Kurt Knebusch

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Organic farming and gardening; sustainable agriculture; natural resources/ecology; forestry; wildlife; Wooster campus news.
  1. 8 Tiny Facts About Reindeer That Click (Plus a 9th)

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Reindeer have feet like snowshoes, antlers like a rocking chair, and connections in story and song to Santa Claus. But they don’t live wild in Ohio. Neither do caribou, which belong to the same species (see No. 2 below). And Marne Titchenell — who’s a wildlife program specialist with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University — hasn’t even seen them in Alaska. “I went there a couple of years ago,” she said. “I thought I had a good chance, considering there are more caribou there than people. But no dice. “I’ve had to rely on the ones I’ve seen at the Columbus Zoo.” A relative lives in Ohio Titchenell has a sleighful of...
  2. These hollies stay jolly when it’s cold out

    WOOSTER, Ohio—Baby, it’s too cold outside in winter in Ohio to grow the traditional Christmas holly—English holly, or Ilex aquifolium. But Paul Snyder of Wooster’s Secrest Arboretum lists seven alternative hollies that can take it when Jack Frost nips at their noses. They thrive in the state’s climate, including its bleak midwinters. They look good in the landscape all year round. And you can cut stems from at least three of them to decorate your home for the holidays. How would they look in your garden? You can see all seven in the 110-acre arboretum, where Snyder works as the program coordinator. Specimens grow in the facility’s theme gardens, around its Discovery Pavilion, and at the locations listed below. Get oriented using...
  3. Ohio Turfgrass Conference, OSU Green Industry Short Course Are Dec. 5-8

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The 50th annual Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference and Show, which includes the 89th Ohio State University Green Industry Short Course, is Dec. 5-8 in Columbus. Co-planner Amy Stone, director and educator in Ohio State University Extension’s Lucas County office, said the two events have provided nearly 140 years of educational training to the green industry. Combined, she said, “It’s like getting two conferences for the price of one.” The event is for anyone connected to the green industry, Stone said. “If you work with plants from turf to trees, you’ll want to attend,” she said. For professionals working with turf, trees and more Included in the target audience are people involved with landscape design; landscape,...
  4. EPN Hosting Program on Lead in Ohio’s Water

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The safety of Ohio’s drinking water will be in the spotlight during the December breakfast program by the Environmental Professionals Network. Mike Baker, chief of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Division of Drinking and Ground Waters, will present “Lead in Drinking Water: Ohio Leads the Way. What More Is Needed?” as part of the program, which goes from 7:15 to 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 2 at The Ohio State University in Columbus. The network is a service of Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Baker, who’s an alumnus of the school, will talk about lead in water pipes, its prevalence in Ohio — such as the case in Sebring in...
  5. EPN Event Will Look at New National Ecological Observatory

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — An upcoming event at The Ohio State University will feature the ambitious new National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), whose contractor, the Battelle Memorial Institute, is based in Columbus. Gene Kelly, visiting head scientist at NEON’s Boulder, Colorado, headquarters, will present “The National Ecological Observatory Network: Using Ecological Science to Better Understand Our World” to headline the Nov. 10 breakfast program by the Ohio State-based Environmental Professionals Network (EPN). The NEON project, when complete, will gather vast amounts of data, or “big data,” on how America’s biodiversity and natural resources are changing because of climate change, land-use change and invasive species. It’s funded by $...
  6. Organic Farmers: Share Your Ideas Nov. 9 on Future of Ohio State Program

    WOOSTER, Ohio — The Organic Food and Farming Education and Research program, part of The Ohio State University, will hold a public listening and planning session on Nov. 9 in Wooster. Organic farmers and others are invited to attend. The purpose of the event is to help plan the program’s future, said Doug Doohan, interim director of the program, which is called OFFER for short. He’s a professor in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. There will be updates on current research, time for questions and answers, and a discussion to hear participants’ ideas on where the program should be going. Leah Miller, former director of the Fresno, Ohio-based Small Farm Institute, will facilitate the discussion. Help chart the program...
  7. Conference to Help Ohio’s Cities Manage Urban Wildlife

