Kurt Knebusch

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Organic farming and gardening; sustainable agriculture; natural resources/ecology; forestry; wildlife; Wooster campus news.
  1. June 8: Discover the Nature of Clintonville’s Ravines

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A pocket of Columbus has its own smaller pockets, and they’re rich with plants and wildlife. The next Environmental Professionals Network breakfast program will explore these biodiversity oases and how residents are working to protect them. “Valuing Landscapes: The Ravines of Clintonville” is from 7:15 to 9:15 a.m. June 8 in the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, at The Ohio State University in Columbus. Admission is open to both EPN members and the public. Clintonville is a neighborhood in north-central Columbus, and its many ravines — including Glen Echo, Walhalla and Overbrook — carry streams down to the Olentangy River. Creatures you might not expect in the city, such as barred owls and...
  2. June 23: Learn How to Start Your Own New Plants from Cuttings

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Paul Snyder, program assistant in Wooster’s Secrest Arboretum, has grown a garden’s worth of new plants from cuttings. He’s grown Japanese orixa, which turns white in fall and, he said, “smells like Old Spice.” He’s grown more than a few Mediterranean redbuds, which, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map, are barely tough enough to survive in the region in the first place. “We used to have only one” in the 115-acre arboretum, Snyder said. “Now we have others planted throughout the collections.” He’s grown common figs, which are “fun and easy to root.” The challenge, he said, is “getting them through their first winter once they...
  3. May 16 at Ohio State: 2 Ways to Turn Your Home Greener

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Learn how to get your house in order, energy-wise, at two events on May 16 at The Ohio State University. Erik Daugherty, founder of the Nashville, Tennessee-based home-performance company E3 Innovate, will present “Technologies and Strategies for Home Energy Efficiencies: Satisfied Homeowners, Sustainable Planet” from 7:15 to 9:15 a.m. in the university’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, in Columbus. Afterward, Ohio State will hold its second Green Home Workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. in the same location. The agenda will feature about a dozen sessions and speakers, including experts from the university and industry. Details are at go.osu.edu/GreenHome. EPN’s monthly...
  4. May 22 Workshop: Have Your Landscape and Eat It Too

    WOOSTER, Ohio — You can’t eat scenery, as the saying goes, but the organizer of an upcoming workshop says yes, you can. “People have a renewed interest in growing plants that not only look nice but also can be used for food,” said Paul Snyder, program assistant in Wooster’s Secrest Arboretum, which is holding its first-ever Edible Landscaping Workshop on May 22. Participants in the event will get close-up looks at a range of edible plants — such as common fig, black chokeberry, asparagus and corneliancherry dogwood — and will see ways to work them into attractive, well-designed landscapes. The workshop came about because arboretum staff members have been getting more and more questions about edible landscape plants, said Snyder, who...
  5. Registration Open, Scholarships Available for Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Put 100 teenagers in the woods for a week, in a place with spotty cellphone service, and you’d think they’d be bored. But teach them about the nature there, allow time for fishing and swimming, offer the occasional climb up a 10-story oak tree, and “the kids really seem to love it,” said Marne Titchenell, co-director of the Ohio Forestry Association’s 66th annual Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp. The camp is June 11-16 at Ohio FFA’s Camp Muskingum on Leesville Lake in eastern Ohio. It’s for students who have completed 8th grade through those who have just graduated from high school. Its goal is to introduce campers to trees, birds, bugs, mammals and more, including how to manage them. All outdoors, all the...
  6. Secrest Arboretum Plant Sale Is May 13

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Secrest Arboretum’s 24th annual Plant Discovery Day will have hundreds of hard-to-find plants for sale and auction, including at least one with historical roots at The Ohio State University. Gardeners can buy trees, shrubs, herbs, annuals, perennials, garden art and more at the event, which is the arboretum’s largest annual fundraising event. It’s from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 13 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1680 Madison Ave., in Wooster. Admission is free and open to the public. A plant sale runs for the duration of the event. A silent auction goes from 9 to 11 a.m. Lists of all the plants available are at go.osu.edu/2017PDD. Auction maple has Buckeye roots A tree in the silent auction, for example...
  7. OARDC Announces Research Poster Winners

