WHO:        Columbia College Foundation

WHAT:      “A Changing Landscape: Tree Mortality in the Sierra Nevada”

A free community event featuring leading experts in forest ecology

WHERE:     Sonora High School Auditorium

WHEN:      Thursday evening October 6. Doors open at 6:30 pm; program 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

A leading national researcher and local experts on forest transition will be the featured speakers at a free community event presented by the Columbia College Foundation Thursday evening, October 6.

“A Changing Landscape: Tree Mortality in the Sierra Nevada,” a two-hour evening program at the Sonora High School Auditorium, will be moderated by Columbia College Natural Resources Professor Tom Hofstra, and features a panel of leading experts who will help make sense of the tree mortality and many landscape changes so visibly under way in the Sierra Nevada from drought, fire and beetle infestation.

The October 6 program continues a community lecture series planned by the Columbia College Foundation in cooperation with college faculty and regional partners. The program is free. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the evening’s program will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Refreshments will be available after the event.

Leading the evening will forest researcher Eric Knapp, a nationally known forest ecologist with the US Forest Service. Knapp specializes in understanding how disturbances historically have altered forest systems, from food chains and wildlife to forest resilience. Knapp, Lead Research Ecologist for the Northern California Region of USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station, regularly publishes his research on forest health and forest management.

Hofstra and Knapp will be joined by regional panelists with a range of expertise, including U.S. Forest Service Entomologist Beverly Bulaon, biologist and protected species specialist Terry Strange of Strange Resource Management, and high country landowner and Columbia College forestry instructor Lara McNicol.

Speakers will focus on the big picture of tree mortality throughout the Sierra Nevada region and the long-term impacts of drought, fire and beetle infestation.

“No issue is more critical – or more visible — right now,” said Stephanie Suess , Columbia College Foundation Board Member who is organizing the event. “This is a chance to learn from experts on what we can expect in the years and decades ahead, and what choices we can make as a community.  The Foundation is pleased to bring these key players together for an educational evening.”

For more information, visit or call (209) 588-5065.

The Columbia College Foundation is a community nonprofit established in 1972 to promote quality higher education that enriches the academic, economic, and cultural life of our community. Our mission is to promote student success by providing community resources that support and expand educational opportunities for Columbia College’s students. Learn more at or call (209) 588-5055.