Alumni Highlight: Tim DePriest

Former Department of Natural Resources MS student, Tim DePriest, is now working at the NYS DEC in Buffalo as an ecologist focusing on conservation, improvement, and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat in the highly urbanized Niagara River Corridor. Tim is working mainly on giving guidance on large scale habitat improvement projects for the New York Power Authority in operating the Niagara Power project, planning and implementing habitat projects to complete with NYPA funding, serving as a chair on a committee that gives funding for local non-for-profits, universities, and local governments for ecologically research and restoration, and pursuing land acquisition for conservation and public access.

Tim has also been teaching as an adjunct instructor at the University of Buffalo (SSC 441: “Wildlife and Wildland Management”) stemming from his goal to be an educator from his MS work with Marianne Krasny.

Visit  the website that describes some of his work and has information on funding for projects here: http://niagara.nypa.gov/EcologicalStandingCommittee/EcoStanddefault.htm

Kristi Sullivan and Shorna Allred Selected for Engaged Learning + Research Faculty Fellowship Program

Kristi Sullivan and Shorna Allred were recently selected to be members of the Engaged Learning + Research Faculty Fellowship Program at Cornell University. The mission of this fellowship program is to build and contribute towards professional development of engaged learning and research methodologies through developing a research project. Kristi and Shorna will contribute to meetings with other faculty fellows where they will share their ideas and provide feedback to others’ theories, models, and challenges of developing community engaged research and learning.

DNR Named One of the Top Ten Best U.S. College Environmental Programs

The Department of Natural Resources was recently listed as one of the top ten best U.S. college environmental programs by Mother Nature Network. The article explains that Cornell’s Natural Resources program began as the country’s oldest forestry college and now offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in several concentrations. DNR’s exceptional off-campus and extension opportunities set it aside from other environmental programs by providing students and faculty with the opportunity to extend their academic and professional experience outside of the classroom and into the community.

Keith Tidball Represents NY EDEN at NCSE 2013 National Conference

On January 15-17, 2013, DNR’s Dr. Keith Tidball presented at the National Council on Science and the Environment (NCSE) National Conference. This year the topic was Disasters And Environment: Science, Preparedness, And Resilience. Tidball represented the New York Extension Disaster Education Network, NY EDEN, and collaborated with National EDEN Chair Rick Atterberry, National EDEN Homeland Security project leader Steve Cain, National EDEN web manager Pat Skinner, and National EDEN immediate past chair Virginia Morgan White. NY EDEN members discuss and submit recommendations to Congress, the White House, and other federal and state government institutions on establishing community resilience through extension programs.

The Disasters and Environment Conference  discussed the increased frequency of natural disasters and why decision-making in the science and technology world must work to develop communities that can better prepare and respond to these environmental disasters. There were more than 1,200 leaders from government agencies, emergency response, scientific, policy, conservation, and business communities, who will transcend boundaries to create new strategies and initiatives.

Mark B. Bain Graduate Fellowship Program

The Hudson River Foundation renamed its graduate fellowship program in honor of former DNR Systems Ecology professor Mark Bain as a testament to the outstanding impact of his research on the Hudson River. Specifically, Dr. Bain studied sturgeons and ecosystem restoration and conservation of the Hudson River and estuary.

There will be up to six research graduate fellowships in honor of Dr. Bain awarded to graduate students conducting research on the Hudson River.

For details and more information about the fellowship visit  http://www.hudsonriver.org/graduate_fellow.html.

Alumni Highlight: Sarah Bellos

Sarah Bellos (DNR ’04, RPM) is president at Stony Creek Colors, a manufacturer of natural colorants from sustainable domestic plant resources.  Stony Creek Colors is working with pioneering textile dyehouses and manufacturers to introduce natural colorants into their fashion lines.  She works to build the sustainability and profitability of small and medium-size farms and forestry operations in the Southeastern U.S. through these value-added dye crops.   Bellos sees natural colorants as an ideal industrial crop for small farmers who may have difficulty accessing markets for other emerging sectors of the bioeconomy, such as biofuels, due to their size or access to resources.  According to Bellos, “Keeping productive land in agriculture depends on our society finding innovative ways to support American farmers. Development of new industrial crops such as natural colorants gives consumers options beyond buying fresh tomatoes at the farmers market to support U.S. growers, for example buying a pair of jeans made with American cotton and dyed with American Indigo. At the same time, we offer the opportunity for growers to choose a crop that may better fit their specific growing conditions, equipment, or labor.”  Indigo, for example, is a leguminous crop which fixes nitrogen, and is a nematode suppressant, making it a valuable addition to a diversified cropping system.  She welcomes potential DNR researchers interested in a Life Cycle Assessment comparing US grown natural colorants to synthetic (imported) dyes.

