Silent, slippery, ‘important environmental indicators’

smallmouth salamander for GBExplore Ohio’s rich diversity of salamanders (24 species, including the smallmouth salamander shown here) and you’ll discover more than the creatures themselves. You’ll find good signs — and red flags — on the quality of the state’s environment, says a CFAES wildlife specialist. Read the whole story.

Grow your own food in the city? 3 ways to learn how to do it

urban farming imageLocal Matters and the Godman Guild, both of Columbus, and CFAES’s outreach arm, OSU Extension, are co-hosting three upcoming workshops for people who farm in the city or want to. The topics are backyard chickens, keeping urban honey bees, and keeping the food you grow clean and safe. The theme is “Grow Your Own.” Details.

Invasive species in your yard, woods, or garden … and what you can do about them

small image of hemlock woolly adelgidCFAES’s Ohio Woodland Stewards Program is holding a four-part seminar series for gardeners, landscapers, homeowners, and others on invasive species, the problems they cause, and how to deal with them. Read the whole story. The stewards program is part of our statewide outreach arm, OSU Extension. (Photo: Invasive insects called hemlock woolly adelgids (the fuzzy white spots) on a hemlock branch by Nicholas A. Tonelli, Pennsylvania, USA, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Beech aphid excrement. It’s what’s for dinner. If you’re a Scorias spongiosa

Fun fact No. 1: There’s something called a beech aphid poop-eater. Fun fact No. 2: It’s one of the “Weird Things in Your Woods” that make up one of the 20 expert-taught sessions (pdf; scroll down) at CFAES’s first-ever Tree School May 18. It’s for anyone interested in knowing more about and growing trees. Sign up by tomorrow (May 10) Monday, May 13, if you’d like to attend.

Fun sustainability-related fact via the linked-to Tom Volk’s Fungi website, which puts the fun in fungal: “Leaves covered in sooty molds [of which the beech aphid poop-eater is one] adsorb more polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals from air than clean leaves. Thus they may be more efficient at cleaning up polluted air.”

School for trees: Sign up soon

forest[Update: The signup deadline has been extended.] CFAES’s first-ever Tree School is May 18, and the sign-up deadline is soon: Friday, May 10 Monday, May 13. The program is for anyone interested in learning more about growing our tall, woody friends, including farmers, gardeners, landscapers, woodland owners, Christmas tree growers, and bird and other wildlife lovers. Get details on the program’s 20 sessions here (pdf). Register here.

That’s no convergent lady beetle, that’s a Harmonia axyridis

Harmonia axyridis for GB“Many types of native lady beetles are declining in Ohio,” says CFAES scientist Mary Gardiner, “while the introductions of exotic non-native species of lady beetles are increasing. Lady beetles are a beneficial insect for gardeners and farmers because they provide natural pest control.” Here’s how you can pitch in to help Gardiner, native lady beetles, and the plants you grow. (Photo by Stu Phillips via Wikimedia Commons.)

Ohio’s forests growing green(er)

hardwood trees for CNWhen a tree falls — is felled — in a forest in Ohio, it supports a $22-billion-a-year industry and more than 100,000 jobs. And is replaced by more than two trees worth of new growth. So says CFAES forest-products specialist Eric McConnell, who is documenting the green that grows in the state’s woods. “Sustainably managing our woodlands,” he says, “plays a critical role in the health of Ohio’s rural economies.” Read more.