Plant Power: Ohio Naturalist, Author to Speak on Protecting Ecosystems

Image of grasslands and woods

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction. So it’s an especially apt time to look at the state of conservation in Ohio, said David Hanselmann, lecturer in Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Hanselmann heads the Environmental Professionals Network, which on July 8 will host “Plants Make the World Go ’Round: Why We Must Protect Our Native Ecosystems,” a public breakfast program featuring the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Jim McCormac.

The network is a service of the school, which in turn is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

McCormac works for ODNR’s Division of Wildlife, where he specializes in nongame wildlife diversity, especially birds. He writes a blog called Ohio Birds and Biodiversity and is the author of Birds of Ohio, Great Lakes Nature Guide and the award-winning Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage.

Two hundred years ago, Ohio was 95 percent forest and had more than 1,800 native plant species, the event’s website says.

“Radical changes in the landscape following European settlement wrought massive changes in our environment, and usually not for the better from a conservation perspective,” the website says.

“However, evidence that conservation of natural resources is in peoples’ best interest is overwhelming.”

The last passenger pigeon, member of a species that once numbered in the billions, died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.

“Plants and animals are key components of the ecosystem services that Earth provides. We rely on this biodiversity to treat our wastewater, clean our air and pollinate our crops. But species are becoming extinct at the fastest rate in human history,” Hanselmann said.

“As a leading naturalist and author in Ohio, Jim McCormac understands the risks we face and why it’s not too late to stem the tide.”

The program, which includes a full breakfast, runs from 7:15-10 a.m. at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, 505 W. Whittier St., near downtown Columbus.

After his talk and the breakfast, McCormac will lead an optional bird, plant and wildlife walk in the surrounding Scioto Audubon Metro Park on the Scioto River.

Registration, open to both members and non-members of the network, costs $10 or $15, depending on payment method.

Complete details and a link to online registration and payment are at Payment by credit card is due by 5 p.m. July 4.

The event flier may be downloaded at (PDF).

For more information, contact Hanselmann at or 614-247-1908.

EPN membership is free and open to anyone working in or studying an environmental field. Details about the network are at

- 30 -

CFAES News Team
For more information, contact: 

David Hanselmann