Welcome New Assistant Professor, Dr. Joe Wagenbrenner

Dr. Joe WagenbrennerWe are proud to be welcoming Dr. Joe Wagenbrenner to the School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science. Dr. Wagenbrenner will be filling the position of Assistant Professor of Forest Hydrology. His areas of expertise are forest hydrology, effects of wildfire on hydrologic processes, erosion and sediment transport, and land use/disturbance hydrology.

Most of Dr. Wagenbrenner’s research has focused on quantifying the effects of wildfire on runoff and erosion and measuring how well these effects can be mitigated. He is also interested in erosion and sediment transport in unburned landscapes.

Dr. Wagenbrenner will be teaching classes in forest hydrology.


Visit from Yunnan Delegation

Signing the Memorandum of Understanding

A delegation from the Yunnan Academy of Forestry, Yunnan, China, visited the Michigan Tech School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science (SFRES) on October 10th-12th in a combined effort between Michigan Tech and the Yunnan Academy of Forestry to promote academic ties and international cooperation. SFRES professors and scientists presented to the delegation on topics varying from invasion ecology to wetland restoration to genetic mapping. The group from the Yunnan Academy of Forestry was also given the opportunity to visit local restoration sites, such as the Torch Lake Stamp Sands Restoration Site. During the three day visit, members of SFRES and the Yunnan Academy drafted a Memorandum of Understanding to recognize areas in which the two institutions may work together into the future. The two schools aim to work in conjunction in exploring mutually beneficial collaborative research projects as well as exploring the feasibility of initiatives, such as student and faculty exchanges, to promote cross-cultural learning.


Potvin research in print

Lynette Potvin ’08, currently an ecologist for the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station in Houghton, Research Scientist Dana Richter (SFRES), Professor Martin Jurgensen (SFRES) and colleague, published the paper, “Association of Pinus banksiana Lamb. and Populus tremuloides Michx. Seedling Fine Roots with Sistotrema Brinkmannii (Bres.) J. Erikss. (Basidiomycotina),” in Mycorrhiza (2012), Vol. 22:631-638. The paper, which came out of Potvin’s master’s research, describes a previously non-described interaction between a decay fungus and the roots of tree seedlings and their symbiotic fungi, the exact role of which remains a mystery. (Tech Today, Nov. 1, 2012)


Orr receives Silver Medal Award

Professor Blair Orr, Michigan Technological University
Blair Orr

Professor Blair Orr (SFRES) has been awarded the Silver Medal Award by Michigan Tech’s Board of Control in recognition of his efforts to establish and grow the University’s Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program. Orr is the second faculty member ever to receive the Board’s rarely awarded Silver Medal, which recognizes outstanding personal accomplishments of Michigan Tech alumni or friends of the university.

Tech’s PCMI program now is the largest in the nation and has held that distinction for seven years. Since Orr launched the program in forestry in 1995, PCMI at Michigan Tech has expanded to eight graduate programs in departments across campus.

Orr’s areas of expertise include forestry in developing nations, forest economics, and land use in the Upper Peninsula. Congratulations, Blair!



New Funding – Juneau and Tarasoff

Graduate student Kevyn Juneau (SFRES/ESC) and Co-PI Assistant Professor Catherine Tarasoff (SFRES) have received $5,000 from the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, for “The Ecology and Control of the Invasive Species, Cirsium Arvense, Canada Thistle.”



2012 Alumni Brunch and Awards Ceremony

On Saturday, August 4, we welcomed alumni back to campus at our Alumni Brunch and recognized outstanding alumni for 2012.

Faculty members Robert Froese and Dana Richter chat with Keith ('74) and Laska Creagh

SFRES alumni

Faculty members Jim Pickens and Blair Orr visit with 2012 Outstanding Alumnus Award Recipient Jake Hayrynen and his family

Award winners, 2012

Outstanding Young Alumnus – Brandon Bal (’07)

Brandon Bal, 2012 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award RecipientBrandon  graduated in 2007 with a B.S. in Forestry. While at Tech, he was a member of the Forestry Club for three years, serving as chair his senior year.

After graduation, Brandon began his career as a Forester for Forest Resource Services in Gaylord, Michigan. Brandon carried out American Tree Farm System Inspections, wrote forest management plans, and performed forest inventories in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Returning to the Upper Peninsula in 2008, Brandon started with American Forest Management as a Technical (GIS) Forester. He moved into a leadership position after only two years, becoming an area manager. While working full time, he also earned a post baccalaureate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Penn State University (2011).

Brandon continues his forestry education and development of leadership skills by continuing to be a member in the Society of American Foresters. He also voluntarily serves as the Western UP District Chair of the American Tree Farm System.

Outstanding Alumnus – Jacob Hayrynen (’81)

Jacob Hayrynen, 2012 Outstanding Alumnus Award RecipientJake Hayrynen graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in Forestry. Throughout his career of more than 30 years, he has been successful in developing collaborative and mutually beneficial business relationships with customers, suppliers, and key constituents, drawing on his wide range of experience in forestry, operations management, land certification, management, and leadership to drive strategic and long term growth initiatives.

Jake is currently the Forest Products Manager at J.M. Longyear, LLC, (employed 1983-present), which manages more than 164,000 acres of company-owned forestlands in Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Beginning in 2001, he led efforts to acquire, manage, and operate 90,000 acres of forest lands in Ontario, Canada, and has been instrumental in growing the company owned land portfolio in the United States and Canada from 48,000 acres to 164,000 acres. He also led the development and significant growth of the company’s stumpage and log procurement program, along with Longyear’s marketing and sales program. He is also involved with the Company’s strategic growth in various downstream forest products business opportunities, the most recent being J.M. Longyear’s acquisition of ½ interest in the Northern Hardwoods sawmill in South Range, Michigan.

