WESTERN INSTITUTE FOR STUDY OF THE ENVIRONMENT
33862 Totem Pole Road
Lebanon, OR 97355
December 1, 2008
The first year of W.I.S.E. has flown by. A year ago we decided that something more than a single blog (SOS Forests, Version 1) was desirable, and the concept of a multi-site Web institute was born.
Our intention was to build the premier online library for forest, fire, and the environmental sciences, with emphasis on the New Paradigm. The knowledge uncovered, displayed, and explained was to be presented to the World At Large for the Instruction of Mankind and for the benefit of all creatures and landscapes of this Our Shared Planet.
We have achieved that goal, partially. We made some headway, at any rate. I think you will agree that no other website contains the variety and in-depth discussions of environmental sciences that W.I.S.E. does.
The Western Institute for Study of the Environment now provides a free, on-line set of post-graduate courses in environmental studies, currently fifty Topics in eight Colloquia, each containing book and article reviews, original papers, and essays. In addition, W.I.S.E. hosts two Commentary sub-sites, provides a news clipping sub-site, and maintains a fire tracking site. Reviews and original articles are archived in the online Library.
Last summer the Western Institute for Study of the Environment was officially granted 501(c)(3) non-profit, educational status by the IRS.
SOS Forests, the new version [http://westinstenv.org/sosf], has been our most active sub-site, with 328 posts and 1,159 comments. The other W.I.S.E. Commentary sub-site, Wildlife and People [http://westinstenv.org/wildpeop], has also been active, with 109 posts and 129 comments. Many interesting topics have been explored at both the Commentary sub-sites, with numerous authors and a healthy give-and-take of ideas.
A great deal of effort was made to track the largest fires this year at W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking [http://westinstenv.org/firetrack].Over 250 fires were followed on a daily basis from Date of Origin to 100 Percent Containment. Each fire has its own post, creating one-stop records of the day-to-day changes in fire size, personnel, and fire suppression costs for further study and reference.
W.I.S.E. Forest, Wildlife, and Climate News [http://westinstenv.org/news] has 322 posts and 106 comments. And we are very pleased with our new photo page (the first of many) Boise NF and Payette NF Post-2007 Fire(s) Photos [http://westinstenv.org/sosf/post-fire-photos]. Thank you very much to all those who sent photos and news clippings.
While all that was happening, we somehow managed to also review 91 books and articles containing most cutting-edge advancements in the environmental sciences, (see the W.I.S.E. Library [http://westinstenv.org/lib]). Ample as that may seem, our stack of additions runneth over. For the rest of this month we will be concentrating on adding a few dozen more excellent works to the Colloquia and Library.
Among the authors whose works we have posted and/or reviewed so far are: Marc Abrams, M. Kat Anderson, J. Scott Armstrong, Robert D. Averill, Tim Bailey, Paul H. Beck, Arthur T. Bergerud, Thomas C. Blackburn, Thomas M. Bonnicksen, Bernard Bormann, Robert Boyd, Glenn Bradley, Greg Brenner, Ken Carloni, Thomas J. Connolly, Ric Costales, William Wallace Covington, Joseph D’Aleo, William Denevan, George Dovel, Paul Driessen, J.R. Dunn, Don Easterbrook, Ric Frost, Cliff Gardner, Alan P. Garfinkel, Valerius Geist, Will N. Graves, Harriet M. Hageman, John A. Helms, John Imbrie, Carl L. Johannessen, Charles E. Kay, Karen Launchbaugh, George M. Leonard, Henry T. Lewis, Charles C. Mann, John F. Marker, Paul S. Martin, Archie Murchie, Mike Norton-Griffiths, Ned Pence, James D. Petersen, E.C. Pielou, Richard J. Pfilf, Stephen J. Pyne, Laura Schneberger, S. Fred Singer, Julie Kay Smithson, Willie Soon, Bob St. Louis, Omer C. Stewart, George H. Taylor, Cat Urbigkit, Charles E. Van Wagner, Frederick H. Wagner, Cliff White, Gerald W. Williams, Judith Williams, Sarah Winnemucca, William I. Woods, and Bob Zybach.
And if that were not enough, in October the W.I.S.E. website underwent a major facelift when we updated and remodeled the sub-sites.
In the first ten months of 2008 W.I.S.E. experienced 151,059 web visits and an average of 7,722 unique visitors per month.
Last March W.I.S.E. members wrote a 170-page Comment to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest regarding their issuance of a Notice regarding their intent to add WFU (Wildland Fire Use) in the guise of AMR (Appropriate Management Response) to their FMP (Fire Management Plan) portion of their LRMP (Land and Resources Management Plan). The RR-SNF NEPA process then disappeared, and we have sent them two Freedom of Information Act requests as follow-up. We have not heard back, but are still pursuing this important legal precedent.
We also have tracked a number of Bills in Congress, including three different Forest Restoration Bills (by Bingaman, Wyden, and DeFazio), various Wilderness Bills, and the Energy Bill, and submitted testimonies top Congress and the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality. Last week we sent in testimony regarding the Quadrennial Fire Review, in process by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
W.I.S.E. provides points of view found in few other places. We are a critically important voice expressing scientific findings that would not otherwise receive wide acknowledgement.
None of this could have happened without the generous support from some serious forest aficionados with heartfelt concerns and strong convictions about stewardship. We are extremely grateful to all those who have chipped in to keep the tank from empty and the motor running. And we are also grateful to all those who have provided content, including the authors of the 91 books and papers reviewed in the Colloquia and the numerous guest authors of posts in the Commentary sub-sites.
Over the past twelve months we have received $1,100.00 in donations. Our expenses have been $2,112.32 to date, which includes a $750.00 fee to the IRS for registering as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Most of the rest has gone to our Internet Service provider, Numanet, for website services. We have required considerable help in getting all the bells and whistles of our "free" software to work. No staff members have taken any salary, and indeed staff have contributed over $1,000.00 to keep the books balanced.
Thank you for all your help. In many ways, we are just getting started on this great adventure. The World At Large has not been fully Instructed yet. There is much more to do. We have great plans for 2009, including many more book and article reviews, more discussions of current environmental issues, fire tracking in 2009, further refinement of the website, and the honoring of selected Fellows of the Institute.
Please consider making a donation to this worthy effort; visit the Donation Page [http://westinstenv.org/join-wise] for guidance or simply mail a check made out to W.I.S.E. to the address in the letterhead above. (We are an officially recognized non-profit; your contributions are tax deductible!) We will continue to seek foundational support, but your donations are vital to our efforts at this time.
And please keep the posts, articles, news tips, and photos coming in. Your contributions are extremely important and much appreciated. Thank you. If we change the world (and we intend to), it will be due to your efforts.
Mike Dubrasich, Exec Dir
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