Background: My goal is to make a difference and have fun doing it. My depth training and experience is in landscape ecology and natural resource management, particularly as applied to agricultural, forest, and wildlife ecology, although I also draw strongly upon the social sciences in my work. Iowa has been home since 2003, but I spent the early part of my career studying forests in the Great Lakes region. I am co-owner of my family farm near Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Research Interests: I study human-landscape interactions. More specifically, my research addresses the ecological and social facets of sustainable land management through the lens of coupled human and natural systems. Several current projects address the strategic integration of perennials into agricultural landscapes to meet multifunctional societal goals. Other projects address the establishment of establishment of restoration baselines and impacts of restoration practices. I use a combination of historical investigation, field studies, modeling, and both quantitative and qualitative inquiry. While my research spans local (1-10 km2) to regional scales (10,000-100,000 km2), my focus is on informing landscape (10-10,000 km2) management. The strength of my research lies in synthesis, integration, and partnerships: I make use of extensive collaborative networks to bolster the breadth, rigor, and impact of my work.
Honors: Iowa State University Early Career Award in Teaching (2007), Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (2007), Stanford University Leopold Leadership Fellow (2013), Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (2014), University of Minnesota Duluth Academy of Science and Engineering Inductee (2017), Business Record/ISU Ivy College of Business innovationENTREPRENEUR Award (2020), and Ecological Society of America Fellow (2021). Along with my colleagues, I received the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Science Team Award in 2018 and the Soil and Water Conservation Society's Conservation Innovation Award in 2020 for helping to develop prairie strips. I am on the editorial board of the scientific journal BioScience, a member of the “Rapid Response Team” of the Ecological Society of America, on the science advisory board of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, on the education and research advisory board of the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, board of trustees of the Iowa Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and on the board of directors of the Iowa Wildlife Federation and Practical Farmers of Iowa. I previously served on the editorial board for the journal, Landscape Ecology (2010-2015). My work has been covered by the BBC, Corn and Soybean Digest, National Public Radio, the New York Times, Successful Farming, and The Washington Post among other farm and general interest media outlets.