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Transdisciplinary Conversations celebrates KANEKO's 'WATER' exhibit
Kaneko WATER exhibit logo
The Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska will host a Transdisciplinary Conversations event in conjunction with KANEKO's new exhibit examining water.

Thursday, March 10
5-7 p.m.
KANEKO, 1111 Jones St
Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Through a mix of science and fine art, "WATER" highlights some of the creative solutions being developed to address complex issues such as water quality, water quantity, and sustainability of water for food, from local to global scales. The exhibit also illustrates the transdisciplinary nature of water with collaborations between artists, researchers, nonprofits and private industry.

KANEKO Executive Director Chris Hochstetler and WFI Director of Public Relations Molly Nance will share opening remarks at 6 p.m., followed by an informal talk by Michael Farrell, documentary filmmaker and assistant professor of practice in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication. The remainder of the time will allow participants to network, exchange ideas and immerse themselves in the building-wide exhibit. Learn more and view photos.

The event is free and open to all NU faculty, staff and students, as well as interested colleagues and community members in the private and nonprofit sectors. Light food and drinks will be served by Upstream. Please RSVP by March 3.

WFI remembers and honors Indian agriculture pioneer Bhavarlal Jain
We are deeply saddened to share that Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. Founder and Chairman Bhavarlal Jain has died following a brief illness. Chairman Jain was a renowned industrialist in Jalgaon and a pioneer in Indian agriculture. It was a privilege and an honor for colleagues at the Water for Food Institute to have had the opportunity to work with Chairman Jain on various projects.

"Chairman Jain was an extraordinary person, one who not only built a great company from scratch, but who, by pioneering micro-irrigation systems in the country, had a direct impact on improving the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across India. But I will always remember his many human qualities, from his warm personality to his gracious hospitality on all our visits to Jalgaon. And I will always be grateful for his visionary leadership in laying a strong foundation for the excellent collaboration between Jain Irrigation and our institute, which I am confident will live on well beyond his passing."
-- Roberto Lenton, WFI founding executive director

Pictured below at the launch of the joint international research and education partnership between Jain Irrigation and WFI in July 2015 (left to right): Thomas Farrell, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, International Affairs, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Chairman Jain; and Christopher Neale, Director of Research, WFI.

Conference 'early bird' registration ends March 18
Registration is open now for the 2016 Water for Food Global Conference, "Catalytic Collaborations: Building Public-Private Partnerships for Water and Food Security." A $100 discount is available to those who register on or before March 18. Reserve your spot today!

Plenary speakers to include:
  • Hank Bounds, president, University of Nebraska
  • Melissa Ho, managing director for Africa, Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Martin Fisher, co-founder and CEO, KickStart International
  • Patricia Mulroy, senior fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institute and former general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District
  • Jeff Raikes, co-founder, Raikes Foundation and Water for Food Institute board chair
  • Water for Food Institute executive director-designate
  • Sally Rockey, executive director, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research - Closing Keynote and Heuermann Lecture
  • Richard L. Sandor, chairman and CEO, Environmental Financial Products LLC

Register Now Graphic
Nebraska Water Center updates

'Water Current' debuts new look
The Winter 2016 edition of the Nebraska Water Center's quarterly Water Current newsletter is available online. Download PDF.

Longtime readers may notice that the publication has undergone an extensive facelift to make it easier to read. The Water Current has been in publication since 1968, four years after the Nebraska Water Center was established as part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Conservation and Survey Division.
Water Current screen grab

Student opportunity for international research

The application deadline for the International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) program is fast approaching. The National Science Foundation-funded program is seeking U.S. graduate and undergraduate students majoring in science or engineering.who wish to do collaborative research in the Czech Republic this summer. Students will facilitate "Research on Vadose Zone for Understanding Water and Chemical Transport at Various Scales" between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Czech Technical University at Prague June 5 to July 29. Applications are due Feb. 29. Learn more.
On the blog

Nebraska Water Sciences Lab: 25 years on the cutting edge of University of Nebraska research
WSL technician
The Nebraska Water Sciences Laboratory turns 25 this year! We reflect on the lab's role at the University of Nebraska and how it evolved as one of the nation's premiere resources in answering the question: "what's in the water?" Read blog.
Upcoming events

Seminar on toxic water concerns | March 9
Sandra Banack
The next lecture in the Nebraska Water Center/UNL School of Natural Resources spring semester water seminar series will feature Sandra Banack (pictured), senior scientist at the Institute for Ethnomedicine in Jackson, Wyoming. Banack will deliver the annual Kremer Memorial lecture on "Toxic Water: Should We Be Concerned?" The Kremer lecture is named in recognition of former Nebraska State Senator Maurice Kremer of Aurora who was an early Nebraska water conservationist and one of the authors of the state's unique system of 23 Natural Resources Districts. Learn more.

Wednesday, March 9
3:30-4:30 p.m.

Hardin Hall, UNL East Campus
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

Seminar on power of data in agricultural research | March 11
Patricio Grassini (pictured), Water for Food Institute Faculty Fellow and UNL Agronomy and Horticulture assistant professor, will present, "Leveraging the Power of Farmer Data to Empower Agricultural Research." Grassini will show how on-farm data provide an unprecedented opportunity to benchmark the impact of management practices on yield and efficiencies of water and fertilizer applications and to orient high-cost, multi-year, multi-site field studies. Learn more.

Friday, March 11
3:30-4:30 p.m.

150 Keim Hall, UNL East Campus
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

Conference on water security, Syrian refugee crisis | April 19
Oxfam photo of children in Jordan with water tap
International Conference on Water Security and the Syrian Refugee Crisis
Tuesday, April 19
Nebraska Innovation Campus
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

As a result of the civil conflict, threats to water and food security in Syria and surrounding nations are a daily reality. Come learn from international experts about the refugee crisis and the ripple of humanitarian concerns. The conference is being co-organized by the Water for Food Institute, the Harris Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the International Arid Lands Consortium.
(Photo: Karl Schembri/Oxfam, Flickr)

Spotlight: featured faculty  

Trenton Franz, hydrogeophysicist
Trenton Franz
Trenton Franz's research focuses on understanding how ecosystems function and exploring how to increase water use efficiency in food production. His research activities are highly interdisciplinary, combining ecology, hydrology, agronomy and geophysics. Franz is interested in measuring and modeling the flow of water through natural and human-dominated ecosystems around the globe. His lab uses a high-tech cosmic-ray sensor to measure soil moisture in real-time. This innovative tool has the potential to improve precision agriculture and ultimately help producers grow food with less water. Franz is also involved in a variety of extension activities, such as working with industry partners, extension educators and Natural Resources Districts managers.

Prior to joining UNL in 2013, Franz was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona, where he worked on COSMOS, a National Science Foundation funded project to measure soil moisture throughout the United States using cosmic-ray neutron probes.

Franz received a doctorate and master's degree in civil and environmental engineering from Princeton University. During his field work, he focused on characterizing dryland ecosystems in central Kenya and worked closely with the Maasai community of Laikipia to help increase the sustainability of their land.

Watch a short video to learn more about his work. 
Water funding opportunities

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Under the Environmental Education Grants Program, EPA seeks grant proposals from eligible applicants to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. This grant program provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques.

Award amount: up to $91,000 for a period of 1-2 years
Deadline: April 8

The Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska was founded in 2010 by the Robert B. Daugherty Foundation to address the global challenge of achieving food security with less stress on water resources through improved water management in agricultural and food systems. We are committed to ensuring a water and food secure world while maintaining the use of water for other human and environmental needs.