Peter Smallidge Interviewed on NPR on RNYW

On May 10th, NYFOA President, Jim Minor, and DNR’s Peter Smallidge, also a NYFOA board member, were interviewed on Susan Arbetter’s Capitol Report, a NPR program out of Albany, regarding NYFOA’s Restore New York Woodlands (RNYW) initiative. To listen here’s a link to the program. Smallidge and Minor are on in the last 15 minutes of the hour-long program so move the slider over 3/4 of the way.

Renovated Fernow Hall is Now Open!

After two years of renovations, DNR’s home of Fernow Hall is now open! The renovated building now has a rain garden to control stormwater runoff, a garden terrace for use by the faculty and staff, and solar panels. Renovated Fernow has 4 floors and two classrooms, one of which was built as a modern extension to the historic building with floor to ceiling glass windows.

Click here to read the article in the Daily Sun about Fernow’s transformation:

Laura Martin Invited to Join GEO Biodiversity Observation Network

DNR PhD student Laura Martin has been invited to join the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network’s terrestrial species monitoring working group. The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) was launched in 2002 in response to the widely identified need for adequate information to support environmental decision making. GEO is a voluntary partnership of 73 national governments and 46 participating organizations. It provides a framework within which these partners can coordinate their strategies and investments for Earth observation. This summer Laura will travel to Lisbon, Portugal, to work with GEO BON participants.

Darrick Evensen Wins Jewish Sermon Contest on Fracking

DNR grad student, Darrick Evensen, recently won a Jewish sermon contest for his interpretation of the Torah, other Jewish literature, and rabbinic responses as they relate to individual and societal obligations associated with shale gas development.

The contest came with a $1800 cash award.  Evensen plans to donate a few hundred dollars of the winnings to “Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light”, an interfaith organization (Jewish, Christian, Muslin, and several other religions) that works to increase stewardship of God’s earth by mitigating the consequences of climate change.  This group has put forth a nicely nuanced position statement on “Marcellus Shale Drilling.”).


Grad Student Nirav Patel Selected As Outstanding Graduate TA

DNR graduate student Nirav Patel was nominated and selected to be the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Core Biology Program (BIOG 1440) for 2012-13. The award values the important contribution made towards the core biology instructional program and recognizes the distinguished performance in this vital role.

Nirav Patel is a graduate assistant at the Human Dimension Research Unit (HDRU) working with Dr. Richard Stedman on his doctoral work. His research is focused on the role of community perception, specifically the attitudes of Educators and Students towards Renewable Energy Systems (RES) and its impact on assessing Renewable Energy Literacy (REL). He has been actively involved in teaching various biology courses at Cornell University. He has also served as a visiting lecturer for PSP introductory biology courses and served as an instructor for the introductory biology cluster-writing program. He has also worked as a teaching fellow at the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) for new graduate students, a position that involved instruction in methods of teaching, development of course materials, and evaluation of new graduate instructors.

Nirav Patel will be recognized at a lunch reception on May 08, 2013.

HDRU Faculty Published in Essential Wildlife Textbook

Several articles by The Human Dimensions Research Unit were included in the recently published textbook Essential Readings in Wildlife Management and Conservation. The book is edited by Paul Krausman and Bruce Leopold, and includes forty-two essential papers on wildlife management and conservation, each with a commentary and associated publications. Daniel Decker and Barbara Knuth, along with former NTRES faculty Charles Krueger, Richard Baer, Jr., and Milo E. Richmond, have an article entitled “From Clients to Stakeholders: A Philosophical Shift for Fish and Wildlife Management” in the philosophical section of the book. Dr. Decker also has two other articles in the human dimensions section: “Human Dimensions of living with wildlife– a management challenge for the 21st century” written with Lisa Chase, and “Public Attitudes Toward a Suburban Deer Herd” written with Thomas Gavin.

NTRES Faculty, Staff, and Student Awards

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.


Project in China Helps to Restore Arid Soils

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.

Rebecca Schneider

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:

Laura Mortelliti Wins Roosevelt Wild Life Station at SUNY-ESF Best Student Poster Award

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.