Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first virtual Fall Forum:
Here is the recording from the event!
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first virtual Fall Forum:
Here is the recording from the event!
Yes, We Can!
How to talk about climate change to inspire action and fight despair
“Virtual” Fall Forum
Thursday, October 15, 2020, 7:00 pm
(Come at 6:30 if you wish to socialize in breakout rooms!)
Register for Zoom link:
Climate change is a wicked problem that can easily feel overwhelming to an individual. How can climate activists avoid downplaying the real threat without freaking people out? How can we move people from apathy and despair to action? Using insights from psychology and new research on the impact of COVID-19 on thinking about climate change, Dr. Frantz will provide concrete ideas for how to talk about climate change in a way that motivates action and fights despair.
Speaker, Cindy Frantz, PhD, is a social and environmental psychologist at Oberlin College. Cindy directs the Community Based Social Marketing Research Lab at Oberlin College, a collaborative research program among faculty, students, and staff to develop, test, and promote behavior change programs that reduce Oberlin College’s carbon emissions.
by Al Barber, Portage Master Gardener Volunteer
What should you do in the fall when your flowers have faded and vegetables and fruits have been picked? To answer this questions we will turn to some professional and amateur gardeners with many years of experience.
First the professionals……
Rebecca Krans Michigan State University
Falling leaves and temperatures signify winter’s anticipated arrival. Smart gardeners can take steps now to better prepare their yard and gardens for winter. Making sure plants receive adequate moisture during fall will help reduce extra stress and possible death of plant tissue during the winter months. Sufficient water is especially important during fall months as this is the reserve that the plant’s roots will rely on for uptake during winter. Harsh winter winds cause additional loss of water from the surface of evergreen needles. If the plant doesn’t have enough reserve water in the ground for the roots to draw up and replace this lost water, then death of plant tissue occurs. With newly planted trees and shrubs, adequate water is even more important to reduce the chance of additional stress through winter. Make sure to thoroughly water in newly planted trees and shrubs; water so that the entire planting hole is moistened
Covering up garden soil in vegetable beds with organic matter will not only improve soil health over time, but will help reduce loss of valuable topsoil. Also, leaving some plant material throughout the winter will provide valuable overwintering habitat for many native pollinators, as well as provide you with seasonal interest through winter.
Adding a thick layer of organic matter adds additional insulation to cover up bare soil. Use at least a 3-inch layer of mulched leaves, straw or compost over your vegetable garden. Consider leaving some portion of your soil alone, which means don’t till or use mulch. Many species of native bees overwinter in the ground, and cultivating or using mulch interferes with this process. Once the ground freezes, apply a 6-inch layer of mulched leaves, compost or bark mulch to perennials to provide extra insulation during winter. This is especially important in areas that will not receive sufficient snow cover, which helps insulate plants.
If your perennial plant material is healthy, allow it to die back naturally. Don’t think you have to remove all the foliage or dead plant material before winter. If the plant had a foliar disease or was infested with insects, then remove this plant material from the garden in order to help prevent additional problems. But if it’s healthy, not only are you allowing all of the remaining energy left in the plant to feed the roots, but you are also providing valuable habitat for many of our native pollinators. They will use these structures to overwinter, perhaps having already laid their larvae within the stems. Structures from grasses and other hollow-stemmed perennials are especially valuable.
Keeping these plant parts within the landscape will also provide seasonal interest through winter and prevent erosion. Once the snow melts and spring begins anew, you can easily distinguish what is living and what is not and trim accordingly.
Source: Prepare your garden for winter now – Rebecca Krans Michigan State University Extension https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/prepare_your_garden_for_winter_now
Beth Young Ohio State Extension Butler County
Many folks think of next year’s garden as beginning next spring but, it really should begin in the fall of the previous year for the most success next year. Here are a few ideas to get ready for next spring:
Putting Your Garden to Bed for the Winter – Beth Young Ohio State Extension Butler County https://butler.osu.edu/news/putting-your-garden-bed-winter
Annie Rzepka, Director of Arboretum Horticulture Holden Forest and Gardens writing in the Summer edition of Forest and Gardens Magazine
Rather than rushing to clean up leaves in the fall, allow some leaves, fallen, branches, and pother garden debris to sit during the winter through spring. “Wait as long as you can in spring to clean up to give pollinators a place to shelter the winter and the eggs they lay a time to hatch out”. When planting, select native host plants and reduce the amount of pesticides used.
