Washington State Magazine

Spring 2010 cover

Spring 2010

In This Issue...


Of Time and Wildness in the North Cascades :: Bob Mierendorf has spent the last couple of decades trying to convince the archaeological establishment that pre-contact Northwest Indians did not confine themselves to the lowlands, but frequented the high country. Now he has an ancient camping site to make his point. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEGallery: Photos of the North Cascades :: By Zach Mazur.}

{ WEB EXCLUSIVETimeline: A Cascade Pass Chronology :: A timeline of the Cascade Pass by Bob Mierendorf and J. Kennedy}

Desperately Seeking Sherman :: Although his work is increasingly ubiquitous, the writer Sherman Alexie '94 is a little harder to pin down. Our correspondent is undaunted. by Hannelore Sudermann

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEVideo: Artist Ric Gendron discusses his portrait of Sherman Alexie }

Vancouver Lake: A Search for Solutions Great and Small :: This is the second time WSU scientists have worked on a plan to clean up Vancouver Lake. The first, in the 1960s, was monumental. This time it's microscopic. by Hannelore Sudermann


Language, Money, and Loss :: Sometimes loss can be an occasion for newly discovered vitality. Where better than the university to challenge ourselves to avoid linguistic lemminghood? by Will Hamlin

Short Subject

The Secret Death of Bees :: WSU lab probes mysterious decline in honey bee population. By Eric Sorensen


{ WEB EXCLUSIVEVideo: Gangs of Chicago slideshow :: Narrated by Jame F. Short, Jr. }



:: SPORTS: Ruggers

:: IN SEASON: Finally, a Washington apple

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEVideo: Rugby 101 :: WSU women's rugby team members explain the basics of the game }


Cover photo: Near Cascade Pass in the North Cascades. By Zach Mazur. Read more in "Of Time and Wildness"


Skagit Valley studies

by | © Washington State University

One student has been wading into Padilla Bay to look at eelgrass, another hikes into spinach fields to see if lime can protect the plant from fusarium wilt, and a third is studying the dynamics of conflict among farmers, landowners, environmentalists, and the local Indian tribe.

Jessica Gigot, a WSU graduate student in Plant Pathology, while busy with her research with raspberry plants, was wondering how her work fit in with work done by the students around her— from WSU as well as other graduate programs in Washington. They were in different fields and sometimes from different schools, but they were all looking at Skagit Valley.

That’s when she hit upon the idea of getting them together for a one-day symposium last November to share their work. “I wanted to provide students from different disciplines the opportunity to interact,” she says. She also hit on the idea of inviting farmers and other members of the community, “to allow students to engage community members in conversation.”

Gigot looked beyond students to round out the day, inviting eco-toxicologist John Stark from WSU Puyallup, and David Dicks, the head of the Puget Sound Partnership, to speak on their research and efforts, as well. Stark talked about the pollutants—from both agriculture and urban communities—that were pouring through the region’s waterways into the sound. Dicks discussed how the Puget Sound region is a growing priority for the federal government and that efforts to protect and restore areas around the sound may be more successful here than on waterways like Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes.

“It was interesting to hear all the issues about water management and overall habitat concerns for the area,” says Gigot. And invaluable to hear how the students’ work might fit in with other projects.

Tyler Breum, one of Gigot’s classmates, grew up on a farm in Skagit Valley. He used the day to talk about his research as well as his efforts growing five acres of organic potatoes on his family’s land. A conference like this is a good step forward, he says. “Hopefully we can come up with some new ideas on how to make agriculture in this valley more sustainable.”

Categories: WSU students, Agriculture | Tags: Research

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