Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Dale Threatt-Taylor is the Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy South Carolina Chapter. She received a Bachelor of Science in Conservation from North Carolina State University and a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University in 2011. In 2012, she was selected as one of 30 agriculturalists in North Carolina identified to participate in the Agricultural Leadership Development Program at North Carolina State University. Her career began as a Soil Conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and she later joined the Wake Soil and Water Conservation District. In 2008 she was selected as District Director of Wake SWCD and Wake County Soil and Water Conservation Department. Threatt-Taylor’s new role as Executive Director for TNC SC has provided her with the opportunity to build new relationships between natural resource conservationists and environmentalists across the nation. Dale’s conservation and environmental leadership includes service on many national, state, and local boards and committees. On August 1, 2020, Dale made history when elected to serve as Chair of the Soil and Water Conservation Society’s national Board of Directors. She also serves on TNC’s North American Agriculture Committee and on the Executive Board of Sustain SC. She is one of the founding members of South Carolina’s Conservationists of Color. Having received many awards throughout her career, one caught her by surprise, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper for her dedicated work in conservation. Dale wants everyone to understand that locally led conservation begins with an individual, and together, our conservation work is so important in protecting the lands and waters on which all life depends. Learn more.
Suat Irmak, Ph.D. is nationally and internationally recognized for his dedication to learning through research and science and for sharing his knowledge and experience through his passion for teaching others. He is regarded as a reputable authority in his discipline and has advanced agricultural science and engineering through extensive research, education/teaching, and implementing scientifically based management tools in production fields to enhance production efficiency and conservation of natural resources. His specific contributions include: measurement and modeling of surface energy balance variables, including evapotranspiration, for various agro-ecosystems; climate science; coupling soil, water and microclimate and plant stomatal response relationships to develop more robust evaporative losses estimates; and developing extensive crop response to irrigation and evapotranspiration functions for various cropping systems under different irrigation and soil management practices. Dr. Irmak leads a number of large scale projects introducing technologies that are widely used in practical applications. For example, he is the founder and leader of the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network (NAWMN), now the largest agricultural water management network in the United States. The NAWMN has enabled the adoption of new technologies for conservation of soil, water and energy resources in agriculture though offering over 800 demonstration projects throughout Nebraska providing hands-on education and training. The technologies introduced by NAWMN have been implemented in over 3 million acres of land in Nebraska alone, resulting in a reduction in irrigation water withdrawal of 2.2 inches per acre per growing season and savings of over $200 million in energy costs. Professor Irmak and his team members have taught an unprecedented 15,000 learners, a testament to the team’s passion and commitment for education. Dr. Irmak encourages his students and post-docs toward critical and theoretical thinking through developing research methodologies and practical solutions to solve real-world problems, and teaching them to others. The products of Professor Irmak’s research programs and projects are extensively used in regional, national and international platforms. Some of his research products have been implemented into national USDA, NRCS and EPA national incentive programs and into operational handbooks. Learn more.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Ron Lacewell, Ph.D., receives the UCOWR Warren A. Hall Medal for lifetime achievement this year, one of the two recipients for 2021. Dr. Lacewell’s interest in water resources research began with his growing up on an irrigation farm supplied with water from the Ogallala Aquifer. His formal research began with the M.S. thesis at Texas Tech University continuing to his Ph.D. dissertation at Oklahoma State University, which included groundwater and surface water as well as land subsidence due to pumping. He worked with the Bureau of the Census in Washington, Texas Tech University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture before joining the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. Ron was drawn to the Texas Water Resources Institute upon arriving at A&M, participating in planning and program development. He is especially proud of his activities with UCOWR over the years and has enjoyed observing the growth of the association. His role with UCOWR included serving as President and being a member of the Board. Ron has published over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and numerous bulletins and contributed papers. He has served as a consultant to government agencies, legal firms and the private sector. For the past several years he has held joint appointments as a Professor in the Agriculture Economics Department and as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations working for water related funding through the federal government. Learn more.