And finally, tips from our Portage County Master Gardeners……..
We put leaves a foot deep for our no-till garden. Also, I left my small covered frame—made in an MG session led by Gary Kasper—over the last 2010 cabbage. It’s a great leafy plant right now providing fresh produce for my morning frittata and stir fries.
When cleaning out dead annuals and perennials, be sure to leave ones some seed heads for the birds in winter. And other just for interest in the winter landscape. When cleaning the vegetable beds, don’t pull up plants with extensive roots, i.e. tomatoes, as you disturb all the microorganisms they have grown around the roots.
Well, few people go to bed in the winter without a cover! Laura’s leaf idea is great way to reduce winter weeds. I use a lot of leaves in my garden. Also, mowing fall leaves to reduce size and bagging them for the winter makes for easy, early, free ‘mulch’ around vegetables the following spring – mixing spring grass clippings with the shredded leaves is even more bang for the buck you didn’t spend. A winter-kill mixed species cover crop is one of the best things I’ve done in my garden for the winter. Depending on your site conditions, it might take a few repeated winter covers to realize a significant improvement.
Yards – mulching fall leaves into the grass is also helpful to reduce weeds. Mulching blades on your mower or they even make mulching mowers.
Flowers – don’t clean up too much. Leaving hollow flower stalks and a little debris at the base is good for the bees that have made their provisioned their Don’t clean up too early in the spring, to give the overwintering bees a chance to emerge. End of the season is a great time for a soil test
Judy Novak- Hrdy
I use shredded leaves on my garden in the fall. I also add fully cooked compost at that time, then let it sit all winter, and dig down in the spring.
Fall cleanup needs to include preserving habitat for our little friends whom we need for pollination, and to preserve various at-risk species. Just pretend you are a teeny, tiny child and you want to play hide and seek. Where would you hide? Maybe in a hollow stalk of hydrangea, or perhaps under an upside down flower pot. You might get hungry and want that last little seed from your cone flowers or parsley. Or, what about that bucket lying on its side by the shed? Think about how to provide habitat instead of how neat you can make your yard. Spring will come soon enough.
-by Al Barber, Portage County Master Gardener Volunteer
Especially this spring, we yearn to get outdoors and improve our yards and gardens. We want our environment to be aesthetically pleasing to us, but what about native plants and animals? With native habitats shrinking, we have the opportunity to create favorable local habitats around our homes and communities.
During times of financial difficulty, many also seek to become more self-sufficient by planting vegetable gardens, small fruits, and fruit trees. During the depression, my grandfather fed many families around his home in Coshocton, Ohio, by growing several hundred sweet potato plants in his backyard.
One key to successful backyard food production is the ability to attract pollinators. Important animal pollinators include honey bees, mason bees, bumble bees, mining bees, flies, moths, and other insects, as well as birds and some mammals. Sweet potatoes, berries, fruit trees, cucumbers, and many other plants require pollinators to produce food for our consumption. The best way to attract pollinators is to create an environment where they can survive and thrive.
With that in mind, here are ten ways to attract pollinators to your yard.
Grow more flowers. But not just pretty annual flowers. Trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants can provide food and nesting habitat for pollinators. Spend time in your yard to see which existing plants attract pollinators and then work to expand those plantings. A good source for more information is https://u.osu.edu/beelab/gardening-for-bees/
Plant to provide bloom throughout the growing season. Early blooming trees such as maples, willows, and redbuds, and late season perennials like asters and goldenrod provide important food at critical times. Consult https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/gdd/ for a sequence of native and non-native woody flowering plants for Ohio.
Go Native. Native plants provide a good source of nutrition for pollinators. Also, many native plants are critical for pollinators to complete their life cycles. Native pollinator and host plants include:
Diversify. Start with your lawn. Vast expanses of thick green lawn with no weeds may be pleasing to our eyes, but such a monoculture is unnatural. Leaving a little clover or other flowering weeds in your lawn and gardens provides essential cover and nutrition for many pollinators and other beneficial insects.
