Much of my scientific research is directly applicable to restoration and land management. I seek out partnerships with land managers who are working on restoration and conservation locally so that my results can be translated to on-the-ground action, and I enjoy attending regional conferences and giving public presentations. Here you will find copies of presentations, resources and documents that summarize results from my research for practical application by land managers, home-owners, and the general public. Feel free to contact me if you would like additional information about my work.
News Coverage & Public Talks
- For information about how cool native Texas prairies are, check out my “Virtual Plant Walk through Commons Ford Prairie” at the Save Barton Creek Association‘s happy hour speaker series on May 14, 2020. It was over zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the recording is linked here and a subset of the slides that provide a plant ID guide to the prairie are available here.
- Aileen Brom (ENSP ’19) and I gave a public talk for the Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Committee of Travis Audubon on January 9, 2020 about research results from the restoration project at Commons Ford Ranch Metropark. A link to the presentation is here.
- Our work at Spicewood Ranch was featured in the Fall 2018 edition of St. Edward’s University magazine.
- My Environmental and Ecological Field Methods class conducted a research project in Spring 2019 about perspectives and use of e-scooters in Austin. Our class project was featured in the Fall 2018 edition of St. Edward’s University magazine.
- My Chemistry in the Environment class conducted free lead testing in tap water at Travis County Community Centers in spring 2019. We created an outreach poster about the impacts of lead and what to do to decrease exposure risk, available here. I plan to offer the same service every spring semester.
In November 2019, my students and I presented results from recent work at Commons Ford, the Vireo Preserve, and Spicewood Ranch at the Texas Society for Ecological Restoration’s Annual Meeting in Galveston. Yeji Kang and Olivia Rome won first place for best undergraduate poster presentation! Our presentations are linked below:
- Seeding success of native Texas prairie plants in a 70-species mix – Amy Concilio (oral presentation)
- Using mycoremediation at Vireo Preserve – Jack Rippel (’20)
- Seedbank dynamics after prescribed fire – Yeji Kang and Olivia Rome (’20)
In September 2019, Biology student Vinh Tran (’21) presented results from his research on productivity and diversity at Commons Ford at the St. Edward’s University Lucian Symposium. His poster is linked below:
In November 2018, I attended the Texas Society for Ecological Restoration’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX, with 1 graduate student from the professional science master’s program in sustainability and environmental management (MSEM) and 7 undergraduate students in the ENSP program. Clarissa Mae de Leon won first prize for best undergraduate student presentation! Our presentations are linked below:
- Fitness response of antelope horns milkweed with the inoculation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi– Becky Woodward (MSEM ’19)
- Effectiveness of different mycoremediation techniques at an urban park in Austin, TX – Clarissa Mae de Leon (’19)
- Effects of a fuels reduction treatment in the urban-wildlife interface on invasive species and wildlife – Jon Brooks (’19), Micheal Gembarowski (’19), Conlon McOsker (’19), & Madison Tumicki (’19)
- Restoration effects on pollinators at Commons Ford – Aileen Brom (’19), Shirley Ochoa (’19), & Bowen Wilder (’19)
- The effects of a prairie restoration project on public engagement – Abril Carranza (’19)
In September 2018, Stella Cunningham and Abby Ramirez presented results from their research results on pollinator friendly plants at Commons Ford at the St. Edward’s University Lucian Symposium. Their poster is linked below:
- Pollinator plant diversity response to prairie restoration – Stella Cunningham and Abby Ramirez
In April 2018, I presented some preliminary results from the Commons Ford prairie restoration project at the Southwestern Association of Naturalists in San Marcos, TX. My poster is linked here:
In November 2016, not long after moving to Texas, I attended the Texas Society for Ecological Restoration’s Annual Meeting in Livingston, TX, with 3 graduate students from the professional science master’s program in sustainability and environmental management (MSEM): Savannah Bryson, Eric Johnson, and Abigail Kroph. The students won first prize for best graduate student poster presentation! Our presentations are linked below:
- Control of privet (Ligustrum spp) invasion in Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve– Savannah Bryson, C. Eric Johnson, and Abigail Kroph (MSEM ’17)
- Managing invasive species in an era of global change – Amy Concilio (oral presentation)
Many of my classes include field trips and hands-on experiential learning, which my students and I write about in public blog posts. Below are some examples.
- Internship Experience – All St. Edward’s University students in the Department of Political Science, Global Studies, and Environmental Science & Policy spend at least one semester working for an agency, organization or business as an intern. They get course credit by completing assignments related to their professional development along with 130 hours of service at their internship. I taught internship during the Fall 2019 semester and started this blog so that students could see what one and another were up to!
- Sustainability in Angers, France – St. Edward’s University has a sister campus at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France and students and faculty from Austin go to study and teach abroad every semester. I had the great pleasure of teaching in Angers in the summer of 2019, will be going again for the spring semester of 2020, and hope to return often! My courses in Angers focus on sustainability and climate change – and there is much to see and blog about on these topics in France, a world leader in carbon-free energy, sustainable agriculture, and efforts to reduce food waste! I created this blog so that my students and I could document some of the interesting environmental initiatives we were observing in France and think about their application to our hometown, Austin, Texas.
- ENSP in the Field – Students in the Environmental Science and Policy (ENSP) program at St. Edward’s University gain valuable hands-on field experience through coursework, research, and internships throughout Texas- and sometimes around the world. I started this blog in Fall 2018 with my Natural Resources Conservation & Management class, which included 10 field trips to parks, preserves, and private land across Texas. We have since used the blog to write about field trips in other courses.
- MSEM in the Field – When I joined the St Edward’s faculty, I taught for 2 years in a Professional Science Master’s program in Environmental Management and Sustainability (MSEM), which prepared students to enter a range of different environmental professions through interdisciplinary applied coursework, intensive field training at field stations in Texas and Costa Rica, environmental research, and internship experiences. The program has been suspended for financial reasons, but the students’ experiences are documented at this website.
Outreach documents for home owners and land managers
I currently work mainly on invasive species in Central Texas, but spent over a decade working on cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) invasion in the Eastern Sierra and Colorado Front Range and continue to have some active research in these regions. Cheatgrass is an annual invasive grass from Eurasia that has spread throughout the Great Basin Desert and caused changes to the fire cycle throughout large parts of Nevada and some areas in eastern California. It has negative impacts on biodiversity, habitat for native species, and forage for cattle. I have worked on research on cheatgrass in the Eastern Sierra since 2007, studying its response to snowpack, impacts on the native plant community, and methods of control. For information on effectiveness of cheatgrass control, click on the links below.
- Homeowner’s Guide to Cheatgrass. Are you a home-owner in the Eastern Sierra with cheatgrass on your land? If so, read this document for some suggestions about low-cost, low-tech, non-chemical approaches to getting rid of cheatgrass.
- Land Manager’s Guide to Cheatgrass Control. I conducted a series of experiments on the effectiveness, non-target effects, costs and labor of soil solarization, sheet mulching, and hand pulling outlier patches of cheatgrass at high elevation. Results are presented here.
- Cheatgrass and Climate Change. This document focuses on the impacts of changing snowpack and spring rain on the plant community. Griffith and Loik began collecting data in 2005.
- Nitrogen Deposition and Plant Community Change. This document focuses on the impacts of nitrogen deposition on the plant community. I started collecting data in 2008.