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O’Connor Honored by Society for Range Management with Outstanding Young Professional Award

SPARKS, NEVADA – Dr. Rory O’Connor received the Outstanding Young Professional Award at the Society for Range Management’s 77th Annual Meeting in Sparks, Nevada last week. The Award is presented by the Society to an individual member or couple who have demonstrated extraordinary potential and promise as range management professionals.  This award is presented as an encouragement for outstanding performance by young men and women entering the profession of range management.

Dr. Rory O’Connor has built an impactful research program addressing topical rangeland management challenges impacting the western U.S. and beyond. His work on woody plant expansion in prairie ecosystems serves as a framework for managers to incorporate both fire and grazing in shrub management plans. His ecological drought research is used to help guide post-fire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation efforts on sagebrush rangelands and is a component of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool.  

Dr. O’Connor’s current research as a Rangeland Ecologist with USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Burns, Oregon includes linking plant physiological traits with plant materials development, development of a “Carbon Security Index” for envisioning rangeland carbon as a dynamic resource and for adjusting management practices to increase likelihood of carbon retention over time, and he and colleagues provided the first peer review-published research on the practical application of virtual fencing systems on sagebrush rangelands. Dr. O’Connor is consistently sought out by land managers, producers, and policy makers as a science professional capable of translating his research into tangible management direction.  

Within SRM he serves as an Associate Editor for REM, a Director for the PNW Section, has organized multiple sessions at annual meetings, is past President of the Young Professionals Conclave, helped organize local high school range camps, and served eight years as a member of the Student Activities Committee.  

For the tremendous contributions to the science and management of rangeland ecosystems he has made, it is with great honor the Society of Range Management recognized Dr. Rory O’Connor with the Outstanding Young Professional Award.

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