Sustainability and Ecosystems classroom resources

Sustainability and ecosystems were the focus of the third week of Feed and Fuel Your Future. This collaborative effort between Ohio Corn and Wheat, the Ohio Department of Education, and the Ohio Soybean Council helped make students aware of career opportunities available in agriculture-related careers.

Fred and Josh Yoder welcomed virtual field trip participants to their central Ohio farm, sharing about how sustainability affects their day-to-day practices and encourages them to try new things. Their implementation of “climate smart” practices on the farm, including cover crops and reduced or no-tillage, has resulted in benefits such as better soils. Josh said, “Cover crops give us an opportunity to work synergistically with some of the other things that we’re doing, whether it’s our planting or fertilizing regimen,” Josh says.

Water quality is a hot topic in Ohio, and an onsite activity in the Auglaize River demonstrated assessment activities. Feed the World alumni Jeff Jostpille joined Feed the World presenter Heather Bryan to demonstrate how to kick seine, identify the macroinvertebrates found in a river or stream, and then use those macroinvertebrates to assess water quality. This activity is part of the Water quality unit on the Feed the World website.

The week’s offerings wrapped up with a career panel featuring Heather Raymond, Water Quality Initiative Director at OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and Logan Haake and Paige Fitzwater of Legacy Co-op. Each shared about their work and how each day is different. Haake works with farmers to help them grow their operations and stay profitable. Fitzwater does soil tests and analyzes data to make recommendations to farmers. Haake noted that there are unique challenges, but those also make the job rewarding. “We want to embrace the challenges,” he said.

Raymond’s role is addressing water quality concerns and what to do about them. She has spoken to teachers at past Feed the World workshops about her career path, and she emphasized the value of exploring one’s interests. “Look for volunteer opportunities and internships. Try different things and see what is a good fit for you. These will help build connections.”