Archive for August, 2013

Ohio State, Maryland collaborate on Sustainability Knowledge Assessment

Researchers at The Ohio State University and the University of Maryland (UMD) have developed an assessment to measure sustainability knowledge across its three domains: environmental, economic, and social. The Assessment of Sustainability Knowledge is already helping other colleges and universities discover what their students know, or don’t know, about sustainability. Higher education institutions are scrambling to develop new sustainability academic programs to prepare students to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing humankind. From 2007 to 2012, the number of sustainability-focused academic programs grew from 27 to 588, according to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). During t...    Read More »

Tangled up in green

hydrilla for GBAn invasive species called hydrilla, pictured, is choking parts of the Ohio River, is also in five small water bodies in the Cleveland area, and poses a threat should it reach Lake Erie, says a CFAES expert. But boaters can help fight it. So can anglers, people who keep aquariums and water gardens, and dogs that like swimming. Here’s the story.

The Convention on Biological Diversity calls invasive species the second biggest threat to the world’s biodiversity after habitat loss.

(Photo: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

Sign up soon for watershed leaders conference

The registration deadline for next week’s Ohio Watershed Leaders Conference is Friday (Aug. 30). Sign up soon if you’re interested. At last report, only nine slots were left. The conference is being presented by CFAES’s statewide outreach arm, OSU Extension.

A college where you can get a degree in renewable energy or sustainable agriculture

wind turbines in corn field for GBThe latest issue of Cleveland Business Connects looks at the Agricultural Technical Institute’s new associate-degree programs in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. “Thousands of colleges are offering a course in solar, a course in wind, etc.,” ATI’s Russ Yoder says. “But very few even in 2013 are offering degreed programs in renewable energy. If you are from San Francisco or Seattle and interested in all things environmental, you need to come to Wooster to get this degree.” ATI, which is in Wooster about an hour south of Cleveland, is CFAES’s associate-degree-granting unit. Get details on the programs here and here.

‘The intelligent sprayer can reduce spray volume by 47 to 73 percent’

Erdal Ozkan sprayer techCFAES scientist Erdal Ozkan has developed a prototype for an “intelligent” pesticide sprayer for orchards and plant nurseries. The air-, laser-, and computer-assisted device is said to be the first of its kind in the U.S. The new tech, according to a report by the SEEDS competitive grants program (pdf; p. 32) of CFAES’s research arm, OARDC, “will help growers prevent excessive pesticide use and thus reduce production costs, worker exposure to pesticide risks, and adverse environmental contamination.” More testing awaits.

Good for water quality, good for the economy?

CFAES’s Richard Moore will present “Water Quality Trading: An Analysis and Comparison of Programs in Ohio” from 4:10 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, on Ohio State’s Columbus campus, with a video link to the Wooster campus of CFAES’s research arm, OARDC. It’s free. All are welcome. Included will be details on the Alpine Water Quality Trading Plan, which Moore helped develop. The plan has enabled a northeast Ohio cheese factory to cut its phosphorus discharge, boost its use of local milk, and create 12 new jobs. Bottom line, the plan has increased the sustainability of the company and of local farms while improving the area’s water quality. More on the plan.

Drilling for answers

2013_EnergyShale484_5Ohio State scientists, including from CFAES, talk about their research on shale energy — what they’re doing, what they’re planning, what they’d like to do down the road — in a recent press release. “The shale energy industry is moving very quickly,” Zuzana Bohrerova, coordinator of Ohio State’s Shale Environmental Management Research Cluster, says in the release, “and there’s not really much science behind what’s happening and what impact it can have, good or bad.”

Heavy lifting

The website of CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources asks and answers the question, “How do you move 44 tons of soil from 88 mesocosm tubs in 2.5 hours?”

Tornado? Nature still bats last

aerial tornadoA tornado hit the Wooster campus of CFAES’s research arm, OARDC, in 2010 (video; 7:27). OARDC’s Secrest Arboretum was right in the storm’s path (pdf). Three years later to the day, CFAES forestry scientist Charles Goebel will talk about and show how nature is helping the arboretum bounce back. It’s next in the “Secrest AfterHours” series. The free public series features casual, informative programs on plants and free food and social time after.


Date set for organic farming symposium

Details are still to come, so for now it’s a “save the date” thing: CFAES’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research program will hold its fall symposium Oct. 8. It’s for farmers, scientists, and anyone else interested in organic food and farming.