Electric Truck Turns Secrest Arboretum Even Greener

Electric Truck

Ken Cochran has gone electric. The Secrest Arboretum program director has switched to a battery-powered truck for his daily work. “I like the idea of zero (tailpipe) emissions,” said Cochran, who oversees the 120-acre plant collection at the college’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. “And I like the idea of not having to pay for gasoline.” His Mag International Electric MAG XC has room for a driver and one passenger, a nearly eight-foot open bed for hauling tools and plants, a top speed of 25 mph — the speed limit, coincidentally, on the college-like OARDC campus — and can travel up to 50 miles per charge.

OSU Sustainability Coordinator to Speak at Bioneers Cleveland Nov. 4

Bioneers Conference

Ohio State University Sustainability Coordinator Corey Hawkey, who recently provided our college with 300 deskside “All-in-One” recycling containers as part of a university effort to cut campus waste by 40 percent, will join a panel on “Greening Higher Education” at the 2010 Bioneers Cleveland Conference, Nov. 4-6 at Cuyahoga Community College. Hawkey and sustainability coordinators from Tri-C, Cleveland State University, and Case Western Reserve University will discuss current sustainability initiatives, best practices, and the future of sustainability at their institutions during an opening program from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 4.

Cleveland is one of 20 cities in the U.S., Canada, and Scotland hosting “Beaming Bioneers” regional conferences associated with the annual main Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, Calif., which is typically attended by about 3,000 people. Bioneers, according to its website, is a nonprofit educational organization that “highlights breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet.”

Hawkey joined Ohio State’s Energy Services and Sustainability unit in February 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile. He previously was the Ohio Board of Regents’ sustainability coordinator, developed a partnership with the Ohio Environmental Council to create and implement the Ohio Green Pathways project to position Ohio to become the U.S. leader in green workforce development, wrote the University System of Ohio’s strategic energy plan, and drafted the system’s sustainability initiative.

Tornado or Not, How Trees Green Our Cities

Trees matter, said the organizers of an event Oct. 20 in Wooster who are learning what it’s like not to have as many around.

Ohio State University Extension’s fifth annual Why Trees Matter Forum took place at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), where a Sept. 16 tornado strike wiped out about 1,500 trees.

Speakers looked at the social, economic, and environmental benefits of trees in cities and suburbs — the focus of OSU Extension’s Why Trees Matter Signature Program, which sponsored the event. They especially talked about how to measure these benefits in dollars and cents.

Street-tree commissioners, landscapers, nursery operators, utility company representatives, mayors and city council members, and community and economic development officials were among the participants.

The forum went on as planned even though the tornado-damaged main OARDC campus remains closed to the public at large for repairs.

In fact, the storm became a teachable moment. Two new topics were added to the agenda: a GPS-aided inventory of the tornado-destroyed trees on the OARDC campus; and an “environmental audit” of those trees using the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) i-Tree urban forest analysis software.

The tornado, with winds of up to 130 mph, caused major damage to the main OARDC campus and surrounding neighborhoods but only one minor injury.

Learn more about Why Trees Matter here.

Hear 15 Top Ohio Renewable Energy Experts Nov. 18

Ohio experts on wind, solar, green transportation, and more will take the stage Nov. 18 at OSU’s 2010 Renewable Energy Workshop. Fifteen speakers will cover such topics as electric cars, biofuels from algae, anaerobic digestion, bio-based home insulation, biodiesel and corn ethanol production, and a side-by-side comparison of wind and solar on farms. All the speakers have roots, research, and/or business in Ohio. The public is welcome. It’s at the college’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster. Registration: $25 before Nov. 9, $35 after that, and $10 for college students, lunch included. OARDC, OSU Extension (both part of CFAES), and the Wayne County Sustainable Energy Network are the sponsors. To learn more and find out how to register, click here.

Welcome to On Sustainability

Welcome to Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences new blog On Sustainability.

More than 10 years ago, our college adopted an “ecological paradigm” as the underpinning of our research, Extension programming, and classroom curriculum. The idea is that our work in food, agricultural and environmental sciences can succeed only if we address four imperatives: production efficiency, environmental compatibility economic viability and social responsibility.

Basically, that’s what people today are talking about when they refer to “sustainability”: Meeting the needs of the world today while protecting the health and well-being of future generations.

Much of the work in our college focuses on sustainable practices and putting them into action. We’re discovering better ways for people —  here in Ohio and across the globe — to live full, productive lives, while also laying down a robust foundation for the future.

