News and Information from the Ecosystems Scholarship Fund
Winter Issue, February 2016
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Ecosystems Scholarship Fund

Creating Tomorrow's Natural Resource Leaders.  Today.
INTERACTONS -- A newsletter informing students and donors who believe that protecting our natural resources is an essential investment in the midst of a growing human population and associated environmental issues.
NEW FEATURE: You can now make your tax-deductible donation to the EcoScholar Fund online by going to the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound (link). Click on 'Give Now" which will take you to the 'Scholarships' section and then select the 'Ecosystems Scholarship Fund" to complete your secure online donation.
Welcome to the third issue of INTERACTIONS – a semi-annual newsletter that provides you with information on how college students are receiving assistance in meeting their financial needs while majoring in natural resources and land use planning.
You are receiving this newsletter because you are working in the field of natural resources, have done so in the past, or you are a concerned citizen who wants to help conserve our nation’s valuable natural resources.
Each generation gets pushed further away from nature while the cost of education continues to rise, but the need for trained natural resource specialists has never been higher, therefore this scholarship fund plays a crucial role in helping college students meet their financial needs.
To meet this goal the Ecosystems Scholarship Fund (link) was established in 2010 by Rollin Geppert as a component fund held at The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound (link).
In this special issue of INTERACTIONS founder Rollin Geppert sat down with two major donors to the Ecosystems Scholarship Fund to discuss their careers in natural resources and viewpoints on a wide range of issues to include why they believe this scholarship fund is important now and for future generations.

Mark Quinn is a Board Member in the Washington Wildlife Federation and has been a volunteer member since 2008. He graduated from the Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Sciences and spent over 35 years working in the natural resources management field for the U.S. Forest Service, Weyerhaeuser, The Federal Highway Administration (FHA), Grant County PUD and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).  He was WDFW’s manager of the Wooten Wildlife Area near Walla Walla, WA for 2.5 years and he was the second wildlife biologist hired by FHA in Sacramento, CA.  His assignment was working on aquatic environments and was later reassigned to WA D.C.  Mark resides in Olympia, WA and can be contacted at


Tim McBride is a wildlife biologist for Hancock Natural Resource Group in Vancouver, WA.  He is responsible for risk management regarding threatened and endangered species, and environmental issues to our client properties.  He looks for opportunities to improve wildlife habitat conditions on client properties, or to enhance wildlife populations through relocating the species, conservation easements and wetland restoration. He believes water quality and fish are the leading topics for future regulations.  He graduated from the University of Washington, College of Forest Resources with a Bachelor of Science.  He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Wildlife Science at Michigan State University.  He has completed his course work and will complete his thesis by December 2017.  Additionally, he has many training certificates in Forest Practice Regulations training, wetland delineation, wildlife field techniques, research design, ethics, safe hazardous materials handling, and responsible conduct of research and biodiversity awareness.Tim resides in Vancouver, WA and can contacted at
Why did you choose a career in natural resources?
Mark:  I wish I could say it was the result of careful deliberation and a strong desire to protect our natural resources that I so much enjoyed as a young man growing up in Seattle, but that would have been in conflict with the way my 19 year-old brain worked back in 1970.  By chance and lack of a more palatable career choice I decided to focus on a course of study that was interesting to me and more enjoyable than the hundreds of other career choices listed in the WSU curriculums catalog.  As I matured and began to see my vocation closely aligned with my avocation, I began to learn more about myself and how I could make a difference ensuring that others could enjoy the natural resources the way I had.
Tim:  I spent 45 days in Yellowstone National Park, while serving in the US Army, in 1988 suppressing the wildfires that burned more than half of the park.  During that time, our US Forest Service Team Leader, Fire Captain John, described to me how much “fun” it was to work in the natural resource management career.  He basically motivated me to seek an undergraduate degree in forestry or wildlife management.  As a child, I spent so much time outdoors, catching wildlife and putting it in whatever terrarium I could find around the house.  All those summers nearly living outside during the summer months hold great memories for me so I thought that a career in natural resource management would be a good fit.

