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A New Tide at UConn’s Connecticut Institute of Water Resources

What do taking a trip to the beach, testing a well, and planting a new garden have in common? You guessed it – water. UConn is home to a state-wide organization focused on providing Connecticut’s citizens with information and research about all the water resources we encounter in our daily lives. As the state’s land-grant university, UConn became the home of the Connecticut Institute of Water Resources (CTIWR) in 1964 as part of College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources. The institute seeks to resolve state and regional water-related problems and provide a strong connection between water resource managers and the academic community. CTIWR also seeks to share water-related research and other information with the general public to bridge the gap between scientists and the community. Read More

David B. Schroeder Scholarship Supports Students Preparing for Careers in Natural Resources

The David B. Schroeder Scholarship was established in memory of David B. Schroeder, professor emeritus and former head of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE). The scholarship provides support for outstanding seniors enrolled full-time as majors in the department. Schroeder enjoyed a career at UConn that spanned forty-one years, until his retirement in 2006. He died in 2015, at the age of 80. This year’s Schroeder Scholarship recipient, Michaela Poppick, is an NRE major with a focus in fisheries and wildlife conservation and a minor in environmental studies. On receiving the scholarship, she said, “I am primarily responsible for paying for my own education, and scholarships have made the difference between going to college and not. It’s been really important that I keep up my grades to be able to attend grad school and receive internships, but I also want to show that I really am passionate and appreciative for what others have contributed to my education.” Read More

NRE Welcomes the New Environmental Geospatial Scientist to the Faculty, Dr. Zhe Zhu

Dr. Zhu's research interests include Remote Sensing, Particularly of Forests, Urban, and Clouds; Land Cover and Land Use Change; Time Series Analysis; Digital Image Processing; and Climate Change. He is selected as the USGS-NASA Landsat Science Team Member (2018-2023) and EROS CalVal Center of Excellence (ECCOE) Science Interface Panel (2018-2021). He is also the Associate Editor of Remote Sensing of Environment and on the Editorial Board of PeerJ. Currently, he is the Guest Editor of Remote Sensing, Special Issue: Science of Landsat Analysis Ready Data, and the Guest Editor of Forests, Special Issue: Mapping Forest Health Using Moderate Resolution Satellites. Read More

Jason Vokoun Appointed Head, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment

Wow do things change with the times!  NRE officially crossed the threshold this year of having more faculty hired after me than before me, which is so hard to believe. But in the spirit of change, we have continued our efforts to move our news and accomplishments online, at the terrific ‘Caliper Online’ website. This year we also are experimenting with a shorter mailing to both save paper and urge you to join our online community. From our Facebook Twitter and Instagram feeds, and especially the new alumni map- stay plugged into everything NRE! 

Our two biggest items this year: We welcomed our new Environmental Geospatial Scientist to the faculty, Dr. Zhe Zhu, a rising star in the remote sensing of the environment field, and during UConn’s upcoming giving day on March 27-28 there will be a $20,000 challenge, with donations to the David B. Schroeder Scholarship matched dollar for dollar! Last year the NRCA program received the most individual contributions of any UConn Department! Read More

Dr. Ashley Helton Receives the AAUP Award

Dr. Ashley Helton received the "AAUP Excellence in Research and Creativity: Early Career Award" at the Connecticut State Capitol Building on April 15th. Dr. Helton joined the University of Connecticut in 2013  and interested in how water and elemental (primarily carbon and nutrient) cycles are linked across landscapes and how human activities and global climate change alter these cycles and their interactions. Her research focuses on a range of freshwater ecosystems - streams and rivers, floodplains, and wetlands using a variety of field and simulation modeling approaches. Read More

UConn Owns A Verdant Natural Resource

UConn is home to diverse facilities and resources including its own 2,100-acre forest. This significant land area, called the UConn Forest, serves as a teaching tool for students and professionals, a place for environmental and land-use research and a peaceful recreation area for outdoor enthusiasts. It also has important roles as a key watershed protection area for one-half of UConn’s water supply and as a wildlife habitat for many species. The Forest doesn’t get its value from just one of its uses or from an individual tree or animal that is found there. Instead, it has what Associate Extension Professor Tom Worthley calls “a collective importance.” As one of the members of the Forest’s executive committee, Worthley strives to keep the Forest healthy and intact so that it can continue to be useful, especially in regard to the water supply. Read More

The Rains in Africa: How Global Climate Influences the Water Cycle

While water is a precious, life-sustaining resource, too little or too much can spell trouble. Water moves around the planet, either in the ground or through the air, in a well-orchestrated cycle, one that UConn associate professor in the department of Natural Resources and the Environment Richard Anyah is working to better understand. His research, recently published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, with colleagues from Cardiff University (U.K.) and Curtin University (Australia), focused on how variations in climate can impact the cycle of water and its storage in Sub-Saharan, and especially Southern, Africa. Read More

Connecticut’s Marshes: Past, Present, and Uncertain Future

A troubling report issued recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that Earth is just two decades away from disastrously high levels of carbon in the atmosphere. As we approach those levels, there has been an increased focus on developing and using technology to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Yet nature already has some effective means to accomplish this – wetlands and marshes. Two assistant professors in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, Ashley Helton and Beth Lawrence, are studying the processes that occur in these complex ecosystems. “Globally, wetlands and marshes are one of the largest natural sinks for carbon,” Helton says. “We want to quantify what wetlands are doing in terms of how they impact various ecosystem functions.” Read More

Department of Natural Resources and the Environment: An Overview

As evidenced by the name, faculty in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE) focus on management and conservation of our planet’s limited natural resources, including earth’s water and climate system, air quality, forests, fisheries, and wildlife resources. “Our departmental research mission statement is to contribute to the solution of environmental problems, to increase understanding of natural resources systems and to enhance the wise and sustainable management of these resources,” says Jason Vokoun, associate professor, and interim department head.  Read More

Contact the Natural Resources and the Environment Department:

1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4087
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-4087
(860) 486-2840