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Creighton University receives grant from Nebraska Environmental Trust

Creighton University archCreighton University has been awarded $102,718 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the “The Nebraska Sandhills: An Interdisciplinary Study of Place Through Ecology, Culture, and Film” project. The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its meeting on April 4, 2019 in Lincoln.

This is the first year of award with a potential for a second-year funding totaling $95, 536. The project is one of 117 receiving $19,501,444 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. Of these, 85 were new applications and 32 were carry-over projects.

“The Nebraska Sandhills: An Interdisciplinary Study of Place Through Ecology, Culture, and Film” is an interdisciplinary research project by Mary Ann Vinton, PhD, associate professor of biology and program director for Creighton’s environmental sciences program, Jay Leighter, PhD, associate professor of communication studies, and John O’Keefe, PhD, professor of theology.

The three have partnered together on this project that looks at the stability and vulnerability of the Nebraska Sandhills and the stress on its natural and social systems, from factors such as drought and population decline. Through remote sensing technology, surveys and artistic representation and philosophical/theological theory, the team hopes to understand how drought and other natural and human factors affect the social and ecological resilience of the region.

Their approach is to bring multiple perspectives on the depiction of the Sandhills from the fields of biology, culture and communication, and theology (through documentary film and photography) to understand the complex interrelation of place and people. Their ecological analyses, cultural interpretations, documentary filmmaking, and artistic depictions will provide resources for understanding and dialogue in Nebraska, and in the region, for appreciating and protecting the Sandhills.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $305 million in grants to more than 2,200 projects across the state. Anyone – citizens, organization, communities, farmers and businesses – can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.

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