Zinke storytelling

Paul was a great storyteller. Here are some that were told to me that I now tell to you.  Tell me more, and share with others.

The story of bog iron.

Paul J. Zinke, for whom we named the California Forest Soils Council scholarship, was a energetic, curious, and fascinating person and it was a great experience to be in his company.   We could all learn a lesson from his life.  For me, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a day with him on Gasquet Mountain, east of Crescent City.   We were walking through some bogs with pitcher plants (Darlingtonia) and he picked up a reddish orange object and handed it to me.  It looked like a rusted piece of scrap metal.  It was elemental iron.    Anyway– Paul begin talking about bog iron and the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.  And the significance of bog iron in history.    Fe is reduced under anerobic conditions, Fe ions are mobilzed by subsurface water flow through the soil and when it comes in contact with surface running water, which has more dissolved oxygen, like in the bogs or slow moving currents, it is precipitated again as iron.  He went on to say that bog iron was important during the U.S. revolution and I read later that bog iron was very important to the vikings and other europeans as a source of iron for tools and of course weapons.   Anyway, I will always remember how much I enjoyed being with such a curious, full of facts and intersting person as Paul.

–Brent Roath, Regional Soil Scientist/BAER Coordinator
U.S. Forest Service – Pacific Southwest Region
Vallejo, CA  94592

Featuring Fire.

My wonderful forest soils professor, the great Dr. Paul Zinke, now Emeritus, UCB, once challenged the class by offering a half-case of beer to anyone who could bring him a cubic foot of forest soil without charcoal in it. In the 30-some-odd years since, I have dug soil pits, planting holes, and various excavations by the thousands in forests, and I have yet to find a shovel-full of charcoal-free forest soil to collect the reward. The signs of fire are so ubiquitous and at such fine scale in western forests that it is easy to conclude that our forests are not only fire-adapted, they are fire dependent.

–Mike Dubrasich, the Blogging Forester, SOS Forests, http://www.sosforests.com/?p=19

Tallest Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) Paul Zinke  has a tall redwood named after him. http://www.landmarktrees.net/redwoods.html. Diameters are taken at breast height (1.37 meters or 4.5 feet) above tree’s average ground level. Heights are determined by the vertical distance from the top of tree, living or dead, to the average ground level of tree. Height measurements were obtained with either climber deployed tapeline or tripod mounted Impulse 200 LR® laser range finder. Accuracy is (+,-) 2 inches (.025 meters) or better.

Distinguished Teaching Awards

Distinguished Teaching Awards have been awarded annually since 1959 to U.C. Berkeley faculty members who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in the classroom.

Distinguished Teaching Awards

Have been awarded annually since 1959 to U.C. Berkeley faculty members who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in the classroom. http://sunsite.lib.berkeley.edu/CalHistory/teaching.html

William M. Brinner, Near Eastern Studies
William A. Jensen, Botany
Hanan G. Selvin, Sociology
Paul J. Zinke, Forestry & Resource Management

UC Berkeley

What Good Teachers Say About Teaching

Joe R. McBride

Distinguished Teaching Award: 1991

Environmental Science, Policy & Management and
Landscape Architecture

Statement written: 1991

A philosophy of teaching has been handed down to me by several exemplars of teaching. Those exemplars who provided the basis of my philosophy of teaching include Professors Edward Stone, Herbert Baker, Rodney Arkeley, Paul Zinke, Kenneth Babcock, Roderic Park, and Kenneth Ware.

From Ed Stone, I learned that teaching was a serious undertaking. He taught me that it was important what students learned and that I had an obligation to make sure that my teaching was relevant.

Herbert Baker and Rod Arkeley taught me that the love one has for one’s chosen field can be infectious if shared with the students. If one infects students with that spirit, they will never stop their pursuit of learning. I think Herbert Baker never saw a plant he did not like. Rod Arkeley taught me how to determine soil texture by taking a pinch of soil in the palm of my hand, spitting on it, and forming the moistened mixture into a cast. To watch him do it was to watch a man in love not just with the soil he rubbed in his palm, but all soil.

Paul Zinke overflowed with enthusiasm when he taught. His sustained level of enthusiasm has been a wonder to observe for more than thirty years. When Paul was sixty-nine years old, he taught a day of forest soils at the Forestry Department’s summer camp. It was a very hot day and we traveled several miles on dusty roads to reach various soil types. His enthusiasm never waned and it carried the students for the full day.

From Kenneth Babcock, I learned the power of really knowing what it is you teach. I never heard a student ask him a question that he could not answer. The depth of his knowledge never intimidated his students, but gave us a great confidence in him as a teacher.

From Rod Park, I learned the value of organization in presenting lectures and teaching laboratories. His lectures and labs were remarkably well organized. Students never felt lost in the flow of information he presented.

Finally, I must add Kenneth Ware to my list of exemplars. He was a professor of forest biometrics at Iowa State University, where I went to teach after completing my graduate work at Berkeley. As a neophyte assistant professor I asked him for any suggestions for teaching. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “You’ve got to love them a little.” Experience continues to remind me of that insight. A teacher cannot expect to have the respect, esteem, and love of students unless he or she is willing to offer those qualities to the students. Once the students know that you really care about them, teaching is easy.

The keywords of my philosophy of teaching include relevance, love of subject, enthusiasm, knowledge, organization, feedback, practicality , and love of the students . But like the keywords to journal articles, these terms alone cannot convey the idea of the philosophy. These keywords are more like adjectives and adverbs that modify a philosophy which is so difficult to articulate. Maybe its essence is to give the students something worth knowing, convey it with enthusiasm, and provide an organization that will stimulate students to continue to grow in their knowledge of the subject and of themselves.

Revised: 1993

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