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Nov. 15 event at The Ohio State University aims to help Ohio’s cities, towns and suburbs limit conflicts between people and wildlife, from deer to geese to coyotes. Organizers say the 2016 annual conference of the Ohio Community Wildlife Cooperative is for local government officials, community leaders, town planners and others. Its theme is “Living with Wildlife and Resolving Conflicts in Ohio.” Urban wildlife conflicts are increasing, and so are the challenges for local governments in managing them, said co-organizer Marne Titchenell, wildlife program specialist with Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The headline of a recent story by the Associated Press, for instance, said U.S. cities are...
  8. Learn Ways to Improve Your Woodland Oct. 14

    MANSFIELD, Ohio — The Ohio Woodland Stewards Program will hold an Improving Your Woodland workshop on Oct. 14 on the Mansfield campus of The Ohio State University. The workshop will help participants determine goals and objectives for their woods, such as producing timber and providing wildlife habitat, and the best ways to go about achieving them. “We’ll spend the morning inside exploring these issues and the afternoon outside putting the ideas to work,” said Kathy Smith, coordinator of the stewards program and one of the workshop’s instructors. She’s forestry program director in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, which runs the stewards program. The school is in the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and...
  9. Eastern Ohio Ag Station Holding Field Day, 50-Year Celebration Sunday

    CALDWELL, Ohio — The Eastern Agricultural Research Station in Noble County will celebrate its past, present and future this Sunday. The station, which is part of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, is holding a rededication ceremony and field day in honor of its 50th anniversary. Hours are 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. The station is at 16870 Bond Ridge Road (Township Road 126) near Caldwell, about 2 miles east of Belle Valley and about 100 miles east of Columbus. The rededication program starts at 2 p.m. Afterward, wagons will take attendees on tours of the station’s grounds and facilities. During the tours, experts from OARDC and Ohio State University Extension will talk about the station’s research on grazing and forage...
  10. Secrest Arboretum’s Fall Plant Sale Is Saturday

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Secrest Arboretum is holding its annual Autumn Discovery Day fundraising plant sale from 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday. Featured will be more than 100 different types of trees and shrubs, many of them unusual or hard to find commercially. Admission is free and open to the public. There’s also a presale for members of the Friends of Secrest Arboretum from 3 to 4 p.m. this Friday. The arboretum is at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1680 Madison Ave. in Wooster, about 60 miles south of Cleveland. The center is part of The Ohio State University and its College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The event is the arboretum’s second-biggest fundraiser of the year, said Paul Snyder, who works there as a program assistant...
  11. Ohio State Hosting Talks on Famous Grizzly Bear, Ted Turner’s Green Impact in West

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two special events at The Ohio State University will look at two big personalities — a famous grizzly bear and media mogul turned environmentalist Ted Turner, an Ohio native — and the mark they’re making on the American West. The Ohio State-based Environmental Professionals Network, a service of the School of Environment and Natural Resources, is hosting both events. The school is in the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. On Oct. 24 at 7 p.m., photographer Thomas Mangelsen and writer Todd Wilkinson will present “An Evening with Grizzly Bear 399,” a photo-rich talk based on their book Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek. The book’s star is Grizzly 399, a female grizzly bear living in...
  12. OARDC Dedicates New Art, Renovated Campus Entrance

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Science met art Sept. 16 when Wooster’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center dedicated a new sculpture and water feature at its renovated campus entrance. The event took place six years to the day after a tornado entered the campus at nearly the very same spot, causing millions of dollars in damage to greenhouses, buildings and trees but fortunately no injuries. Called “The Fruit of Inquiry,” the sculpture was done by Gallipolis artist Kevin Lyles, who’s a professor of sculpture at the University of Rio Grande in southeast Ohio. It features small fountains, 15 tons of glacial stone symbolizing Ohio’s soil and fields, large open cubes made from gleaming metal rods evoking streams and flowing water, and some 70 bronze...
  13. Get Feet Wet in Aquaponics at FSR

    LONDON, Ohio — Two talks at the Sept. 20-22 Farm Science Review will dive into aquaponics. “There’s growing interest in aquaponics in the Midwest,” said Matthew Smith, an aquaculture specialist with The Ohio State University who will give the talks. “People like the idea of the marriage between fish and plants.” The Review is an annual agricultural trade show in London, about 25 miles west of Columbus. Its sponsor is Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Smith is with the college’s outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension. Aquaponics merges aquaculture with hydroponics and wastewater management, he said. It combines tilapia and lettuce, for example, or koi and basil, or catfish and strawberries...
  14. Big Benefits for Small Woodlots from Low-Impact Logging?

