Nathaniel Delano, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Summer 2014 Newsletter

Nathaniel “Nate” Delano is a second-year master’s student in the School of Natural Resources and the Environments’ Water, Society, and Policy program. He is also pursuing a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems and working as a Graduate Assistant at the WRRC, under the direction of WRRC Director Sharon B. Megdal.

Delano grew up in rural Virginia on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Growing up exploring and learning about centuries-old farms, forests and unique ecosystems, and the people who depend on them, gave him a lifelong interest in the interaction of humans with their environment. This interest was informed and sharpened at the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine and Environmental Science, a regional magnet school that he attended for his final two years of high school. Delano then attended the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he majored in History and Geography, and completed a senior thesis on the economic and cultural influences of declining water levels in the High Plains Aquifer, sparking an interest in water management.

Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he joined the Peace Corps as an agricultural extensionist and was sent to Paraguay. During his 27 months in Paraguay, Delano lived in a one-room house in Barrio San Pedro, a small, rural, predominately subsistence-based agricultural community.  His role primarily focused on the development of a community needs assessment and the subsequent implementation of projects identified in that assessment. He constructed 55 wood-burning cooking stoves (known as fogonés), introduced green manures to the crop cycle for farmers, and kept bees with many members of the community. With one particularly engaged Paraguayan living in his site, Delano constructed a complete sustainable farming system, including gardens, bees, compost, a woodstove, an egg incubator and a  biodigester.

This combination of theoretical interest and practical experience in natural resource management led him to enroll at the University of Arizona as a Paul Coverdell Peace Corps Fellow, and continue his study of water and natural resource management and GIS. While still developing, his master’s project will likely be centered around a partnership with local Tucson NGO, Native Seed/SEARCH, focusing on developing a water saving irrigation system for its conservation farm in Patagonia, Arizona.

As a graduate assistant at the WRRC, Delano has worked on various projects with his advisor, Dr. Sharon B. Megdal. Their work on characterizing Tucson’s water service providers compared to other cities was recently published in The Water Report, a respected water newsletter. He has additionally created several maps that have been published in well-known journals, such as Groundwater. This summer he is working on WRRC grant proposals, mapping projects, and coordination of a major meeting on antibiotic resistance, hosted by the UA in August.