Student completes virtual internship with state Fish and Boat Commission

August 26, 2020

Junior Matthew Bellia, an Environmental Resource Management major in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, spent his summer completing a research-based internship with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Penn State black walnut trial turns 40, now ideal climate-change experiment

August 25, 2020

Few visitors to Penn State's University Park campus know about the Black Walnut Provenance Study, a two-acre grove of black walnut trees near the northeast border of campus which has an interesting backstory and a role to play in ongoing and future research.

Invasive shrubs in Northeast forests grow leaves earlier and keep them longer

August 19, 2020

The rapid pace by which invasive shrubs have infiltrated forests in the northeastern United States has made scientists suspect they have a consistent advantage over native shrubs, and the first region-wide study of leaf timing, conducted by Penn State researchers, supports those suspicions.

Cover crop mixtures must be 'farm-tuned' to provide maximum ecosystem services

August 17, 2020

Penn State researchers, in a recent study, were surprised to learn that they could take the exact same number of seeds from the same plants, put them in agricultural fields across the Mid-Atlantic region and get profoundly different stands of cover crops a few months later.

Cover crop roots are an essential key to understanding ecosystem services

August 12, 2020

To judge the overall effectiveness of cover crops and choose those offering the most ecosystem services, agricultural scientists must consider the plants’ roots as well as above-ground biomass, according to Penn State researchers who tested the characteristics of cover crop roots in three monocultures and one mixture.

Forestry alumnus to receive 2020 Sir William Schlich Memorial Award

August 11, 2020

Richard Guldin, a 1970 graduate in forestry science from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been selected as the 2020 winner of the Sir William Schlich Memorial Award. The Schlich award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of forestry with emphasis on policy and national or international activities.

Flavonoids' presence in sorghum roots may lead to frost-resistant crop

August 10, 2020

Flavonoid compounds — produced by the roots of some sorghum plants — positively affect soil microorganisms, according to Penn State researchers, who suggest the discovery is an early step in developing a frost-resistant line of the valuable crop for North American farmers.

Doctoral student chosen as finalist for John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

August 3, 2020

Brian Redder, a doctoral student studying soil science and biogeochemistry in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, was chosen by Pennsylvania Sea Grant to participate in the National Sea Grant's John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program, class of 2021.

Climate scientists increasingly ignore ecological role of indigenous peoples

July 20, 2020

In their zeal to promote the importance of climate change as an ecological driver, climate scientists increasingly are ignoring the profound role that indigenous peoples played in fire and vegetation dynamics, not only in the eastern United States but worldwide, according to a Penn State researcher.

Victoria Braithwaite to be memorialized with new ecology research award

July 6, 2020

The University's ecology community will memorialize faculty member Victoria Braithwaite, who died last year, with a new research excellence award named in her honor that will recognize one student each year for their published ecology research.

Sunnier but riskier

June 24, 2020

Conservation efforts that open up the canopy of overgrown habitat for threatened timber rattlesnakes — whose venom is used in anticoagulants and other medical treatments — are beneficial to snakes but could come at a cost, according to a new study by researchers at Penn State and the University of Scranton.

Penn State Extension webinar series to explore topics on private water supplies

June 22, 2020

A Penn State Extension webinar series, which begins June 24 and continues through Aug. 12, will help rural homeowners address common water supply management problems. "Approximately 3 million Pennsylvanians — mostly in rural homes and on farms — use a private well, spring or cistern for their drinking water," said Bryan Swistock, extension water resources specialist. "Penn State research has shown that about 40% of private water supplies fail at least one health-based drinking water standard, and many others suffer from aesthetic water quality issues."

Bedrock type under forests greatly affects tree growth, species, carbon storage

June 10, 2020

A forest's ability to store carbon depends significantly on the bedrock beneath, according to Penn State researchers who studied forest productivity, composition and associated physical characteristics of rocks in the Appalachian ridge and Valley Region of Pennsylvania.

College of Ag Sciences recognizes Shannon for excellence in academic advising

June 9, 2020

Tammy Shannon, academic advising coordinator for the environmental resource management program, has received the 2020 Excellence in Academic Advising Award from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Many factors may contribute to steep, decades-long muskrat population drop

June 8, 2020

Muskrat populations have declined sharply across North America over the last 50 years or so, and wildlife scientists have struggled to understand why. A new study by a Pennsylvania research team is investigating whether pathogens, parasites, environmental contaminants and disease may be contributing to this decline.

