Sustainability... On Campus

First day on the job

image of new Ohio State President Michael DrakeWe bid a big welcome to Ohio State’s new president, Michael V. Drake, M.D., who started today. Details on his sustainability achievements at UC-Irvine in a previous post. (Photo: University Communications.)

Plant power: Ohio naturalist, author to speak July 8

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The next monthly breakfast program by the Environmental Professionals Network, “Plants Make the World Go ’Round: Why We Must Protect Our Native Ecosystems,” is July 8 at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center in Columbus. The speaker will be the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Jim McCormac, who writes the Ohio Birds and Biodiversity blog and is the author of Birds of Ohio, Great Lakes Nature Guide and Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural HeritageAfter his talk and the breakfast, he’ll lead a nature walk in the surrounding Scioto Audubon Metro Park on the Scioto River. For details and a link to online registration, click here. (Photo: iStock.)

CFAES scientists get grant to study biocontrol of deadly bat disease

white nose syndrome in little brown batA team including CFAES scientists has received a $223,000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant to study possible biocontrol agents for white-nose syndrome in bats. The grant was one of eight awarded last week by the agency for studying the disease. White-nose syndrome is a fungal infection that has killed millions of hibernating bats in eastern North America. It was first found in New York in 2006 and since then has spread, including to Ohio. Bats eat massive amounts of night-flying insects, including food crop pests and mosquitoes. Fewer bats would mean more of these pests. (Photo: Infected little brown bat by Al Hicks, N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation.)

Certainly getting his feet wet

CFAES student Ben Rubinoff, a junior in the School of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Science Honors Program, is interning this summer with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on Chesapeake Bay. From a story called “Seeking Life in the Mud” on the center’s website:

Once the math is done, they head to the field. Either from inside a jon boat or up to their knees in murky water along the shore, they use a tool called a “petite ponar” to snatch sediment from the bottom surface. “It’s like big salad tongs,” said Rubinoff.

Toronto’s trees score big. How do yours rate?

sugar maple leafThere’s money in those maple leafs leaves, says a story today in The Globe and Mail. Toronto’s 10 million trees are worth about $7 billion Canadian ($6.4 billion U.S.), and their benefits — including reducing stormwater runoff and lowering summer cooling bills — far outweigh their costs. Here’s how to put a dollar (U.S.) on your own trees’ benefits. (Photo: Sugar maple by Paul Wray, Iowa State University,

Target yield? ‘500 tires per acre’

Dandelion videoThe “Our Ohio” TV series, produced by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, reports on CFAES’s Buckeye Gold research program. The pioneering program aims to turn a one-of-a-kind dandelion into a domestic, sustainable source of quality rubber. Watch.

Can biochar boost soils, food security while cutting carbon too?

Ghana’s Kwame Frimpong, a USDA Borlaug fellow and visiting scholar with OARDC, CFAES’s research arm, presents “Biochar as a Soil Amendment for Highly Weathered Tropical Soils: Prospects and Challenges” from 2-3 p.m. June 10 in 123 Williams Hall on OARDC’s Wooster campus, 1680 Madison Ave. “The recalcitrance of biochar to microbial decomposition guarantees long-term storage of carbon in the biochar-amended soil, thereby lowering carbon dioxide emissions,” the seminar flier says. “Previous research has also indicated the ability of biochar to improve soil water retention, making the soils productive even under erratic rainfall conditions due to climate change.”

EPA’s new carbon rule? State renewable standards can help

The Environmental Protection Agency today announced a proposal seeking a 30-percent cut in carbon pollution from existing power plants. A story in the Los Angeles Times called it “potentially one of the biggest steps any country has ever taken to confront climate change.” One way to cut that pollution? State-level implementation of renewable energy standards. They work, says a recent paper co-authored by CFAES’s Brent Sohngen.

Hot in Cleveland? CFAES-spurred jobs, sustainability

buckeye smart flierCFAES Dean Bruce McPheron headlines the Buckeye Smart: Northeast Ohio Speaker Series from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 4 at The City Club of Cleveland, 850 Euclid Ave. His talk, called “Ohio State: Growing Jobs in Northeast Ohio,” will include details on a number of sustainability efforts. Among them: Projects to improve Lake Erie’s water quality, recycle food waste from the Cleveland Browns’ stadium and further support Cleveland’s big, growing urban farm movement. Tickets: $25; table of eight, $200. Details and reservations.

Report: ‘Evidence of climate change appears in every region’

satellite imageCFAES scientists Brent Sohngen and Rattan Lal were among the 300 experts who contributed to the recently released U.S. National Climate Assessment. (Photo: NOAA.)