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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Engaging OSU Students in Conservation Practices and Planning

June 1, 2015

May Session at The Ohio State University offers students a unique opportunity to experience study abroad or enroll in intensive field-based learning courses. ENR 5194 Conservation Practices and Planning: Ag and Urban engages students in real world applications at real world sites. Taught by David Hanselmann, students spend a third of the course at conservation district offices and on the campus of The Ohio State University learning in-depth about the broad range of practices that protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat, from top Ohio experts. The remaining course time is spent in the field and on the road - on farms, at development sites, along streams, and at oil and gas sites, talking to farmers, developers, agency and organization technicians, and others.

Take a moment to view the field learning sites students visited this year as part of ENR 5194. Students interacted with over 50 resource professionals, project designers, landowners, and developers, including over 15 Professional Engineers and PhDs.  All photos taken by David Hanselmann, course instructor.  

ENR 5194 Class Portrait at Camp Myeerah near Bellefontaine.

Discussing conservation practices at OSU’s Farm Science Review near London, first day.

Dairy producer Mike Van Winkle shares history of his farm near West Mansfield and plans to become organic-certified.

Dairy cow manure is stored covered then composted before being applied to crops.

Cows are kept off pasture part of the day in early spring as forage grasses grow.

Rotational grazing among 15 smaller “cells” keeps cows well-fed and manure on fields where it safely nourishes forages. 

Per-cow milk production may be a bit lower for pasture-based dairies, but animal health, manure management, and production costs issues may also be lower.

Nancy Seger, P.E. with Oxbow River Restoration discusses recent stream restoration near headwaters of Big Darby Creek.

Observation platform and signage allows The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to educate people about stream restoration.

TNC’s Anthony Sasson, freshwater biologist, joins Nancy Seger to describe how the restored Darby Creek is meeting OEPA water quality standards.

Keith Oman, Oman Brothers sheep and cattle farm, and Denise Shafer, NRCS District Conservationist for Delaware County, discussing how this new barn helps with manure management and pollution control.


Learning how a rock rip-rap drop box can allow concentrated water flow off a crop field, without eroding a channel, from Larry Ufferman, Delaware SCD administrator.


Discussing erosion control practices at the Charles Miley (on left) farm in Delaware County.

Introduction to the Upper Big Walnut Water Quality Partnership by Bonnie Dailey, Delaware SWCD streams and watersheds conservationist.

Upper Big Walnut Creek monitoring station on the Jim Sherman farm with discussion about nutrient runoff controls led by USDA Agricultural Research Service researchers, Bill Ford, PhD and Mark Williams, PhD.

Dan Dickson, P.E., Velvet Ice Cream environmental manager discussing design of wetland “cells” as final effluent treatment prior to discharge to the North Fork of the Licking River.


Of course students “needed” to sample the Velvet Ice Cream product line at the historic mill at their headquarters in Utica.

Learning about nutrient management, and importance of soil sampling, at Joe Dickson’s pasture-based cattle operation – from Bob Mulligan, ODNR DSWR resource management specialist.

Student pulls a soil sample at Joe Dickson’s cattle farm in Licking County.

Joe Dickson reviewing management practices with students.

Dale and Marge Hendren discussing operation of their 800+ dairy cow ODA/Ohio EPA permitted farm in Licking County.

Marge Hendren with students.

Dale Hendren discussing design of the principal two-stage manure holding pond.

Looking down toward another manure holding pond.

Calf barn at the Hendren Dairy.

Calf barn at the Hendren Dairy.

Day-long trip to Grand Lake St. Marys – after lunch, near the spillway.

Spillway from 13,000-acre Grand Lake St. Marys to Beaver Creek and then the Wabash River.

Jerry Will discussing his continuous no-till grain and livestock farm in the Grand Lake Watershed, also with cover crops and other conservation practices. Will shared that improved soil health is a key to good yields and nutrient management.

Actually looking at “soil health” and tilth, as shared by Terry Mescher, P.E., ODNR DSWR resource management engineer in the Grand Lake area.

Jerry Will sharing ag and water quality insights 1:1.

Lou Brown, who owns Brownhaven Farm, with his brother and their families, in the Grand Lake watershed.  Lou hosts many tours at his farm and is always anxious to share insights about cover crops, nutrient management, and more.  

OSU students from around the world enjoying cold, fresh milk.

Observing the barn and learning how manure is handled, and ultimately used as a crop nutrient, per a nutrient management plan, now required in the Grand Lake watershed.

Lou Brown sharing design parameters for the concrete silage bunker, preventing silage leachate runoff.

Lou Brown explains the intricacies of the milking parlor at Bownhaven Farm.

Bob Stoll and Dan Crusey explain stream restoration techniques on Deer Creek.

Viewing other techniques on Deer Creek at the Farm Science Review.


Dan Crusey discusses maintenance requirements for a restored wetland at his Union County farm, after Mark Seger, P.E., ODNR DSWR engineer (far left) discussed practice design.

Observing a culvert filling with sediment after a crop field grassed waterway was eliminated.

Using a controlled burn for maintaining a healthy stand of wildlife-friendly warm season grasses and forbs.


Learning how the NGO Pheasants Forever (Seth Rankin, seated at front) helps landowners restore wildlife habitat.

Amish organic-certified dairy farmer Lloyd Gingrich teaching the importance of soil health, in Logan County.  Lloyd also shared the deep connections Amish people have to caring for and using our Earth.

Cutting hay at the Amish organic-certified dairy farm of the Lloyd Gingrich family north of Indian Lake in Logan County.

