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Thursday, October 16, 2014

GIS Workshop

Basics of GIS will be the next in the WGSA Workshop Series, led by Jenny Asper and Emily Ayscue. This will be help October 21, at 3:30pm in the GIS Lab (building 4 - 4th floor). Description below:

If you have always heard “GIS” but never known how to tackle that beastly program ArcGIS, then Tuesday’s workshop will be great for you.  This will be an intro to GIS workshop that covers
 absolutely BASIC GIS.  We will talk about what exactly GIS is and some basic background that will help you understand what to do with files.  We will look at file types, where to get data, and how to get your data points into the program.  Lastly, we will look at what you should include in a map document and how to personalize your map.  This will be a brief overview, not meant to help you be a spatial pro, but just to make some basic maps for your own data. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Relational Database Workshop

The next workshop in the WGSA Workshop Series, led by Dr. Bryan Nuse, will focus on relational databases. This should be a great workshop for anyone working with large data sets, or looking to develop marketable skills for post-graduation endeavors.

October 14th, at 4:00pm in room 4-517

Brief introduction to relational databases, or How to free yourself from the shackles of Excel

Scientific data are almost always hierarchical in their structure, with distinct attributes applying to two or more levels of organization (e.g., trees within vegetation plots within survey points; visits within years, etc.). It is natural and efficient to store such data as a series of tables within a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS, or just “relational database”). However, I’ve observed that many graduate students submit to the siren song of Excel or ArcMap, using them to store their field data mainly because these programs provide useful interfaces for data entry. When it comes time to actually summarize, manipulate and use the data, however, the shortcomings of Excel become very clear; and the learning curve of ArcMap begins to look rather daunting.

That’s why I believe an introduction to databases early in one’s graduate career can be distinctly useful. If you get in the habit of storing data in a RDBMS, you won’t suffer from Excel Syndrome later on. Having knowledge about how your data will eventually be organized can also help you design your field data collection and data entry workflow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


This Saturday, September 27th, UGA will be playing Tennessee, and what better way to prep to cheer on the Bulldogs than to tailgate with the WGSA? We will be setting up outside of Warnell bright and early at 8:00am as it's a noon game. We'll provide some food, non-alcoholic beverages, coolers and ice. BYOB.

Photo: John Roark Media

In addition, if you bring some shade tents, chairs, lawn games, or pretty much anything that would make this tailgate awesome - you will be handsomely rewarded with a Warnell 14oz. pint glass! Please contact Courtney Brissey (WGSA Treasurer) ahead of time if you plan to volunteer goods or time.

Hope to see you there!


Getting the Dirt on Natural Resources - Miles Ingwers

Miles Ingwers, a PhD student studying tree physiology, discusses his research on natural variation in loblolly pine as it relates to drought tolerance. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shorebird Workshop

If you’ve ever wished you knew a bit more about Georgia’s shorebirds, you’ve got an opportunity without traveling five hours to the coast. During this workshop, we’ll mix it up a bit and instead of learning about new tools, techniques and software, we will have a discussion about ornithology. Rather than focusing on technical aspects of birding, in this Warnell workshop I’ll go over a bit of identification, life history, and talk briefly about how shorebirds are tagged and studied. There will be a lot of pictures, and some tips on how you can help with a few aspects of shorebird conservation. The main purpose is to broaden your horizons, help point out some of the birds you might be sharing the beach with, and show everyone that shorebirds are not that tricky to identify.

Tuesday September 23 at 3:15pm in room 4-517.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

First WGSA meeting of the 2014-2015 academic year!

Fellow Warnellians,
This year’s first, official WGSA Meeting will be held next week on Wednesday, September 3rd at 6:00pm at Jace Nelson’s house (393 Richard Way). Before complaining about faculty members and data sets, we’ll discuss upcoming events and programs, the new website, and cool swag. Tasty, Georgia bbq and frosty beers will be provided. However, remember that WGSA offers much more than a free meal… Want to improve your resume with volunteer activities?  WGSA!  Need advice on which professors make good committee members?  WGSA! Is there an intruder in your house at this very moment?  Forget WGSA, get out of the house and call the police!
We look forward to sharing some hot pizza and cold beer with all of you at the Graduate Student Reception tonight (a.k.a. “Ring of Fire”) at Flinchum’s Phoenix in Whitehall (doors open at 5:30).

WGSA Officers

Ring of Fire

The Warnell graduate student orientation social is tonight, August 28th, at Flinchum's Phoenix at Whitehall. The doors open at 5:30 and the social begins at 6:00. There will be pizza and beer, as well as great opportunities to meet fellow grad students and Warnell faculty. Please plan to attend, and we looking forward to meeting new folks, and caching up with returning students!

You can check out the flier for the event, which has directions and all pertinent info.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Getting the Dirt on Natural Resources - Jace Nelson

Jace Nelson discusses his research on Gulf sturgeon as a host for freshwater mussel metamorphosis. This work is fascinating! If you get an opportunity to go out to Whitehall, be sure to check out Jace's sturgeon.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

WGSA Workshop Series - LaTeX

Post-workshop materials:
Presentation slides
BibTeX slides

This will be the first workshop in the WGSA Workshop Series - September 9th at 4:00pm in room 4-132.

