Conservation Learning Group Adds Expertise in Forestry and Wetlands with New Team Members

01.30.20 - Ames, Iowa, January 30, 2020 –Conservation Learning Group (CLG), a think tank based at Iowa State University and dedicated to addressing conservation and environmental challenges, announced the recent expansion of its multidisciplinary team of researchers and experts with the addition of Dr. William “Billy” Beck, assistant professor Natural Resource Ecology and Management at ISU and Extension Forestry specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, and Dr. Kay Stefanik, assistant director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center (INRC) at ISU.
CLG is a collaborative team that draws on resources throughout the university and public conservation communities to facilitate training, outreach and research designed to encourage land use changes through sustainable practices in agricultural and natural systems that will promote environmental improvements.
“Fundamental to the success of CLG is the inclusion of members from different backgrounds and expertise who bring new perspectives to our discussions and actions,” said CLG director Jacqueline Comito. “Kay and Billy help round out the teams with their extensive field experience in wetlands and aquatic ecology, and the relationship between trees and water quality. In the short time since both have joined CLG, their input has had a positive impact on our research and outreach.”
Beck brings his passions for forestry and water quality to his work at ISU and with CLG. He is dedicated to increasing awareness regarding the role that forests play in addressing two of Iowa’s toughest environmental issues – excessive nutrients and flooding in our rivers and streams.
“Trees are a powerful resources that are often overlooked in the water quality conversation here in Iowa,” said Beck. “We think about wildlife, cropping systems and water management, but trees are equally important. My goal is to get producers and conservationists to think about the positive contribution trees make to the overall health of our systems, from providing wildlife habitat to supporting solutions for water quality challenges in our state.”
Stefanik is a well-respected expert in aquatic and wetland ecology. Her work centers around water quality improvements through the advancement of edge of field and in field practices which affect how nutrients move through soil and water.
“I got into science to make a difference in the environment, and becoming a part of CLG provides me with great opportunities to contribute to improvements in agriculture and natural systems that can reduce the level of nutrients in Iowa waterways,” said Stefanik. “While Iowa has significant challenges with nutrients in its waterways, the state has invested in remedying them through programs like CLG. It’s great to be at the center of change and I am pleased to contribute my wetlands expertise to the team’s efforts.”
To learn more about Conservation Learning Group outreach and education programs, please visit us on the web
About Conservation Learning Group:
Conservation Learning Group (CLG) is a collaborative team established to advance training, outreach, and research across land uses and production systems to increase overall sustainability of agricultural and natural systems for multiple generations to come. CLG draws on experts in various disciplines to deliver engaging science-based outreach to farmers, agricultural advisers, landowners, decision makers, youth and communities. To learn more about Conservation Learning Group visit
Elizabeth (Juchems) Ripley
Iowa Learning Farms

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