Talk this Wednesday: ‘Food, faith, a sustainable future’

Jewish environmental educator Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Bethesda, Md., and Rabbi Benjamin Berger of Ohio State University Hillel will present “Food, Faith, and a Sustainable Future: Eco-Judaism from the Ground Up,” a free community forum, this Wednesday (3/30). It’s the first in the three-part “Abrahamic Faiths and the Environment” series sponsored by Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) (part of CFAES), the Ohio Council of Churches, and Ohio Interfaith Power and Light. Free from 7-9 p.m. in the Barbara Tootle Room of Ohio State’s Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St., Columbus. Details here or contact SENR’s Greg Hitzhusen, 614-292-7739,

Faith(s) and the environment? Series starts March 30

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam share more than a common founder — Abraham. OSU’s Greg Hitzhusen says they share a concern for the planet as well. He hopes people see that in “Abrahamic Faiths and the Environment,” a community forum series that starts March 30 in Columbus. The series (a lead-in to Earth Day, April 22) highlights religious perspectives that are sparking new ethical responses to care of creation, said Hitzhusen. He’s a lecturer in the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) (a co-sponsor of the series), a Yale Divinity School graduate, and one of the series organizers.


OSU, Columbus Zoo team up for class

OSU’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) (part of CFAES) and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium recently teamed up to offer Zoo Science and Management, a winter quarter class that met at the zoo. The focus: Learning about, and seeing firsthand, jobs at zoos. SENR wildlife professor Stan Gehrt and Danielle Ross, the zoo’s education director and a SENR alumnus (M.S., Environmental Education, Communication, and Interpretation, ’01) planned and organized it. A dozen of the zoo’s experts taught it. The class, with 25 students, was full. There was a wait list from last year to get in. Said Ross: “It’s been a great partnership.”

I went back to Ohio, but my Bryson City ginkgo was gone

See who comes back this spring when OSU’s Secrest Arboretum in Wooster, part of OARDC, holds a free public bird walk April 9. Northward migrating birds, such as tree swallows and eastern phoebes, should be among the arrivals, who may find the place looks different than when they left. A tornado hit the arboretum last September — after many summer birds had gone south — and turned more than 1,000 trees (on about 30 of the arboretum’s 120 acres) into virtual toothpicks.

Sign up now for 2011 Watershed Academy

If you’re interested in making a difference in your watershed, the 2011 Ohio Watershed Academy is just what you need. The course, offered March 28-May 31, is in its 11th year, and will be offered completely online for the first time this year. “Decisions affecting watersheds can be hard to make, and sometimes must be made very quickly,” said Anne Baird, one of the course instructors. “This course is primarily for people with vision — people who are interested in how to get people involved effectively and leading others to make good decisions.”

Enrollment deadline is Monday, March 21. For more information about the class, see the news release at or the class web site at


Landscape for wildlife? Get tips here

A nice home landscape — attractive, sustainable — can be both a good place for people and also for wildlife. Start with specially chosen plants (especially natives), said Marne Titchenell, an OSU Extension wildlife specialist, and go from there. She’ll speak on the topic at a joint Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana landowner workshop March 26. Details here and here too.


Your favorite ‘sustainability’ class?

Yesterday I posted about an upcoming class on “Climate Change and Resilience in Agricultural Ecosystems” offered by our Department of Entomology. Since then I’ve seen information about several other sustainability-related classes being offered by the college this spring, including Energy and the Environment (offered in our School of Environment and Natural Resources and cross-listed with Earth Science); Religion & Environmental Values in America (a new SENR class examining what faith, values and beliefs mean for environmental citizenship); and Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives & the Environment, offered by our Department of Plant Pathology.

Alumni and students: What classes made an impact on your thoughts about sustainability? Please comment.

Climate change, agriculture — and bugs

This spring, our Department of Entomology is offering a course on “Climate Change and Resilience in Agricultural Ecosystems.” Students will meet once a week for a two-hour discussion on climate change and its impacts on agriculture in general and on pest management in particular.

The instructors, Casey Hoy and Daniel Herms (both professors of entomology) hope the course will help students understand climate change impacts on agriculture and how they’re currently being assessed, and how to evaluate new proposals designed to make agricultural ecosystems more sustainable and resilient. The class, Entomol 795.01, will meet  Wednesdays 1-3 p.m., March 30-June 1. Interested in knowing more? Contact either instructor at or

Old computer? Worn tennis shoes? Recycle them here

OSU’s 2011 Wooster Campus Scarlet, Gray and Green Fair will again have an extensive recycling station. Old cell phones, computers, even tennis shoes are some of the stuff you can drop off free, though it has to come from a residential source, not a business. The fair is a community/university effort to teach about sustainability. It’s from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on April 19 at OARDC in Wooster. Free admission. Details on everything you can recycle there (plus free food coupons and a prize drawing for recycling) here.


Course on large-scale composting March 29-30

OSU will host a workshop later this month on the science, art, and business of large-scale composting. The Ohio Compost Operator Education Course takes place March 29-30 at OARDC in Wooster. It’s an intensive program for compost facility operators and managers, public health officials, municipal solid waste managers, and other professionals. “This type of educational opportunity isn’t available elsewhere in Ohio, and it’s one of the leading programs in the nation,” said Fred Michel, one of the course’s instructors and an OARDC composting researcher. Registration details.