“Developing research from a concept to a product takes the right people and the right facility,” says Lee Vierling, College of Natural Resources associate professor of remote sensing and global ecology. “Having the Thomas L. and E. Teita Reveley Geospatial Education and Research Complex has allowed us to expand scientific knowledge relating to fundamental plant-atmosphere interactions, such as photosynthesis and the process of carbon exchange.”
In 2008, Thomas ‘59 and Teita Reveley of Bainbridge, Wash., funded the construction of the complex in CNR to improve natural resources study. The couple has had a long-standing commitment to the University of Idaho and to the use of sustainable natural resources.
The complex is a dynamic, global center for the study of earth system science that specializes in education, research, and outreach relating to applications of geographic information systems, remote sensing and global positioning systems.
Vierling and his former doctoral student Steve Garrity utilized the complex to develop a specialized instrument that can be used to remotely track plant production and carbon dynamics. The instrument provides new opportunities for scientists and land managers, from crop producers to foresters, to monitor plant productivity across a wide range of on-the-ground situations.
Recently, Vierling and Garrity partnered with Decagon Devices, Inc., a private company that manufactures and markets scientific instruments, to mass produce the sensor. Through the collaboration, Decagon is refining the design and will make it commercially available to the public.
“This is a great example of private/public partnership that has the potential to change the way we look at global plant production,” says Vierling.
“Teita and I have always been interested in the global ecosystem and even more so today as we experience changing climatic conditions, indiscriminate development of the world’s resources and its impact on our air, water and forests,” says Tom Reveley. We looked at a number of investment options and decided that supporting the CNR has the strongest and most balanced impact in dealing with the many ecological issues we are facing today.”