The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Dick Waring Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

December 18, 2015


“Building Models of the World's Forests”  December 18, 2015  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Waring describes his family background and upbringing in suburban Chicago, his early love of the woods, and his experience of school growing up. He then recounts his years as an undergraduate and graduate student in Forestry at the University of Minnesota, commenting on several experiential learning opportunities in which he engaged, and likewise noting a handful of professors who made an impact on him.

Next, Waring outlines his years as a doctoral candidate at the University of California - Berkeley, paying particular attention to the research that he conducted in the Redwoods during this time. From there, Waring shifts his focus to Oregon State University, discussing his move to OSU and his initial research project classifying vegetation in the Siskiyou Mountains; sharing his memories of his early impressions of the university and of the town of Corvallis; and offering his opinion on the sources of growth and increases in prestige for OSU's College of Forestry.

The remainder of the interview is primarily devoted to Waring's program of research while an Oregon State faculty member. In this, he comments on the Analysis of Ecosystems Project; his experience of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest as a place of work; his investigations on bark beetles and spruce budworm in the early 1980s; and the decline of Oregon's timber industry during that same time period. In addition, Waring traces the beginnings of his relationship with NASA, noting his work with the administration on acid rain and ozone depletion, and sharing the history of the OTTER Project.

The session concludes with a discussion of Waring's research on climate change and the future of forests; his perspective on change within the OSU College of Forestry; and his thoughts on where Oregon State is currently positioned as it looks toward its 150th birthday.