Welcome to the Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) news and announcements blog. Stay up-to-date with all the happenings, discoveries, events and funding opportunities associated with KNE. Enter your email in the "Follow by email" box below and to the right to stay notified of new posts. Feel free to leave comments.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Climate Change Discussed at Community Events

Kansas NSF EPSCoR is playing an important role in determining how Kansas farmers and policy makers can mitigate the effects of climate change.  Part of the process is interacting with the public to discuss the relevance of their work.  Several recent community events featured the expertise of KNE researchers on the topic.

Chasing Ice

Two CCM team members were included in a panel discussion on climate change sponsored by Kansas Climate Action, working with Sierra Club Southwind Group at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, KS.

Event poster
The discussion featured three perspectives:
  • THE POLITICAL: Kansas Representative Dennis Hedke, Geophysicist with Hedke-Saenger Geoscience, Ltd. and author of The Audacity of Freedom
  • THE FARMER: Donn Teske, Executive Director of the Kansas Farmers Union
  • THE SCIENCE BASED: Charles W. Rice, University distinguished professor, Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University and Johannes J. Feddema, Department of Geography, University of Kansas, both KNE lead researchers
The July 13 panel discussion was moderated by Carol Barta, Librarian with the North Central Kansas Libraries System and followed a screening of the documentary film Chasing Ice.

2013 Summer High Plains Drought Outlook and Assessment Forum

Dr Charles Rice, also CCM Project Director, moderated a panel session on crop and soil management for water at the 2013 Summer High Plains Drought Outlook and Assessment Forum. His presentation included conservation practices to mitigate and adapt to drought conditions. The Forum was presented by the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), Kansas Water Office, NOAA Regional Climate Services and National Drought Mitigation Center on July 24th in Colby, Kansas. Eighty-nine participants including researchers, managers, extension, and producers from Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska came together to discuss the evolution and outlook of the drought, issues of concern, and management practices relative to the multi-state region.
Stunted wheat in Logan County, Kansas
Photo by Larry Schwarm. Used by permission.

The Forum was part of a series of events and informational webinars held since the beginning of the current drought. The morning session focused on the evolution and outlook of the drought, including presentations from those involved in monitoring, assessing and predicting our climate. The afternoon session featured panel discussions on issues of concern and management practices relative to the multi-state region.

Another Drought Forum is planned for January 9-10, 2014 to be held in Garden City, KS.  For more information contact Bethany Perry at Bethany.perry@noaa.gov or 816-268-3133.

Climate Change and Its Local, Regional and International Implications

Dr. Johannes Feddema was also one of several panelist at an event addressing questions of “What are the facts?” about climate change, “What can we do about it?” and “Where do we go from here?”

Gathering data on wild wheat samples, Saline County, Kansas
Photo by Larry Schwarm. Used by permission.
At once one of the most talked-about, yet misunderstood, issues in American life, climate change is already having some significant impacts—here in Kansas, regionally, and around the world. The panel discussion was held to bring good, fact-based information about how the issue is affecting us now, and how it will continue to affect our lives and our society in the future.  Feddema elaborated on the science of climate change while others covered its effect on national security, Kansas agriculture and rural life, and faith and moral issues.

College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita hosted the event on October 13.  It was sponsored by Southwind Group of Kansas Sierra Club and Kansas Interfaith Power & Light.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Students Represent Kansas EPSCoR at National Conference

Nashville, Tennessee played host to the 23rd National NSF EPSCoR Conference the first week of November.  Representatives from all 31 EPSCoR jurisdictions were present to learn and discuss the strengths and opportunities they have developed in science, technology, education, commercialization and economic growth.

One of the exciting tracks at the meeting highlighted student participants from the different states.  Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) was fortunate to have four excellent students attend the meeting and participate in the student activities.

Students from across the country participated in a session called Scientist Idol where they learned how to effectively develop and communicate a targeted message of how EPSCoR is essential for strengthening their state's economy.  The four Kansas students collaborated on the message and developed a three-minute presentation complete with slides. Their message focused on how KNE attracts and develops a strong statewide Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce.

In addition to Scientist Idol the students also participated in a poster session, highlighting their research as part of the KNE major initiative Climate Change and Energy: Basic Science, Impacts, and Mitigation.  The students and their poster titles were:

  • Eugene Cody, Haskell Indian Nations University undergraduate student, An Examination of Burning Coal in Hopi Homes
  • Lindsey Witthaus, University of Kansas graduate student, Exploring Climate Change in Kansas Watersheds through Hydrologic Modeling and Social Surveys
  • Maria Boyd, Haskell Indian Nations University undergraduate student, Growin' on the Wild Side: Climate Change & the Future of the Omaehnomenawuk "Wild Rice People"
  • Vahid Rahmani, Kansas State University graduate student, Impacts of Rainfall Distribution and Antecedent Moisture Condition on Runoff

During the poster session the students were able to use their newly-acquired communication skills to further hone their research messages and discuss them with other participants at the meeting. Interacting with the other student participants at the meeting and learning some of the excitement Nashville, The Music City, had to offer proved to be an excellent experience for everyone.