Our hope is that this blog will help us share those stories, and allow readers to comment and share their feedback with us. Thanks for joining us here on “CFAES On Sustainability.”
Bobby Moser — Bobby D. Moser, vice president and dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Students Partner with Columbus Couple to Design “Green” Home

Our college is truly the place where student inspiration leads to real-world innovation. Nowhere is this more apparent than in a Columbus suburb where a local couple is building their dream home with the help of students from our college.

Students taking a class in green building and sustainable construction are partnering with the homeowners to design a home featuring the concept of Universal Design. Universal Design is aimed to make living spaces accessible and comfortable for the widest range of people without special or separate design.

Once the home is complete, the couple is planning educational programs and tours to help spread the word about the advantages of Universal Design. In addition, the couple hopes to achieve “green” certification for their home under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

The course from the Construction Systems Management program (CSM 670), offered for the first time in 2009, is intended not only to provide a service to the local community, but also to help students apply the theories they learn in the class to the real world.

Course instructor Victoria Chen said the new class seems to be striking a chord with students.

“Students really want to work in this area and learn more about environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.”

For more information about the Construction Systems Management program at Ohio State, see the Web site of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at http://fabe.osu.edu/. To learn more about the Universal Design project, log on to http://extension.osu.edu/news-releases/buckeye-students-assisting-local-couple-build-green.

Printers Across Campus Using Soy Toner

Our college is always looking for environmentally friendly efforts to join across campus, and campus entities look to us as a leader in all that’s “green”.

This was the premise when our college joined a university-wide effort to use soy-based toner in its laser printers.

Our college’s vice president and dean, Bobby D. Moser, was a huge proponent from the beginning and we were the first college to use soy-based toner. The toner — least 35 percent bio-based — is being used in about 700 printers that print about 800,000 pages per month.

The benefits of soy-based toner are multiple:

  • Soybean oil, a renewable resource, is a key ingredient in the new toner and replaces petroleum, which is used in traditional toner.
  • Soy-based toner is easier to remove from paper during recycling than traditional toner, streamlining the recycling process.
  • Use of soy-based toner provides a new market for 26,000 Ohio farmers who grow soybeans on 4.1 million acres each year.

The effort, spearheaded by the university’s printing facility, makes Ohio State the largest user of soy-based toner in the nation.

For more information, log on to http://extension.osu.edu/news-releases/ohio-state-becomes-big-user-of-soy-based-toner.

Dairy Farm Becomes Model for On-Farm Sustainability

Ohio State’s Waterman Agriculture and Natural Resources Laboratory in the heart of Columbus is transforming into a learning laboratory of environmental efforts.

With an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency grant, the working farm is the site of several progressive projects ranging from watershed repair to stream rehabilitation to nutrient management.

Phase I of the project, which began earlier this summer, is expected to annually reduce 122 pounds of nitrogen, 60 pounds of phosphorus and 21 tons of sediments. Phase II slated to begin this fall.

The project not only demonstrates common conservation practices for farmers, industry, students and passersby, but it also demonstrates Ohio State’s commitment to be a leader in water quality improvement through effective whole farm management practices.

Partners include Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District; Ohio Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO), a nonpoint source pollution education program of Ohio State University Extension; Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed; Ohio EPA; Ohio Department of Natural Resources; the Franklin County office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

For more information, log on to http://extension.osu.edu/news-releases/ohio-epa-awards-nearly-200-000-for-sustainability-efforts-on-osu-farm-research-facility.

New Program Emphasizes Sustainable Business Practices

Size really does matter! Where else but at a large university like Ohio State can you receive dual Masters degrees that position a graduate for success in managing economic issues on a global scale?

Fisher College of Business and our college have teamed up to offer dual degrees in Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.

The program is unique from other dual agricultural-MBA degrees in its emphasis on sustainable economic development and business practices. The program provides students interested in careers in agri-business, food processing and economic development with critical business skills in such areas as logistics, supply-chain management and sustainability.

“Graduates who leave Ohio State with Fisher’s MBA and AED Economics master’s degrees will be well positioned to pursue high impact careers in agricultural and food production businesses or work in economic development programs at public institutions such as the World Bank,” said Karen Hopper Wruck, Fisher’s associate dean for graduate programs. “This dual degree program…educates a workforce capable of managing pressing economic needs…at a global level.”

For more information about the program, log on to http://fisher.osu.edu/ftmba/index.php?page=MSAG-MBA.