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New OSU Berry Fellows would make namesake ‘pleased’

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Four members of Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources have been selected as 2015-2017 Berry Fellows by the Oklahoma Water Resources Center.

The OSU Thomas E. Berry Faculty Fellows Program in Integrated Water Research and Management recognizes and supports DASNR educators, scientists and specialists who are making outstanding contributions relative to building awareness about and promoting wise use of Oklahoma’s water resources.

“We feel the projects being undertaken by Cheryl Newberry, Francisco Ochoa-Corona, Jason Warren and Glenn Brown have the potential to be extremely important to the state and region, and are representative of OSU’s land-grant mission to help individuals, organizations and communities solve local issues and concerns,” said Garey Fox, center director.

Newberry, an OSU Cooperative Extension district 4-H program specialist, will be developing and putting into place youth-focused water education programs for schools and communities.

Ochoa-Corona, an associate professor in the department of entomology and plant pathology, will be studying a field deployable water-filtration system that can effectively monitor and survey water-borne viruses.

Warren, an associate professor in the department of plant and soil sciences, will be focusing on subsurface drip irrigation systems, concentrating on how soil types affect efficiency and management.

“Dr. Warren’s work continues and expands DASNR’s and the center’s investments relative to subsurface drip irrigation in Oklahoma, and focuses on providing new insights and enhanced science-proven recommendations for producers who have installed these irrigation systems,” Fox said.

Brown, an OSU Regent’s professor with DASNR’s department of biosystems and agricultural engineering, will be studying the application of fly ash to treat stormwater around poultry houses.

“Dr. Brown’s research emphasizes the protection of water quality in eastern Oklahoma for some of the state’s most scenic rivers,” Fox said.

Program donor Malinda Berry Fischer lauds the four research and education programs selected as “great examples of OSU’s land-grant mission in action, showcasing how such efforts can directly or indirectly affect Oklahomans across the state.”

“My husband Dick and I agree with Dr. Fox that it is vitally important to perpetuate and extend support for water research in the state, especially as an outgrowth of the OSU Thomas E. Berry Endowed Professorship,” said Fischer, daughter of the Oklahoma “wildcatter” in whose name the OSU endowment was created.

Her father, a native of Ripley, made his living in the oil and gas industry but one of his great passions was water conservation, especially in terms of wastewater use and water reclamation.

“No matter where we live or what we do, we all need access to fresh, clean water,” Fischer said. “Long before conservation efforts became trendy my father was working with OSU scientists to develop and disseminate research-based information about water conservation practices.”

In a notable experiment called the “Honey Hole,” Berry collected, transported and stored municipal wastewater treatment effluent in three ponds before irrigating crops with it.

“We had some of the thickest grass and most prolific vegetable gardens in Payne County,” Fischer said. “He would be very pleased with and excited about the four programs being undertaken in his name through the Berry Fellows program.”

Additional information about this and other Oklahoma Water Resources Center programs is available online at or by contacting the center at 405-744-5615.

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