March 21: ‘The Ethical Dimension of Conservation and Sustainability’

john vucevich in fieldMichigan Tech’s John Vucetich (pictured, right) comes down from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to present “Confronting the Ethical Dimension of Conservation and Sustainability” tomorrow (March 21) in the spring seminar series of CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. “I am a population biologist,” he writes in his faculty bio. “I spend most of my time studying the wolves and moose of Isle Royale. I am also interested in the philosophy and ethics of ecological and conservation science.” (Photo: Vucetich with former mentor and current colleague Rolf Peterson from Michigan Tech Magazine (scroll down).) Time and location. Free. All are welcome.

Sustainable shrooms, and how to tell them apart

New Ohio mushroom book“Fungi can play a significant role in the pursuit of sustainability,” writes Minnesota mushroom maven Ron Spinosa in Fungi Magazine (pdf). A new book by CFAES’s statewide outreach arm, OSU Extension, helps you identify the sustainability-supporting fungi you find in Ohio — more than 140 mushrooms and macrofungi (fungi visible to the unaided eye) of woods and fields. It includes both edible and poisonous types. You can read more about it here. You can buy it here. A sample page is shown at the left.

Watch: For sustainability science, scientist, Ohio State ‘is a paradise’

rattan-lal-video1Rattan Lal grew up on a small farm in India. Today he’s a world-renowned soil scientist (Iceland’s president is a fan, for instance) and a Distinguished University Professor in CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. He works on three of the planet’s biggest (and mostly interconnected) issues: hunger, climate change, and water pollution. Ohio State “is a paradise for a researcher,” he says in a new video interview (2:14). “It provides an opportunity to do research globally.”

April 2: Pulitzer Prize winner, energy expert to speak at Ohio State

Daniel Yergin The QuestDaniel Yergin, CNBC global energy expert and a Pulitzer Prize winner for his book The Prize, will present “The Future of Energy and the World” on April 2 at Ohio State. Get details here. His new book, The Quest, is described as “a sweeping history of the energies — from oil and gas to solar and wind — that animate the modern world, and a riveting story of where we are today, and what the future of energy — and our world — might look like.” His talk has 13 co-sponsors, including CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources and the Environmental Professionals Network, which is a service of the school.

Great job news for ag, natural resource majors

happy guy jumpingTwo recent stories covered the boom in jobs for students who major in agriculture and natural resources (and in both cases, who do it in CFAES) — one in the Columbus Dispatch, one by CFAES’s own communications office (“By New Year’s Day this year, graduating senior Linsey Howell already had five job offers.”)

How to grow, sell new bioenergy crops in Ohio

guayuleOhio State’s South Centers in Piketon, part of CFAES, will hold a workshop April 8 on growing and marketing bioenergy crops, including miscanthus and guayule (pictured). Get more details here and here (pdf; check out the list of expert speakers). (Photo: Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.)

Bring back endangered native snakes as part of Olentangy River restoration

cattails for GBPicture this: You’re walking down the restored Olentangy River corridor on Ohio State’s campus in Columbus. You see the beautiful assortment of leaves and clearer river and hear the faint rolling of cars in the background. But as you stroll across the pavement you notice to your right, under some fallen leaves and twigs, a streak of bright orange and black. You lean down to investigate, but to your horror, it’s … a SNAKE!

But before you never return to this treasured place, there are a few things you should know. First, the snake is a copper-bellied water snake (pictured, below right), which isn’t venomous, will strike only if cornered, and is easily recognized by its beautiful orange belly. (Not to be confused by name or looks with the venomous copperhead snake.) Also, as of this posting, the Ohio Division of Wildlife lists the copper-bellied water snake as endangered and says it resides only in Williams County in northwest Ohio.

copperbellied water snakeHowever, the Olentangy restoration project offers an excellent opportunity to reintroduce endangered and threatened species, so hopefully in 10 to 15 years the copper-bellied snake will again call the river home, as, possibly, will the native queensnake (below left) and the northern fox snake, both of which are also non-venomous and enjoy the swampy waters of a wetland.

So, please, when you take your evening stroll through this new habitat in 15 years and you see a beautiful orange streak slither through the leaves, don’t scream. Instead, relish the knowledge of one or more species being saved from extinction.

queen snakeRead more about the copper-bellied (or copperbelly) water snake at an Ohio Division of Wildlife Web page here and in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fact sheet here. The USFWS lists the copper-bellied water snake as threatened nationally. (Photos: Copper-bellied water snake by R.W. Vandevender, USFWS; queensnake, Ohio Division of Wildlife.)

‘Essential to ecological health’

blue orchard bee for GBThe Power of Pollinators Short Course runs today and tomorrow (March 14-15) in Fisher Auditorium on the Wooster campus of CFAES’s research arm, OARDC. “We depend on bee pollinators for much of what we eat and drink, and bees are also essential to ecological health,” says Denise Ellsworth, director of the Honey Bee and Native Pollinator Education Program in OARDC’s Department of Entomology. The event focuses on the biology, identification, and conservation of native bees. (Photo: Blue orchard bee, a native pollinator, on zinnia, USDA.)

Watch: ‘Truly exciting’ roads ahead in local foods, sustainable agriculture

Mike Hogan video interview“In the years ahead, figuring out how to feed an ever-expanding global population without depleting our planet’s resources and degrading the environment will be critical,” says OSU Extension educator Mike Hogan, who says sustainable agriculture and local foods are part of the solution (video; 1:20).

Not coincidentally, he adds, sustainable agriculture and local foods have roots in all three Ohio State Discovery Themes: Health and Wellness, Energy and Environment, and Food Production and Security. Learn more about the themes here.