Last week several members of the Agroecology Lab traveled to Phoenix, AZ for the Annual ASA-CSSA-SSSA (Tri-Societies) conference. The theme of the conference was Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance, and Sandra Postel, who directs the Global Water Policy Project, delivered a wonderful keynote speech on global water scarcity. It was a busy week for the AgroEcoLab. MS student, Briana Otte gave her first presentation at a society meeting on Managing water and nitrogen in no-till corn production with a cereal rye cover crop. I presented a poster on The Northeast Cover Crop Council (NECCC) and Kayla Griffith (PhD student) presented a poster on her work on the teaching modules for the Planting Science Program. Kate Tully presented research on saltwater intrusion and coastal farmland on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in a session dedicated to Climate change impacts on soil and adaptation.
Tri-Societies often features tours to local points of interest. I participated in a morning tour to the (Sonoran) Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, AZ. They had some great interpretive signs about the desert plants and materials humans used to survive, and about native peoples and the desert. They also had good exhibits of food-type plants that can be grown locally. Most of the non-native food plants that survive in this environment hail from around the Mediterranean and Africa, as you would expect. I took way too many pictures of the numerous pretty (and huge!) cacti and succulents on display. I was greatly amused by signs warning you to stay on the path, because this is one of the few gardens I’ve been to where the plants and landscape enforce the rule directly – so many thorns, prickles, and plants with toxic sap. It was a great trip to a very different, very beautiful ecosystem.
-by Victoria Ackroyd
Briana Otte gives a presentation on her cover crop research