Mix it up. Planting flowers and herbs in and around your vegetable garden provides important food sources for insect pollinators. Consider planting sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, lavender, basil, borage, dill, fennel, oregano, and catnip in and around your vegetable garden. Also, consider planting vegetables and herbs in flower beds. If you plant all your tasty vegetables in one place, you are setting the table for garden pests.
Grow (or tolerate) weeds. Many “weeds” provide cover and food for a variety of pollinators. Beneficial weeds for pollinators include dandelions, creeping Charlie (ground ivy), Creeping thyme, Bee balm, Wild geranium, Joe pye weed, clover,and Anise hyssop. Consider “tolerating” some “weeds” in your yard and gardens perhaps on the edges for pollinators.
Provide Nesting Sites. Brush piles, dead standing trees, and clumping grasses provide important nesting and overwintering habitat. Avoid the temptation to cut down dead grasses and flower stems in the fall. Leave some leaves and other garden debris for late spring cleanup.
Provide a water source. This can be a shallow bowl or birdbath (change water frequently) or a small pond.
Limit pesticide use. Avoid spraying insecticide on a plant or tree in bloom. Instead use an integrated pest management (IPM) approach with multiple strategies to reduce pest damage. . A good resource for IPM in your yard is http://www.therockpile.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/OSU_Pest_management.pdf
Not all pollinators are created equal. Butterflies and butterfly gardens are beautiful additions to your backyard, but flies, bees, and moths are actually much better pollinators than many butterflies. Butterflies typically visit flowers to get nectar rather than harvest and distribute pollen. A good resource for attracting pollinators to the your garden is https://woodlandstewards.osu.edu/sites/woodlands/files/imce/OSU%20Fact%20Sheet%20%20-Attracting%20Pollinators%20to%20the%20Garden.pdf
For questions about pollinators or gardening contact Portage County Master Gardener Plant and Pest Hotline by phone: 330-296-6432 or Online: go.osu.edu/pchotline
Plant and Pest Hotline by phone: 330-296-6432 or Online: go.osu.edu/pchotline
New Kent Parks and Recreation director Kevin Schwartzhoff gave a presentation to the KEC breakfast meeting on Friday, February 28. He shared several initiates including:
For more detailed information about upcoming initiatives, peruse the powerpoint from the presentation.
Local food resilience. Incentives rather than penalties for green energy initiatives. The changing market for recyclables. These were a few of the many topics that were brought up by more than 50 local citizens, politicians, activists and others representing local organizations at a networking event held as part of the Kent Environmental Council’s (KEC) annual meeting on February 17. The Social Justice committee of the Kent United Church of Christ (and KEC member organization) offered their fellowship hall for the event.
The evening started with the annual all-member KEC meeting. Renee Ruchotzke was elected president and Bob Heath was elected vice-president. Bob Wilson and Brad Brotje continued in their roles of treasurer and secretary. There was also a declaration of appreciation for Lis Regula, who had served for many years as president before relocating to Columbus for a new job. This was followed by a potluck dinner as other members of the community joined the gathering.
Facilitator Renee Ruchotzke used Art of Hosting principles, a facilitation style that makes space for all of the voices and experiences in the room. Everyone sat at round tables marked with a topic that interested them. They interacted “council style” using a process called “rounds,” where each person around the table sharded and was listened to in turn.
Everyone in each circle shared why they were passionate about the topic, then what they were doing, or would like to do. The rest of the time was an opportunity to suggest ideas about connections. Attendees then had an opportunity to participate in a discussion around another topic.
At the end of the evening the participants were asked if they wanted future networking events and they enthusiastically endorsed the idea.
The topics and themes from the evening included:
COME JOIN the Panel on “Climate Action Plans of U.S. Cities”
February 26, 2020 (Wed.) 7:30-9:00PM
Unitarian Universalist Church (Fessenden Hall), 228 Gougler Ave., Kent
Sponsored by the UUCK Environmental Justice Action Group. Panel coordinator: Bill Wilen
What action plans do cities have to combat climate change? Since we have a president that does not believe in human-caused global warming, it is up to city governments and their citizens to become active and devise ways that C02 and other greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced within the next decade – then eliminated in order to become sustainable communities.
