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Research furthers food security, sovereignty

Amber Heckelman. Photo by Laura Evancich, WSU Vancouver.
Amber Heckelman. Photo by Laura Evancich, WSU Vancouver.
Amber Heckelman, a doctoral student of environmental science at Washington State University Vancouver, has won the 2013-2014 Bullitt Foundation Environmental Fellowship worth $100,000 for research that centers on alleviating the suffering of Philippine peasants by restoring food security and sovereignty.

Awarded annually since 2007, the prize goes to an outstanding, environmentally knowledgeable graduate student from an underrepresented community who has demonstrated an exceptional capacity for leadership as well as scholarship. This is the third year in a row the honor has gone to a WSU student.

Read more about the environmental leadership award

Grizzly bears benefit from return of wolves to Yellowstone

Grizzly bear
Grizzly bear

The return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park is having an interesting — though not surprising — effect on the larger ecosystem, affecting everything from grizzly bears to elk to berry bushes, according to new research from Oregon State University and Washington State University.

The study was published this week by scientists from Washington State University and Oregon State University in the Journal of Animal Ecology. WSU co-authors are graduate assistant Jennifer K. Fortin and Charles T. Robbins, professor in the WSU School of the Environment.

Read more about the research at WSU News

Other sources:

Terra Daily
Popular Science
Science Daily
Los Angeles Times
BBC Radio
Austrian Tribune

On Gaiser Pond: Middle-schoolers have been doing real science

Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens
Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens
Now dubbed “Gaiser Pond” by the school community, wetlands below the school are being studied and cleaned up thanks to two dedicated Gaiser Middle School science teachers and their students and environmental science graduate students from Washington State University Vancouver.

The Partners in Discovery GK-12 Project brought together environmental science graduate students from WSUV with middle school science teachers in several Clark County districts for real-world science projects using funds from an NSF grant.

Read more and see the video

Researchers: Sterilizing Mars spacecraft is largely a waste of money

School of the Environment’s Dirk Schulze-Makuch and a colleague suggest lifting unnecessary and expensive environmental restrictions — on Mars.
Rethinking: read the article at WSU News

UPDATE – It’s OK, Infect Mars With Our Germs
Read the related story at Discovery News

UPDATE – Is NASA Being Too Protective of Mars?
Writing in Nature Geoscience, Alberto Fairén, of Cornell University’s department of astronomy, and Dirk Schulze-Makuch, of Washington State University’s School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, argue that this “planetary protection”—beyond what’s … Read the related story at IEEE Spectrum

Professor collaborates on ‘roadmap’ to interstellar space travel

Book coverBy Robert Strenge, WSU News

To Washington State University astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch and seven of his space-minded colleagues in an initiative called Star Voyager, it has never been enough for humans to simply dream about traveling to the stars. To them, interstellar travel is not so much a dream as it is an ultimate ambition.

With the release this month of their book, How to Develop the Solar System and Beyond: A Roadmap to Interstellar Space, the eight collaborators—scientists, engineers, economists, and assorted other professionals—lay out mankind’s plausible pathways to the stars. They present multiple scenarios for mankind’s space-faring future over the next hundred years, providing a comprehensive overview of the human, technological, and financial challenges of interstellar travel.

Among the first manned starship proposals, the Star Voyager Roadmap describes potential scenarios for our space faring future. From the development of earth-orbital operational platforms to systems of asteroid capture and deflection, the book describes the strategies and resource developments that will support and contribute to the overall goal of achieving interstellar travel. As with previous advances in space-focused technologies, new interstellar travel technologies will have benefits that advance science and technologies across the globe. Continue story →