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Introducing Our New Global Coordinator: Meghan Mize 

This month, LandPKS welcomes Meghan Mize as our new Global Coordinator. Meghan has more than eight years of experience in international agriculture and program management. She also has a background in horticulture, agronomy, agriculture extension, value chain development, and communications.

Meghan began her career in international agriculture as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Senegal where she served as an agricultural extension agent working alongside smallholder farmers on field crop extension and community gardening. After Peace Corps, Meghan worked in Washington D.C. for several years managing and designing USAID and USDA programs in value chain development, cold chain development, sustainable agricultural production, and livelihoods in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Africa. Meghan’s next role was based in Niger carrying out a USAID-funded program supporting young entrepreneurs in agriculture, water, and environmental sectors. She also has experience working with horticulture production and marketing in Cambodia. She holds an MS in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis and a BA in Development Studies from UC Berkeley. 

Meghan Mize Headshot

Meghan is excited about supporting the growth and development of LandPKS. She is passionate about data-driven sustainable agriculture, soil health, and community-led development. She looks forward to getting to know our partners implementing the app globally and to collaborate with our stakeholders in this phase of the LandPKS app development.

LandPKS in the NCSS Conference

On June 9 -13th the University of Rhode Island in Narragansett, Rhode Island hosted the U.S. National Cooperative Soil Survey Conference, bringing soil and ecological specialists together to promote the collection and delivery of soil resource information. The National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) is a nationwide partnership of U.S. Federal, regional, State, and local agencies who work to investigate, classify, and disseminate information about soils.

NCSS Vibracoring Soil (2019)
A large diversity of soil cores collected from Ninigret Pond, Rhode Island.

Many attendees expressed interest in using LandPKS as part of a soil information knowledge system to help land managers identify and understand land potential. For example, the LandINFO module provides the tools for thorough identification of soil texture, rock fragment, and soil color as well as characterizing site information such as slope, land use, and soil limitations. Feedback from scientists also included an interest for LandPKS to develop in-app tools to deliver soil survey products based on user soil inputs.

[Featured Image: Soil scientists visit a productive agricultural soil subject to recent coastal erosion. Photo by Jon Andreoni.]

 

For more information on the soil color module and other features available, check out the details of the current version 3.2 release. The LandPKS app is free and available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The LandPKS app was developed by the LandPKS Team for the Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) with support largely from USAID and USDA-ARS. Please contact us at contact@landpotential.org with any questions, comments, or feedback.

Saying Goodbye to Amy Quandt, LandPKS Global Coordinator.

5Practice training group
Left: Amy (left) and others at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development creating a one-day LandPKS Training. 

Dr. Amy Quandt joined the LandPKS project as the Global Coordinator two years ago.  At the end of May, we will have to say goodbye to Amy as she moves off to a new position. Starting in August, Amy will be joining the faculty of the Department of Geography at San Diego State University as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Geography. At San Diego State University, Amy is looking forward to continuing her work on the impacts of technology on agricultural productivity and sustainable land management.

During her time with LandPKS, Amy has played a critical role in enhancing the development of the app and worked closely with our partners implementing the app globally. Amy worked on the Land Capability Classification features, as well as the soon-to-be released LandManagement Module. Amy also worked to enhance the LandCover and LandInfo outputs delivered on the phone to users.

Internationally, during her two years with LandPKS Amy has made 7 trips to Africa, including Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Working with the World Agroforestry Center, Amy helped to hire our Ethiopia and Tanzania Country Coordinators. She has also done extensive pilot testing of the LandPKS app with farmers, land use planners, and pastoralists in Africa.

Amy2 Img

Amy is sad to leave the LandPKS team but we wish her the best in her future endeavors.  You can keep up with her work on her website aquandt.weebly.com.

