Farm Science Review: Good reasons to go green at the Gwynne Conservation Area

Aug. 19, 2015

Farm Science Review features information on numerous ways producers and landowners can be green.

The Sept. 22-24 event in London, Ohio, also will highlight the conservation of natural resources at a demonstration and education site called the Gwynne Conservation Area. The area is at the west end of the Review’s home, the 2,100-acre Molly Caren Agricultural Center.

Called “the Gwynne” for short, the site’s 67 acres of prairie, woods and waters showcase a range of conservation practices year-round and, during the Review, will host dozens of talks and exhibits on trees, ponds, wildlife and similar topics.

Visiting the Gwynne and attending the talks is included with admission to the Review. Free shuttle wagon rides are available to and from the Gwynne.

Spotlight on conservation

“The intent is that landowners interested in conservation practices can see them here ‘on the land’ and decide if they’re a good fit for their property,” said Kathy Smith, organizer of this year’s Gwynne activities during the Review and forestry program coordinator in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. The college is the Review’s sponsor.

Those practices include planting trees, managing ponds, managing wildlife, and simply getting to know the plants, birds, mammals and more that call Ohio home.

Talks in the Gwynne, given by CFAES experts and others, will cover such topics as deer exclusion fences; tree identification; pond management, especially aerating the water and controlling aquatic vegetation; and the environmental impacts of shale oil and gas drilling. Find a complete list of topics, times and speakers at

Cool, green, shady

The Gwynne, too, offers a place to chill, Smith said. It’s away from the bustle of the Review’s main grounds, where some 130,000 people are expected over the event’s three days.

In the relative calm of the Gwynne, breezes blow through big bluestem prairie grass, bluebirds perch on nest boxes, bluegills dimple the surface of ponds, and Deer Creek burbles beneath tall trees.

“As a forester, I’m happy to show people how planting small seedlings eventually leads to large trees,” Smith said. “This is demonstrated in many of our tree planting areas but especially in the hardwood and walnut plantings along Deer Creek.

“Those are some of my favorite places on the property. Gotta love the shade!”

Advance tickets for the Review are $7 at county offices of the college’s outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension; at many agribusinesses; and online at Tickets are $10 at the gate. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 22-23 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 24.

In the big picture, Smith said, good conservation is a fit with good farming.

“From a forestry perspective, for example, a healthy woodland can provide an income for the farm that can help promote other conservation practices,” she said. “Trees are an agricultural crop. They just have a longer rotation than corn and soybeans.”