Much of the world—including the United States—faces increasing conflict as Earth’s human population continues to grow but the supply of good, clean water decreases. Water shortages and the struggle to determine how much should be used for agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife and drinking have sparked legal and policy battles. In addition, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, climate change and droughts threaten the availability of good, clean water. Resolving these complex issues requires the best scientific information and training of natural resource scientists, managers, engineers and policymakers.
The National Science Foundation established a National Research Traineeship program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to meet this need. As stated by the National Science Foundation, NRT programs are "dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs."
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln NRT program trains master’s and doctoral students in understanding resilience of agricultural ecosystems, particularly the Platte River Basin in Nebraska. The NRT students come from multiple disciplines—the natural, computational, engineering, agricultural and social sciences—to study panarchy theory, novel sensing technologies and modeling, adaptive management and policy interventions. They strive to develop tools that can collect, synthesize and analyze data to inform decisions and policies for managing water resources. They hope to keep the Platte River Basin and other agro-ecosystems healthy and resilient for all who depend upon them now and for generations to come.
Nebraska College of Law professor Anthony Schutz led a roundtable discussion about environmental law with NRT professors and students on December 11.
NRT director Craig Allen, NRT professor Andrea Basche and Michael Forsberg from the Platte Basin Timelapse delivered the Heuermann lecture, "Nebraska: An Ecosystem in Harmony," at the Nebraska Innovation Campus auditorium at 3:30 p.m. Afterward, all three received Heuermann medals, and participants watched the "Follow the Water" documentary while eating dinner together.
Kristal Stoner, executive director of Audubon Nebraska and former Nebraska Game and Parks Commission wildlife diversity program manager, presented "Audubon Nebraska: Spreading Wings in a Changing World" at a November 13 NRT meeting. She spoke to students about declining bird populations, the risks birds face today and the importance that their NRT research may play in advocating for birds.
Agronomy master's student Brittany Kirsch presented a poster, "Impact of Agricultural Land Use and Weather on Water Quality,” during the Tri-Societies Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on November 10-13. About 4,000 scientists, professionals, educators and students attended this joint international meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America.
December 23-January 1
University offices reopen
Spring semester begins
Elena Bennett, professor of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University in Canada, visits the NRT and delivers the Heuermann lecture at Nebraska
Martin Luther King Day--university offices closed on the 20th but commemorative events around campus all week