4508 N O’Neal Rd in Columbia is unassuming enough if you drive by it. On first glance, you might think this property was an afterthought for some land owner with little functional use for the future.
And initially for landowner Greg DeLine, he was unsure if his land purchase would produce much of anything.
His assumption couldn’t have been further from reality.
Greg DeLine has always been an outside of the box thinker, but even he couldn’t have forecasted 4508 O’Neal Rd becoming the DeLine Community Research Site — a new partnership with the University of Missouri to enhance research in various fields right here in Mid-Missouri.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
This 100 acre plot of land right outside of the city limits of Columbia represents a tremendous opportunity in research and innovation in several different areas. Greg DeLine gifted land use to the University of Missouri hoping to see this once dilapidated property make a mark in the world.
According to the University of Missouri, research at the DeLine Community Research Site will call into four key areas:
— There is a good body of developing science that supports the positive health benefits from engagement with nature. Through MU’s School of Natural Resources, they are working to identify ways to use this property and promote health.
— Also within CAFNR, Food Science has a role to play in health. One of the professors is currently looking at food security and sustainable food processes. Dr. Kiruba Krishnaswamy is using Paw Paw ( fruit of a small tree) to produce nutritious and available food. On the DeLine Site, there are many patches of Paw Paw trees.
Water (Rocky Fork Creek)
— Rocky Fork Creek offers opportunities to do studies on water quality and, by understanding flow processes, the erosional processes which are occurring.
** The DeLine Community Research Site offers a unique chance to study a waterway with known origin — beginning at Finger Lakes State Park, the water quality and quantity of Rocky Fork Creek can be studied. Throughout it’s course, a better understanding of the impact of land-use and land-change can gained. Researchers are interested in how development, roads, and agriculture impact the flow volume of our waters, as well as the water quality/health.
*** Dr. Noel Aloysius brings a Bioengineering background to Natural Resources. He is very interested in modeling the watershed and understanding the impact of environmental change.
*** Dr. Alba Argerich is wanting to use the property to understand water quality by looking at the aquatic ecosystem and land-use.
— Dr. Hank Stelzer will use the DeLine Site for his forestry classes. Additionally, north and south facing slopes on the DeLine Site will be used in his Dendrology class (tree identification). Different slopes are typically populated with different species of trees, often associated with changes in moisture in the soil.
— Dr. Mike Stambaugh will also be using the DeLine Site. His class in Forest Ecology class will find a variety of site differences, from bottom land to the North-South facing forest lands — This property has a variety of forest sites and is close to campus. A win-win.
— Drs. Ron Revord and Mark Coggeshall are planning to do tree improvement work. The bottom land soils make for a great location to research improved selections of black walnut, white oak, hazelnut, chestnut, and other species of value to forest products industries and food science.
Columbia Public Schools
— The University of Missouri is very interested in engaging students at the grade school level.
— We plan to engage with STEM at the Columbia Public Schools.
— The DeLine site is an excellent opportunity for Columbia Public Schools and Private Schools to use as an outdoor classroom for Natural Resource/Environmental education.
Greg DeLine is an entrepreneur and businessman — having started and owned more than a dozen successful companies, both small and large. Greg has a passion for relationships and helping others reach their full potential. Learn more about Greg at gregdeline.com.