    LONDON, Ohio — Lee Beers said he saw low-impact logging, lots of it, when living in Maine during graduate school. He says it can work in Ohio, too. “I was surprised at the lack of awareness about this practice in Ohio,” said Beers, who moved here in January to start his job as an educator with Ohio State University Extension in Trumbull County. “This is a common logging practice in New England, and it would have value with Ohio forests.” Compared with full-scale logging, low-impact logging uses smaller and more specialized equipment, he said. The practice has several goals: less erosion and compaction of the soil, less damage to surrounding trees and land, and a smooth start toward healthy regeneration of the forest. “Low-impact logging can be...
  15. Can You Trust Green Labels? Find Out Sept. 15

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two national experts on green labels and keeping them trustable are the featured speakers for September’s breakfast by the Environmental Professionals Network. Laura Koss of the Federal Trade Commission and Tim Bartley of The Ohio State University will present “Eco-Labels, Certifications, Green Advertising: How Trustworthy Are Green Claims?” from 7:15 to 9:30 a.m. Sept. 15 in Ohio State’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive in Columbus. Registration, which includes breakfast, is $10 for members of the network and the public and free for Ohio State students. The deadline to register is noon Sept. 9. Speakers from FTC, Ohio State Koss is an attorney and assistant director of the FTC’s Division of...
  16. Chainsaw Safety, Dozens More Topics in FSR’s Green Gwynne

    LONDON, Ohio — Millions of ash trees have died in Ohio, meaning millions of chances exist for Ohioans to cut them down with chainsaws. A series of talks at Farm Science Review will show how to do it safely. The Review is a Sept. 20-22 trade show at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio, about 25 miles west of Columbus. The series, called “Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance,” will be given three times in the Review’s Gwynne Conservation Area: on Sept. 20 and Sept. 21 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; and on Sept. 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Got a dead ash tree? Safety first “With all the dead and dying ash trees out there” — no thanks to the emerald ash borer pest — “I really wanted to see an opportunity for landowners...
  17. Use Cover Crops to Capture Manure Nutrients: Wednesday Talk

    LONDON, Ohio — Get a good grip on manure using cover crops, says an expert with Ohio State University Extension. “Cover crops are an excellent practice to utilize nutrients from manure for growing grain crops,” said Alan Sundermeier, an educator in OSU Extension’s Wood County office. “Capturing the manure nutrients with a growing plant will keep the nutrients on the field and out of waterways.” Sundermeier, who’s also the director of that office, will give tips on getting cover crops off the ground — and then eventually back into it — as part of Wednesday and Thursday’s North American Manure Expo. The event is in London, about 25 miles west of Columbus. His talk, called “Establishing Cover Crops,” is one of four...
  18. Say Yay, Not Neigh, to Managing Horse Manure: Hear How Aug. 3

    LONDON, Ohio — Good manure management — practices that enrich the soil, keep water clean and save people money — is for more than cows, more than pigs, more than chickens, but for horses too. So says Les Ober, who will speak on the topic at the Aug. 3-4 North American Manure Expo. The event is in London, about 25 miles west of Columbus. “Over the years, more and more backyard horse owners have been stabling their animals in larger boarding stables,” said Ober, who’s an agriculture and natural resources program coordinator with Ohio State University Extension. “This concentrates a large number of animals on a small area of land. “This can lead to water quality issues if the manure isn’t handled properly.” Ober, who’s...
  19. Get Details on New Grape Disease, More at NE Ohio Field Day

    KINGSVILLE, Ohio — A new disease could put the squeeze on some of Ohio’s grapevines. Called red blotch, it’s a featured topic — one of a bunch — at the Aug. 11 educational field day at the Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station in northeast Ohio. The station, which is run by The Ohio State University, does research on growing grapes, especially grapes used to make wine. It’s at 2625 South Ridge East in Kingsville, about 65 miles east of Cleveland. Andy Kirk, the station’s manager, said the free event, which goes from 2 to 4:30 p.m., is for anyone interested in Ohio’s $786 million grape and wine industry, including grape growers, wine industry workers, horticulture students, and food and wine journalists. Red blotch new but an ‘...
  20. Workshop for Natural Resource Pros Will Give Intro to QGIS