Noble Research Institute Hosts LandPKS Feedback Workshop

On April 15 -17th the Noble Research Institute in Ardmore, Oklahoma hosted a LandPKS feedback workshop. The main goal of the workshop was to solicit thoughts, ideas, and feedback on how to improve the LandPKS app, including the current modules and features, as well as our upcoming redesign of the LandPKS app. Attending the workshop were LandPKS staff, Noble Research Institute staff, pasture and range consultants, seed company and agricultural industry representatives, The Nature Conservancy staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service soil scientists, and ranchers.

The workshop began on the 15th with an introduction to the LandPKS app and future additions to it including a SoilID function, and LandManagment and SoilHealth modules. On the 16th the day was divided into four sessions where participants could provide feedback about different aspects of the LandPKS app including geospatial components, input modules, outputs and interpretations, privacy and data sharing, interface and navigation, and social networking. On the 17th, the workshop ended with a discussion on what should be prioritized for future LandPKS development.

Noble 2
The fantastic views at the Noble Research Institute in Ardmore

The feedback received over the three-day intensive workshop was invaluable in shaping the future of the LandPKS app; ensuring that it is both usable and useful in sustainable land management within the United States. The LandPKS team thanks everyone who gave their valuable time to join us. It is very much appreciated!

It is also important to thank the Noble Research Institute for opening their doors to us for this workshop. Lloyd Noble established the Noble Research Institute in 1945 to revitalize agriculture after the Dust Bowl and deliver solutions to great agricultural challenges. The Noble Research Institute focuses on basic, translational, and applied research that will help farmers and ranchers improve land stewardship and productivity. The institute has seven research and demonstration farms, covering 14,000 acres in southern Oklahoma.

The LandPKS app is free and available on the Google Play Store and iTunes Store. The LandPKS app was developed by the LandPKS Team for the Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) with support from USAID and USDA-ARS. Please contact us at contact@landpotential.org with any questions, comments, or feedback.

LandPKS Seminar and Demo May 1st, Fort Collins 2019!

Interested in technology-based solutions to sustainable agriculture, rangeland management and natural resource conservation? Join us on May 1st at 3:30pm to hear about the FREE LandPKS Mobile App!

 

Agenda, May 1, 2019

3:30 pm  LandPKS Seminar – CSU Campus, MSNR Rm. 345 (Michael Smith Natural Resource Building)

4:30 pm  Field Demo (outside MSNR)

5:00 pm  Social at the Ramskeller Pub (Lory Student Center, CSU–Pizza provided!)

 

The LandPKS app is free and available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The LandPKS app was developed by the LandPKS Team for the Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) with support largely from USAID and USDA-ARS. Please contact us at contact@landpotential.org with any questions, comments, or feedback.

 

LandPKS App Now Available in French, Spanish, and Swahili

The LandPKS app is now available in four different languages: French, Swahili, Spanish, and English!  The LandPKS team recently released LandPKS version 3.2.1 which contains all four languages. Please do visit the Google Play Store or Apple App Store to download the latest version.

 

How to change your language in the LandPKS app:

  1. Once logged in, go to the ‘More’ icon on the green bar on the bottom right of the screen.
  2. Go to Application Settings.
  3. On the Language dropdown, select your preferred language. 

 

Having the LandPKS app translated into different languages helps improve access to the app for non-English speakers globally.  We do not want language to be a barrier to use and adoption. Including these three additional languages will significantly help our users in Europe (French and Spanish), Africa (French and Swahili), and North and South America (Spanish).

The LandPKS app is free and available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The LandPKS app was developed by the LandPKS Team for the Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) with support largely from USAID and USDA-ARS. Please contact us at contact@landpotential.org with any questions, comments, or feedback.

Introducing Maximilian Contreras: Program Specialist

Maximilian Contreras is a recent Graduate from New Mexico State University. He has a Bachelor’s of individualized study in music and theatre and intends to pursue a masters of archival records administration. His background work experience includes customer service and media library management as well as record keeping and administrative assistance. His family owns farmland in Chihuahua, Mexico with crops of both wheat and alfalfa. The Contreras family also tends to a small apple and pear orchard. Max is excited to assist in developing the LandPKS app in hopes that it will not only improve crop yield for his family in the future, but also many other farms around the globe.