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) has announced the winners of a scientific poster competition held during its 2017 research conference on April 20 in Columbus. The competition, which drew 83 entries, recognized outstanding research posters by OARDC-supported graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and research assistants and associates. OARDC is the research arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. PhD students First place: Yangyang Li, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, “Life Cycle Assessment of Value-Addition to On-Farm Organic Residues Through Anaerobic Digestion and Composting.” Adviser: Ajay Shah, Food, Agricultural and Biological...
  8. Top 5 Moments from Environmental Professionals Network

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Five years ago, David Hanselmann helped launch the Environmental Professionals Network (EPN), a statewide professional group based at The Ohio State University. Since then, EPN has grown to have nearly 2,000 members. It’s held 55 public monthly Breakfast Club programs, which typically draw more than 125 people, and five signature events, whose top attendance has been 1,400. Hanselmann — who coordinates EPN as a lecturer in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences — shares his top five moments from those events. 1. ‘One Million Actions for Planet Earth’ Jack Hanna, director emeritus, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, April 10,...
  9. OARDC’s Crabapple Blossoms Are Peaking

    WOOSTER, Ohio — A research campus in northeast Ohio is getting really crabby — and that’s a good thing. More than 600 red, pink and white crabapple trees at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster — considered the largest collection of such trees in the U.S. — are nearly at peak bloom. “They’re just a few days away from full flower,” said Paul Snyder, a program assistant with OARDC’s Secrest Arboretum. “I think they’ll hit full flower on Wednesday or Thursday given our predicted weather.” The center is part of The Ohio State University and its College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The trees’ peak should continue through the coming...
  10. April 18: How Getting Around Columbus Will Be Getting a Lot Smarter

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus’s technology-intense Smart Columbus project, which last year beat out ideas from 77 other cities to win the U.S. Department of Transportation’s $40 million Smart City Challenge, is the focus of an April 18 event at The Ohio State University. Aparna Dial, who’s a staff member with the project and the deputy director of Columbus’s Department of Public Service, will present “Columbus: One Smart and Sustainable City — Using Innovative Technology to Improve People’s Access to Opportunity” as part of the Environmental Professional Network’s (EPN) public Breakfast Club series. The event is from 7:15 to 9:45 a.m. in Ohio State’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor...
  11. REI’s Sustainability Chief to Speak at Ohio State

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Combine your work and passions and you can climb mountains. Including real ones. That’s the message of a presentation being given by Vik Sahney, vice president for sustainability for Seattle-based REI, on April 12 at The Ohio State University. Sahney, who at age 38 has climbed the highest peaks on all seven continents, including Mt. Everest, will present “From Summits to Sustainability: Reaching for High Places, Personally and Professionally” at 7 p.m. in the Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom in the university’s Ohio Union in Columbus. The event is a signature event of the Ohio State-based Environmental Professionals Network (EPN). Outdoor retailer REI, whose motto is “A life outdoors is a life well-lived,” is the...
  12. ‘Kidney Punch’ Compound Could Stop Mosquitoes — Along with Their Resistance

    WOOSTER, Ohio — You may someday hear less of that buzzing sound. A team led by scientists from The Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University has taken the next step toward developing an improved, sustainable mosquito insecticide — one that won’t cause the biting, sometimes-disease-carrying pests to become resistant to it. If successful, their work could one day help fight the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika and malaria. In an article published last fall in the journal Scientific Reports, Ohio State entomologists Peter Piermarini and Reed Johnson, Vanderbilt pharmacologist Jerod Denton, and colleagues reported several new findings about a mosquito-killing compound they’ve been studying, including that it seems safe for adult honey bees...
  13. Event to Explore Why We Need Healthy Rivers

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s Environmental Professionals Network (EPN) is holding its next monthly breakfast program March 7 in Columbus, and as the film title goes, a river runs through it. Called “We All Need Healthy Rivers,” the event is a joint meeting with the Water Management Association of Ohio. In all, Ohio has more than 29,000 miles of rivers, and organizers say their health is key to the health of the state’s citizens and environment. The Ohio River, for example, supplies drinking water to more than 5 million people in six states including Ohio, the Ohio River Foundation says. But reports based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data have said the Ohio has more industrial pollution than any other river in the nation....
  14. How Biobased Industry Can Take the Next Step: March 16 Workshop in Wooster

