Arid Lands Newsletter--link to home pageNo. 38, Fall/Winter 1995
The Whole Wired World

The Orr Report:
ALRS welcomes a new crop of students

by Barron Orr

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."
The editor in charge
of business books for
Prentice Hall, 1957

Mohammed Al-Sabbry came to the Arid Lands Resource Sciences (ALRS) Ph.D. Program from the Ministry of Economy and Industry in Yemen, where he specialized in foreign investment. His interest in economics is now being combined with water resource management, water use regulation and conservation, and the impacts of urban population growth on water supply and demand.

Stuart Black came to ALRS from a research and consulting background at the Earth Science Information Agency (ESIA) in the United Kingdom. His objectives in the doctoral program involve the application of remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) technologies to habitat conservation and water resource management.

Kebe Brahim worked in agricultural development in Mauritania and specialized in plant sciences before coming to the ALRS program. His interests now center on potential arid land crops of economic importance; he has just completed his dissertation on the performance characteristics of Lesquerella fendleri.

Susan Carmody brings a wide range of teaching experience to the ALRS program, having taught students ranging from fifth graders to university level subjects as diverse as art, Shakespeare, ecology, environmental problems, and English as a Second Language (ESL). She currently is interested in the species diversity of dry tropical forests and the forests relationship to past environments, as shown by pollen and ethnobotanical evidence.

After working in crop production for CNRADA in Mauritania, Mamadou Diallo was involved with new crop improvement at The University of Arizonas Plant Sciences department. He is now studying the impact of irrigated rice development projects on local production systems in the Sahel of West Africa.

Sam Drake's Peace Corps experience in fisheries (Cameroon) and forestry (Benin) was followed by masters studies in renewable natural resources. His current focus is on the application of GIS and remote sensing (especially airborne videography) to natural resource management for international development.

Prior to joining the ALRS program, Amy Eisenberg assisted the Washoe Tribe of Nevada in the creation of an ethnobotanical garden. Her role as an illustrator and an instructor carry over to her current research interests in ethnobotany, the development of useful plants, and the preservation of cultural and genetic diversity.

Barbara Eisworth was a geologist and remote sensing specialist for the USGS Center for Inter-American Mineral Resource Investigations. Her research interests at ALRS involve the use of remote sensing to monitor the conversion of lowland desert vegetation to an aggressive, exotic grass species, commonly known as buffel grass, in the Mexican state of Sonora near the U.S. - Mexico boundary.

For the past ten years Anita Hayden has been working in varying aspects of environmental chemistry, with a particular interest in plants. Her ALRS objectives involve the blending of chemistry and plant science in pursuit of new industrial chemicals from plant products.

Jerry Henzel was both a computer specialist and a high school geography teacher before joining the ALRS program. He is now pursuing research interests in software development and applications for environmental problems in arid and semiarid lands.

As a practicing architect, Susan Kliman completed her masters in desert architecture at The University of Arizona. She now hopes to integrate vegetation studies and architecture to enhance the thermal performance of buildings and sustainable design in general.

Mark LeRud practiced medicine prior to joining the ALRS program. This experience, combined with his interests in forestry and aesthetics, have led to research objectives in economic botany and development of dryland plants for human use.

Cynthia Lindquist worked as a field biologist interested in ethnobotany and paleobotany, with particular emphasis on reconstructing past vegetation and climate through packrat and hyrax midden analysis in Arizona, Nevada, Mexico, Jordan, and Chile. Her current focus is on the relationship between man and plants, impacts on biodiversity, and the potential for sustainable development in Mexico.

John Maingi was a research officer for the Kenya Forest Research Institute prior to pursuing studies in watershed management. He is currently conducting research on land use and vegetation change in response to river basin development in the lower Tana basin of eastern Kenya.

Len Milich came to ALRS from USEPA in the Research Triangle Park of North Carolina, where he worked as a climatologist, meteorologist, and technical editor. Today his focus is on human - environment interactions in drylands, indicators of sustainable development, and international institutions managing natural resources.

Barron Orr returned from a Peace Corps experience in desertification control and teaching (Morocco) to a career in international business and development. His current research focuses on land degradation processes, vegetation change, and restoration ecology.

After using image processing and modeling of physical processes for her work in planetary geology and space physics, Susan Skirvin came to ALRS to study the biophysical parameters of vegetation distribution in southwestern US and Mexico. Her focus includes historical and current land use and the management of dryland environments.

Before starting the ALRS program, Daniela Soleri was researching and writing primarily about household gardens as a development strategy and, to a lesser extent, about crop genetic resources. The questions of interest for her now concern the genetic consequences of farmer management of their own crop varieties and how the resulting crop genetic structure can be understood and this understanding applied in support of farmers' own local crop improvement efforts.

Terry Sprouse, also a returned Peace Corps volunteer (Honduras), worked as a trainer for the Arizona - Sonora Field School and a consultant on rural development projects in Mexico, Guatemala, and Bolivia. His current focus is on water contamination problems in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, and the methods (legal and institutional) available to address these problems.

Erasmo Valenzuela worked in economic development of Mexicos agricultural areas before commencing research at ALRS. He is now studying the economic, social, and ecological impact of rural development and the Structural Adjustment Program in the drylands of Sonora, Mexico.

Before joining the doctoral program, Eric Weiss was a professional systems/operations analyst with extensive background in mathematics. He is currently developing methods of improving data fusion to enhance understanding of national and regional population differences in vulnerability to food insecurity and famine.

Jeffery Zauderer has had wide experience in Middle Eastern studies, geology, hydrology, and ecology. His current research focus is the application of high-level statistical climate evaluations on arid lands climate data.

Yi Zheng specialized in groundwater quality and environmental science in China before joining ALRS. He is now a garbologist in the Garbage Project, part of the Anthropology and Archaeology Department at The University of Arizona.

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Barron Orr is a student in the ALRS Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program at The University of Arizona.

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