Farmer of the Year and Ag Service award winners will be announced during Ag Breakfast. Nominations are due by April 30, 2021 and can be found at www.scchamber.org/agriculture.
Speaker: John Blakeman
John Blakeman, who grew up in Fremont, is a retired biology instructor with 30-years science teaching experience at Perkins Schools near Sandusky, and is an experienced Ohio prairie researcher. John planted one of Ohio’s first prairie restorations in Erie County in 1973 at Firelands College BGSU at Huron, using native prairie seeds collected from local prairie remnants and isolated plants in ditches and hedgerows.
He helped form the Ohio Prairie Association and served as its president. He has presented papers at both state and national prairie conferences and is regarded as an expert in the history of Ohio’s tallgrass prairies. As proprietor of Meadow Environments LLC, he professionally designs, installs, and maintains prairie restorations and landscapes at park, educational, and private sites, including Erie MetroParks facilities, the COSI museum in Columbus, and at commercial sites across Ohio.
He is particularly focused on the creation of prairie and beach grass environments on Lake Erie’s waterfronts, bringing singularly natural maritime landscapes to these unique sites.
John is an Ohio Certified Prescribed Fire Manager and as an Environmental Specialist consultant he conducts several hundred acres of prairie and meadow burns at NASA Plum Brook Station each year. Also is deeply involved in Plum Brook Station’s species and environmental conservation programs, where he advises NASA on the restoration of up to 3000 acres of native tallgrass prairie.
Currently, he is the prairie biologist in the University of Akron Research Foundation's Vegetation-based HABs Solutions Research Project in northwest Ohio, where new types of vegetation are being planted, which will capture and retain algal nutrients, keeping them out of Lake Erie, thereby preventing harmful algal blooms.
As a former Fremonter (grew up in the city), John is delighted to present his important program, Solving the HABs Problem in Lake Erie. In this narrated digital slide show, he will give the details of the Univ of Akron Research Foundation's research project in NW Ohio, where his team of experts will plant and assess three new vegetation types to keep phosphorus in farm fields, and out of ditches and Lake Erie.
Farmers need to be aware of these innovative, achievable new techniques. At the same time, they minimize soil losses and erosion, increase soil health and fertility, and reduce fertilizer costs and applications. These techniques are vegetation-based, not machinery based. Iowa State University has had great success with such vegetation, which in their project will include three specific plantings: a) field-edge strips of tallgrass prairie along the downslope edges of crop fields, b) directed planting of cover crops in dormant seasons, and c) vegetating ditches with new varieties of switchgrass. Together, all of these capture and retain both algal nutrients and soil particles; thereby keeping them out of Lake Erie, preventing the harmful algal blooms they cause.
(3) Solving Lake Erie's Harmful Algal Blooms Problem - YouTube
To provide food for our community, we will be collecting and presenting monetary donations to the Food Pantry. To make a donation please send a separate check payable to Sandusky County Food Pantry. This donation enables you to claim a tax deduction for your contribution.