1. Establishment of organic blueberry container production system for long-term evaluation of cost viability
Collaborating with Dr. Tim McDermott (Franklin County Extension Educator)
Goal: The objective of our project is to establish a crop of container-production blueberry plants at Waterman Agriculture and Natural Resources Laboratory on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, OH. This will be the first stage of a multi-year research program on blueberry production in Ohio, which represents a new cultural practice for produce growers and marketers. Throughout the study, we will be using two different peat moss and pine bark potting mixes: one that is commercially available at a relatively higher cost (Pro-mix), and a budget version that can be mixed on-site using readily-available pine bark and peat moss components. Long-term objectives include comparing yield per production method per year and evaluating the potential for blueberry production at a large scale in Ohio. Container blueberry production can be a high value crop that would make use of urban environments that may include heavy metal contaminated, non-remediated soils, land-bank property or prior construction sites. Many central and north central Ohio soil types are also too alkaline for in ground blueberry production and would benefit from this project data.
2. Ag is STEM: Connecting Agriculture to Environmental and Biological Science Curriculum.
Collaborating with Drs. Alex Lindsey and Amanda Bowling
Goal: Through three workshops, secondary school teachers and educational professionals will be able to learn about different agricultural production systems through immersive professional development activities, achieve hands-on experience in data collection from short-term research projects, and receive training in how to use these projects to teach core curricular concepts. Additionally, teachers and educational professionals will be able to use modern practices (i.e., plant grow towers, colored lights) in the classroom to teach concepts related to environmental science and cellular biology. The experiences from the professional development sessions will also be developed into instructional videos and lesson plans for teachers to use in their classrooms after the session. The proposed project aligns with the AFRI priority areas “Food safety, nutrition, and health,” “Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment,” and “Agriculture economics and rural communities.”
After my bachelors, I took a year off for teaching environmental education (this confirmed my love of teaching but not necessarily working with kids) - so I went to grad school knowing I wanted to become a college professor one day.
The Cultivate Conference is my favorite. Although, it is held here in Columbus each year, it's an international horticulture conference that provides a great holistic view of the industry. There is great info for all levels from those just getting into horticulture to those looking for cutting edge plant science.
I love to be outdoors, running, cycling, hiking (I've even done a few Olympic triathlons)! I also enjoy reading and spending time with my spouse & our 2 cats.