AmericanFarm.com

Fellowship to engage scholars (Editorial)

(Oct. 25, 2016) Former Maryland Gov. Harry R. Hughes will achieve 90 years of age on Nov. 13 and, in celebration, a foundation, in his name is being activated by the University of Maryland and the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology.
Funds from the foundation will be used to provide an annual fellowship award, administered by the center, for an exceptional scholar or graduate student who will be assigned to the university’s Wye Research Center to focus on “creative problem solving through research of key issues affecting agriculture and forestry in the state of Maryland.”
Through his lifetime, Harry Hughes has been a champion of what has been termed “reasonable environmentalism.”
Through his work as governor — he signed the first Chesapeake Bay Agreement, and as a private citizen — he was a member of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Citizens Pfiesteria Commission, president of the 17-year-old Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology and advisor to the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.
He has been involved with the policy and the regulators which seek to craft rules and programs that actually yield a balanced outcome — protecting farms and water.
In January 2000, a memorandum of understanding was signed providing a base for the Hughes Center at the Wye but maintaining the agro-ecology center as an independent organization.
Hughes has served as president of the center since its inception.
Dr. Suzanne Dorsey, the newly appointed executive director of the agro-ecology center, said it is her hope to bring more students to the Wye research center and into the dialogues that the Hughes Center has managed so effectively over the last 17 years ... “not just to work with our scientific colleagues, but to engage in problem solving at the farm, in the forest, and at the table where the sometimes competing needs of farm and water quality are resolved ... even working with policy makers and regulators who struggle to craft rules and subsidies that actually yield a balanced outcome; protecting farms and water.”
Hughes Fellows, it is hoped, Dorsey said, “will gain depth in their understanding of agronomy and natural resource science —experiencing all the different perspectives that need to be heard in order to make positive changes that keep our working lands viable for the next 90 years.”
We see some urgency in this journey.
The culture of this nation is changing rapidly. Concepts, policies, long-held tenets are being challenged.
The emergence of astonishing new ‘high tech’ often disrupts the usual patterns of understanding and development.
It is our hope — indeed our expectation — that the Hughes Fellows will bring enlightening new perspectives and pathways of understanding to the Wye research table.
As Dr. Dorsey commented, “If we listen carefully, we might discover our University of Maryland scholars have something to offer that improves our results too.”