Arid Land Resource Sciences Ph.D. Program Celebrates 50 Years of Student and Graduate Achievements

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Arid Land Resource Sciences (ALRS) Ph.D. Program at the University of Arizona is celebrating 50 years of student and graduate achievements. This unique program is the only one of its kind in the United States, focusing student research on protecting arid and semi-arid lands in Arizona and around the world, and discovering ways to sustainably use and develop these fragile lands.

According to the United Nations, over 40 percent of the land across the globe is considered arid or semi-arid, and one in three people on Earth (more than 2 billion) live in an area where water is scarce. Knowledge about how people, plants and animals inhabit and impact these areas are essential to protecting these lands for future generations and to utilizing them to the benefit of all without causing irreparable damage. Founded in 1968, the diverse research by ALRS doctoral students and graduates generates exactly such a knowledge.

On Friday, October 26, ALRS invites you to a celebration of current students, graduates and their faculty mentors. Join us from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm in the courtyard of the UA Environment and Natural Resources (ENR2) building for a poster session, followed by a symposium until 4:30 pm in the Agnese Nelms Haury Lecture Hall in ENR2 Room S107.    

In addition to lectures by former program chairs and internationally recognized arid lands experts Professors Charles Hutchinson and Stuart Marsh, the symposium will also feature ALRS alumni:

• Joe Graham, whose heritage as a Kawaik’kome (a person of the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico) led him to research tribal economic development as a director of American Indian Resource Program at the University of California Irvine

• Kanin Routson, whose doctoral research of apple trees on historic homesteads across the Southwest led to the founding of Stoic Cider, a hard apple cider company in Prescott

• Amy McCoy, whose life on the water as a rower for the U.S. Air Force World Class Athlete Program transitioned into seeking water in the desert along the Arizona-Mexico border

• Kelly Matt-LaCroix, whose work as a hydrologist at the Tonto National Forest, which is the 5th largest National Forest in the U.S., better protects this rugged desert landscape for the 5.8 million visitors every year to enjoy

“The diversity of research in arid lands has expanded knowledge of our own Sonoran Desert and similar locations around the world,” said Stuart Marsh, associate director of the School of Natural Resources and ALRS chair from 2002 to 2013. “Increasing pressures on these areas have increased attention to the unique ecological, economic and socio-cultural factors that affect them. This Ph.D. program is aimed at addressing the complex problems of sustainability of these arid lands.”

More than 90 students have graduated from the ALRS Ph.D. program, which offers an interdisciplinary approach to curriculum. By drawing expertise from over 55 faculty members in 19 departments across campus, the ALRS program is designed to serve both students proceeding directly through graduate work and, equally significantly, non-traditional students who bring knowledge of real-world applications to their graduate studies.


For more information contact Marylou Myers, ALRS program coordinator

By: Erin Jordan, ALRS graduate Summer 2018, Media Administrator, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality 

Marylou Myers
Program Coordinator, ALRS program
(520) 626-9111