Karcher notified TWCA of his intentions to withdraw from the RRC at the close of 2020 spurring the program to initiate its succession process. Matteo was nominated for the position by RRC Chair, Dr. Cale Bigelow (Purdue University), and was unanimously approved by the RRC. Serena will participate in his first round of TWCA Qualification reviews in the first quarter of 2022.
Serena, already a TWCA cooperator, brings a desert-honed appreciation of drought evaluation to the RRC. During fourteen years studying and working at New Mexico State University Serena worked on several projects targeting drought and management solutions for turfgrass in arid environments. Among his efforts are the published works, Surfactants for water conservation and their impact on soil health and Irrigation scheduling technologies reduce water use and maintain turfgrass quality.
Remaining in place on the RRC are Dr. Bigelow and Dr. John Stier (University of Tennessee, Knoxville). The three members of the RRC are aided in the evaluation process by the recently created Data Analysis and Statistical Evaluation (DESA) position to provide clarity to the data and the TWCA Program Administrator in a strictly informational ex officio capacity.
Serena’s appointment, in concert with TWCA’s creation of the DESA program, marks the first stage of a long-term succession plan built to ensure competence, quality and continuity of the RRC program.
This is the latest in a string of programs TWCA will release this year aimed at developing emerging professionals. Other programs will include a research paper grant award program and an accompanying Congressional Visit Day scholarship. “Without turf researchers, we don’t have a program,” says Karlin. “We’re investing in a resource as precious to us as water.”
Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA) is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to water conservation and committed to preserving the environmental benefit of turfgrass in the managed environment. TWCA Qualifies drought tolerant turf cultivars through multi-year multi-site trialing. TWCA relies on third party peer review of objective data to make final qualifications of drought tolerant materials. To learn more about topics in this article please visit tgwca.org.
Jack Karlin is the Program Administrator for TWCA. His interest is in using policy and the built environment to create livable and sustainable communities.