Flip this slag: CFAES team turns brownfield green

Restoring soil 2In Chicago, Nick Basta and colleagues from CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources are helping restore “an 87-acre wasteland of glassy slag” using topsoil made from biosolids. Biosolids are treated sewage sludge (in this case, collected by Chicago’s sewage system); once treated, they’re safe to use, free of pathogens and full of nutrients that help plants grow. In test plots, a biosolids-based soil blend made by Basta and team worked better than a wood-chip-based compost at supporting plants and beneficial soil organisms. The slag is waste from steel mills that used to be on the site. Read more in a story in TerraDaily.

Plants rule! Hear how Thursday

CFAES plant expert Jim Chatfield, who’s engaging, funny and even poetic, plus knows his stuff down to its roots, presents “Trees on Tap: How Plants Rule the Earth” at 7 p.m. tonight at the First Amendment Public House, 150 W. Liberty St. in Wooster. The free public event is part of the Wooster Science Café series.

Cornish named Fellow of National Academy of Inventors

Katrina Cornish, Ph.D., FAAAS,

CFAES’s Katrina Cornish, who holds the Endowed Chair in Bio-based Emergent Materials and is an Ohio Research Scholar, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, one of two inductees — along with Vice President for Research Caroline Whitacre — from Ohio State this year. Read the story. In her research, Cornish is developing new and more sustainable sources of natural rubber — specifically Russian dandelion and guayule — for growing in Ohio and use by industry. Watch a 2013 video profile.


A bright, shiny honor for CFAES iTunes U course

Shiny appleApple has named Introduction to Environmental Science, an iTunes U course developed by Brian Lower and Kylienne Clark in CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, one of its best of 2015. iTunes U offers free noncredit courses from several thousand places of learning, including Ohio State.

Helping Ohio school kids not go hungry and be healthy

Fighting hunger, improving healthOSU Extension’s nutrition program for children and teens, which helps fight hunger and improve health, has ramped up nearly ten-fold in the past three years. Still, there’s even more work to be done. Read the story. As CFAES’s statewide outreach arm, OSU Extension makes the college’s expertise available to everyone living in Ohio. (Photo: SNAP-Ed program, Richland County, Ohio.)

Listen: What are the sounds of a healthy farm?

Sounds of a healthy farm 2An unusual study at CFAES’s Mellinger Research Farm in northeast Ohio is measuring the health of the farm through its sounds. A goal is to see — er, hear — how the farm’s biological diversity changes as its farming practices change. “In a healthy agricultural ecosystem, farming sounds should coexist with sounds of the natural world, says a fact sheet on the study. You can hear “Spring Peepers and Toads, Drainage-way: March” and other recordings on the study’s webpage. CFAES’s Agroecosystems Management Program helps run the farm and is doing the study. AMP, according its website, “seeks to discover balance on Ohio farms” in part by using ecological principles on the farms. (Photo: Eastern meadlowlark, Purestock.)

Reutter: ‘Optimistic’ about Lake Erie despite record algal bloom

Lake Erie talk

How do we fix Lake Erie? James F. McCarty of the Cleveland Plain Dealer lists five takeaways from Jeff Reutter’s talk last month at the City Club of Cleveland. Reutter retired last spring as the director of two Ohio State programs serving the lake, Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab, and is a special advisor to them now.

‘Soil restoration is our ally’ in fight against climate change

“As the climate talks in Paris draw to a close, climate activists have taken note: Soil restoration is our ally in the fight against global warming.” So wrote Seth Itzkan and Karl Thidemann, co-founders of an effort called Soil4Climate, in “Dispatch From COP21: The Convenient Truth About Soil,” a Dec. 11 essay on a web page by WBUR, Boston’s NPR station. Read it here. CFAES scientist Rattan Lal, a world expert on soil restoration, carbon sequestration and climate change, is mentioned in the essay. He explains what carbon sequestration is in a video featured in a post last week.