Kurt Knebusch

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Organic farming and gardening; sustainable agriculture; natural resources/ecology; forestry; wildlife; Wooster campus news.
  1. OARDC Names Poster Competition Winners

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the research arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, has named the winners of its 2015 research poster competition held April 16 during the center’s annual research conference in Columbus. The competition, which drew 83 entries, recognized outstanding research posters by OARDC-supported graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and research assistants and associates. Ph.D. Students First place: Kayla I. Perry, Department of Entomology, “Effects of forest disturbance on ground-dwelling invertebrate dispersal”; adviser, Daniel A. Herms. Second place: Johnathon P. Sheets, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological...
  2. OARDC Honors Award Winners at Conference

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the research arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, presented the following awards April 16 at its 2015 annual research conference in Columbus. Distinguished Senior Faculty Research Award Steve Schwartz, professor and Carl E. Haas Endowed Chair, Department of Food Science and Technology, studies the role of dietary phytochemicals (natural chemical compounds in plants) and functional foods in health, especially cancer prevention. His research on carotenoids (natural pigments found in plants), for example, has shown they can help prevent several types of cancer. Steve Schwartz Schwartz also has demonstrated that eating vegetables together with...
  3. Workshop on Woods and Wildlife

    Workshop on What You Can Do With Your Woods

    BRYAN, Ohio — New to owning a woods? See what your options are in an upcoming workshop by the Ohio Woodland Stewards Program. What Can You Do With Your Woods? goes from 6-9 p.m. April 9 in the Williams Soil and Water Conservation District meeting room, 1120 W. High St. in Bryan in northwest Ohio. The workshop offers an introduction to managing woods and wildlife, said Kathy Smith, one of the instructors and the coordinator of the stewards program, run by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. It’s for people who just bought wooded land, for instance, or who got it with their farm, she said. “We’ll cover some basic topics on how to assess what you have to get where you want,” including such goals as...
  4. Discover water science in 4-H

    For Youth in 4-H, a Deep Dive Into Science of Water

    Editor: Ohio 4-H Week is March 8-14, 2015. CINCINNATI, Ohio — Meera Nadathur, 15, wants to work in environmental sciences. As a step toward that goal, the student at Cincinnati’s Sycamore High School last year completed Ohio 4-H’s Ways of Knowing Water project. It and some 200 other projects for Ohio 4-H members stress science and hands-on learning. “One of my favorite experiences was visiting the Greater Cincinnati Water Works treatment plant to learn the entire drinking water purification process,” she said. “I was able to view every step of the process firsthand and gain knowledge about it from the very experts who ran the plant.” A member of the Gorman Farm 4-H Club, Nadathur was one of the more than 200,000 youth ages 5-19 who...
  5. Woodland and Wildlife Workshop

    Tri-State Workshop Can Help You Get Into Your Woods

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Calling all mammals and mushrooms, birds and butterflies, the trees they call home, and their human landlords. The Ohio Woodland Stewards Program will hold its 2015 Ohio River Valley Woodland and Wildlife Workshop — aimed at knowing, growing and managing the life of a woods — from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 28 at the Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road in Cincinnati. The event is designed for but not limited to landowners from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. “The goal is to help landowners get the most out of their property,” said Kathy Smith, coordinator of the stewards program, run by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. She said sessions will focus on new...
  6. Joel Sartore

    National Geographic Photographer to Speak at Ohio State: ‘Protecting Earth’s Biodiversity’

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A playful-looking giant panda cub, lying on its back with its paws in the air. A flock of migrating sandhill cranes, white clouds billowing around them, as seen from their same high altitude. A mountain stream choked with pandemic-killed frogs, a spotted owl perched in a clearcut forest, the gleaming brown eyes of an ocelot. They’re some of the many images by award-winning National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, who speaks March 26 at The Ohio State University. It’s a kickoff to the university’s ongoing celebration of Earth Day in April. Tickets are free, preregistration is required and as of March 5 less than 125 tickets remain out of the original 625. Register online at go.osu.edu/JoelSartore. Sartore’s presentation is...
  7. Preventing winter fill of pond fish

    Cold Winters Hard on Pond Fish: What You Can Do

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Long, cold, snowy winters, like this year’s, can lead to big fish kills in ponds. But there are steps you can take to help fish survive, said an expert at The Ohio State University. The key is a pond’s oxygen level, said Eugene Braig, aquatic ecosystems program director in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “Many game fishes become stressed when dissolved oxygen concentrations fall below 5 parts per million,” said Braig, who works in the college’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. “Very few fish species can tolerate dissolved oxygen concentrations of 2 ppm or less.” The problem is, without intervention, the oxygen level in ice- and snow-covered ponds can drop...
  8. Composting course

    Coming in March: Course on Large-Scale Composting

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Keep organic material such as yard waste, food waste and manure out of landfills. Compost it instead. So says scientist Fred Michel in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. An associate biosystems engineering professor, he is co-organizer of an event next month on breaking down waste in big volumes. “Composting allows the valuable nutrients and carbon that organic materials contain to be used again, reduces fossil fuel use for fertilizers, reduces greenhouse gas emissions from landfills and can be done economically,” he said. The Ohio Compost Operator Education Course takes place March 24-25 at the college’s research arm, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, in Wooster in...
  9. Speakers to focus on water March 10

    Speakers to Focus on Water March 10; ‘Clean Rivers’ Live-Stream Is Feb. 24

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The March breakfast program by the Environmental Professionals Network, featuring three guest speakers, is all about water. Lisa Wojnarowski Downes, J.D., freshwater stewardship director for The Nature Conservancy, will speak on the Blueprint for Urban Water Security, a report on how conservation practices can help cities protect their drinking water sources; and on the Alliance for Watershed Stewardship, an effort to promote sustainable water use around the world, including by using a new water stewardship standard. Downes is the alliance’s North America director. Dax Blake, P.E., administrator for the Columbus Division of Sewerage and Drainage, will talk about Blueprint Columbus, which aims to solve sanitary sewer overflows while...
  10. Ice wine for Valentine's Day

    Ohio Ice Wine Is Hot — Share It With Your Valentine

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Born of Ohio’s cold winters, a boon from being below freezing, Buckeye State ice wine is hot with critics. It can make a sweet gift for your Valentine. “They don’t call it ‘nectar of the gods’ for nothing,” said Todd Steiner, who leads Ohio State University’s enology program, the science of wine-making, part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “Ice wine and chocolate-covered strawberries or crème brulee — who can resist?” Certainly not the judges in the world’s largest American wine competition. For two straight years now, ice wines from northeast Ohio’s Grand River Valley wine region — from Debonné Vineyards in Madison this year and from...
  11. Picture of blue river at sunrise

    CNN Hero of the Year, a Cleaner of Rivers, to Speak at Ohio State

    UPDATE: Pregracke’s talk also will be live-streamed on YouTube starting at 8:45 a.m. Tune in at youtu.be/IV8XTNGIngM.  COLUMBUS, Ohio — CNN’s 2013 Hero of the Year will headline February’s Breakfast Club program by the Ohio State University-based Environmental Professionals Network. Chad Pregracke, founder and president of Living Lands & Waters, will present “Cleaning Up America’s Rivers” from 7:30-9:45 a.m. on Feb. 24 in Ohio State’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, in Columbus. The network is a service of Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Pregracke grew up on the Mississippi River...
  12. Picture of alarmed duck

    Buckeyes Are Toxic to (Real) Ducks, Say Ohio State Ag Experts

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio buckeyes, experts say, can poison most livestock and wildlife. So what about ducks? In theory, yes, say scientists with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Buckeye nuts, leaves and sprouts contain toxic compounds called glycosides. Ingestion by most animals causes vomiting, diarrhea, trembling and staggering. And worse. Such as fumbling. In reality, the scientists say, the only place a buckeye should sicken a duck is on the football field. Ohio State’s gridiron Buckeyes take on the University of Oregon’s featherless Ducks in the college football national championship game Jan. 12. In a backyard or on a small farm, “The leaves would likely be out of reach unless you’re keeping ducks...
  13. Ohio buckeye leaves

