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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Join SENR in Welcoming Our New Faculty

Sep. 22, 2014
Dr. Alia Dietsch joins the school as an assistant professor of Parks, Protected Areas, and Natural Resources Management after serving as a social scientist with the United States Geological Survey and doctoral work at Colorado State University.  She is an applied social scientist that uses a social psychological approach to understand the role of humans in natural resources and conservation challenges.
Dietsch brings with her a wealth of experience in working with state and federal natural resource agencies to inform planning, management and communication efforts. She has published numerous reports and scholarly articles in support of her research efforts. Dietsch is also engaged in research on human thought about wildlife, including human-wildlife interactions, in the interest of informing management decisions.
Undergraduate students have the opportunity to interact with Dietsch right from the start as she teaches ENR 5640 – Natural Resources Planning offered autumn semester and a requirement for natural resource management and environmental policy and decision making majors in the school. She welcomes the opportunity to engage students in understanding the role of planning in natural resources management, and believes that “Planning is a critical part of ensuring the actions we aim to implement not only meet our goals and objectives, but are effective, feasible, fiscally-responsible and reasonable given a changing society.”
On the opportunity to join the school and The Ohio State University, Dietsch remarked, “I am really excited about the interdisciplinary nature of SENR and working at such a well-recognized and respected university.”
Moving to Ohio in some respects is a homecoming for Dietsch, despite the fact that she is a new state resident. She has roots in Findlay where her extended family owns and operates Dietsch Brothers, a fine chocolate and ice cream shop that has been in business since 1937.
Dr. Christopher Tonra joins the school as an assistant professor of Avian Ecology.  Not only does Tonra bring with him a longstanding affection and interest in birds, but also expertise in integrating the fields of behavior, physiology, and ecology.
Tonra has been interested in birds since he was 13 years old and after earning his undergraduate degree in anthropology and working in a variety of jobs Tonra decided to academically pursue his passion by enrolling in a graduate program at Humboldt State University where he studied the relationship between habitat and reproduction in cowbirds.
Upon completion of his master’s degree Tonra enrolled in a biology doctoral program at the University of Maine where he studied the physiology of bird migration.
His post-doctoral work included fellowships at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC where where he studied interactions between birds and salmon during the largest dam removal in US history on the Elwha River in Washington State.
At Ohio State Tonra will grow his research in these areas and notes he is especially interested in working closely with state wildlife agencies and anticipates their needs will serve as a guide to his future research. 
Besides leading and developing his research program, Tonra is currently co-teaching ENR 3300 – Introduction to Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife with professors Williams and Dabrowski.
Tonra is ecstatic about the opportunity to cheer on the Buckeyes this season and experiencing a region of the United States he has not yet lived in (he hails from New York).
Besides joining the ranks of the faculty this semester, the new faculty also have cycling in common. Both report enjoying biking to work and Dietsch shares that biking is her primary mode of transportation and has been for the past 3 years.