Restoration Ecology Network (UW-REN)
Capstone Course




Your Instructor Team

Kern Ewing

UW Seattle
Merrill 031
Box 354115

206.543.4426 office
206.685.2692 fax

Jim Fridley

UW Seattle
Merrill 035
Box 354115

206.543.6993 office
206.685.2692 fax

Warren Gold

UW Bothell
UW1 Room 140
Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences
Box 358530

425.352.5409 office
425.352.5233 fax

John "Buck" Banks

UW Tacoma
Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences
Box 358436

253.692.5838 office
253.692.4639 fax

Rodney Pond

UW Seattle
Merrill 034
Box 354115

206.226.6637 cell
206.685.2692 fax


Course Overview

This course teaches you how to conceptually and practically develop, manage and implement an ecological restoration project as part of a team. In this class you will learn to approach ecological restoration utilizing five major ideas - process-oriented ecological restoration, ecological principals, appreciative design, community-based restoration, and purposeful project management.

Process-oriented ecological restoration focuses on identifying the lost or diminished ecological functions of a particular site and the disturbances that caused those losses. Habitat, soil stability, and water and nutrient retention are among the most common lost or diminished functions. Once identified, purposeful and skillful techniques can be employed to assist in recovery of those functions.

Ecological principals such as succession, patch dynamics, non-equilibrium communities, and island biogeography provide the theoretical basis for site selection, restoration design, and approach to stewardship. This is perhaps the most exciting and often contentious aspect of restoration; when science is purposefully and explicitly applied to solve specific problems. Every restoration project at some level is an experiment testing ecological principals.

Appreciative design utilizes an iterative, interactive and structured social process in developing the goals and objectives of a project. Input from clients and stakeholders regarding desired project outcomes forms the basis for developing preliminary goals and objectives. These preliminary goals and objectives go through a series of revisions based on client and stakeholder feedback, site assessment results, and project team input until clients and stakeholders are satisfied they meet expectations. This interactive process allows for mutual learning that often leads to changes in perspectives and innovation.

Community-based restoration engages the people that live near an ecological restoration site in the development, implementation and stewardship of that site. This engagement is facilitated by project managers and the local community leadership in open acknowledgement of the socioeconomic, cultural, and political context of each project. Long term relationships through collaboration are emphasized as key to building a culture of stewardship.

Purposeful project management means that each ecological restoration project is intentionally implemented in an ordered manner and is finite in space and time. There is a site with defined boundaries, there are defined objectives to meet realistic and achievable goals, work is scheduled and sequenced to enact those objectives and once the objectives are met the project has been completed. This does not mean however that the restoration of the site is complete. It means that a project in service to moving on-going restoration forward has been accomplished.

Quarterly Overview

Fall quarter introduces you to the conceptual and practical knowledge base you will need to develop and implement an ecological restoration project as part of a student team for a client. There will be field trips, class lectures, self-guided modules, assigned readings, and class exercises. The class will be divided into teams based primarily on the students project interest. Field trips to the project sites will be held early in the quarter to assist you in your selection. Once the teams are formed, each team will respond to the client's request for proposal (RFP) with a formal proposal that will be based on (1) your clients' stated goals and objectives (2) the results of a project site assessment you and your team will perform (3) an assessment of the ecological potential of the site and (4) what can be realistically within the given timeframe and resources. This proposal goes through a draft process and gets reviewed by the client and instructors.

Winter quarter each team will develop a work plan that describes in detail how you will implement the goals and objectives you and your team developed in the proposal. We will expect design decisions to be explicitly supported by published material, scientific principals and to a lesser degree expert consultation. The work plan will also undergo a draft review process. Regular team meetings with the instructors will be held to provide assistance and monitor the progress of each project. Student teams will be expected to lead the meetings with a formal agenda, reports, questions for the instructors, and requests for assistance. There will also be class lectures, self-guided modules, assigned readings, and class exercises early in the quarter. Most teams begin field work on their projects such as invasive removal during winter quarter and may be planting their sites as early as February. Community stewardship building is an important activity throughout the quarter.

Spring quarter the project teams will be finishing the installation of their project. Near the end of the project an as-built report will be written that accounts for any deviations from the original work plan. A stewardship plan that details site maintenance and monitoring will be developed. You will instruct your client on how to use the stewardship plan. At the very end of the quarter a symposium/celebration will be held to formally present your projects with a poster as well as video and slide show to your clients, friends, family and the public.


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