Pennsylvania private forest landowners value fire as tool to manage woodlands

June 13, 2024

Fire can help shape ecosystems, and after a century of suppressing naturally occurring fire that has thrown forests out balance, some states — including Pennsylvania — are using controlled burns to help manage forests on public lands. Now, a new four-state study by a team of Penn State researchers shows that many private landowners in the Keystone State value controlled burns and are willing to pay for them on their woodlands, too.

Bruns receives the 2024 Commonwealth Award from the One Health Microbiome Center

June 5, 2024

Mary Ann Bruns, professor of soil microbiology and biogeochemistry in the College of Agricultural Sciences, received the Commonwealth Award from Penn State’s One Health Microbiome Center on May 30.

Penn State Sustainable Labs Program concludes second year, expands on successes

May 21, 2024

The Sustainable Labs Program provides educational support and networking opportunities to labs across Penn State, helping them implement changes to become more energy and resource efficient. Actions taken by participating labs are estimated to result in over $155,000 in savings for the University and reduce about 490 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Industry fellowship provides real-world experience for doctoral student

May 16, 2024

Xialing Zhao, a doctoral candidate in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, participated in the college's first-of-its-kind summer fellowship pairing Penn State graduate students with industry mentors to help students navigate the transition from academia to careers in industry.  

Surviving ash trees may hold key to saving multiple species of the trees

May 3, 2024

The invasive insect emerald ash borer is killing ash trees at an unprecedented rate in the United States, and now five North American species of ash are considered critically endangered, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service. But a small percentage are surviving, and research by Forest Service scientists suggests that those trees may hold the key for saving the species. In an effort to unlock the answer, researchers in the Louis W. Schatz Center for Tree Molecular Genetics at Penn State are working with The Nature Conservancy and the USDA Forest Service to conduct genomic analysis of range-wide collections of green ash, white ash and black ash.

Meet Penn State’s three Goldwater Scholars for 2024-25

April 29, 2024

Three Penn Staters have been selected as Goldwater Scholars for 2024-25: Nate Carey, Bridget Reheard and Mabel Tong. Goldwater Scholars are selected for their potential as leaders in the fields of natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.

Six Penn State faculty elected to 2023 cohort of AAAS Fellows

April 18, 2024

Six Penn State faculty members in areas ranging from neuropharmacology to computer architecture have been elected to the 2023 cohort of fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. This year, AAAS recognized a total of 502 scientists, engineers and innovators with this lifetime honor, bestowed by their peers, for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.

Penn State Climate Consortium awards 11 climate action workshops

April 18, 2024

Penn State Climate Consortium announced 11 workshops designed to create and implement climate change solutions through its Climate Solutions Accelerator program.

Three Penn Staters earn national Goldwater Scholarships

April 10, 2024

Penn State undergraduates Nate Carey, Bridget Reheard and Mabel Tong have earned the 2024 Goldwater Scholarship, a national award that recognizes undergraduates who show exceptional potential as leaders.

Environmental resource management student is a USDA Future Leader in Agriculture

March 18, 2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recognized Emma Chaplin, a second-year student majoring in environmental resource management in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, as a Future Leader in Agriculture.

Forest, stream habitats keep energy exchanges in balance, global team finds

March 13, 2024

Forests and streams are separate but linked ecosystems, existing side by side, with energy and nutrients crossing their porous borders and flowing back and forth between them. For example, leaves fall from trees, enter streams, decay and feed aquatic insects. Those insects emerge from the waters and are eaten by birds and bats. An international team led by Penn State researchers has now found that these ecosystems appear to keep the energy exchanges in balance — a finding that the scientists called surprising. 

Student Engagement Network Grants can fund a wide range of student projects

March 1, 2024

Undergraduate students from all campuses and majors can now apply for a Student Engagement Network Grant to support a variety of engagement experiences during Maymester and summer 2024. Engagement experiences can take many forms and grants of $1,000 to $2,000 can help students cover many kinds of costs.

Common plant could help reduce food insecurity, researchers find

February 16, 2024

An often-overlooked water plant that can double its biomass in two days, capture nitrogen from the air — making it a valuable green fertilizer — and be fed to poultry and livestock could serve as life-saving food for humans in the event of a catastrophe or disaster, a new study led by Penn State researchers suggests.

Penn State Extension to host webinars on the impact of war on forests in Ukraine

February 15, 2024

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is affecting human lives and the environment. Penn State Extension will explore these impacts during its webinar series, “The War in Ukraine: Impacts on the People, Forests, and Environment,” scheduled for noon to 1:30 p.m. Fridays, beginning March 1 and continuing through May 3.

