Go Green: Manure happens, but alumnus keeps things clean
Kevin Erb, a 2000 Environmental Science and Policy graduate of UW-Green Bay, plays a major role (and an award-winning one, at that) in addressing one of the state’s leading environmental issues — proper management of livestock manure.
Erb is a professional development and training coordinator employed by UW Extension. He specializes in conservation issues.
Manure is a big issue in Wisconsin. UW Extension estimates that the dairy industry alone produces the equivalent of 12 billion gallons of liquid waste annually – enough to cover a college or NFL football field to a depth of five miles. Manure is a valuable fertilizer, but applied incorrectly, it can cause fish kills and drinking water contamination, and fertilize algae growth in lakes and streams. One-third of the state’s manure is applied by 116 for-hire application firms serving Wisconsin.
Erb chairs a work team that in recent years has worked to train manure applicators on proper procedures, and also encouraged those within the agriculture industry to work collaboratively with public officials and others to take a more active role in the larger public-policy issues. Most notably, Erb’s team created more than a dozen intentional (and small-scale) manure spills as an innovative approach to demonstrating the proper way to contain, clean up and restore a spill site.
All of this work earned Erb’s team — the UW-Extension Custom Manure Applicator Subcommittee — a major award earlier this fall. They received the UW-Extension/UW Colleges 2010 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.
(Kevin Erb is shown in the photo above, bottom row, second from right, holding the award with UW Extension Interim Chancellor Marv Van Kekerix.)
The award recognizes outstanding contributions by UW Colleges’ and UW-Extension’s partners, supporters and employees, to undergraduate education and university outreach around the state.
Colleagues at UW-Green Bay say Erb is also a “go-to-guy” for numerous research and watershed management projects involving undergraduates, grad students and faculty members, and a connection to UW-Extension in the soil, plant, water, and agricultural arenas. He has hosted or facilitated internships for UW-Green Bay students, served as a guest lecturer, volunteered to help supervise graduate-thesis projects in Environmental Sciences and Policy, and assisted in presenting workshops on conservation issues.
Kevin Erb is married to 1990 UW-Green Bay alumna Mary Jo (Janssen) Erb.