Arboretum at Penn State recognized as 'A Great Place in Pennsylvania'

November 11, 2020

The Arboretum at Penn State has been recognized as one of three “Great Places in Pennsylvania for 2020” by the state chapter of the American Planning Association.

Misleading mulch: Researchers find contents of mulch bags do not match claims

October 29, 2020

In response to complaints about misleading packaging and fraudulent behavior by some producers of bagged landscaping mulch, Penn State researchers conducted an investigation and devised a process to determine the wood species included in the products, and at what percentage.

Gender Fellows support research on gender differences in agriculture

October 2, 2020

A Gender Fellows Cohort, which began last fall under the auspices of the College of Agricultural Sciences' Gender Equity through Agricultural Research and Education initiative, examines gender equity in rural sociology, soil science, plant science and entomology as part of the International Agriculture and Development dual-title graduate degree program.

Penn State Extension testing new protocol for controlling oak wilt disease

September 28, 2020

Another invasive disease is threatening an important Pennsylvania forest tree species, and Penn State Extension foresters are investigating ways to control its spread.

Team wins grant to develop nitrogen fertilizer decision tool for organic farmers

September 24, 2020

Penn State researchers have received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to perfect a tool they developed to help organic corn producers decide how much nitrogen — as fertilizer or manure — to apply to their crop fields.

Study at Penn State to examine potential for birds to eat spotted lanternfly

September 17, 2020

Do birds find the spotted lanternfly to be a tasty treat or a nauseating nibble? That is one of the questions researchers at Penn State hope to answer, and they are seeking citizen scientists, especially bird watchers, to help in their quest for knowledge.

Growing drought causing trees to drop leaves; portends a poor foliage display

August 27, 2020

With little rain in the long-term weather forecast, a worsening drought in much of the Northeast portends trouble for Pennsylvania’s vaunted fall foliage display, at least in parts of the state, according to a Penn State forest expert.

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.

Online network launches to open bottlenecks in Pennsylvania’s food supply chain

May 14, 2020

An online network that connects producers, suppliers, processors and workers along Pennsylvania’s food supply chain was launched today by Penn State to minimize bottlenecks and avoid breakdowns that lead to food shortages.

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."