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Biobased fuels and products — those made from crops and waste from farms — are the focus of an upcoming workshop in Wooster. Advanced Biobased Systems: Growing an Industry is March 16 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), 1680 Madison Ave. It’s for anyone involved with or interested in the biobased industry, said organizer Ajay Shah, an assistant professor at OARDC and the head of its Biobased Systems Analysis Lab, the sponsor of the event. Expected to attend are farmers, scientists, processors, manufacturers, commodity representatives, and people in the ethanol, biodiesel and transportation industries, Shah said. “The potential of agricultural biomass as a renewable feedstock for fuels and chemicals continues...
  15. March 1 Conference for Ohio Natural Resource Professionals

    MANSFIELD, Ohio — Why we need spiders, how a disease that kills trees could actually help forests, and what’s really going on when people and wildlife butt heads are just a few of the topics at the 2017 Ohio Woodland, Water and Wildlife Conference. The event is an annual educational program for natural resource professionals and land managers. It’s from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 1 at the Mid-Ohio Conference Center, 890 W. Fourth St. in Mansfield in north-central Ohio. Last year’s attendance was nearly 200. Experts from conservation agencies and The Ohio State University will present 15 sessions in three tracks: woodlands, water and wildlife. Tree wilts, invasives and conflicts with wildlife Among the sessions: “A Tale of Two Wilts: Ailanthus and...
  16. Ohio Compost Operator Course Is March 28-29, Offers New Grants for Attending

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Registration is open for this year’s Ohio Compost Operator Education Course, March 28-29 in Wooster. And for the first time, professional development grants — a total of four of them — are available to help pay for the cost of attending. The course is a “comprehensive program on the science and art of composting,” said co-organizer Mary Wicks of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Research Center (OARDC), which is hosting the course. It’s for anyone involved with large-scale composting, she said, including compost facility operators, public health officials, farmers, nursery operators and municipal solid waste managers. The course is now in its 17th year. OARDC is the research arm of the College of Food,...
  17. Feb. 6 in Bucyrus: Workshop on Ways to Make Money From Your Woods

    BUCYRUS, Ohio — A workshop on Feb. 6 in Bucyrus will show you how money can grow on your trees. And also under and around them. Called “Woodland Opportunities,” it’s from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in Ohio State University Extension’s Crawford County office, 112 E. Mansfield St. “‘What should I do with my woods?’ It’s a question we get a lot,” said Kathy Smith, coordinator of OSU Extension’s Ohio Woodland Stewards Program, which is sponsoring the event and providing the instructors. “We’ll cover some of the income opportunities that landowners should explore when assessing the future of their woodland acreage,” she said. Among those opportunities are timber production, leasing, and products like...
  18. Tri-State Green Industry Conference Is Feb. 2

    CINCINNATI, Ohio — Winter or not, things will be green in Cincinnati next week. The city’s Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, is hosting the Tri-State Green Industry Conference on Feb. 2. The event is for people whose work involves plants, including landscapers, lawn and tree care workers, greenhouse managers, and nursery growers. It goes from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Organizers are expecting about 500 participants, mainly from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Early bird registration for the conference is $80, includes lunch and refreshments, and is due by this Thursday (Jan. 26). Registration after Thursday, including at the door, is $90 and doesn’t guarantee lunch or refreshments. Student registration is $45. The conference is a joint effort by six organizations...
  19. Event to Feature Ohio’s Forests and the One in Ohio State’s Library

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — February’s Environmental Professionals Network breakfast program will explore Ohio’s forests — and the natural role one of them played in renovating The Ohio State University’s main library. The event, which is called “Ohio’s Forests: Celebrating a Rich History; Planning for Emerging Threats,” is from 7:15 to 11 a.m. Feb. 14 in Ohio State’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus. John Dorka, master logger coordinator/government relations with the Ohio Forestry Association, and Mark Ervin, a member of the Ohio Society of American Foresters, will present “Celebrating Ohio’s Forests” during the event. Then they’ll preview the “Building Ohio State...
  20. Ohio State Experts to Speak at Sustainable Agriculture Conference

