Winter 2021 Community News

Taylor Becker Joined the Extension Water Resources Team March 30, 2020 as an educator based in the St. Cloud regional office. Becker will work with the water team and partners at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to reduce the impacts of nitrogen fertilizer use on groundwater. In particular Becker will help communities in the area understand how UMN research can inform Implementation of the Groundwater Protection Rule and Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan. Becker recently received her MS in Horticulture and Agronomy from University of California - Davis, with a BS in Biochemistry from Miami University in Ohio.  Becker’s master's work focused on using proximal sensing devices, including a drone mounted with a multi-spectral camera, to differentiate between nitrogen and water stress in irrigated corn. During her time at UC Davis, she also completed a project estimating water use in the form of evapotranspiration using a canopy temperature-based metric and a soil water balance method to better explain the relationship between water use and nitrogen uptake in corn.

Hans Olaf Pfannkuch passed away on Nov. 19th, 2020. He was a dear friend, professor and colleague to many of us. Olaf was active in a wide variety of applied research projects in Minnesota and elsewhere that dealt with groundwater and surface water (and related environmental implications), on information requirements for managing and monitoring groundwater systems, determining wellhead protection zones and establishing groundwater sensitivity maps based on GIS methodology and risk analysis. He was a professor at the U of MN for 42 years. Many of his former students went on to careers that involved groundwater management and research in this region. He will be greatly missed.

Stephen Polasky (WRS faculty, Applied Economics) was named one of 22 UMN faculty whose research was featured on the  2020 Highly Cited Researchers List by insight and analytics firm Clarivate Analytics. The international list recognizes researchers who published multiple highly cited papers during the last decade, and whose citation records place them in the top one percent of citation counts for field and publication year according to Clarivate’s Web of Science citation index.