Enhancing Tree Health in Water Sensitive Urban Design: Role of Mycorrhizae Webinar

This project investigated the effects of adding a mycorrhizal fungal inoculant on three plants species growing in stormwater biofilters. They evaluated the impacts on both plant establishment and on plant stress and pollutant removal after two durations of drought. The results found that adding mycorrhizae had minimal impact on plant growth and stress tolerance of the tree species, Melaleuca ericifolia, and had a similar impact on sedge species. Interestingly, different species reacted differently to inoculant addition with regards to water quality improvement. Removal of nitrogen and phosphorus was improved with added inoculant in one of the sedge species both before and after a two-week dry period. These results show that mycorrhizal inoculants may be a promising amendment to biofiltration systems for improving water quality, but are less likely to improve plant health and tolerance to drought. The webinar is being held Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 5 p.m. EDT. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: TREE Fund

Rx for Hot Cities: Urban Greening and Cooling to Reduce Heat-Related Mortality

Extreme heat and its health impacts are on the rise. Annually, extreme heat already causes more deaths in the United States than all other weather-related causes combined, with effects most pronounced in urban areas. Reducing urban heat exposure is an equity issue. In this webinar (July 8, 2020, 1-2:15 p.m. EDT), speakers will introduce the efforts of the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative (LAUCC) – a multi-disciplinary, national partnership of researchers and practitioners working to understand and implement urban cooling strategies and the heat-health impacts on the human body. Follow this link to connect to the webinar.

Sourced from the U.S. Forest Service

Growing Atlanta Suburb Reclaiming an Unexpected Public Space

If city-dwellers wanted to visit a green space in the 19th century, they likely found themselves at a cemetery. During much of that time, cemeteries played the role that city parks often do today, acting as a spot for people to gather. But increasingly over the past decade, communities have once again embraced hanging out in cemeteries. “Kennesaw was looking for ways to instead of fencing off to make it more accessible to their citizens,” says Holly Vine, executive assistant at the Atlanta Regional Commission planning agency. The city worked with ARC to gauge resident opinion and make the publicly owned Kennesaw City Cemetery into a green space for its burgeoning downtown. The cemetery, whose earliest known burial dates to 1863, has some prominent residents who contributed to Kennesaw’s founding. Follow this link to read more.

Sourced from: Next City

A Message from Michael Drake

Dear Ohio State Community:

Juneteenth celebrates the day, June 19, 1865, when enslaved people still in bondage in Texas, on the western edge of the confederacy, were finally read the federal orders that legally freed them under the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation was dated January 1, 1863, but only applied to slaves held in the confederacy and thus had no power of enforcement until the end of the Civil War. And although the confederacy had surrendered two months before, federal troops bearing the news did not arrive in Texas until June. The celebration of that day is now observed officially in 49 states (Ohio’s recognition dates to 2006), and there is a movement, which I support, to declare it as a federal holiday.

It is important that we reflect on the significance of Juneteenth every year. This year, it has taken on special importance. As we see in stark terms every day, freedom is more than the absence of bondage. One hundred and fifty-five years after the end of the Civil War, we still struggle as a nation to rid ourselves of the yoke of our original constitutional sin.

As frustrating and infuriating as the progress-backlash cycle of human justice can be, there are from time to time hopeful signs. Over these past three weeks, people around the world have raised their voices and demonstrated passionately. We are denouncing racism and all forms of bigotry. We demand a better world. In towns large and small, new allies have emerged to join the fight.

Policies are under review, and change is underway. Meaningful change is difficult and elusive. But change we must. And change we will.

As a member of our Ohio State community, in recognition and celebration of Juneteenth, please set aside a part of your day today to contemplate and reflect on the meaning of emancipation, the importance of freedom, and the obligation that we all share to make this world a better place.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has compiled information on a number of ways we can commemorate Juneteenth:

  • Learn how other countries have sought to reconcile their difficult histories: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission or Rwanda’s Justice and Reconciliation Process.
  • Volunteer with a local service and/or social justice organization whose work aligns with the spirit and intent of Juneteenth.
  • Attend a virtual or socially distanced Juneteenth event in your area. Columbus is hosting many events from which to choose.
  • Read a book about Juneteenth.

Virtually explore the National Museum of African American History & Culture.

I am proud of our community, and I know that we have the power to make a difference.


Michael V. Drake, MD

Gardening in the Age of COVID

Franklin County Master Gardners In Columbus, Franklin County Master Gardener Volunteers are addressing food insecurity in neighborhoods throughout the city which are considered food deserts. Franklin MGVs have received exemptions to re-start four food production projects throughout the city and at Waterman Farm on The Ohio State University campus to address the increased level of food insecurity brought on by the pandemic. Franklin MGVs maintain 72 ongoing projects throughout the community. During the 2019 growing season they produced and donated 21,425 pounds of vegetables, fruit, and herbs to dozens of neighborhood food pantries in Columbus. Franklin County MGVs help maintain community gardens, urban farms, and two public fruit parks throughout the city. During 2019, 235 MGVs in Franklin County donated 16,811 volunteer hours in the community. Follow this link to learn more.

Article courtesy of Mike Hogan,  Agricultural and Natural Resources Educator, Franklin County, Ohio.

Using Waste to Grow Wonders

What goes down the drains can be used to make things grow. Sewage sludge – carefully treated to make it safe – is used often in agriculture. Now, researchers are testing these materials, called biosolids, for use in urban settings. In a new study, researchers combined high-quality biosolids with other urban waste – food and yard waste, sawdust, and nut shells for example. They found several such mixtures to be acceptable in terms of smell and looks, and the mixtures also supported plant growth. Using biosolids and urban waste to make topsoil or engineer additions that increase soil fertility has several benefits. “Soil additions must have nutrients, and ideally organic matter, to support plant growth,” says Ryan Batjiaka, a researcher at the University of Washington. “We are currently very dependent on finite resources to supply these nutrients.” Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Morning Ag Clips

Resilience in the Face of a Pandemic: Green Affordable Housing Matters More Than Ever

In the urgency of the moment, affordable housing organizations are understandably focused on the health of their residents and vitality of their organizations. Green building may seem like an unaffordable luxury at a time like this, but by making buildings healthy and sustainable, we can help build resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic and to future health and climate threats.

Organizations that previously committed to sustainable, green building practices—energy and water efficiency, good ventilation, and nontoxic materials—may find they and their residents are better able to withstand the stresses of this pandemic. Even though those projects may not have been planned and built with a pandemic in mind, the core elements of green building create conditions for better resilience in the face of a sudden global health threat. Follow this link to read more.

Sourced from: Shelterforce

Structural Racism in America

Racial and ethnic inequalities loom large in American society. People of color face structural barriers when it comes to securing quality housing, healthcare, employment, and education. Racial disparities also permeate the criminal justice system in the United States and undermine its effectiveness. At the Urban Institute, they examine how historical and ongoing public policies, institutional practices, and cultural narratives perpetuate racial inequalities and constrain mobility for communities of color. For decades, their researchers have called attention to the role of race and racism in our public and private institutions and offered evidence-based solutions for how to address these inequities. Scholars will continue to play a crucial role as we work to elevate the public discourse around race and inequality in America. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Urban Institute