A Ph.D worth of thanks: preface

After a good, hard decade, I finished up something that I wanted for a really long time. It was a run that began with a B.A. in Environmental Studies at the University of Washington, was followed by an M.S. in Ecosystem Analysis, and culminated in my Ph.D in Ecology at Utah State University. That decade was the beginning of numerous important relationships, and a window of self-exploration and learning from mistakes and successes. I also had the pleasure of meeting, learning from and with, and working and playing alongside some phenomenal people. Since I went back to school in 2006, I wanted to learn how forests, streams, floodplains, and wetlands worked, and how humans can restore the physical and biological processes that make them resilient to global change. In short, I wanted to be a good scientist, great restoration practitioner, and even better member of the ecology and sustainability communities that work every day to make the world a better, more resilient place.

I recently finished up my time at Utah State University and admittedly have all of the standard post-dissertation mixed feelings about academic culture, research, and the role of science in public discourse, decision-making, and conserving and restoring our planet's diverse ecosystems. One thing that I don't waiver on at all is how fortunate I am and have been. I have to acknowledge that a lot of people provided me with a lot of support while I learned and discovered. While I was allowed to write a really long, self-indulgent dissertation acknowledgement page, I think it's only fair that I choose a more loose format to really spill the beans on how so many people allowed and enabled me to pursue a career in ecological restoration, research, and instill a mindset of critical thinking, self-teaching, and productive criticism.

What will follow this summer is a rolling series of posts that start in Cleveland, head to Seattle and then hit the road across several western states to acknowledge how many people go into the construction of an ecologist, hard-headed jock, and lifelong learner (that last one is particularly in progress). Maybe I just like to do things the hard way:

"I don't need to do the easy things...I need to do the hard things..."

Hard way or not, I've been jamming some tunes to help get things done: