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Appreciating Long-Term Agroecological Research

A now outdated photo of the CAF Crew, but one just as important
A now outdated photo of the CAF Crew, but one just as important

I've found that, sometimes, the work that we do here at the Cook Agronomy Farm, well it may take a very long time to see the power of it, if at all. Sometimes, it can be a little discouraging in fact. The Palouse Conservation Field Station has been collecting Acid Rain data since August 20, 1985. Our own Bob Barry has been doing it since 1995. For those of you that ran out of fingers and toes, that is 24+ years. Larry McGrew and John Morse (and myself, once, among others) have also helped numerous times with collections.  

Our soil scientist, Dave Huggins, and I grew up in upstate NY. We have various locations of memory in common, one of which is the Adirondack mountains. Now, you should know that numerous mountain lakes in NY were declared void of reproducing fish due to the effects of acid rain decades ago. Like, completely void of fish. I'm not going to give a talk on acid rain here, but I would like to share a success story:

Trout found in Adirondack lake once soured by acid rain

And you know who has helped make success stories like this happen?...  

Bob Barry that's who. Taking weather data daily. Sending the water collection bottle in, 1250+ times and counting, in his almost two-and-a-half decades of working on this project...   

I love working in this unit, because of our amazing people. I think, no, I know, that we are making an impact. I want the crew to know that what they do matters.  Even when it seems like it doesn't. We need to keep doing the same thing over and over, despite seeing no results... we need to keep plugging along.  

Because the little things are part of a bigger picture, and that picture may be painted thousands of miles away, in my back yard...

The CAF crew are Rock Stars in my book.

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