Please join us in welcoming him to our LandPKS family!

LandPKS Field Day at the Jornada Experimental Range

On March 7th, the LandPKS Team hosted a LandPKS Field Day at the Jornada Experimental Range, just outside Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. The Jornada Experimental Range has served as a field research laboratory since 1912 for long term agricultural and ecological research. The first goal of the field day was to have the LandPKS team go through the entire LandPKS app – including both current and future modules and features. In addition, the second goal was to obtain feedback from specialists and technical experts outside the core LandPKS team. Joining the team for the field day was ecologist Laura Burkett, biological science technician Kirsten Romig, post-doctoral researcher Erica Christensen, and Science Education Specialist with the Asombro Institute of Science Education Ryan Pemberton.

LandPKS soil and range experts Shawn Salley and George Peacock led the group through the existing LandInfo and LandCover modules within the LandPKS app. These two modules are designed to walk the user through collecting soils and vegetation data. We also used and collected feedback on the soon-to-be released SoilID feature that matches the user’s soil inputs with soils mapped in the same area. George Peacock also walked the group through the SoilHealth module that is in development and next on our list to be programmed into the app.

Right: Shawn Salley measuring our soil pit to collect soil samples at different depths. Left: Laura Burkett using LandPKS.

Due to the afternoon wind and dust storm which is typical for this time of year in Las Cruces, after a picnic lunch we finished the day at the Jornada Experimental Range headquarters where Amy Quandt led the group through the soon-to-be released LandManagement module. This module aims to provide farmers with an easy record keeping tool to manage their farm inputs and outputs. We finished the day with a feedback session to discuss possible future revisions to the LandPKS app.

The LandPKS app is free and available on the Google Play Store and iTunes Store. The LandPKS app was developed by the LandPKS Team for the Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) with support from USAID and USDA-ARS. Please contact us at contact@landpotential.org with any questions, comments, or feedback.

Amy Quandt walking the group through collecting vegetation information with the LandCover module.

The LandPKS YouTube Channel

The LandPKS mobile phone app (landpotential.org) helps users make more sustainable land management decisions by assisting them to collect geo-located data about their soils, vegetation, and site characteristics; and returning back to users useful results and information about their site. The LandPKS app is a global app that can be used in any location around the world. As visible on the LandPKS Data Portal (landpotential.org/data-portal/), there have been LandPKS sites completed on 6 continents!

In order to provide more information about LandPKS to our stakeholders and users globally, we have started a YouTube channel called LandPKS.  We will continue to add videos about how to use the app, user testimonials, and LandPKS presentations.  Please subscribe to help stay updated!

The LandPKS Team is Focusing on Trainings in 2019

 

 

With the recent hiring of LandPKS Country Coordinators in both Tanzania and Ethiopia, thLandPKS team is putting much of our efforts into conducting more trainings, improving our training materials, and translating both the training materials and the app into other languages.  We have training materials available on our website in Swahili, Amharic, and Oromo (https://landpotential.org/resources/training/), and we have recently released a new version of the LandPKS app that is translated into Spanish, with French and Swahili to be released in the next month. 

Mr. Elifadhili Daniel, our Tanzania LandPKS Country Coordinator, has developed an ambitious plan to conduct trainings all over the country.  If you are in Tanzania and interested in learning more about LandPKS, please contact him at E.Daniel@cgiar.org.

In Ethiopia, Mr. Adane Buni, our Ethiopia LandPKS Country Coordinator, is working on developing partnerships and collaborations with government agencies working on issues of land use planning.  These partnerships will include training throughout Ethiopia as well.  If you are in Ethiopia and interested in learning more about LandPKS, please contact him at A.Buni@cgiar.org