Selenium accumulation by examining the root nodule symbiosis, as well as phytoremediation potential for these plants. Élan is a veteran of the REL, having also completed her MS under Mark Paschke. Congrats Dr. Élan!

~ PhD candidate Tom Grant successfully defended his dissertation "Plant-Soil Feedbacks: A Potential Tool to Improve Management of Invasive Knapweeds" on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011. Working under Dr. Mark Paschke at the REL, Tom's research combined a wide array of greenhouse and field experiments studying the interactions between exotic plants, soil, and micro-organisms, with the objective to describe potential management options based on manipulating ecological processes. Tom is currently working on a postdoc in Fairbanks, Alaska. Congrats Dr. Tom!

Ryan Busby successfully defended his dissertation "Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the North American steppe: Prevalence and diversity of associations, and divergent from native vegetation" on April 22, 2011.  Working with his advisor Dr. Mark Paschke, Ryan's dissertation research focuses on the importance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi for restoring native plant species in sage steppe ecosystems.  Ryan currently works as an ecologist with the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Champaign, Illinois.  Congrats Dr. Buzz!!!

~ REL PhD candidate Elan Alford gave a presentation on her research titled "The Rhizosphere Effect in Plant Selenium Hyperaccumulation" at the Plant Supergroup meeting on Mar 4, 2011.  The supergroup is a forum for CSU and Front Range researchers active in experimental plant biology.

~ Several members of the REL presented research findings at the CSU Front Range Student Ecology SymposiumCSU Front Range Student Ecology Symposium on February 23rd, 2011.  Graduate students Amber Shanklin and Zoe Miller, as well as undergraduates Ann BishopJackie Stratton, and Baili Foster all presented posters displaying REL research findings.  Amber won third place in the graduate student poster competition, and Baili took home third place in the undergraduate category.  Congrats to all!

~ Several members of the REL attended the annual Society for Range Management meeting in Billings, Montana, February 6-10th, 2011.  Post-doc Jayne Jonas gave a talk describing relationships between plant diversity and annual climate variation across the great plains, and REL graduate student Zoe Miller presented a poster describing her work on nitrogen fixation in Russett Buffaloberry.  Also, REL undergraduate crew members Kristen Oles and Baili Foster competed in the Undergraduate Range Management Exam.  Kristin took home 6th individually, and the CSU team, which this year included only one returning team member, placed 8th overall.

Zoe Miller successfully defended her masters thesis "Nitrogen fixation by russet buffaloberry in Colorado conifer forests" on January 27th, 2011.  Her thesis investigates the relationship between nitrogen fixation in buffaloberry and light availability in Colorado.  Zoe is a rare breed that has worked all the way through both the undergraduate and graduate Rangeland Science program at CSU.  Zoe recently landed a job as Ecologist for the BLM in Meeker, CO.  Congrats Master Zoe!

~ Brock Bowles successfully defended his masters thesis in "DEVELOPMENT OF A SAGEBRUSH STEPPE PLANT COMMUNITY 33 YEARS AFTER SURFACE DISTURBANCE" in November, 2010.  The thesis examines trends on long term research plots in the Piceance basin.  Brock is an MS student working with Dr. Mark Paschke at the REL.  Brock recently began a new position at the Office of Mining and Reclamation in Denver as an Enviromental Protection Specialist.  Congrats Master Brock!

~ Tim Hoelzle successfully defended his masters thesis "Factors controlling long term community development of a sagebrush steppe ecosystem" on September 7th, 2010.  His thesis examines 30 year trends on long term research plots in the Piceance basin.   Tim recently accepted a position as a Zone Gardener with the Central Park Conservancy in NY, NY.  Tim worked his way from undergrad through graduate school at the REL under Dr. Mark Paschke, congrats master Tim!

~ Chris Herron, an MS student working with Dr. Mark Paschke at the REL, successfully defend his master's thesis "Using native annual plants to suppress weedy invasive species in post-fire habitats" in May, 2010.  Chris began his career working as an undergrad in the REL, and has continued all the way through graduate school.  Chris recently started a new position at the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands as an Assistant Fire Management Planner.  Congrats Master Chris!!

~ Ryan Busby recently presented a summary of his research at the Forest, Rangeland, and Watershed Stewardship Spring 2010 departmental seminar.  Ryan has a unique background in identifying spores and connecting mycorrhizal activity with ecological processes through lab and field studies.

Mark Paschke and REL graduate students Tim Hoelzle and Zoe Miller presented research findings at the joint annual Society for Range Management and Weed Science Society of America meeting in Denver Feb 8th-12th, 2010. Tim received second placein the MS poster competition for his poster Factors Controlling Long-Term Recovery of a Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystem in Northwest Colorado. Zoe presented results from her work describing nitrogen dynamics in Russet Buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis) in beetle infested lodgepole pine forests of Colorado.

~ The biennial High Altitude Revegetation Workshop was a huge success with over 200 attendees, held in Fort Collins March 3rd-4th, 2010. Mark Paschke is currently the HAR Co-Chair and several REL graduate students (Brock Bowles, Chris Herron, Tim Hoelzle, and Zoe Miller) presented research at this event.

October, 2008. Piceance Basin Research - The REL has been awarded a $950,000 research grant from Shell Oil Company to study revegetation practices in the Piceance Basin in northwestern Colorado. This was recognized with a press release from CSU, and subsequent articles in several newspapers around the state, including The Rocky Mountain Collegian, The Fort Collins Coloradoan, and The Grand Junction Sentinel.

~ Fall, 2008. Johanna Hamburger was recently featured in the Student Spotlight section of the CSU College of Liberal Arts fall newsletter. Johanna is described as a student making a difference for her many environmental stewardship accomplishments, including her work at the REL examining tolerance levels of native shrub species to high soil concentrations of zinc. Click here to read the full article. Congratulations Johanna!

To view the latest news about what's happening in the REL, check the Restoration Ecology Laboratory home page.

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