Evergreen Receives Federal Grant to Host Climate Change Conference

OLYMPIA, WASH. (July 24, 2017) — The Evergreen State College has been awarded a grant from The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support the Ecological Forestry and Climate Variability Conference that will be hosted by the college in June 2018.

The $49,260 grant to Evergreen was announced by NIFA on July 19, along with eight other awards to institutions of higher learning totaling more than $8 million. All of the grants will support efforts to develop new approaches for the agriculture sector to adapt to and mitigate the effects of changing environmental conditions.

“The awarding of this grant showcases that there is still tremendous support for bringing different viewpoints together to solve wicked problems like climate change,” said Dylan Fischer, a forest ecologist and faculty member at Evergreen. “We are very proud to get funding to work on this issue in a way that will integrate diverse viewpoints, and move from theory to practice in managing forests for a changing climate.”

The Ecological Forestry and Climate Variability Conference will convene a variety of stakeholders to address the critical role the Pacific Northwest’s vast forests can play in slowing global climate change by sequestering more carbon. Carbon sequestering is the process of CO2 being pulled from the atmosphere and stored in carbon sinks (such as oceans, forests or soils) for a long period of time, slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere.

“We will bring together foresters, scientists, land managers and people involved in the sustainable wood product industries to explore how the forests of the northwest can be managed to offset climate change by sequestering more carbon,” said Fischer, who wrote the grant proposal in collaboration with the Northwest Natural Resources Group and will serve as an organizer of the conference.

Evergreen is well-suited to host and organize the conference, due to its long-standing partnerships with regional environmental agencies and nonprofits, as well as the college’s unique forest campus and proximity to a diverse array of natural resources.

“A portion of the conference will include field tours, with the remainder dedicated to presentations and group work sessions,” said Fischer. “The end result will be a greater understanding of, and commitment to, opportunities throughout the forest products supply chain to support systems change for long-term sustainability.”

The funding for the grant is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Fischer says that specific dates for the Ecological Forestry and Climate Variability Conference will be announced in the fall.