Archive for November, 2010

OSU Fulbright scholar will study climate change, forests in Canada

CFAES agricultural economist Brent Sohngen has been chosen as a Fulbright scholar. He’ll travel next year to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where he’ll study how climate change affects forests and what it may mean to the U.S. He’ll be affiliated with the University of Alberta.

A professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, Sohngen has studied climate change impacts in forested ecosystems for 15-plus years.

“Climate change may alter the distribution and productivity of the world’s forests and have enormous impacts on human welfare,” he said. “It is important to consider these potential impacts in order to begin developing strategies to adapt.”

Read more here.

‘My tree haz rain drop leevs’

Harold Schnell Elementary School’s Denise Moore called it a “tree-mendous success.” Ohio State University Extension’s Jim Chatfield described it both as a great partnership and permanent connection. A young student named Aurora simply drew a picture of a tree, the sun, and flowers in crayon and captioned it, “My tree haz rain drop leevs.” All three were among the 550 people, including 450 first- through fifth-graders, who came together this summer for Harold Schnell Elementary’s first-ever Tree-mendous Day in Dayton’s Cox Arboretum MetroPark. The program celebrated trees and the good they do. Art, math, science, language, and history were part of the curriculum. Teachers and parents from the school in West Car...    Read More »

Garden Club of Ohio to Secrest: ‘We want to help’

Our thanks to the Garden Club of Ohio, which last week presented a $500 seed gift to tornado-damaged Secrest Arboretum. Club member Bonnie Popa (second from left) said it’s the first step in the club’s new, long-term project to generate donations for the facility. She’s serving as chairman of the effort. “I was here from the beginning after the tornado,” Popa, of nearby Canton, said Nov. 16 during a short ceremony in the arboretum. “I couldn’t believe what I saw. I took the idea (for the project) to the club and said, ‘We need to help them.’ ” “The goals of the Garden Club of Ohio are to support floriculture, horticulture and stewardship of our land,” said Club Treasurer Deanna Stearns (second from right), also...    Read More »

Making agriculture sustainable in West Africa

Ohio State has received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Higher Education for Development (HED) to help make agriculture in Senegal more sustainable. The partnership between Ohio State and Senegal's Université Gaston Berger calls for the creation of an agro-ecology program for sustainable food production, addressing the severe environmental degradation in the fragile African Sahel region and developing the emerging irrigated fruit and vegetable export industry in northern Senegal. This program will involve the development of comprehensive associate and bachelor degrees and use of e-education technologies. “We expect to have all 17 UGB faculty come to OSU to work with our faculty, t...    Read More »

Leaf litter healthy for lawns, gardens

Remember as a kid how fun it was to run and jump into a pile of leaves? Now as an adult, that fun has turned into a chore of raking and disposing of leaf litter. But instead of wasting money on lawn bags, take a more sustainable approach and turn that litter to compost, mulch or organic matter for your home garden or lawn. Ohio State University Extension Licking County offers a number of tips for recycling leaves: Dry leaves can be plowed or tilled under in the vegetable or annual flower garden to provide a source of organic matter. Shred the leaves to speed breakdown and mix the leaves intothe soil rather than leaving them on top of the ground during winter. Leaves can be recycled on the lawn. Use your power mower or shred...    Read More »

Spirit(s) of sustainability

Whoever heard of green vodka?

We have. Late last week, I learned how our college is helping a new local microdistillery become “green.”

Middle West Spirits, located just a mile from campus, produces an award-winning vodka, but its owners say their goal is to be a “smart, sustainable urban manufacturing model.” Students from two CFAES classes are on-site to help.

It’s great to be part of a college goes beyond the classroom to provide real-world sustainable solutions. Read more at

‘Weird’ algae green tech at OSU workshop next week

Is there greener green in green? Representatives of three Ohio businesses that turn algae, a form of plant life, into clean, sellable fuels will speak at Ohio State University’s 2010 Renewable Energy Workshop next week. Organizers of the Nov. 18 program say algae fuels could cut our reliance on overseas petroleum, while a recent Newsweek article includes algae fuels among a dozen of “The Weirdest Green Technology Innovations.” Speaking during an afternoon session on the topic will be Jeff Bargiel, Phycal, Highland Heights, “An Integrated Algae Production System”; Drew Spradling, Touchstone Research Laboratory, Wooster, “Using a Phase Change Material for Algae Production”; and David Cohio, Algaeventure Systems, M...    Read More »

Year-round farming in Ohio? Check out this workshop

Farming is typically a spring-to-fall affair in Ohio. But as interest in buying local food increases and consumers expect fresh produce year-round, the need and opportunity for four-season production in colder climates has taken center stage. On Dec. 14, Ohio State University researchers and grower groups will offer a daylong workshop on high tunnels — a season-extension strategy that is becoming increasingly popular among vegetable farmers and that can deliver on the promise of profitable fall-to-spring production in the Buckeye state. The workshop runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will be held at Dutch Heritage Restaurant, 720 State Route 97 West, Bellville, Ohio. Cost is $25 per person and $20 per additional registrant from th...    Read More »

Register for Renewable Energy Workshop by Tomorrow (11/9), Save 28%

Remember: Register for Ohio State University’s 2010 Renewable Energy Workshop by tomorrow (11/9) and save 28 percent off the registration cost. The workshop, featuring 15 sessions by Ohio experts on effective, affordable alternative energy, takes place Nov. 18 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) (the research arm of our college) in Wooster. Registration, which includes lunch, costs $25 per person if postmarked by tomorrow, $35 afterward and $10 for college students. For complete program details and a downloadable registration form, click here. For more information, contact Mary Wicks, 330-202-3533,

4 Months’ Worth of Electricity from … Manure?

Ohio State University’s Nov. 18 Renewable Energy Workshop in Wooster includes a firsthand look at quasar energy group’s new anaerobic biodigester at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). Located in OARDC’s BioHio Research Park, the system turns unused waste — manure, food scraps, sewage sludge, and the like — into clean, renewable, useful energy. It came on line in April. It can process up to 33,000 wet tons of biomass every year. In doing so it can produce and capture enough methane gas to generate 750 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power the OARDC campus for the equivalent of four months out of the year. Quasar is headquartered in Cleveland. In addition to the biodigester, it has lab and...    Read More »