Purdue University agronomy professor Ron Turco will receive the university’s 2013 Spirit of the Land-Grant Mission Award for his work to assess and improve the environmental health of water and soil.
The award is presented yearly to a Purdue faculty member in the colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences, or Veterinary Medicine whose work exemplifies the university’s land-grant mission of discovery, engagement and learning.
Turco investigates how the behavior of microorganisms and the processes they control in water and soil are influenced by human activity. He conducted groundbreaking research on the impact of nanomaterials on the active microbiology of soil and also worked with Purdue’s animal research farms to responsibly manage animal waste. He began his career at Purdue by examining Indiana’s well water for possible contamination and currently directs the Indiana Water Resources Research Center, which supports research and education in water science.
“Ron Turco has spent his career creating knowledge that can be applied to tackle some of the most important environmental problems facing Indiana and the nation,” said Karen Plaut, senior associate dean and director of agricultural research. “This is truly a well-deserved honor.”
Turco has worked on water issues with numerous groups, including the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation, the Indiana Water Resources Association and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. He also developed an education program with the state’s Department of Natural Resources on the best practices for maintaining the quality of ground and well water.
“Dr. Turco is an example of a scholar who is addressing fundamental challenges to society,” said Jason Henderson, associate dean and director of Purdue Extension. “His ability to move between the lab and field and apply research to practical application and policymaking work reflects the core mission of a land-grant university.”
A program honoring Turco will be held Feb. 21 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time in Pfendler Hall’s Deans Auditorium on the Purdue campus. Turco will present a seminar titled “Building Environmental Sustainability with Education, Research and Extension” followed by the award presentation and refreshments.
Turco will receive $10,000 to support his research program, a $1,500 honorarium and a commemorative plaque.
Source: Purdue Ag Communications ((Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)