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Department News

Posted: October 7, 2017

Summer/Fall 2017, Issue No. 101

In Memory of Dr. Richard H. Yahner

YahnerPlaqueDedicationOn May 14, 2016, a group of Dr. Rich Yahner’s former graduate students and former colleagues from the School of Forest Resources gathered to dedicate a red oak tree and a plaque in his memory. Rich's son, Rich(ie) Yahner and daughter-in-law also attended. Attendees shared stories, memories, and tales of gratitYahnerPlaqueude. The memorial service was organized by Dr. Carolyn Mahan, one of Rich's former grad students who is now a professor at Penn State Altoona. Rich passed away on July 8, 2015, in San Diego, CA.

 

Wagner Receives Excellence in Science Award

TylerWagnerDr. Tyler Wagner, adjunct professor of fisheries ecology and assistant unit leader, PA Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, was honored for his outstanding research accomplishments and productivity at a spring 2016 meeting of scientists of the Cooperative Research Unit program.  The award recognizes the important work he has conducted on eastern brook trout. The following is an excerpt from the statement in support of his award:

“Dr. Wagner has published 22 peer-reviewed manuscripts since January 2014, with 11 of 21 published in the past fiscal year. His work on the conservation and management of eastern brook trout, a species of conservation concern throughout its native range, is the focus of this award.

“Dr. Wagner and his student’s work over the past year on eastern brook trout populations and their habitat made a substantial impact on conservation and management activities throughout the species native range in the eastern United States. Products from his modeling work have been used by a variety of conservation and management agencies and by other research groups funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For example, a regional brook trout species distribution model is being used by (1) the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to help prioritize streams for the agency's Unassessed Waters Program, (2) The Nature Conservancy to prioritize culverts for removal, as part of the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC; results found here), (3) an Appalachian LCC-funded project titled “Interactive Conservation Planning for the Appalachian LCC”, which is funded by the US Fish & Wildlife Service with the goal to coordinate broad-scale conservation effort by prioritizing terrestrial and aquatic areas of conservation interest, and (4) in a North Atlantic LCC Aquatic Habitat Assessment, titled “Chesapeake Bay Watershed Brook Trout Habitat and Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment.

“In addition, Dr. Wagner’s work on eastern brook trout resulted in his receiving the 2015 National Fish Habitat Award for Scientific Achievement in support of Fish Habitat Conservation for work eastern brook trout. This award was to recognize outstanding achievement in the use of science to improve fish habitat conservation.” 

 

Govere Receives Diversity Award

EphraimGovereDr. Ephraim Govere, director of our department’s Soil Research Cluster Lab, is one of three individuals honored with the Dr. William Henson Diversity Achievement Award for 2016. 

"He has demonstrated commitment to fostering an environment in which the values of diversity and multiculturalism are understood, developed and promoted," wrote his nominator. "That is shown by the cultural events Govere organizes for his department, the staff he has hired and the university events in which he has been involved."

However, his promotion of diversity goes beyond the college and the university. He has given cultural talks to every elementary school in State College through the Global Connections international speakers program, and he has participated in cultural-diversity panel discussions at Mount Nittany Medical Center to help healthcare providers develop cultural skills to provide care for an increasingly diverse Penn State student, faculty and staff population.

Govere, who teaches AG 160, Introduction to Ethics and Issues in Agriculture, each summer, was an invited speaker for the Eastern Analytical Symposium and Exposition in 2015. His topic was "What is Your Cultural Competence Level as a Laboratory Manager?" Since he gave the presentation, he has been asked to contribute diversity articles by several groups, including the Association of Laboratory Managers.

He also published an academic paper titled "Toward Culturally Competent Scientists: As International Collaboration Becomes Increasingly Common, Researchers Must Work to Limit Their Own Biases and Let Cultural Diversity Enhance Their Work." He was recently approached by the commissioning editor of the Analytical Scientist — a publication distributed worldwide — to write a diversity paper addressing cross-cultural competence. 

 

New Extension Educator

KimberlyBohnDr. Kimberly Bohn was appointed to the position of Extension Forestry Educator based in McKean County, effective June 20.  Kimberly earned her Ph.D. in Forest Resource Management at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and had been working as an associate professor at the University of Florida for the last several years. She has extensive experience in teaching about silviculture, forest ecology, and natural resources conservation. During her time with the University of Florida, she also did extensive research on forest ecosystem responses following active management and natural disturbances, and the management of invasive species in forest ecosystems.

Kimberly joins a statewide team of professional educators focused on providing diverse forest resources programming and assisting forest landowners and natural resource professionals in gaining knowledge, making decision, and acquiring skills to manage forest resources.

She can be reached at the McKean County Extension Office, 17129 Route 6, Smethport, PA 16749, 814-887-5613, kkb29@psu.edu

 

New NPS Partner

Dr. Peter Sharpe is the regional hydrologist for the Northeast Region of the National Park Service (NPS). His duty station was recently changed from Philadelphia to University Park and his office is now in 423 Forest Resources Building (phone 814-865-7974, e-mail peter_sharpe@nps.gov.

Pete earned his Ph.D. in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Science at the University of Maryland and his M.S. in Environmental Pollution Control at Penn State. He joined the National Park Service in 2010 as the Northeast Regional Natural Resources Condition Assessment Coordinator following his post-doc work with the Institute for Research Technology and Agriculture (IRTA) in Catalonia, Spain.  

As the Northeast Regional Hydrologist he now serves 85 inland and coastal parks and park units from southern Virginia to Northern Maine.  His scientific expertise falls within the fields of tidal and non-tidal wetland ecology and water resource management.  He has more than 15 years of experience in applied wetland science and water resource management ranging from wetland delineations and habitat restoration to surface/ground water monitoring.  He regularly collaborates with other aquatic resource specialists within and outside the NPS on topics ranging from nitrogen deposition in coastal marshes to mercury concentrations in fish tissue.  

Pete is the son of alumnus and professor emeritus of forest hydrology Bill Sharpe.

With Pete's arrival, the National Park Service Cooperative Studies Unit is again fully staffed after the retirements of John Karish and Wayne Millington. The unit has been based at Penn State since 1974 and includes nine NPS employees with offices in the Forest Resources Building and Buckhout Lab.