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By Megan Lutz, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service
A collaborative group of researchers who worked on the Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Team Award.
Since 2007, the team has planted prairie strips as a conservation practice with benefits for farmers, landowners and society. The team includes six partner organizations, 16 researchers and 32 graduate students form eight departments and Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension.
With that many people, communication is key, said Lisa Schulte Moore, a professor of natural resource ecology and management who helped originate the project.
"This is a team effort. No one person could do what we've been able to do," Schulte Moore said. "I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn from colleagues, scientists, students and farmers."
Agronomists, ecologists, entomologists, hydrologists, economists, sociologists and soil scientists both from within Iowa State and other organizations made an impact on this project and are a part of the STRIPS team. The mission of the team is to determine how prairie strips planted on commercial farm fields impact ecosystems. For team members involved in the project, the focus has been on training and supporting farmers and farmland owners.
The original prairie strips were located at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, but in 2012 the team started collaborating with farmers to expand the research. Tim Youngquist, an Iowa State ag specialist and farmer liaison, has been involved with the program since February 2014.
"One of the assets I bring to the team is the ability to think like, and speak for, the farmer," Youngquist said.
Youngquist helped the team expand the project to include nearly 40 Iowa farms. Farmers worked with researchers to design, implement and maintain the plots.
For the STRIPS team, getting the chance to work with a variety of people with varied scientific backgrounds has been a positive experience.
"This award is a huge validation for something we've have been working on together for more than 10 years," Schulte Moore said.
STRIPS Team researchers include:
Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will present awards to faculty and staff on March 8 at its Spring-Semester Convocation and Awards Program in the Memorial Union.
March 2, 2018