Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore is a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and associate director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University. She conducts research and teaches in the areas of agriculture, ecology, forestry and human-landscape interactions. Her research addresses the integration of continuous living cover into agricultural landscapes to support new markets and to meet societal goals for clean water, healthy soils, abundant wildlife and inspiring recreational opportunities. She works to return more of the value from agricultural supply chains to rural communities and the land, and develops relationships and institutional capacity so diverse groups of people can more effectively work together.
Dr. Schulte Moore is co-founder of the Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) project, which developed the prairie strips conservation practice. She is also lead developer of People in Ecosystems/ Watershed Integration (PEWI), a simple web-based educational game designed to help people understand human impacts on the environment and improve the management of natural resources. She directs C-CHANGE, an Iowa State University Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Initiative and USDA-NIFA Sustainable Agricultural Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project.
Dr. Schulte Moore has published more than 100 scientific and educational articles. Her honors include the Iowa State University Early Career Award in Teaching (2007), Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (2007), Stanford University Leopold Leadership Fellow (2013), Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (2014), University of Minnesota Duluth Academy of Science and Engineering Inductee (2017), Business Record/ISU Ivy College of Business innovationENTREPRENEUR Award (2020), Ecological Society of America Fellow (2021), and MacArthur Fellow (2021). Along with her colleagues on the STRIPS team, she received the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Science Team Award in 2018 and the Soil and Water Conservation Society's Conservation Innovation Award in 2020 for their development of prairie strips. She is on the editorial board for the scientific journal BioScience, a member of Ecological Society of America’s “Rapid Response Team,” on the board of directors for Practical Farmers of Iowa, and on the board of trustees for The Nature Conservancy's Iowa Chapter. Her work has been covered by the BBC, Corn and Soybean Digest, National Public Radio, the New York Times, Successful Farming, and The Washington Post among other farm and general interest media outlets.
She has been on the faculty at Iowa State University since 2003. She worked as a post-doctoral associate with the U.S. Forest Service from 2002 to 2003. She earned a B.S. in biology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, an M.S. in biology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Ph.D. in forestry in 2002 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Regarding her approach to work, Schulte Moore states: "I am a scientist. I work to find solutions to tough problems at the intersection agriculture and our environment. We all need to eat, but we also need a livable climate, clean water, abundant wildlife, and places of wonder. We all need to a better job of supporting the people in agriculture to meet these multiple goals. I am employed by a public land-grant university, so I serve all of society, but firstly Iowans. I'm neither "wizard" or "prophet", per Charles Mann's description of dueling scientists, but more of a jazz artist who likes to play in big bands that produce rich, vibrant sounds. I don't fit in neat, tidy boxes.
- On collaboration: Everyone deserves respect. I don't make assumptions about people's intentions but take them at "face value." I work with people who are honest about the challenges our society faces and focused on finding solutions to them. I work with people who are in it for the long haul.
- On teaching and mentoring: I want to teach people ecology. That has always been my primary career goal. I recognize everyone has knowledge to share. I thus make a point to listen before speaking. I try to meet people where they are and learn together from there. I use this approach one-on-one, in small groups, and in larger venues.
- On science: I work in teams to collect more, better data. We curate it. We honestly interpret it. If the data don't seem “right”, we collect more, better data to see if the answer changes. If not, we're honest about it.
- On solutions: I look to nature as a model: I foster diversity, cultivate redundancy, and enable change.
- On diversity: I nurture people, crop, livestock, market, and landscape diversity.
- On redundancy: In nature, there's always more than one way to solve a problem. I work to expand the options available to students, land managers, and policy makers.
- On change: I support adaptation, continuous improvement processes, and the leadership of the next generation.
- On science communication: I speak from the data, but recognize its limits. I speak to people's hearts as well as their heads. I try to help people see the path. I ask, what is the next best step?"
Schulte Moore lives in Ames, Iowa, with her husband, Peter Moore, and two sons. They also spend time at their family farm near Strum, Wis.