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ten experts from The Ohio State University will be among the 100-plus presenters at this year’s annual conference of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. Organizers call the event, which is Feb. 9-11 in Dayton, the largest sustainable agriculture conference in Ohio. It will have, for example, nearly 80 hour-and-a-half educational workshops, two keynote speakers, a three-day trade show, four full-day intensive preconference workshops, a banquet featuring Ohio-grown foods and “The Contrary Farmer’s Social” honoring the late Ohio farmer-writer Gene Logsdon. Now in its 38th year, this is the first time the conference is being held in Dayton. CFAES well represented The Buckeye presenters — most of them from the College of...
  21. Ohio State Environmental Film Series Starts Jan. 24

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University’s 2017 Environmental Film Series kicks off Jan. 24 with a look at legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold, author of the classic A Sand County Almanac. Called “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time,” the film starts at 7 p.m. in Room 130 in Ohio State’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry (CBEC) building, 151 W. Woodruff Ave. in Columbus. Admission is free and open to the public. Free pizza and beverages will be served at 6:45 p.m. Advance registration isn’t needed. The Emmy Award-winning “Green Fire,” according to its website, “explores Leopold’s extraordinary career and his enduring influence — tracing how he shaped the modern conservation...
  22. Gardeners, Get Grafting: 2 Workshops Will Show How

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Learn how to graft new plants for your garden, including new fruit trees for the coming spring, in workshops on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 in Secrest Arboretum. Instructor Paul Snyder, who’s a program assistant with the arboretum, said participants will get hands-on practice with side veneer grafting, will also learn the basics of cleft and whip-and-tongue grafting, and can take home the plants they create. The workshops are the same on both days. “The side veneer graft is nearly universal, so that’s why I focus on it,” Snyder said. “It’s also the graft I use the most. You can use it on fruit trees, which is what most people have been looking for when they’ve taken these workshops in the past.” Start new fruit trees, more...
  23. Jan. 11 Environmental Professionals Event Will Feature Ohio State’s Lonnie Thompson

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — January’s Environmental Professionals Network breakfast program has a big title for a big topic — in fact, for four very closely related topics. It’s called “Global Warming. You and Me. Energy Audits. Money in Your Pocket. Cleaner Air. More Comfortable Home. Help Is Available. Don’t Procrastinate.” It’s from 7:15 to 9:30 a.m. Jan. 11 in The Ohio State University’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive in Columbus. And it features talks by four Ohio experts — led by renowned climatologist Lonnie Thompson, Distinguished University Professor in Ohio State’s School of Earth Sciences and senior research scientist with the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center —...
  24. 3 Ways to Volunteer with Secrest Arboretum in the New Year

    WOOSTER, Ohio — In the coming new year, plant lovers have three official ways to grow with northeast Ohio’s Secrest Arboretum. One, they can apply for the facility’s 2017 Master Gardening Volunteer course, which costs $150 and runs weekly on Wednesdays from March 15 through May 17. Applications may be downloaded at u.osu.edu/secrestmg/apply/. The deadline to apply is Jan. 27 or until the course has 40 people. Two, “If you like to garden but don’t want to go through the course at this time, then becoming a Secrest volunteer might be right for you,” said Paul Snyder, who’s a program assistant with the arboretum. Details and a link to apply to volunteer are at go.osu.edu/SecrestVolunteers. Three, they can join the Friends of Secrest Arboretum...
  25. Do the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ Birds Live in Ohio?

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the holiday song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” someone’s true love gives them … quite a few birds. Given that the song has European roots — it apparently came from France and was published first in England — does it hold up ornithologically in Ohio? Do the song’s birds live in the Buckeye State? Here are answers from experts in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University and from sources including The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Ohio, which was published earlier this year. 1st day: Partridge (with or without pear tree) ANSWER: Technically, no. But also, not any more. The ruffed grouse, which is pictured below, although in a willow tree, lives in Ohio....

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