Flaten recognized for outreach and community engagement

The soil science professor has been presented an award from the University of Manitoba

Don Flaten’s tireless efforts to engage and reach the province’s agricultural community have been recognized by his employer.

The University of Manitoba has given him its Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Campbell Outreach Award “for meritorious service in outreach activities.”

The honour is given to university staff members who “consistently invest countless hours of time and effort in community service.” The engagement should enlarge and enrich the contacts between the U of M and community through increasing access to programs, sharing the institute’s resources and drawing on the community’s resources and talents

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“Don Flaten is a legend in the agricultural community, tirelessly engaging producers, industry groups and the general public for more than three decades while at the University of Manitoba,” nominator and colleague Brian Amiro, soil science senior scholar, said.

Flaten is best known for teaching and research in soil fertility and nutrient management. He is affectionately known as “Dr. P” for Dr. Phosphorus because of his extensive technical and practical knowledge of this element, not only nationally but internationally. He has delivered hundreds of invited workshops and field tours, enabling thousands of professionals to update their knowledge.

He served as the director of the School of Agriculture and administered the agriculture diploma program, as well as several certificate programs, and has been “a driving force” for community engagement beyond the university’s normal teaching and research mandates. Flaten regularly brings agricultural specialists and farmers into the classroom to work with students and he also takes classes of students to farms, providing real-world case studies and cutting-edge knowledge in current practices.

“This level of community engagement creates a ‘lifelong learning’ environment, where current students learn from practitioners, while the practitioners are engaged with young inquiring minds,” Amiro said. “Most importantly, he has been building a community in the broad sense that transcends generations of learners.”

Andrew Dickson, executive director of Manitoba Pork Council, wrote in his letter of support for Don’s nomination that Don contributes generously of his time.

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