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.
Elena Bennett, professor of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University in Canada, delivered the Heuermann Lecture to about 150 people at the Nebraska Innovation Campus on January 14. She met with NRT students for informal discussion on January 16 and had lunch with smaller groups of professors and students during the week.
Agronomy master's student Alison Ludwig gave a lightning talk and presented a poster, "Prescribed Fire as a Land Management Tool for the Endangered American Burying Beetle," at the 2019 Nebraska Prescribed Fire Conference in Kearney, Nebraska, on December 10. School of Natural Resources doctoral student Conor Barnes also gave a lightning talk.
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 on November 25. Afterward, all three received Heuermann medals, and participants watched the "Follow the Water" documentary while eating dinner together.
Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative events around campus all week, including breakfast with civil rights icon Ruby Bridges on January 22
March 2-May 8
NRT professor Francisco Munoz-Arriola and professor Thiago Romanelli of Universidade de Sao Paulo in Brazil co-teach the minicourse "Decision Making and Attribution Science of Socio-Agro-Ecological Systems"
Spring break (university offices remain open Monday-Friday)
Doctoral student Lyndsie Wszola co-teaches a course on building interactive decision support tools in R at SESYNC in Annapolis, Maryland