Jake is a member of the SFRES Advisory Board and was an instrumental member of the School’s dean search committee. In 2009 he also served on the Board of Advisors for SITTM Technologies Inc., Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. His professional memberships include the Society of American Foresters and the Michigan Forest Products Council (MFPC). Jake has been a member of the MFPC’s Forest Policy committee since its inception. He is also a member of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association and the Lake States Lumber Association.

Honor Academy Inductee – Keith Creagh (’74)

Keith Creagh, 2012 Honor Academy InducteeKeith graduated from Michigan Tech in 1974 with a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry. As the Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, he brings a vast amount of experience and love of the outdoors to the position, as well as a robust background in policy development, strategic planning and relationship building.
Prior to his appointment July 9, 2012, by Governor Rick Snyder, Keith had been serving as director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) since Jan. 1, 2011.

Complementing his public service, he worked as director of Industry Affairs for the Neogen Corporation, a company that develops and provides food and animal safety solutions to the agri-food industry. In that capacity he established and maintained relationships with the scientific community and regulatory agencies at the state and federal level, international product registrations, and manufacturing operations at Neogen’s Wisconsin manufacturing plant.

Keith’s service with state government began in 1974 and has included a wide range of positions with MDARD during his tenure, including land use deputy director with the Departments of Natural Resources and MDARD, where he coordinated a multi-agency implementation plan in response to the recommendations from the Governor-appointed Michigan Land Use Leadership Council. He has provided leadership for the Farm Bill and conservation programs, which brought together conservation organizations, state and federal agencies, and local conservation districts to establish conservation practices in the state. Working through the ranks, Keith’s assignments provided him experience with invasive and exotic species, conservation easements and environmental stewardship. His background also includes working closely with stakeholder groups, federal agencies, the state legislature and U.S. Congress.

Honor Academy Inductee – Bill Botti (’64)

Bill Botti, 2012 Honor Academy InducteeAfter beginning his college education in New York, Bill came to Michigan Tech to earn a degree in forest management, graduating in 1964.

Bill had a 26-year career with the Michigan DNR, retiring after directing the state forest timber management program.

His second career was as president of Clinton Trail Tree Farm, a forestry consulting and Christmas tree business. “We started the Christmas trees as an investment for the kids’ college expenses. Our kids and grandchildren help; that makes the fall season fun,” said Bill.

Bill currently serves as chair of the Michigan DNR Forest Management Advisory Committee. He is also the executive director of the Michigan Forest Association (MFA), where he has been a member since 1971 and a board member for over 25 years. Other positions he has held with the MFA include president, publications chair, and columnist, artist and author for Michigan Forests magazine.

Bill has been a member of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) since 1978 and has authored several publications on forest history. His list of accomplishments also includes:

  • Forestry conservationist of the year 2009 (Michigan United Cons. Clubs)
  • Retired Forester of the Year 2002 (Michigan SAF)
  • Friend of the Living Forest 1995 (Michigan Forest Resource Alliance)
  • Distinguished Service Award 1992 (Michigan Forest Association)

Bill’s community service includes the Eaton Rapids Medical Center and the Chamber of Commerce. He participates in the Lions Club, United Methodist Church and Boy Scouts. Bill married Alice in 1963. They “honeymooned” in Hancock. They have three children and seven grandchildren, but no luck persuading any to go to Tech!

“Michigan Tech was just what I was looking for,” Bill explains. “The practical emphasis and northern location were perfect. We were encouraged to address our (forestry) instructors by their first names. Many lasting friendships and memories were forged at Tech.”

Group photo

Thank you to all who attended to help us recognize these fellow alumni.


2012 Alumni Brunch

Attention alumni! We cordially invite you to attend the 2012 Michigan Tech School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science Alumni Reunion Brunch on Saturday, August 4, 2012. We invite you to meet our new dean, Terry Sharik, and to congratulate this year’s Outstanding Alumnus (Jake Hayrynen), Outstanding Young Alumnus (Brandon Bal), and to welcome the newest member of the program’s Honor Academy, Keith Creagh.

Brunch will begin at 9:30am in the Hesterberg Atrium of the U.J. Noblet Forestry Building. Please register for this free event at http://www.mtu.edu/alumni/connect/reunion/ or you may contact Amy Krause at 906-487-1898/email: alkrause@mtu.edu.


Former SFRES faculty member C. Richard Crowther dies

C. Richard CrowtherC. Richard Crowther, a retired SFRES faculty member, died on July 6 in Escanaba. He was 87.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Crowther earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry and Master of Science in Forestry Management from Iowa State College. He joined the Michigan Tech faculty as an instructor in 1956, completing his PhD in 1971 while teaching at Tech. He retired as a full professor in 1985.

A professor of silviculture, Crowther also served as advisor to The Forester, the School’s yearbook. The 1961 and 1962 issues were dedicated to him. He was an avid bowler and bowled with the Tech Faculty League.

Crowther moved to Escanaba after he retired, but he maintained ties with Michigan Tech. In 2010-2011, he was recognized as a member of the President’s Club, an annual giving club, for his contribution to Michigan Tech.

The Masonic Lodge will conduct a memorial service at 1 p.m., today, in Escanaba, followed by a funeral service at 2 p.m. in the Anderson Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will be in the Gardens of Rest Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Ahmed Temple Shrine Transportation Fund for children. Expressions of sympathy and online condolences may be directed to the Crowther family at www.andersonfuneralhomes.net.

[LINK TO PUBLISHED OBITUARY]