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Department of History

MA Student to present Research in Topeka

History MA student Theresa Young was named one of the top ten researchers at the Research and the State graduate student poster session on October 31, 2011. The poster session aimed at showing the link between graduate student research and the state of Kansas. Young explained that her MA thesis, "Living Tools: Tree Use in the Nineteenth Century," examines land use and the human impact on the Kansas ecosystem. She reports, "The face of Kansas has changed since 1861; the relatively treeless expanses that dominated three-fourths of the state are all but gone. Boosted by the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, Kansas State University began agricultural experimentation and developed technological tree farms throughout the state. New farming models emerged, including the use of trees for ameliorative efforts. Kansas was the leading state concerning tree research and implementation of tree planting, but this topic is widely overlooked even though the influences on the ecology and economy can still be seen today. What was developed in the nineteenth-century was a working knowledge used by people with economic interests, and it provided the framework for soil conservation attempts in the New Deal era of shelterbelt planting. Looking at the cultural relationships humans developed with trees in the early days of Kansas, this thesis reveals the changing ecology and economy of the state." As a result of her top-ten finish, Young will represent KSU in Topeka at Topeka on February 16 at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit.