Kurt Knebusch

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Organic farming and gardening; sustainable agriculture; natural resources/ecology; forestry; wildlife; Wooster campus news.
  1. Feb. 29 Deadline for Green Fair Sponsors, Exhibitors

    WOOSTER, Ohio — You can boost your business’s green cred — and reach several thousand environmentally conscious customers in the process — by being a sponsor or exhibitor at this year’s Scarlet, Gray and Green Fair in northeast Ohio. But make plans soon. The deadline to apply is this coming Monday, Feb. 29, and only a limited number of exhibitor spaces are left. The event, which is a free public festival focused on sustainable living, is April 19 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. Its theme is “Green Is for Life!” New this year is a concurrent Renewable Energy Workshop. By being a sponsor or exhibitor at the fair, businesses, companies and agencies can “demonstrate their support of a healthier...
  2. Learn About World’s Largest Water Quality Trading Program

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The groundbreaking, award-winning Ohio River Basin Trading Project is the focus of February’s breakfast presentation by the Environmental Professionals Network. “Electric Utilities, Farmers, Agencies and Others in the Ohio River Basin Establish the World’s Largest Water Quality Trading Program” is from 7:15 to 9:40 a.m. Feb. 23 in the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center at The Ohio State University, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus.  The network is a statewide professional group coordinated by the School of Environment and Natural Resources in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The project won the U.S. Water Alliance’s 2015 U.S. Water Prize, which recognizes...
  3. Want to Add Solar Power on Your Farm? Go to This Workshop

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Farmers can save money with solar energy. So can other farm-related businesses. And grants and incentives exist that can help them get started. So say the organizers of a March 10 workshop at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, who plan to shed light on those topics. The Solar Energy Workshop for Agricultural Producers will cover “how farmers and businesses in rural areas can take advantage of incentives such as the federal renewable energy tax credits and the USDA renewable energy program to support their projects,” said Mary Wicks, a program coordinator at OARDC and one of the event’s organizers. The workshop will feature seven sessions by speakers from the farming community, the solar installer community, OARDC,...
  4. Ohio Compost Operator Short Course Set for March 8-9

    WOOSTER, Ohio — The 2016 Ohio Compost Operator Short Course, billed as a “comprehensive program on the science and art of composting,” is March 8 and 9 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in northeast Ohio. The annual event, which OARDC is presenting in conjunction with the Organics Recycling Association of Ohio, is for people who work at or with large-scale composting facilities, said co-organizer Mary Wicks, program coordinator of the center’s Ohio Composting and Manure Management Program. The intended audience, she said, includes compost facility managers, public health officials, farmers, plant nursery operators, municipal solid waste managers, composting consultants, public policy consultants, environmental regulators and equipment...
  5. Ohio State Organic Farming Program Has New Interim Director

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Doug Doohan, professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, has been named interim director of the college’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research program. The program conducts studies and outreach on organic farming. About 40 scientists and specialists from the college — including from its research and outreach arms, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension — are affiliated with the program. Doohan, who has been involved with the program since it started 18 years ago, is replacing former OFFER director Brian McSpadden Gardener, who left for a job in the private sector. “Doug has an established research and outreach program...
  6. At Least 4 Good Reasons to Boost Soil Organic Matter, and a Chance to Learn How to Do It

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The key to successful, sustainable farming is found in the ground — or should be, says soil scientist Rafiq Islam of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. “Soil organic matter is the cornerstone of soil health,” said Islam, a member of a regional research team that’s spent the past 15 years studying soil organic matter, its benefits to crops and the best ways to boost it on farms run organically. “As with any agricultural production system, maintaining a healthy and productive soil is the foundation of sustainable organic farming,” he said. On Feb. 12, Islam and other team members will share their findings in “The Dirt on Organic Matter.” It’s a special...
  7. Urban Green Space Expert to Keynote Tri-State Green Industry Conference

    CINCINNATI, Ohio — What’s new in the business of landscaping, plant nurseries and grounds maintenance? Soil health, turf pests, deer damage, pollinators, hydroponics, invasive species, new urban green space, new pesticide regulations, and new types of annuals and perennials will be some of the nearly three dozen topics at the 2016 Tri-State Green Industry Conference. The annual event is from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 4 in Cincinnati. Tom Smarr, horticulture director for 21st Century Parks, a Louisville, Kentucky-based nonprofit corporation, will give the opening keynote talk. In his role with 21st Century Parks, Smarr helps manage The Parklands of Floyds Fork, a new urban park in Metro Louisville. He previously helped develop parks on top of Boston’s Big Dig tunnel...
  8. Apply Now for New Secrest Arboretum Master Gardener Class

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Master Gardener volunteers from across Ohio helped Secrest Arboretum regrow after a 2010 tornado. Now the 115-acre plant collection, part of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, hopes to return the favor. The arboretum is taking applications for its first new class of Master Gardener volunteers in at least a decade, said arboretum program assistant Paul Snyder. The deadline to apply is Jan. 29. Participants in the class will receive 50 hours of in-depth horticulture training. Then, every year, they’ll provide at least 50 hours of volunteer service on plant and gardening matters. That 2010 tornado tore through the middle of the arboretum. It destroyed, among other things, some 1,500 trees. ‘An incredible group of people...
  9. Sustaining Farming, People Despite Climate Change: Program Is Jan. 26

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — January’s public program by the Environmental Professionals Network will look at humanity’s balancing act: Producing enough food and energy, improving economies and social conditions, and protecting the environment and biodiversity — all while faced with climate change and, by 2050, possibly some 2 billion more people on the planet. “They’re enormous challenges,” said the network’s coordinator, David Hanselmann, a lecturer in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. The network is a statewide professional group based in the college’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. The program, called “Adaptive, Resilient Land Management: Goals for the 21st...
  10. Get Ready for Maple Syrup Season: Ohio Maple Days Are Jan. 21, 22, 23

    WOOSTER, Ohio — New food safety laws, sap collection systems, syrup grading systems and more will be featured at this year’s Ohio Maple Days, which are Jan. 21 in Morrow County, Jan. 22 in Wayne County and Jan. 23 in Geauga County. The annual events, which are the same at each location, offer educational sessions for commercial and hobby maple producers. “They’re timed to help producers get ready for the coming season,” said organizer Gary Graham, maple syrup specialist with Ohio State University Extension and one of the program’s speakers. Ohio’s maple syrup season usually starts sometime in February. OSU Extension is the statewide outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. How...
  11. Kissing Bugs Under the Mistletoe? Not in Ohio, Say Experts

    COLUMBUS Ohio — Ohioans shouldn’t encounter any kissing bugs under the mistletoe — or anywhere else in their homes — this holiday season, say experts at The Ohio State University. Kissing bugs — so named because they sometimes bite their victims near the mouth to suck their blood — have been in the news due to fear of them spreading Chagas disease. The tropical parasitic illness has been showing up more and more in the U.S. South and Southwest. But Ohio has only one kissing bug species out of a dozen that live in the U.S., said Peter Piermarini, assistant professor of entomology in the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Called Triatoma sanguisuga, aka the eastern bloodsucking conenose, it lives mainly in...
  12. OARDC to End Operations at Coshocton County Facility

    WOOSTER, Ohio — The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center has finished its grant-funded research projects at the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed in Coshocton County and will end its operations there effective Dec. 31. OARDC has been operating the facility under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which closed its own operations there in December 2011 due to federal budget cuts. OARDC is the research arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences of The Ohio State University. Studies at the Coshocton County facility have focused on water movement from farm fields, no-tillage farming, beef cattle production and forestry. Research on those topics will continue at other locations. OARDC’s staff at the site have either...
  13. Christmas trees living large: A photo tour in Secrest Arboretum

    WOOSTER, Ohio—Hundreds of pine, fir, and spruce trees, all decked in holiday green, grow tall in northeast Ohio’s Secrest Arboretum. See 18 examples in the photographs below—and then see those trees and more in person by taking a hopefully not too wintry walk there. Included are the 18 trees’ GPS locations. Visiting the arboretum, which is at 1680 Madison Ave. in Wooster, is free and open to the public seven days a week, dawn to dusk. The 110-acre facility is part of the Wooster campus of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Tree types grown as Christmas trees can also be grown in the landscape, said Paul Snyder, the arboretum’s program coordinator. “As a general rule, all of the...
  14. How to Use Crowdfunding, More to Help Green Work: Event at Ohio State

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Crowdfunding can benefit green work, and December’s breakfast program by the Environmental Professionals Network will show how. Called “Tapping into Social Media, Green Investing and Other Tools to Fund Your Environmental Project or Enterprise,” the event is from 7:15-9:30 a.m. Dec. 8 in the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, at The Ohio State University in Columbus. “Social media-based support-building efforts are quickly emerging and evolving, and the traditional lines between nonprofit and for-profit organizations are blurring,” said David Hanselmann, the network’s coordinator and a lecturer in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. “At the same time, more...
  15. Buckeye Fans: ‘Stadium Scarlet’ Compost Has Ohio State Roots and Will Grow Them

    DELAWARE, Ohio — Fans of Ohio State’s football team can show their pride with compost. A farm in Delaware, Ohio, located about 25 miles north of the university’s Columbus campus, makes and sells compost called Stadium Scarlet. The stuff has roots in Ohio Stadium, home of the Buckeyes. It’s made from some of the compostable materials — food scraps and so on — produced and discarded in the Horseshoe at home games. Ohio State’s colors are scarlet and gray. The compost is really a rich dark brown and helps plants in gardens grow green. “We get a lot of hot dogs — a lot of hot dogs,” said Tom Price, owner of family-run Price Farms Organics, a 22-acre Ohio Environmental Protection Agency-permitted Class II composting facility....
  16. ‘A Greener Future’: Register Now for Ohio Green Industry Short Course

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Prepare to grow greener professionally. The combined Ohio Turfgrass Foundation 2015 Conference and Trade Show and The Ohio State University Green Industry Short Course are Dec. 7-10 in Columbus. Together, their theme is “A Greener Future.” Registration is open at otfshow.org/registration. The joint event is for people who work in such fields as lawn care, tree care, landscaping, and golf and sports turf management, said Amy Stone, one of the organizers of the short course and a horticulture educator with Ohio State University Extension. The short course offers more than 160 sessions by experts from the green industry, agencies and universities. Coordinating the short course is Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental...
  17. Event Will Look at Making Columbus More Livable, Walkable in Future

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Nov. 17 event at The Ohio State University will look at making the Columbus area more livable and walkable down the road. Hosted by the Ohio State-based Environmental Professionals Network, the program will feature a new central Ohio planning effort called insight2050. Insight2050 aims to help communities plan for development and population growth over the next 30-plus years “that is expected to be dramatically different from the past,” according to its website. Central Ohio may add 500,000 more people over the next four decades, said the network’s coordinator, David Hanselmann, a lecturer in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “At the same time, demographics are changing along with consumer...
  18. 9 Ways to Manage Your Natural Resources: Workshop in NW Ohio

    Note: A previous version of this press release listed the date of the event incorrectly. The date in this version has been corrected. PERRYSBURG, Ohio — A Nov. 14 workshop near Toledo aims to help landowners better understand and manage their natural resources, from trees to bees to ponds to wildlife. The Northwest Ohio Landowners Conference: Natural Resources at Home, offered by the Ohio Woodland Stewards Program, is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Owens Community College, 30335 Oregon Road in Perrysburg. The schedule features nine sessions by experts on forestry, insects, water and wildlife, including such timely topics as gypsy moths, algal blooms, and nuisance deer and geese. The event’s keynote talk will look at the impact of this year’s weather — lots of rain...
  19. 2 Ways to Learn How to ID Trees in Winter

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Woodland Stewards Program will hold a Winter Tree ID workshop twice in the coming weeks: Oct. 30 in Chardon in northeast Ohio and Nov. 6 in Hamilton near Cincinnati. The workshop will give participants in-depth training and practice on identifying trees without leaves, said one of the event’s instructors, Kathy Smith. Smith directs the stewards program, which is part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. “This is an advanced class for individuals who are familiar with using a dichotomous key,” she said. A dichotomous key lets a user identify an unknown species through a sequence of questions. In this case, non-leaf traits like bark, fruit and twigs will be the focus. Participants...
  20. Still Time to Register for Nature Photography Workshop

    MANSFIELD, Ohio — There’s still time to register for Capturing Nature’s Wonders, an Oct. 17 photography workshop by Jim Doty Jr. at the Mansfield campus of The Ohio State University. Registration for the event is open through Monday, Oct. 12, said Kathy Smith, coordinator of the event’s sponsor, the Ohio Woodland Stewards Program. The program is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The workshop will focus on advanced digital nature photography, Smith said. It will have sessions, for example, on wildlife, flowers, night skies and landscapes plus metering, depth of field, time exposures and natural light. Doty is a Columbus-based photography instructor with 18 years’ experience who has taught at Ohio State,...
  21. Workshop Will Feature Ohio’s Largest Solar Farm, Other Ways to Go Renewable

    CAREY, Ohio — A solar installer whose headquarters building has its own sun-powered system and the largest solar farm in Ohio, which spans an area equal to some 80 football fields, are two of the highlights of the 2015 Renewable Energy Workshop. The event, which is sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 4 at Vaughn Industries, 1201 E. Findlay St. in Carey in northwest Ohio. “It’s for anyone interested in renewable energy, such as farmers, homeowners, small-business owners, financial and insurance companies, researchers and students, and state and local agency personnel,” said Yebo Li, the event’s organizer and a biosystems engineer with the college. Biofuel from...
  22. OARDC Honors Employees for Outstanding, Longtime Service

    WOOSTER, Ohio — The Ohio Agricultural Research Development Center presented the following staff and years of service awards at its annual Employee Appreciation Night on Oct. 1 in Wooster. The center is the research arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. OARDC Outstanding Staff Awards Julie Morris, Animal Sciences, Wooster; Anthony Stull, Food Science and Technology, Columbus. The OARDC Outstanding Staff Awards are given each year to two non-faculty OARDC employees. They honor excellent service to customers and colleagues. Winners are chosen by a committee of peers. 50 years of service Jack Bardall, Research Operations, Wooster. 35 years of service Francis Beckler, Animal Sciences, Wooster; Warren Dick,...
  23. Program Will Look at Faith and the Environment

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Four religious leaders with roots in Ohio will speak in a panel discussion called “Faiths Worldwide Tackle Environmental Challenges” on Oct. 13 at The Ohio State University. The event is part of a monthly breakfast program series hosted by the Ohio State-based Environmental Professionals Network, a statewide professional networking group. “We’ll hear from outstanding religious leaders at local and national levels about their faiths’ approaches and rationales for environmental stewardship,” said David Hanselmann, the network’s coordinator and a lecturer in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “Perhaps the strengthening faith-based initiatives can even help overcome the...
  24. Where to Get These 7 Trees and Shrubs with Great Fall Color

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Want a more colorful yard in fall? Paul Snyder, program assistant at Secrest Arboretum in Wooster, lists seven trees and shrubs — all available for purchase at the arboretum’s Saturday, Oct. 3, Autumn Discovery Day plant sale — whose changing fall foliage really shines: Blackgum, or black tupelo, and specifically the types called Wildfire and Tupelo Tower. Both blaze red come autumn. Hybrid witch hazel, whose fiery fall foliage is red, orange or yellow. “We’ll have three varieties in the sale — Diane, Primavera and Jelena,” Snyder said. “They’re great plants that everyone asks about, but very few garden centers sell them.” Fragrant abelia, a shrub whose leaves turn fiery, too —...
  25. Secrest Arboretum’s Fall Plant Sale Is Saturday

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Fall’s a great time for planting, says Paul Snyder, who has dozens of eager, leafy friends in need of a home in the ground. Snyder is a program assistant at Secrest Arboretum in Wooster, which is holding its annual Autumn Discovery Day this Saturday, Oct. 3. The event is a tree and shrub sale by the Friends of Secrest Arboretum, the facility’s volunteer support group. “The cooler temperatures allow a plant to put its energy into growing roots instead of growing stem tissue before going fully dormant,” Snyder said. “You can plant until the ground freezes, especially with containerized plants, but ideally from now until the beginning of November. “When planting in the fall, however, I recommend mulching around the plant with...

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