LaTeX is a document preparation system, and a tool that I have found immensely helpful for writing documents and creating presentations. I'm still a novice using the program and have a lot to learn; however, I don't think I'll ever go back to using Word and hope to never battle Equation Editor again! What I like about LaTeX is that you can control every aspect of the document, but you also don't have to spend a lot of time doing it. Similar to R, there are commands to control format, which can save time and create professional looking documents with ease. The interface is more like programming, but it's not as intimidating as it may seem at first. One of the biggest attractors for me is the ease with which to create equations, insert figures, and keep track of them. For example, the program can number your equations automatically. So, if you move them around they will renumber for you; the same for figures and tables.

This workshop will be an overview of how to get started with LaTeX. We will create a document, add figures and tables, create equations, and add a bibliography. I will come with a list of tasks that I have found useful, and commonly use, but please bring questions and ideas to work on as a group. If you have specific things you know you want to work on, please email me ahead of time so I can make time for it during the workshop.

Before coming to the workshop, please do the following:
  • Bring a charged laptop with you; computers will not be provided
  • Install the LaTex program - I recommend TexStudio as a nice interface
  • Try to create a simple document to ensure the installation was successful
  • Have a figure or two to insert into your document (these can be anything!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Room Scheduling

To schedule a conference room or classroom at Warnell you simply need to send an email request to and specify the desired room, the date and time of your event, and also the room specifications (number of people expecting , desired layout, power requirements, etc.) in case your requested room is unavailable. This service can also be used to reserve space out st Flinchum's at Whitehall.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Getting the Dirt on Natural Resources - Dr. Brad Cohen

Dr. Brad Cohen, a recent Warnell graduate and Post-doc in the Deer Lab, talks about how animals perceive their environments and the implications that has for understanding life histories, ecology, and wildlife management. Check it out!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Getting the Dirt on Natural Resources - Yenie Tran discusses forest economics

Getting the Dirt on Natural Resources is a podcast by the Warnell Graduate Student Association to highlight the breadth and diversity of research conducted by Warnell students. Our very first podcast is with Yenie Tran (profile at UGA Center for Forest Business site), a 3rd year PhD student, as she discusses her research focusing on forest economics in Georgia and throughout the country.

A big thank you to John Roark at for the audio editing for this podcast!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Wildlife Faculty Position Interviews

Warnell is currently seeking to hire for the wildlife faculty position, and will be conducting interviews over the next month. This is a great opportunity to attend the candidate seminars and also to provide feedback on their teach effectiveness. The hiring committee is interested in feedback from the student body, and has provided a lecture evaluation for your input. Please see the lecture schedule below.

Seminar/ lecture schedule:
* All seminars are scheduled to be held in the Dean's Conference Room

Candidate: Dr. Valerie Peters
June 16: 10:30-11:30
June 17: 10:30-11:30

Candidate: Dr. Andy Gregory
June 19: 10:30-11:30
June 20: 10:30-11:30

Candidate: Dr. James Martin
June 30: 2:00-3:00
July 1: 10:30-11:30

*For students who attend the seminars, please complete the form below and return to Dr. Steven Castleberry.

Teaching Effectiveness Evaluation Form

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Software tutorials

UGA offers access to, a site that hosts tutorials for a suite of software programs and programming languages. You can access from the My UGA Portal. Some of these tutorials include R, statistics in R, SQL, Access, Python, Perl, ArcGIS, etc. A great resource to be aware of!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Seeking Website Expertise

Are you looking for a way to get involved with the WGSA? Do you have expertise or an interest in website develop and maintenance? We could use some help updating this site as well as adding some creative flair with a focus on usability, efficiency, and simplicity. Please email us at if you are interested.

Thank you,
WGSA Officers

Friday, May 9, 2014


The idea behind these workshops - facilitated through the WGSA - is that they will be informal, student-led opportunities to share technical knowledge that could help to improve the efficiency with which other students learn those skills. This initiative was born through conversations highlighting similar threads of objectives and frustrations, and an idea that if we can foster more of an academic sharing community within Warnell, perhaps we can all progress more efficiently and more effectively. Not to mention, it may create more of a sense of community by bringing together students from different disciplines within Warnell.

Some potential topics that have been proposed include:
  • Data management and databases
  • LaTeX
  • R packages and modeling techniques
  • R language and programming
  • Bayesian analysis
  • SQL
These are just some topic ideas to get the ball rolling. Having said that, we will be actively seeking students who are interested in leading a workshop. You don't need to be an expert to lead a workshop, and no one is expecting that!  We plan to begin organizing these opportunities in the fall when most students are back on campus. Please let us know if you have a topic you're interested in leading, and also if there are topics you could benefit from if someone were willing to take the lead.

Contact us at:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Warnell merchandise for sale at graduation

If you are graduating, or attending for someone else, there will be an opportunity to purchase Warnell pint glasses, mugs, and sweatshirts with the Warnell logo. Sales will be between 4-5pm.

                                                   pint glasses - $5                       mugs - $8 

                                                                     sweatshirts - $25

Welcome to the WGSA site

Welcome to the NEW Warnell GSA site! It will be a work in progress as we migrate from the previous site and work out the kinks. Having said that, if you have a passion for web site design and management - please let us know! We hope that this site will continue to provide useful information for Warnell students regarding academics, research highlights from the Warnell community, upcoming events, and opportunities for involvement. Check in often to see what's going on, and always feel free to offer suggestions for improvement!