Please join me in congratulating the following CALS teaching, staff, and student awardees. (Note that Research and Extension awards are a separate process and are announced in the fall.) It’s awesome to see so many winning nominations this year from our department!
Carter Loftus, ALS ’14 (Natural Resources and Biology), and Devin McMahon, ALS ’14 (Biology, active in NTRES): Goldwater Scholarship
Michelle Baumflek: NTRES TA of the year
Nirav Patel: Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Core Biology Program – BIOG 1440
Darrick Evensen: James Slevin Assignment Sequence Prize from the Knight Writing Institute, the Gertrude Spencer Portfolio Award from the Knight Writing Institute, and the Cornell best student sermon award (top chosen from 18 student entries) about Deuteronomy and fracking
Shorna Allred: Kaplan Service Learning Award (one of two awards chosen from 40 entries)
Sarah Gould: SUNY Award for Excellence in Professional Service
Karim-Aly Kassam: CALS Diversity Award
Joe Yavitt: NACTA (North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture) Teaching Award
Thanks to Carter, Devin, Michelle, Nirav, Darrick, Shorna, Sarah, Karim, and Joe for the commitment that has led to this recognition.
In Ningxia, China, the average annual rainfall in only about 6 inches. Associate professor Rebecca Schneider, along with professor James Lassoie, senior research associates Stephen Morreale and Ruth Sherman, and Crop and Soil Science professor Harold van Es, have made several trips to Ningxia in the past two years to help improve the dry, sandy soils in China. They have developed a method to sequester water and add components into the upper soil layer to maximize the use of limited rainfall to contribute to soil fertility and carbon sequestration.
A research plot in China
Last August, the researchers prepared a test field using compost materials from the white poplar tree (Populous alba). They will now look at alternative soil types to improve plant growth. In addition to the research effort, the project has been expanded into an extension site for policymakers and the public. Eventually, it will be brought into a Chinese “harmonious village,” where residents relocated from rural areas can learn how to apply the soil enhancement technique in their own gardens.
This project is located at the Ningxia Forestry Institute’s State Key Laboratory of Seedling Bioengineering, working with Li Changxiao, a professor at the Southwest University in Chongqing, China, and a former Humphrey fellow at Cornell, in a three-year collaborative project between the Chinese government and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As part of a two-year INTEL science internship program, Steven Kalayam worked with Schneider to develop his own small-scale project testing the efficiency of organic matter amendments in reducing water run-off. Kalayam used a native species of aspen similar to the poplar grown in Ningxia so his results are relevant to the evidence Schneider is collecting to present to the local people.
Check out these articles to read more about the project:
DNR undergraduate, Laura Mortelliti, won the Roosevelt Wild Life Station at SUNY-ESF Best Student Poster Award for her poster on her research on terns at the 69th Annual Northeast Fish & Wildlife Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. This annual event attracts over 500 natural resources professionals in the fields of wildlife biology, fisheries and fisheries management, information and education and law enforcement. The event provides opportunities for education, discussion, and exchanging of ideas. Highlights include: over 50 workshop sessions, keynote speakers, poster displays, and social networking events.
Laura is one Paul Curtis‘s advisees and treasurer of the The Wildlife Society student chapter. She is completing a senior honors thesis with Dr. Curtis using the common tern data from her internship at the Cornell Biological Field Station. Laura has worked on waterbirds at Oneida Lake with Dr. Curtis and Elizabeth Craig for the past two summers.
DNR undergraduate, Gaby Roman,was nominated by Dr. Linda Rayor for her contributions as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) Teacher from the NSF-Noyce Scholarship Program. Gaby Roman is one of Paul Curtis‘s advisees who is very interested in environmental education. She borrowed deer hides, skulls, and antlers for youth programs concerning deer biology and management at local schools.
DNR’s Paul Curtis, Gary Goff, and Jay Boulanger, recently published an article in Cornell’s Small Farm Quarterly Spring 2013 issue. The article discusses the difficulty in forest regeneration with the overabundance of white-tailed deer. They explain that the deer will selectively browse and remove tree seedlings up to 6 feet tall, making it hard for young trees to successfully regenerate. They explain the key components for successful forest regeneration, challenges to regeneration, and potential solutions.
Click here to read the full article.
The Cornell Adirondack Fishery Research Program was recognized with a Stewardship Award by the Adirondack Landowners Association (ALA) for 2012. The Stewardship Award recognizes organizations and individuals for their stewardship contributions to the Adirondacks. DNR’s Cliff Kraft is a researcher at field headquarters at the Little Moose Lodge. The presentation to the Cornell Adirondack Fishery Research Program truly highlights the unique partnership that private landowners in the Adirondacks have with the scientific and educational community. The 62 year partnership between the Adirondack League Club and Cornell demonstrates what can be accomplished through long term collaborative research. The improvement of aquatic ecosystems in the Adirondack Park and the enhancement of a world renowned cold water fishery are part of the lasting legacy of this unique partnership.
Click here to read more.
Mark Whitmore announced that the invasive species, emerald ash borer (EAB), has been found in the Capital Region in the Albany area. EAB attacks ash trees and eventually kills the trees, causing them to fall and cause damage. Whitemore warns that people with ash trees on their property must make sure they keep a watch out for signs of EAB. He and other officials recommend that people treat their ash trees with pesticides to help prevent EAB from spreading.
DNR Professor, Joseph Yavitt, has been named the 2013 recipient of the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Teaching Award of Merit. This award recognizes excellence in the teaching of an agricultural discipline. Yavitt will be presented with this award at the Dean’s Awards Reception on April 22.
Department of Natural Resources Senior Extension Associate, Keith Tidball, recently presented as the keynote talk at the Horticultural Society of New York‘s annual Healing Nature Forum: Planting the Seeds of Health and Sustainability (formerly The Horticultural Therapy Forum). His presentation was entitled Nature and Green Spaces: Sources, Sites, and Systems of Resilience and Other Re-words. This forum focused on information that integrates programming, policy-making, and fundraising with non-profits, social services, healthcare industry, and community groups. Therapeutic horticulture can improve the body, mind and spirit through passive or active involvement.
Two students involved in Natural Resources have been awarded the Goldwater Scholarship, along with two additional Cornell students. Carter Loftus, ’14 majors in Biology (with a concentration in Neurobiology and Behavior) and in Natural Resources (with a concentration in Applied Ecology). He is involved in research on honeybee behavior with Tom Seeley, has done field research on wild dolphin acoustic communication, and volunteers at Cornell’s Center for Animal Resources and Education socializing dogs used in research. Devin McMahon, ’14, is a Biology major who was a research and extension intern in the Department of Natural Resources under Kristi Sullivan and Steve Morreale, collecting data related to forest management and natural gas pipelines as well as studying salamander populations as indicators of forest floor health.
The Goldwater Scholarship is a national award that supports college sophomores and juniors who intend careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering. Recipients are selected based on academic merit and research experience. The sponsoring foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The scholarship provides $7500 toward tuition, fees, books, room, and board.
You may view the entire list of scholars at http://www.act.org/goldwater/sch-2013.html. This year was more competitive than ever with only 271 scholarships awarded (as opposed to the usual 300+); there were 1,107 applicants from across the country.