Fresno State plant science professor Dr. Anil Shrestha received President Barack Obama’s Volunteer Service Silver Award in recognition for his community service.

The award is the nation’s premier volunteer award and recognizes Americans making a positive impact.

This week Shrestha will return to Nepal to volunteer in his academic specialty for the third consecutive summer and will help scientists, faculty and students in Nepal develop skills in experimental designs and data analysis.

“I consider myself very fortunate to be able to share my skills, knowledge and experience in a developing part of the world that is fending off a looming crisis of uncertainties in agriculture and food security,” Shrestha said.

The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation started the awards program in 2003. It is managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service and Points of Light, an international nonprofit agency that inspires, equips and mobilizes people to take action to change the world.

Shrestha teaches classes at Fresno State in plant health, plant science, biometrics, weed science, pest management and crop productivity. His primary research is in integrated vegetation management in agricultural and non-agricultural systems.

He was also recently honored with Winrock’s annual Volunteer Spirit Award for his dedication and contributions in creating the first weed science graduate program in Nepal with the Agriculture and Forestry University. On that same trip last summer, Shrestha hosted faculty biometric training sessions and gave guidance in grant writing, experimental design and data analysis to faculty and students in Nepal at the Uttarpani Technical School and Central Campus of Technology, Dharan.

Shrestha’s 2015 trip was sponsored by Winrock International, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Farmer-to-Farmer program. In 2014, he hosted faculty biometric training sessions at three Tribhuvan University campuses in Nepal.

“It is important for agricultural scientists to work globally,” Shrestha said. “Invasive weeds further challenge the sustainability of agriculture and the environment in Nepal. I am honored to represent Fresno State in the noble cause of sustaining global food security to an area that’s also recovering economically from a massive earthquake in 2015.”

For the next two months in Nepal, Shrestha will help teach a graduate course on herbicides and the environment and direct graduate students’ thesis research at the Agriculture and Forestry University. He will also collaborate with scientists from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center based in Nepal, Bangladesh and India and the International Rice Research Institute based in the Philippines. He will also help develop a training module to sustain cereal cropping systems in South Asia.

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