    Media Advisory: Buckeyes to Face Oregon — in Tree Planting — on Thursday

    ARLINGTON, Texas — On Thursday, Jan. 8, a team from Ohio State University’s Chadwick Arboretum will engage in a tree-planting competition being held in conjunction with the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship. Included on the team will be experts from the 60-acre campus arboretum, which is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and former Buckeye football player Zach Boren, an alumnus of the college and a brother of current Ohio State center Jacoby Boren. The event goes from noon to 5 p.m. at High Oak Park, 2635 Wesley Drive, in Arlington, Texas. Reporters and the public are welcome to attend. The activity is part of the wider Playoff Green program, which supports sustainability efforts surrounding...
  14. Pictures of peppers in greenhouse

    Ohio State Greenhouse Management Workshop Is Jan. 22-23

    WOOSTER, Ohio — New, better ways to control pests will be the focus of Ohio State University’s 2015 Greenhouse Management Workshop in January. Registration is now open, with a discount rate until Jan. 9. The workshop, which is for greenhouse growers, operators and pesticide applicators, takes place Jan. 22-23 in the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., in Wooster. OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The program features 18 sessions in six main categories by experts from Ohio State, Michigan State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and the greenhouse industry. Preventive Cultural...
  15. Picture of people kayaking

    'Much to Gain' by Boosting Outdoor Recreation in Ohio: Discussion Dec. 9

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio has great potential for outdoor recreation and the good that can come from it. So says David Hanselmann, coordinator of the Ohio State University-based Environmental Professionals Network. On Dec. 9, the network will host a program on tapping and growing that potential. “Connecting Central Ohio to Nature and Adventure: Partnerships Among Outdoor Retailers, Ohio State and Other Organizations” goes from 7:15-9:15 a.m. in the university’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, in Columbus. Admission is open to both members and nonmembers of the network. The event is part of the network’s monthly “Breakfast Club” series. The program will bring together representatives of outdoor retailers and of...
  16. Picture of Christmas tree branch with lights

    12 Days of Experts: 9 Tips for Keeping a Christmas Tree Fresh, 4 Trees You Should Know (Slideshow)

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Christmas tree’s best friend is water, says a forestry expert with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Given good hydration and other proper care, a cut Christmas tree should stay fresh indoors for at least a month, said Kathy Smith, forestry program director in the college’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. That’s true at least for the Christmas tree species commonly sold in Ohio, Smith said, four of which you can see in the accompanying slideshow. The slideshow includes details provided by Jim Brown, forestry professor emeritus in the school, who has been called the father of the Canaan fir for his research to develop the now widely grown species as a successful commercial...
  17. Brutus Buckeye image

    Buckeyes vs. Wolverines: How They Match Up ... Biologically (and Beyond)

    Editor: This is a revised version of a press release originally published in 2013. This coming Saturday brings the big annual football game between The Ohio State University Buckeyes and the University of Michigan Wolverines. Here’s how the rivals’ mascots stack up—zoologically, botanically, and beyond. Size Ohio buckeyes can grow up to 60 feet tall, the height of a six-story building, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Their branches can spread more than 30 feet wide, or 10-plus yards, or more than the distance to get a first down. With a weight of up to 40 pounds, a height of 16 inches, and a length of 44 inches, a wolverine’s size compares to that of a cocker spaniel. Advantage: Buckeyes. Speed The wolverine, says New...
  18. Picture of working in greenhouse

    Kale! Kale! The Gang’s All Here: Ohio State Greenhouse Grows Produce for Students

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Courtney George, an Ohio State University food science student, has a passion for good, local, health-building food and for making sure people can get it. “I’m a huge fan of farm-to-table concepts,” said the sophomore from near Detroit. “I think they’re brilliant and the only real self-sustaining way for humans to feed themselves.” Lesa Holford, corporate executive chef for Ohio State’s Student Life Dining Services department, loves cooking with fresh ingredients — especially ones she has helped grow herself.   “It really connects you,” she said. “Plus you get a greater understanding of the process and yields. And it’s so fresh. It’s like a tomato you buy at the store versus one...
  19. Student symposium

    700-Plus Ohio State Students to Share Their Environmental Science Work

    Editor: Members of the media are welcome to attend and interview the students. COLUMBUS, Ohio — More than 700 Ohio State University environmental science students will present posters on their final course projects — on such timely topics as climate change, water quality, renewable energy and more — at the university’s third annual Environmental Science Student Symposium. The event goes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 25, in Ohio State’s Ohio Union Performance Hall, 1739 N. High St., in Columbus. Admission is free and open to the public. All the students are enrolled in Introduction to Environmental Science, an introductory course for both science and nonscience majors, said Brian Lower, associate professor in the School of Environment and Natural...
  20. Aerial view of farm and river