What career accomplishments are you most proud of?
Mark:  It would have to be the protection of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat and recreation lands through numerous land transactions including easement and fee title acquisitions and helping Washington citizens understand why that was and is so important.  I was involved in the nation’s first lawsuit before the Supreme Court regarding the Mississippi sand hill crane under NEPA and the ESA involving the construction of Interstate 10 within the Mississippi waterfowl flyway.
Tim:  I graduated in 1994 and I have worked for two forestland management companies.  My first employer, Port Blakely Tree Farms, was a great small family-owned company.  During my tenure there, Port Blakely management was successful in developing the second Habitat Conservation Plan for private landowners in Washington.  Our Plan focused on northern spotted conservation but it also included a suite of other potential wildlife species that could become listed under the Endangered Species Act.  That document represented a considerable amount of work and resources that a private landowner was willing to invest in the conservation of spotted owls to gain certainty that their long-term investment in private timberlands was going to pay off for many decades.  My second and current employer, Hancock Natural Resource Group, is another example of a private landowner with a strong stewardship ethic.  During my last 13 years with Hancock, we led the way in securing conservation agreements that protect more than 420,000 acres of prime wildlife habitat across the United States.  The latest one identified mature timber important for spotted owl conservation in Western Washington.  We were successful in protecting spotted owl habitat through state programs while returning a positive revenue source to our client’s portfolio.

What do you see as some of the most significant challenges the next generation of natural resources leaders will face in the Pacific NW?
Mark:  By far it will be dealing with the effects of climate change, where the rate of change has been occurring faster than predicted, and the difficult but never ending task of balancing what humans need to survive with what the rest of the natural world.  If you believe that we have already greatly exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet, you begin to understand the challenges ahead.  Communicating these values to a distracted and crowded planet will be incredibly tough.  I like to believe that, at some point, leaders from around the world realize that uncontrolled population and economic growth is not sustainable.
Tim:  Population growth consisting of urban dwellers that show a lack of appreciation for nature and limited funds for conservation incentive programs.  It was a major setback when Congress failed in late September of 2015 to renew the continued funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  Arkansas, on the other hand, passed legislation in 1996 to create a 1/8th cent Conservation Sales Tax of every sales tax dollar for conservation efforts.

What challenges does your organization face in managing natural resources?
Mark:  The Washington Wildlife federation is a very small organization whose mission is to support wildlife conservation and related recreation and education.  We sponsor the Washington Outdoor Women program to help women learn and experience traditional outdoor activities including hunting and fishing.  We also are involved in the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program to protect through acquisition and easement Washington’s critical habitat and recreation lands.  The challenge for us is the same as what others in the science and conservation fields are experiencing: overcoming the disconnect that people have understanding the relationship between our own well-being and the health of our natural systems.  Our organization focuses on influencing others since we do not own land ourselves.  Failure by Congress to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund on September 30, 2015 was a huge setback.
Tim:  Increasing regulations developed based on speculation of a desired or projected outcome.  Good responsible science should precede any new regulations.  We are also faced with shrinking resources due to population growth.

How does your organization ensure sustainability of natural resources?
Mark:  Through education about the threats to natural resources, especially wildlife and wildlife habitats -- and why and how that impacts all of us.
Tim:  Listening to stakeholders; quantifying their concerns and conducting research that will bring information to bear on those concerns.  We also use best available science to develop models that allow us to manage a client’s property so that the resource grows more than we harvest and we continue to generate positive revenue streams.  We sensibly manage our investments in order to ensure adequate financial returns to our stakeholders.

What should young career professionals focus on to meet future challenges in managing natural resources?
Mark:  I assume that most who embark on a career in natural resources are independently motivated to learn as much about those resources as possible.  What they should also focus on is how to relate and communicate effectively with people who don’t understand the connection between our own future and the health of our natural resources.
Tim:  Developing good people skills, being practical, the ability to interact with all sorts of interests and balance those interests for the good of the landowner and the good of the surrounding community.  Long gone are the days when professionals like us could avoid the public because now we have to interact with everyone, even people who can see our land without setting foot on it.

