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home : education : schools July 26, 2017

3/14/2017 1:12:00 PM
OSU natural resources instructor to speak
Matthew Shinderman will speak next week on trails sustainability. photo provided
+ click to enlarge
Matthew Shinderman will speak next week on trails sustainability. photo provided

By Craig Eisenbeis

Matthew Shinderman, Senior Natural Resources Instructor at Oregon State University Cascades, will be the guest speaker next week on Thursday, 23 March, for the Bjarne Holm Memorial Speaker Series. This series of outdoor oriented talks is sponsored by the Sisters Trails Alliance (STA).

"I'll be discussing what sustainability means and how the concept relates to the development of trail and recreation management systems on national forests," said Shinderman. His emphasis will be on the types of tradeoff decisions required for achieving a balance between ecological, social, and economic values associated with public lands and how those considerations fundamentally change outcomes.

"Finally," he said, "I'll discuss some of the impending issues a sustainable trails and recreation system must address."

Asked to define "sustainability," he replied that he sees it "as a lens through which we can evaluate alternative actions, wherein decisions reflect an attempt to balance social and economic values with the capacity of ecosystems to absorb impacts without declining ecosystem structure and function."

In the context of recreation, he says, that means taking into consideration the full range of social and economic values associated with trails and other recreational opportunities in the ecosystems where those activities occur.

As senior natural resources instructor, Shinderman teaches OSU courses ranging from endangered species ecology to rangeland ecosystem management. He created and directs the Human and Ecosystem Resilience and Sustainability (HERS) Lab at OSU-Cascades, which works with the National Park Service on park management.

STA Board Secretary Chuck Humphreys had quite a bit to say about Shinderman's upcoming visit to Sisters: "Matt was a key speaker at the Central Oregon Sustainable Trails Summit organized by the U.S. Forest Service last year. He opened my eyes to the complexity of ensuring that trails are socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable and to the challenge of aligning our near-term expectations for trails with their long-term sustainability."

Humphreys sees Shinderman's field as something that cuts to the heart of Sisters trails. "Matt is someone who has thought long and deeply about the sustainability of trails on public lands, and his many insights can help inform our own dialogue on what trails to build and where to build them," he said.

"I think Matt's presentation on the sustainability of trails at the Central Oregon Trails Sustainability Summit last year was one of the most interesting discussions I've heard. He tackles the complexity of trails on public lands head on and encourages all of us to do the same. His framework can help us improve our dialogue on trails around Sisters."

A principal question that Shinderman poses, and hopes to answer through his work at OSU-Cascades and discussions like next week's upcoming forum, is "What are the important values and benefits to consider, and what limits might be imposed by ecological values?"

In addition to the courses he teaches, Shinderman's scholarly interests include sustainability in brewery and vineyard settings, ecological assessment of urban landscapes, ecological restoration, and species adaptation to climate change. He received his doctorate from Colorado State University where he studied ecosystem management at the wildland/urban interface, and his master's degree is from Utah State University where he studied restoration of degraded sagebrush communities. His undergraduate work was at James Madison University in Virginia, where he earned double degrees in health science and environmental studies.

The HERS Lab at OSU Cascades is a trans-disciplinary unit focused on triple-bottom-line approaches to human community development and ecosystem management. Under the HERS umbrella, he is working with the National Park Service to develop a Park Studies Unit at the OSU Cascades Campus, which will serve as a nexus for research, management recommendations, and curricula related to management of U.S. national parks.

The STA's speaker series on environment and recreation is offered quarterly. Next week's program is the thirteenth in the series, which has been named "The Bjarne Holm Memorial Speaker Series," in memory of the late founder of the popular series.

These free public presentations are designed to promote outdoor public recreation and education in Sisters Country. This event will be held on Thursday, March 23, in the Sisters Camp Sherman Fire Station Community Hall in downtown Sisters at 355 S. Elm St. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the formal program will begin at 7 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

The Sisters Trails Alliance is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3)

nonprofit community organization dedicated to the planning, constructing and maintenance of walking, hiking, cycling, and equestrian trails in Sisters Country. The STA believes that trails are an indispensable ingredient for the quality of life and economic vibrancy in Sisters Country. Volunteer help and new members are always welcome.

For more information about STA, performing volunteer work on trails, or other outdoor related projects visit or call 541-719-8822.

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