    How Drones in the Sky Can Help Land and Water: Nov. 12

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — New uses for unmanned aerial vehicles — aka UAVs or drones — are soaring, even while the Federal Aviation Administration is considering new rules for them. The next breakfast program by the Environmental Professionals Network looks at some of those uses for farms and water. “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Environmental and Ag Applications Take Flight” goes from 7:15-9:15 a.m. on Nov. 12 in Ohio State University’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus. “Lower-cost and higher-quality devices are driving many cost-effective applications that didn’t seem doable just a few years ago,” said David Hanselmann, coordinator of the network and a lecturer in Ohio State’s School of...
  21. For Halloween, 10 Scary Monsters Invading Ohio

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Forget Godzilla. Never mind zombies. Monsters have come to Ohio. And while most of them are tiny, their impacts can be huge. Invasive species are a growing threat in the state, said Kathy Smith, who battles them as forestry program director for Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Often spreading explosively, invasive species — plants, fish, insects and others that come from other places — can hurt crops, destroy trees and ruin native ecosystems, she said. The damage they do can hit the billions. Below are just 10 Ohio invasive species currently on the loose. ... var cpo = []; cpo["_object"] ="cp_widget_52c580b1-033b-40b9-aa6a-08de583adacc"; cpo["_fid"] = "AUPAwAMX_L2i"; var _cpmp = _cpmp...
  22. Picture of squirrel and camera lens

    Sign Up Soon for Outdoor Photography Workshop at Ohio State Mansfield

    MANSFIELD, Ohio — Just a few spots are left in Capturing Nature’s Wonders, an Oct. 18 outdoor photography workshop taught by Jim Doty Jr., author of Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, at Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus. Participants “will learn the simple steps that make the difference between ordinary snapshots and extraordinary photos,” said Kathy Smith, head of Ohio State University Extension’s Ohio Woodland Stewards Program, the workshop’s sponsor. OSU Extension is the statewide outreach arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Registration for the workshop, which is $90 and includes lunch and dinner, can be made online at go.osu.edu/qen. Details on the workshop, including its...
  23. picture of Stinner Summit

    Public Invited to Stinner Summit: Chance to Plan New Sustainability Projects

    YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio — Ohio State University’s eighth annual Stinner Summit goes from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10, in the Vernet Ecological Center at the Glen Helen Nature Preserve, 405 Corry St., in Yellow Springs. Participants in the event will present, discuss and decide specific projects designed to increase the sustainability of Ohio farms and communities. The sponsor is Ohio State’s Agroecosystems Management Program, part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “The Stinner Summit is a unique and highly participatory event where people from diverse backgrounds come together to develop projects in support of healthy agroecosystems and sustainable communities,” said Matthew Porter, a graduate student in the college...
  24. Clean water flowing from faucet

    Gypsum Spread on Farms Could Help Keep Water Clean, Not Green

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Gypsum, which has roots in the past as a farm soil treatment, also may have a bright future, and not just as a booster of crops but also a protector of water. Warren Dick, a scientist in Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, is two years into a three-year study of gypsum’s benefits on farms, including to soil quality, crop yields and reducing phosphorus runoff. So far, he said, farm fields in his study treated with gypsum are seeing an average 55-percent reduction in soluble phosphorus runoff, based on tests of water samples collected from the fields’ drainage tiles. “There’s no one technology that’s going to solve the issue of phosphorus runoff,” said Dick, a soil and...
  25. Picture of child drinking water

    Oct. 14: How to Stop Algal Blooms, Keep Drinking Water Safe

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In the wake of this summer’s Toledo water crisis, Jeff Reutter talked to, among others, NPR’s Melissa Block, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal. Reutter, head of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, will keep the conversation going next month, this time as moderator of two panels on preventing such crises in the future. The panels are the focus of an Oct. 14 program called “Ohio’s Water Resources and Citizens at Risk: Ag-related Practices and Policies to Prevent Harmful Algal Blooms, Post-Toledo.” The event is part of a monthly public breakfast series held by the Environmental Professionals Network. “We’re hoping this will be a significant discussion of key issues and solutions...

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