No place like Antarctica: Students take study abroad trip of a lifetime

February 7, 2024

For the first time, Penn State students could experience Antarctica’s wonders through an embedded course, “Antarctica: Human Impacts on a Fragile Environment,” offered this past fall.

Aspiring natural resource professionals showcase skills in Dendro Cup contest

January 30, 2024

On a brisk afternoon in December, students in a forestry course in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences ventured into a wooded field on the University Park campus, eager to discover woody plant specimens and claim bragging rights in the second annual Dendro Cup competition. Designed by instructors Eric Burkhart and Calvin Norman, the competition evaluates the expertise gained by students in the morning and afternoon sections of their fall semester field dendrology course.

Six researchers recognized with Institute of Energy and the Environment Awards

January 29, 2024

Six Penn State researchers who were nominated by the Penn State community for their collaborative, interdisciplinary research efforts were recognized with Institute of Energy and the Environment’s Research Awards.

Research to help private forest owners manage woodlands for ecosystem services

January 17, 2024

Funded by a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a team of forest ecologists and social scientists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will conduct research aimed at helping owners of small- to medium-sized forest tracts manage their woodlands for ecosystem services they deem desirable.    

Novel, interdisciplinary training program launched for doctoral degree students

January 16, 2024

A team comprised of faculty from five departments in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Biology in the Eberly College of Science, funded by a $262,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has created a novel program to train doctoral degree students to conduct interdisciplinary research on the relationship between soils, plants and consumers.

College of Ag Sciences student aspires to drive innovation in climate solutions

January 4, 2024

The environmental resource management major offered by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences helps to prepare students for impactful careers centered on environmental protection and sustainability. Demonstrating a commitment to addressing climate challenges, fourth-year student Katherine Chu has embraced the opportunities that the program provides to contribute to innovative solutions.

Q&A: Why small organisms can make big impacts on climate, emissions

December 15, 2023

Mary Ann Bruns, Penn State professor of soil microbiology and biogeochemistry, co-authored a new report that advocates for greater recognition of the microbial processes involved in methane production and consumption as society seeks solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.

Crab-eating monkey one of Florida’s greatest threats to ecosystems, human health

December 15, 2023

A first-of-its-kind study for North America accumulated a list of potential invasive species for the state of Florida, with 40 species determined to pose the greatest threat to residents’ well-being. One species received the highest possible ranking for likelihood of invasion and threat to human health: the crab-eating macaque monkey.

NSF program takes environmental resource management student to Montana

November 29, 2023

Second-year student Sylvie Alexander, an environmental resource management major in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, spent last summer conducting research on the Flathead Indian Reservation located in western Montana. Her work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates program.

College of Ag Sciences recognizes faculty, staff for research achievements

November 21, 2023

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences lauded outstanding accomplishments in research during the 2023 Research Awards Ceremony, held Nov. 1 at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on the University Park campus.

NASA awards multi-institutional team $1M grant to inform US forest management

November 15, 2023

A research team led by a Penn State ecologist has received a $1 million grant from NASA to integrate satellite data into predictive modeling to anticipate change in recruitment — the process by which new trees emerge — within forests across the eastern United States.  

College of Ag Sciences hosts first-generation college student networking event

November 6, 2023

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences recently hosted a networking event for first-generation college students and advocates as part of the inaugural ERM 197: First Year, First-Gen Engagement seminar.

Collaborative landscape design approach may improve resiliency, human well-being

November 6, 2023

A framework called regenerative landscape design may improve how complex, interconnected environmental and social challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, are addressed, according to a new study led by Penn State researchers.

'Growing Impact' examines landscape restoration in Malawi

November 2, 2023

The latest episode of the "Growing Impact" podcast discusses landscape restoration as a potential natural climate solution for Africa.

Penn State team to help local groups reduce pollution in lower Susquehanna basin

October 27, 2023

To accelerate conservation and reduce water pollution, a Penn State team composed of outreach staff and extension educators will build upon existing partnerships with organizations in the lower Susquehanna River basin. The watershed is plagued by runoff of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from agriculture.  

Trip to Uganda has a profound impact on Penn State graduate student

October 27, 2023

For doctoral student and agricultural educator Mia Sullivan, traveling to Uganda this past summer with Penn State’s Global Teach Ag Network will be the foundation for her studies and future career.