This news article originally appeared on the website of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and was written by Kurt Knebusch.
LONDON, Ohio — Look for new features like wildflowers and a healthy streambank in Farm Science Review’s Gwynne Conservation Area.
The nearly 70-acre facility, part of the Review’s host site, the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio, has two new projects underway — one to diversify its prairie plantings; the other, to protect the banks of Deer Creek, which flows through the grounds.
Review Manager Nick Zachrich said the projects offer two benefits: They improve the Gwynne itself year round. And they demonstrate practices that farmers — especially the Review’s expected 100,000-plus visitors Sept. 19-21 — can take home and use on their own land, too.
Asters, milkweeds, blazing stars and coneflowers are some of the many wildflowers being planted in new seed mixes in the Gwynne’s 10-plus acres of prairie.
Bee, wildlife benefits
Previously, the Gwynne’s prairie plantings were mostly just two grasses: big bluestem and Indian grass. The new seed mixes, which add wildflowers to the grasses, offer more benefits to pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, and to wildlife.
Testing best management methods
The prairie project also is demonstrating wildflower- and wildlife-friendly management methods — involving disking, burning, removing residue or a combination. Mike Retterer, an Ohio-based biologist with the nonprofit Pheasants Forever, helped develop the strategies.
Willow fascines (bundles of live stems that are planted, take root and grip soil) and riprap (large chunks of rock) are two of the tools helping to restore Deer Creek’s stream bank.
As a first step, however, members of the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors of America, a longtime Review partner, will excavate the streambank, reduce its slope and eliminate an unstable undercut.
Gwynne activities, wagon rides free
All the activities in the Gwynne area during the Review are included free with admission. The activities include dozens of talks, demonstrations and exhibits. Free wagon rides boarding at the Review’s west end will take you to the Gwynne, the Review’s harvesting demonstrations, and back to the west end. No stamp or wristband needed.
Sponsoring the Review is the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. The Caren center, including the Gwynne, is part of the college, too.
Tickets are $7 online, at Ohio State University Extension county offices and at participating agribusinesses, and are $10 at the gate. Children 5 and under are free. Details on hours, buying tickets online and more are on the Review’s website at fsr.osu.edu.