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Ecology

Selections from The Nature of Nebraska: Ecology and Biodiversity, by Paul A. Johnsgard '55

Text excerpted, by permission, from The Nature of Nebraska: Ecology and Biodiversity, by Paul A. Johnsgard ’55.

There is a Place…

If you plan for one year, plant rice. If you plan for 10 years, plant trees. If you plan for 100 years, educate mankind.  —Kuan-Tzu

There is a place in America where East and West merge together as smoothly as one river flows into another. That place is called the Great Plains. There is a river in America that gave sustenance to perhaps a hundred thousand migrants who trudged westward in the mid-nineteenth century along the Mormon and Oregon Trails. That river is called … » More …

Spring 2003

Mounting a defense against biological invaders

Whatever its impact on trade, the World Trade Organization has opened the doors to biological invasion, says Dick Mack. A professor of botany at Washington State University, Mack is a leading authority on invasive species and lead author of Predicting Invasions of Nonindigenous Plants and Plant Pests, a report recently published by the National Research Council.

Invasive species are those that are introduced, whether deliberately or not, only to find their new home much too accommodating. Whereas a plant might be an inconspicuous face in its home crowd, it could become the ubiquitous bully in a new ecological crowd with no defense against its aggressiveness. … » More …

Winter 2007

Kathleen Flenniken – You have to say what's true

Kathleen Flenniken (née Dillon) ’83 writes about her children and vacuuming, about sex and death, about fame and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s husband (“Oh the beauty of his wretchedness.”). Her poems are tight and clear and smart and often very funny. While she was at Washington State University, she studied civil engineering.

A career in engineering that evolved toward poetry may not be typical, but it’s a fine match, says Flenniken. In engineering, “you can’t hide behind your language. You have to say what’s true, and if it’s not true, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed.” And with that, you are ready to … » More …

Winter 2007

Time will tell

Climate change is nothing new to our planet. But this time it's different. The carbon dioxide we are putting into the air through industry, vehicle emissions, and deforestation is changing the way our soil works. That in turn affects plant, animal, and eventually human life. Through their research Washington State University scientists are challenging the conventional view that more plants and forests will solve our CO2 problems. » More ...