by Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture
Cheryl Dunn, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture research manager and herbarium curator, was honored with the department’s Special Contributions Award by the Staff Advisory Committee on Dec. 6 at the department Staff Appreciation Luncheon.
The semiannual award recognizes department staff who go above and beyond in their job duties in a way that greatly benefits the department and/or the university.
Dunn has worked at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for over 13 years and is a member of the range, pasture and forages group. She spends her time teaching, conducting research, collecting and curating plants, and managing the department’s herbarium.
Dunn’s leadership, passion and dedication for excellence is evident in her teaching and student interactions. She encourages them to work hard and challenge themselves to take on something that may not be interesting to achieve success. Whether she is busy or not, she is willing to offer help and advice to students whenever they need assistance in improving projects, papers, understanding concepts or in identification of plants.
She serves as the advisor for the Range Management Club and coach for the Nebraska Plant Identification Team.
Dunn shares her extensive knowledge of plants with Nebraska farmers, livestock producers, extension educators and specialists in providing plant identification, plant management or livestock-plant interaction questions. This service enhances the ability of extension educators and specialists to help direct management considerations if a plant is toxic to livestock or if the species is one of concern for ecosystem health.
She also assists the Nebraska Department of Agriculture in identifying, monitoring and alerting the department if invasive plant species show up in Nebraska.
Dunn has co-authored three plant identification books including “Grasses of the Great Plains,” “North American Wildland Plants” and “Weeds of the Great Plains.” She has also co-authored three Extension publications including “Grasses of Nebraska,” “Forbs and Shrubs of Nebraska” and “Toxic Plants to Livestock.”
Dunn has been the department’s Ombudsman and on the SAC committee for many years. She is always willing to listen and help fellow employee with concerns.
“She goes out of her way to make this department better,” one nominator said.