Dr. Mac McKee, also awarded the 2021 UCOWR Warren A. Hall Medal for his lifetime achievements in water resources, became an emeritus professor at Utah State University (USU) in 2019, when he retired from his position as Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and stepped down as the longest-serving Director of the Utah Water Research Laboratory. Prior to joining the faculty at USU, he served for 13 years as Professor of Environmental Engineering at Humboldt State University in Northern California. He has been active in domestic and international water resources planning and management projects for more than 40 years, involving assignments in about 30 countries around the world, and extensive experience in South Asia and the Middle East. During his 20 years at USU, his research focused on the use of machine learning in water resources management and the development and use of unmanned aerial vehicles and sensors for remote sensing applications in areas such as river corridor hydrology, invasive and endangered species management, and agriculture. He served for about a dozen years on the UCOWR Board of Directors, with two terms as President. His students have gone on to become professors at universities in the U.S. and other countries, and some occupy influential positions in various governments and the private sector. Learn more.
Dr. Sacoby Wilson is an Associate Professor with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health. Wilson is an environmental health scientist with expertise in environmental justice and environmental health disparities. His primary research interests are related to issues impacting underserved populations, those socially and economically disadvantaged and/or marginalized, and populations evidencing health disparities. His research examines environmental justice, air pollution, housing disparities, built environment, climate change, drinking water quality, food justice, Port of Charleston, sewer and water infrastructure, goods movement, traffic exposure and health disparities, community-university environmental health partnerships, industrial animal production, exposures for subsistence fishers, and community revitalization. Current projects focus on population research in several ways. He is performing secondary data analysis to look at burden, exposure, risk, and health disparities in South Carolina; pollution and health issues for underserved populations living near the Port of Charleston; long-term impacts of exposure to chlorine after a man-made disaster; infrastructure disparities and environmental injustice in North Carolina; and environmental health disparities in Tennessee and other southern states. He is also building a Program on Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health (CEEJH) to study and address health issues for environmental justice and health disparity populations through community-university partnerships and the use of community-based participatory research CBPR in Maryland and beyond. Dr. Wilson has been very active professionally to advance environmental justice science. He is a member of the USEPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), member of the National Academy of Science’s Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology (BEST), board member of the Citizen Science Association, Editor in Chief of Environmental Justice, a past Chair of the APHA Environment Section, former Board member of Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, a former member of Board of Scientific Counselors for the CDC NCEH/ATSDR, and former Chair of the Alpha Goes Green Initiative, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He is also a senior fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program. Learn more.
Thursday, June 11, 2021
Dr. Karletta Chief integrates her research and scholarly achievements with her background as a member of the Diné (Navajo) Nation in broadening the understanding of climate change, mining, and water management and policy challenges facing indigenous communities. Chief is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. As an Extension Specialist, she works to bring relevant water science to Native American communities in a culturally sensitive manner. Two of her primary tribal projects are The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Climate Adaptation and Traditional Knowledge Project and Gold King Mine Spill Diné Exposure Project. In partnership with Diné College, Dr. Chief leads the NSF Indigenous Food, Energy, and Water Security and Sovereignty Program and is training 26 graduate students. Indige-FEWSS’s vision is to develop a diverse workforce with intercultural awareness and expertise in sustainable food, energy, and water systems (FEWS), specifically through off grid technologies to address the lack of safe water, energy, and food security in Indigenous communities. Dr. Chief received a B.S. and M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University in 1998 and 2000 and a Ph.D. in Hydrology and Water Resources from UA in 2007. Since her appointment as faculty at the University of Arizona, Dr. Chief has received numerous awards, among them the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) 2011 Most Promising Scientist or Scholar, Stanford University 2013 Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award, 2015 Native American 40 Under 40 Award, AISES 2016 Professional of the Year, Phoenix Indian Center 2016 Woman of the Year, Stanford University 2017 Multi-Cultural Hall of Fame Inductee, and 2020 American Geophysical Union Ambassador. Learn more.