    MANSFIELD, Ohio — Learn the ABCs of using QGIS — in this case, to map tree cover, land use, water quality and similar data — in an Aug. 17 workshop in Mansfield. QGIS is a free and open-source geographic information system, or GIS. It works on operating systems including Mac OS X, Linux, Unix and Microsoft Windows. The workshop is for anyone who studies or works with natural resources, including forests, farmland, watersheds and wildlife, said Kathy Smith, coordinator of the event’s sponsor, the Ohio Woodland Stewards Program. The stewards program is part of The Ohio State University and its College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Taught by Ohio State expert The instructor for the workshop will be Alexis Londo, a lecturer in the college...
  21. Greener Than Grass? Speaker Will Talk About Lawn Alternatives

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Susan Weber of Columbus-based Integrity Sustainable Planning and Design will headline the next breakfast of the Environmental Professionals Network on Aug. 9 at The Ohio State University. Weber, an expert on sustainable landscape design, will present “Transforming Our Yards: Doing More for Family and Community” as part of the 7:15 to 10:20 a.m. event in Ohio State’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center at 2201 Fred Taylor Drive in Columbus. She’ll look at alternatives to growing just lawns, including using the space for trees, wildlife habitat, bee and butterfly gardens, and fruit and vegetable plantings. Benefits can include fresh food for the home, “discovery” spaces for children, less time spent mowing and...
  22. Learn How to Diagnose Tree Problems at Workshop

    MANSFIELD, Ohio — Call it learning triage for trees. The Ohio Woodland Stewards Program is holding a workshop on diagnosing tree problems — from holes in leaves to galls on twigs, thinning crowns to dying branches — on Aug. 5 in Mansfield. Kathy Smith, coordinator of the program, said participants will learn how to tell if a tree needs immediate attention or not. Benefits can include faster treatment and better recovery on one hand and less urgency and expense on the other. The workshop is mainly for tree and landscape professionals, she said. It offers continuing education credits under the Society of American Foresters’ Continuing Forestry Education program and the International Society of Arboriculture’s Certified Arborist program. The Ohio Woodland...
  23. Ohio Hosting North American Manure Expo Aug. 3-4

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The North American Manure Expo is about to land in Ohio. The big event, covering the serious business of using farm animal manure to help grow crops, while doing it safely and greenly, is Aug. 3-4 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, about 25 miles west of Columbus. “Manure is an excellent source of nutrients for the crops we grow in Ohio and is probably one of the oldest forms of recycling we have,” said a co-chair of the event’s planning committee, Amanda Douridas. She’s an agriculture and natural resources educator in the Champaign County office of Ohio State University Extension. Expo attendees will dig into a trade show, three tours, field demonstrations and about 40 educational sessions on 13 main topics. Some of those...
  24. Columbus Tours to Feature City’s Growing Urban Farm Scene

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mike Hogan is stoked, really stoked, about urban farming in Columbus. He hopes to share that excitement in the second annual Columbus Urban Farm Tour Series, which starts at the end of July. “We’re seeing amazing community support for urban farmers,” said Hogan, who’s a co-organizer of the series and an agriculture and natural resources educator in the Franklin County office of Ohio State University Extension. “When consumers find out what these farmers are doing, they’re all-in,” he said. “And these urban farmers are some of the coolest, most out-of-the-box thinkers and innovators I’ve worked with in 29 years.” Hogan’s employer, OSU Extension, is part of The Ohio State University and its College...
  25. Gardeners, Plant Lovers: Learn How to Graft a Tree at This Workshop

    WOOSTER, Ohio — To paraphrase an old U2 song, two plant parts can beat as one. It’s called grafting, and you can learn how to do it at an upcoming event in Wooster’s Secrest Arboretum. “You can use the skill to graft heirloom varieties of apples, for example, that might not be available commercially,” said the arboretum’s program assistant, Paul Snyder. “It’s a helpful skill to learn because it makes you a better gardener if you understand the mechanics behind plant production.” The arboretum’s Summer Grafting Workshop goes from 8 a.m. to noon July 20. Snyder will teach it. Registration is $40 and is limited to 10 people, Bono not included. The arboretum is at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. The center...

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