Bellos is also a partner in Southern Hues (www.southernhues.com), producing scarves dyed in the U.S. with “farmer grown color.” She lives on a small farm in Whites Creek, TN and occasionally blogs about life there at www.interdependencefarm.com. While an undergraduate at Cornell, Bellos was production manager of Dilmun Hill Student Farm, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, an Intramural Sports Supervisor and participated in Spring ’03 Cornell in Washington.  She is a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program and was one of five better world entrepreneurs selected into the 2011 Wild Gift network.

Dr. Kassam Elected Foreign Member (Academician) of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan

After 7 consecutive years of research in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Professor Karim-Aly Kassam of Cornell University and Senior Research Fellow of the University of Central Asia was elected Foreign Member (Academician) of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan on December 12th, 2012. Professor Kassam was also appointed English Language Editor of the Journal of the Biological and Medical Sciences of the Academy.

The election followed Professor Kassam’s short presentation where he outlined the work of his research group, which includes young scholars from Central Asia, with indigenous communities at high latitudes (Arctic and sub-Arctic) and high altitudes (Mountains).  The president of the Academy,  who is a mathematician and the Vice-President, who is a biologist, as well as the Directors of the Institutes of Physics and Botany spoke in support of his interdisciplinary work. They described how he has linked climate change with food sovereignty, medicinal plants with conservation of plant biodiversity and health, sacred sites with ecological sustainability, and indigenous knowledge with science. They described how his work on bio-cultural diversity builds on pluralism.

This is not just an important milestone for Professor Kassam but for Cornell as a Land Grant University to the world.

To read the article in Cornell’s Sustainable Campus, go to: http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/blogs/news/posts/prof-kassam-honored-for-international-work-with-indigenous-communities

DNR receives large grant from EPAs Great Lakes National Program Office

DNR faculty Lars Rudstam and associate Jim Watkins teamed up with the Center for Great Lakes Studies at Buffalo State College (Drs. Alexander Karatayev and Lyuba Burlakova) to study lower trophic levels (benthos, zooplankton, mysids, algae) in all of the Laurentian Great Lakes from Lake Superior to Lake Ontario.  Funding is through EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and is for five years.  In addition to monitoring lower trophic levels on annual research cruises with EPA’s Lake Guardian, the research team will study the deep chlorophyll layer that is increasing in importance in the lakes, the ecological role of mysid shrimps, the detection of invasive species, and the use of indices of biotic integrity.  Of importance is also improved connection between lower trophic level assessment and fisheries management across the basin.  Two technicians and two graduate students at Cornell and one technician and a graduate student at Buffalo State will team up with the PI in this new initiative.  This work is a continuation of DNR and the Cornell Biological Field Station’s (CBFS) leadership in assessing and researching lower trophic levels in the Great Lakes; work that started with the collaborations between Bob O’Gorman at US Geological Survey and Ed Mills at CBFS almost 30 years ago.  We are building on a firm foundation.

Lake Champlain Sea Grant workshop: Alewife and rainbow smelt interactions in Lake Champlain

On Friday, January 11, Lars Rudstam, Pat Sullivan, and Paul Simonin led a workshop focused on rainbow smelt and alewife dynamics in Lake Champlain. Rainbow smelt are native to this lake, but alewife became established over the past six years, raising many questions as to how the lake’s ecology and fisheries may subsequently change. A simulation model was used at the workshop which allowed participants to consider the effect of alewife on rainbow smelt, and how various biophysical changes in the lake may affect the future distribution and abundance of rainbow smelt and alewife in Champlain.

Rethinking Coastal Development after Hurricane Sandy

Rebecca Schneider, DNR Associate Professor, wrote an editorial piece about development along our coasts and major natural disasters. Here’s a quote from this piece “This is the right time for our federal, state and local governments to take a different approach – a more sustainable solution that recognizes that shoreline habitats are naturally dynamic and resilient.” Click here to read the whole statement.