Faculty Spotlight: Gary Bentrup

Gary Bentrup
Meet Gary Bentrup, a research landscape architect for the U.S. Forest Service, with an adjunct position in the Nebraska Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.
December 21, 2020

About Gary

I grew up on a family farm in southwest Kansas that I still manage with my sisters. I graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree of landscape architecture and worked for several years for an environmental consulting company in Colorado. Upon completing a master’s degree of landscape architecture at Utah State University, I came to Lincoln to accept a position as a research landscape planner at the USDA National Agroforestry Center. I met my wife, Cara, in Lincoln and we have five cats and 12 pound rabbit named Buddha. 

What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?

My primary appointment is with the U.S. Forest Service and I hold an adjunct position in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. My work focuses on developing evidence-based knowledge and tools for implementing multifunctional agroforestry practices. I think I was destined to work in agroforestry as I spent much of my childhood playing in the shelterbelt that protected our farmstead. 

What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?

I just completed my graduate degree at Utah State when an opportunity at the USDA National Agroforestry Center came up. Both the position and community have been wonderful, so I am now going on 21 years of calling Lincoln my home.

What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?

A university is a great melting pot of different viewpoints, disciplines, and expertise. I enjoy the opportunities to meet new people from around the world, to continue to learn about new things and to collaborate on exciting research and Extension projects.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I synthesized over 1,400 research studies into illustrated guidelines for planning and designing vegetative buffers for a range of purposes, from water quality protection to agronomic production. Since publication, the guidelines have been translated into Chinese, Spanish, Mongolian, French, Korean and parts into Hebrew.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

My wife and I foster for the Capital City Humane Society, and over the past five years we have fostered 85 cats, four bunnies, and three guinea pigs.

What is your life like outside of work?

My wife and I like to garden, and we always have some outdoor projects that we are working on. We also enjoy walking, running and biking on Lincoln’s extensive trails system; I am also active in the Great Plains Trails Network, which raises funds for trail development. In addition to fostering, my wife and I recently have enjoyed some citizen science projects; we further like to volunteer at local organizations including the Food Bank of Lincoln.