What does the Ecosystems Scholarship Fund mean to you?
Mark:  Although I may be cynical about the ability of my generation to reverse the unintended consequences to earth’s ecosystems by our singular focus on economic growth and progress, I hope that future generations will have the education and knowledge that we didn’t or don’t yet have.  And I hope that they will find a way to successfully influence human behavior so that we can protect and restore earth’s ecosystems to sustain all of the planets organisms including us.  The Ecosystems Scholarship Fund helps support future generations of resource professions the help society meet these challenges.
Tim:  This Fund provides opportunities for young people interested in natural resources.  When students can receive scholarship funds like this they have less to worry about.  This is both an opportunity for individuals and an opportunity for the industry in natural resource management.

With national trends showing a decline of interest in outdoor careers and recreational activities, in general – especially with the millennial generation, how can we support the next generation of leaders in natural resources?
Mark: Supporting educational programs at the graduate and post-graduate level is the best way I can think of to support the next generation of leaders.  I like to believe that there will be a resurgence in interest about outdoor recreation and in protecting our natural resources.  I think many young adults and teenagers are distracted growing up under the cloud of social networks.  Social networks have a role to play in protecting the planet and getting everyone involved at all levels to protect all of our ecosystems, but that role has not been defined or perfected.  I hope we will eventually figure out how to use social networks for only good things and one of those will be how to create a sustainable life.  In terms of outdoor recreation, we must be willing to accept that traditional outdoor recreation is going to change from hunting and perhaps fishing to something different.  But I don’t think that will diminish the wonder and excitement that we all an experience when interacting with nature.
Tim:  Interweave technology into the ecosystem; allow the future workforce the ability to balance work and life.  It’s important for young people to be receptive to using multiple platforms to get outside and collect useful information.

What advice to have for young people pursuing a career in natural resources?
Mark:  To quote Winston Churchill, “Never give up, never give up, and never give up.”  And once you’ve achieved your dream of working in natural resources, remember:  “Never give up, never give up, and never give up.”
Tim:  Volunteer; don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty for free.  Look at every career opportunity as if it is the only one and apply for it.

The Ecosystems Scholarship Fund is a scholarship established through the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound in Olympia, WA.  This scholarship fund is unique in that it provides a systematic process for assisting students with their college expenses in pursuing careers in natural resources and land use planning.  Also, donors who employ people in natural resources and land use planning can have confidence that this scholarship will ultimately create a pool from which they can hire future employees.
Here are some of the nation’s leaders in natural resources who believe the Ecosystems Scholarship Fund is essential in the 21st century:
  • John Mankowski, Coordinator, North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative
  • Bill Ruckelshaus, Director, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1970 and 1985; Chairman, WA State Salmon Recovery Funding Board 1999-2008; and Chairman, Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council
  • Jim Pena, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester, US Forest Service, Region 6
  • Kaleen Cottingham, Director, WA State Recreation & Conservation Office
  • Phil Anderson, Director, WA State Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands, WA State Department of Natural Resources
  • Don Hoch, Director, WA State Parks and Recreation Commission
  • Ralph Munro, WA Secretary of State 1980-2001
  • Martin Raphael, Team Leader and Senior Scientist, US Forest Service Forestry Sciences Laboratory
  • Chris Maser, Author and Lecturer, Social - Environmental Sustainability
  • John Dodge, Columnist, The Olympian Newspaper
  • David Workman, WA State Government Executive Manager
  • Ted Sturdevant, former Director, Washington Dept. of Ecology
See leadership endorsement statements here.
To donate to the Ecosystems Scholarship Fund, contact: The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, 212 Union Ave. SE, Suite 102, Olympia, WA 98501, (360) 705-3340.   You can also donate online by through the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound's web site (link).  Click on 'Give Now" which will take you to the 'Scholarships' section and then click on 'Ecosystems Scholarship Fund.'

NEW FEATURE:  We have added a new feature to the web site titled IN MEMORIAM (link) that honors people who have spent their careers working in natural resources. These people will always be remembered by their loved ones for their dedication and accomplishments, Through their donations to this fund we can share this information with the rest of the world.
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