Larger streams are critical for wild brook trout conservation

June 4, 2020

The Latin name for brook trout — Salvelinus fontinalis — means "speckled fish of the fountains," but a new study by Penn State researchers suggests, for the first time, that the larger streams and rivers those fountains, or headwaters, flow into may be just as important to the brook trout.

Keeping tabs on neighborhood wildlife may hook you on all the action

May 27, 2020

Watching wildlife outside your window can boost your mental well-being, and it’s something lots of people have been doing a lot more of lately. This article by Dr. Julian Avery recently appeared in The Washington Post and was originally published on

Changes in cropping methods, climate decoy pintail ducks into an ecological trap

May 26, 2020

After a severe drought gripped the Prairie Pothole Region of the U.S. and Canada in the 1980s, populations of almost all dabbling duck species that breed there have recovered. But not northern pintails. Now a new study by a team of researchers suggests why — they have been caught in an ecological trap.

Breath of fresh air: Environmental student’s internship fixes on climate action

May 20, 2020

Leaving her footprint on the natural world — in a reduced-carbon kind of way — has been a long-held aspiration for Sarah Schanwald. The recent Penn State graduate, who holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental resource management from the College of Agricultural Sciences, is well on her way to doing that based on the strength of her experiences at the University.

Three honored for commitment to diversity in College of Agricultural Sciences

May 15, 2020

Three individuals have received the Dr. William Henson Diversity Achievement Award from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, an honor that recognizes distinctive and outstanding teaching, research, extension or creative work that advances diversity in the college.

Don’t Blame Bambi

May 3, 2020

Scientists Brice Hanberry, USDA Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station, and Marc Abrams, Penn State, decided to explore whether white-tailed deer populations are a key driver in changing eastern forests. Based on their research, it appears that deer are not the culprits.

Mayapple, the most harvested plant in Appalachia

April 17, 2020

Dr. Eric Burkhart talks about mayapple in this piece from West Virginia Public Broadcasting's "Edible Mountain," a digital series that showcases some of Appalachia’s "untapped and understudied natural resources."


April 13, 2020

This recent article in the Pittsburgh Quarterly highlights the research of Dr. Eric Burkhart, botanist and ramp expert.

Congratulations Daniel Wesdock on Being Selected Ag Student of the Month

April 13, 2020

Ag Student of the Month is an award given by the College of Ag Sciences Student Council to a student who demonstrates actions that benefit the college and a student organization. Daniel Wesdock is a graduating senior enrolled in the Soil Science option of Environmental Resource Management; he is also completing a minor in Wildlife and Fisheries Science.

Jacobson named recipient of 2020 Kopp International Achievement Award

March 27, 2020

Michael Jacobson, professor of forest resources in the College of Agricultural Sciences, is the recipient of the 2020 W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award. Established in 1995, the award recognizes faculty members who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the University. It is named for the late deputy vice president for international programs.

Congratulations Bailey Kleeberg on Being Selected Ag Student of the Month

March 16, 2020

Ag Student of the Month is an award given by the College of Ag Sciences Student Council to a student who demonstrates actions that benefit the college and a student organization. Bailey Kleeberg is an outstanding junior studying Wildlife and Fisheries Science at Penn State University Park.

It’s OK to feed wild birds – here are some tips for doing it the right way

March 5, 2020

In this popular article, Julian Avery, Assistant Research Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, addresses how humans influence bird populations, whether feeding poses risks to wild birds, and how to engage with birds in sustainable ways.

Andra Johnson named associate director of Penn State Extension

February 29, 2020

Andra Johnson, vice chancellor for research and technology development at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been named associate director of Penn State Extension, effective July 1. He is a Forest Resources alumnus.

New book examines how environment can foster intergenerational connections

February 28, 2020

Ways of thinking about, planning and designing intergenerationally enriched environments are explored in a new book co-edited by Matt Kaplan, professor of intergenerational programs and aging in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Forest 'duff' must be considered in controlled burning to avoid damaging trees

February 21, 2020

Many decades of forest fire prevention and suppression has resulted in a thick buildup of organic matter on the forest floor in many regions of the United States, according to a Penn State researcher, whose new study suggests that the peculiar way that these layers burn should be considered in plans for controlled burns.