Naomy is a Puerto Rican, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Puerto Rico, Utuado. She is passionate about the environment and giving back to the community. Back in Puerto Rico she organized clean ups at diverse locations such as beaches, forests and rivers. Another project she participated in was reforestation of diverse coasts that were gravelly impacted after hurricane Maria. She also loved working with a local organic farmer near her hometown, where she perfectionated her skills in crop management, biofertilizers, compost techniques, among other. Some of her favorite hobbies include hiking, going to beaches and rivers, dancing and meeting new people. Naomy is completing her master’s degree in Applied Plant Science, were she is working with Julie Grossman, PhD and Mary Rogers, PhD. Some day she wishes to have an agroecological farm where she can apply all the techniques, she has acquired along her life to promote resilience and resistance of her farm during climate change periods. This way, Puerto Ricans can eventually increase their sustainability and food sovereignty.
I'm currently part of the Applied Plant Science program in the department of Horticulture. Alongside my advisors Dr. Julie Grossman and Dr. Mary Rogers and collaborators like Big River Farms, White Earth Reservation and Xerces Society. We are studying the capacity of cover crops to provide ecosystem services such as beneficial insect attraction, referring to parasitic, predatory and pollinating insects, and nutrient cycling. We have observed that maximization of ecosystem services relies on thoughtful cover crop management. The total amount of nitrogen contributed from both legume and grass cover crops depends on the amount of biomass produced. Cover crops with capacity to produce greater amounts of biomass will subsequently provide more N to organic systems. Similarly, vigorous growth and flowering provides the desired forage and habitat for beneficial insects. Therefore, emphasis on management should include considerations such as planting time and establishment, species selection, planting density, weed control capacity, and termination strategies. Additionally, trade-offs may be an intrinsic variable between ecosystem services, including soil N contribution and attraction of beneficial arthropods.