In the News

  • The Daily News Sunday, Apr. 19, 2020

    Mount St. Helens ecologist looks back on 40-year 'love affair' with volcano

    Charlie Crisafulli has become the face of ecological study of Mount St. Helens over the course of his 40-year career researching how life is returning to the volcano. Now, with plans to retire later this summer, Crisafulli is eager to pass on his knowledge to a new generation of researchers he says are enthusiastic and more diverse than ever before. Lean and nimble for his 62 years, Crisafulli kept pace with his 19-year-old intern across the pumice plain on a blustery but boiling late August day last summer. Crisafulli was just a tad older than her when he first visited Mount St. Helens shortly before the May 18, 1980 eruption. Since then, Crisafulli has published numerous studies, expanded the U.S. Forest Service’s ecology program at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and been a consultant for volcanoes in Indonesia, Iceland, Chile and Hawaii. In 2016, he received the Outstanding Scientist award from the Northwest Scientific Association. ... Crisafulli spent a decade as a research associate at the Utah State University Department of Ecology running a summer program at Mount St. Helens. In 1989, the Forest Service hired him as the monument’s ecologist, which is the role he serves in today. He still conducts research, but his broader job is to be a liaison between the Forest Service and the ecology community. Every five years he organizes an event to gather researchers to network and share their findings. “I keep my fingers on the ecological pulse of the place and community,” he said.

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