Using wetlands to additionally filter runoff from the O’Connor Farm near Belle Center, in Logan County, operated by Frank Phelps, and just ½ mile from the shores of Indian Lake.

The Limousin cattle herd greeting the OSU class.

Learning about forest management at Camp Myeerah in Logan County from ODNR service forester Steve McGinnis.

Steve McGinnis teaching how to estimate the number of board feet of lumber in a tree.


OSU student giving the technique a try.

Learning about understory shrubs and trees, and values of forests for watershed protection, wildlife, recreation, timber production, and more.

Taking a minute for some OSU pride while learning about forestry BMPs at Hocking State Forest.

Lucas Shipper with Chesapeake Energy discussing erosion and sediment control plans for the Hartley site in Harrison County being prepared for drilling.

Viewing a MarkWest Energy Partners pipeline with stream crossing and steep slope re-vegetation near Cadiz.

Jody Jones with Chesapeake Energy and Paul Logan, P.E. ODNR engineer, discuss advantages of contour-hugging, properly-sized, organic material-filled filter socks.

ODNR’s stormwater manager, John Mathews, giving in-depth review of urban BMPs at Franklin SWCD office.

Inspecting the monitoring station for a large rain garden reducing runoff to Griggs Reservoir, with David Reutter, Franklin SWCD urban conservationist.

David Reutter further explaining runoff control from 35 acres of intense urban development.

Inspecting the 53-foot educational “stream” at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park nature center.


Ohio EPA’s Mike Gallaway describing ways to protect Darby Creek from urban development and how the Darby Accord is helping. (Not pictured is Tracy Hatmaker, Prairie Township Administrator.)

Studying the numerous green infrastructure practices designed by Scott Sonnenberg, P.E., ASLA, president of Eco-Design Ltd. at Dublin Methodist Hospital.

First in a series of runoff treatment wetlands at the hospital.

Learning the many environmental and economic values of trees at OSU from Mary Maloney, director of Chadwick Arboretum. 

Maloney explains how the Howlett Hall green roof was planned and the stormwater and other benefits.

The Howlett Hall green roof completed September, 2013, even has an observable honeybee hive.

Learning about values of dam removal and river restoration, along the Olentangy River at OSU.  (Expert Laura Fay not pictured.)

Learning details about sediment runoff controls at Parkwood sub-division from Craig Bohning, P.E., EMH&T, and M/I Homes’ environmental site manager Doug Tailford. 

Analyzing how a traditional stormwater “quantity” basin can be retrofitted to also address water quality, from Delaware SWCD urban resources conservationist, Milt Link.

Learning how yard “waste”, out-of-spec/date food, and other organic materials can be composted for re-use, from Tom Price at his Ohio EPA-permitted Price Farms Organics near Delaware.

Runoff filters may be a challenge to site in intense urban areas, but Franklin SWCD’s David Reutter describes how.

Restoring habitat and recreation areas along the Scioto River after Main St. dam removal.

Students managed to find an open swing along the popular Scioto Mile.

Signage helps the public understand this important public works project in the heart of downtown Columbus.

Somehow students resisted the urge to join kids in the Bicentennial Park fountains.

Learning how community gardens and green spaces can be both conservation practices and community assets, from Bill Dawson, Growing to Green program manager at Franklin Park Conservatory.

Learning how raised beds lead to more successful urban vegetable production.

Backyard composting can be easy and yield free and safe organic matter for gardens.


Seeing up close how stream restoration can fit with residential and commercial development – and protect local water resources and habitat, at Columbus’ Franks Park.

A stream restoration research project, at OSU’s Waterman Farm, with Jessica D’Ambrosia, P.E., Antioch College and OSU FABE, Justin Reinhart, P.E., ODNR DSWR engineer, and Kyle Wilson, Franklin SWCD conservation program manager.


Final day of class, at Franklin SWCD, with four teams tackling how best to convert a ~50 acre wooded site with creeks and wetland areas, into a 31-home subdivision.

Considering how to comply with local, state, and federal regulations.


Various options offered by student team members are considered and drafted.

The clock is ticking, and students stay focused.

All four teams won:  students found the morning’s exercise challenging, interesting, and worthwhile.  Team 1

Team 2

Team 3

Team 4. And the winner was, all four!

The School of Environment and Natural Resources and Instructor David Hanselmann thank all of the many resource people who met with students at numerous field sites.  Many are in the photos and identified in the captions, but many are not.  We want to also recognize them:  
Ramchand Almoro, PhD, Trillium Farms; David Apsley, OSU Extension; John Carter, City of Columbus; Jeff Cox, P.E., City of Columbus; Theresa Dirksen, P.E., Mercer SWCD; Nate Douridas, OSU Farm Science Review; Bill Evans, Licking SWCD; Steve Farst, P.E.; City of Groveport; Matt Garrison, Chesapeake Energy; Greg Guess, ODNR Div. of Forestry; Tracy Hatmaker, Prairie Township; Nikki Hawk, Mercer SWCD; Miles Hebert, P.E., EMH&T; Jeremy Keller, NRCS; Milt Link, Delaware SWCD; Kevin Kershner, P.E., Stantec; Bill Knapke, Cooper Farms; Donny Knight, USF&WS; Kristopher Myers, Bellefontaine Joint Park District; Frank Phelps, O’Connor Farms; Brad Ross, Delaware SWCD; John Talentino, City of Hilliard; Abbey Tobe, Grand Lake/Wabash River Watershed Alliance; Ron Trivisonno, P.E., ODNR Div. of Oil and Gas Resources Management; Greg Wells, P.E., NRCS; Nick Zachrich, OSU Farm Science Review