The attendees of this session will each do their own research to identify primarily midwestern U.S. cities that are creating and implementing climate action plans. Try googling “cities climate action plans” and you will find a variety of environmental actions that small, medium and large cities are taking. Each attendee will then have 5-10 minutes to tell the rest of us about the plan he or she has researched and then entertain any comments and questions. So, we all become “panelists” by sharing what we have learned about the cities we have selected.
Let me know the city you have selected (email@example.com) to avoid duplication.
If you would prefer just to come, listen and learn, that’s okay because we all will be gathering to learn from each other. I will be presenting on Kent’s movement to create a plan and Cincinnati’s climate action plan. See you, fellow panelists, the evening of Feb. 26th.
Thank you for your support of the Kent Environmental Council and our important work!
This year is our 50th anniversary!
A lot has changed since our inception and we are re-imagining KEC so we will continue to be a good partner and leader in local environmental issues for the next 50 years!
The KEC board hosted a visioning retreat last month and invited leaders from a few community partners. The gathered group came up with some new possible initiatives and we want to learn what you think would best serve the community.
These join our ongoing focus areas of active living, green energy, local food, clean water, our support of the bog and other green spaces, as well as communication, publicity and education.
We want to widen the conversation, so we are doing something innovative for this year’s annual meeting! Instead of a program, we are hosting a networking event to help local individuals/groups with an environmental focus to build relationships, find synergies and launch the Crooked River Environmental Network. (Please share this invitation with people in the community that care about the environment.)
Here are the details:
Monday, February 17, 2020
Kent UCC Church, 1400 E Main St, Kent, OH 44240
President: Renee Ruchotzke
Vice President: Bob Heath
(Secretary Brad Brotje and Treasurer Robert Wilson will be serving the second of their 2-year terms.)
Please let us know you are coming and what matters to you by registering:
Your Kent Environmental Council board
Bob Heath, Acting President
Renee Ruchotzke, Acting Vice President
Brad Brotje, Secretary
Robert Wilson, Treasurer
The SB 33 bill dramatically increases the penalties for non-violent protest at fracking sites, oil and gas pipelines, petrochemical plants and other ‘critical infrastructure” sites. It makes non-profits and organizations and congregations liable for punishment if they support protesters charged under this bill. This is a direct threat to basic rights of freedom of speech and assembly.
This bill directly attacks our first amendment rights to engage in non-violent protest and speak truth to power
It looks like the State House will hold a hearing on Jan. 28 or 29, 2020.
Jan. 29 is the most likely date, at 10 am, if the Utilities Committee follows its usual pattern.
See the Greenpeace summary at: https://polluterwatch.org/OHIO-Oil-Gas-Critical-Infrastructure-Anti-Protest-Bills-alec-csg
Lawmakers have attempted to define “improperly tampering,” but their definition (“changing the physical location or physical condition”) does not provide sufficient precision or clarity for individuals facing potential felony charges and a decade in prison.
In the absence of a clearly-defined offense, individuals cannot be expected to know what conduct is or is not criminalized. Rather than face the risk of draconian penalties, they will likely censor themselves, and avoid exercising their First Amendment rights.
It was designed by the American Legislative Exchange Council – ALEC – to establish special protections especially for the oil and gas industry. And put an end to any public protest or opposition to the activities of these industries.
It is also designed to punish non-profits, environmental groups and even congregations who dare to support the people protesting at these sites with fines up to $100,000. The Senate version contains criminal and civil liabilities for non-profits and organizations. The House version tried to amend the criminal liability, but made it even more murky in its definition of organizational improper action.
What you can do.
(Thanks to UUJO for this information.)
The Environmental Science and Design Symposium, formerly the Land and Water Symposium, is a multidisciplinary forum that promotes the exchange of ideas related to the resiliency of natural and built systems. Now in its seventh year, the symposium (formerly known as the Water and Land symposium) is organized by Kent State’s Division of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the university’s Environmental Science and Design Research Initiative (ESDRI), which supports multidisciplinary research related to the impact of human influence on natural and constructed environments. We are assembling a diverse group of speakers around the symposium’s theme, ‘Biodesign – Designing with Life for Environmental Sustainability’ representing topics ranging from natural resources management to art, architecture, and design thinking.
Registration is free and open to the public. We hope you will support the symposium, attend, submit abstracts for poster presentations, and encourage other students and colleagues to attend!
More information is available at https://www.kent.edu/ESDRI-symposium