Also on Tuesday evening: Stone Lab’s annual winter program and benefit auction

Image of Stone Lab classThe annual Winter Program and Silent Auction benefiting Ohio State’s Stone Lab on Lake Erie is tonight, Feb. 7, at 6:30 p.m. in Columbus. It’s a chance to learn more about the lab and Ohio Sea Grant; support scholarships for students to take classes at the lab; and hear speakers Bryan Mark, an Ohio State geography professor and Ohio’s state climatologist, and Caroline McElwain, a student in the lab’s 2016 Research Experience for Undergraduates program who studied how Lake Erie fish see underwater.

Admission is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are requested. Read more. (Photo: Aquatic ecosystems class by Lisa Rice, Ohio Sea Grant.)

Tuesday evening: Saving Alaska’s Bristol Bay salmon

Ohio State’s 2017 Environmental Film Series continues at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, with “Red Gold,” a documentary on the fight to save Alaska’s Bristol Bay salmon fishery from a massive open-pit mine proposed in the bay’s headwaters. An article on Outside Online called the controversy the “fiercest battle over wilderness and resources” since the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. The film has won awards at festivals in Banff, Vancouver and Telluride, among others.

Admission is free and open to the public. Get location and other details here.

Read a 2009 Outside story on Bristol Bay here.

Dig into large-scale composting

Hands holding soil with young plant.The Ohio Compost Operator Education Course, called a “comprehensive program on the science and art” of large-scale compost production, is March 28-29 at CFAES’s research arm, OARDC in Wooster. Of note: Four new professional development grants are being offered to help pay for the cost of attending. Apply for them by March 1.

Does bird feeding help or hurt backyard birds?

Female American Robin Sitting in NestBird lovers may want to take note: Putting out feeders full of seed may also attract predators that eat eggs and nestlings. But the feeders may also help satiate predators so they’re less likely to target nests. In a new study published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, scientists from CFAES and from Cornell University evaluated the consequences of people-provided bird food on predator-prey relationships. Read the story …

The challenge? Do both: Waste less food, AND compost what’s wasted

Two key ways to manage food waste — educating people about it and composting it — seem to work at odds, Marion Renault wrote last week in the Columbus Dispatch, reporting on research by CFAES’s Danyi Qi and Brian Roe.

That is, the researchers found, people will waste more food if they know it will be composted — by, say, the restaurant that served it. But they’ll waste less if they know about such issues as filled-up landfills and the harmful methane dumped food waste puts in the air.

The challenge, Qi said in the story, is to get the two methods — education and composting — working not in conflict but in harmony. Read the story.

Out of the greenhouse, onto your table

tomatoCFAES scientists are working to keep greenhouse-grown produce, like the tomatoes shown here, as safe to eat as possible. Here’s how …

Growing with active organic matter: OEFFA conference preview

Potato leaves, close upOrganic matter’s good for the soil. And also for crops and water. But it’s not all created equal. At next week’s annual conference of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, CFAES scientist Steve Culman will talk specifically about active organic matter: how it cycles rapidly, how it plays a big role in providing nutrients to crops, how soil tests measure it, what CFAES research is learning about it, and how you can enroll to have your soil tested for free in an ongoing study. “Active Organic Matter in Your Soil,” Session V, 1:30 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11. Complete conference schedule.

You gonna eat that? Farmer-friendly ways to fight food waste: OEFFA conference preview

Food waste continues to be in the news, and a panel discussion at the Feb. 9-11 Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association annual conference will feature how farmers are fighting it.

Abbe Turner of Kent’s Lucky Penny Farm will share how she cuts food waste via animal feed and composting.

Max Slater of St. Stephen’s Community House in Columbus will discuss using the operation’s EPA Class II composting facility to process spoiled food.

Sabrina Schirtzinger of OSU Extension, CFAES’s outreach arm, will describe the successful gleaning program she helped start in Knox County.

Go to “Farmer-Friendly Approaches to Combating Food Waste,” Session IV, 8:30-10:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 11. Complete conference schedule.

Climate change the ‘defining crisis of our time’

“Think about the shame that each of us will carry when our children and grandchildren look back and realize that we had the means of stopping this devastation, but simply lacked the political will to do so,” said actor, environmentalist and United Nations Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio in his Earth Day 2016 speech on climate change at the UN. You can watch it above.

His 2016 climate change film, “Before the Flood,” which already may be the most-watched documentary in history, screens at 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 31) at Ohio State.

Free admission. Everyone’s welcome. There’s free pizza, too, beforehand.

‘We have the means of stopping this devastation’

Before the Flood” — the 2016 climate change documentary featuring actor/environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio — screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, in Ohio State’s 2017 Environmental Film Series. Some 60 million people have seen the film so far.

“Paradise has been degraded and destroyed,” DiCaprio says in the film’s trailer above. “I just want to know how far we’ve gone, and if there’s anything we can do to stop it.”

Bryan Mark, an Ohio State geography professor and Ohio’s state climatologist, and Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council, will lead a discussion after the screening. Location, series schedule.