Dig Deeper

Organic Management of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB)


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Dr. Gladis M. Zinati and Jeff Moyer
Associate Research Scientist, Executive Director
Rodale Institute, 611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530

The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), native to Japan, South Korea, and China, has emerged as one of the most devastating pests of northeastern United States agriculture. Since its introduction in the mid-1990’s to Allentown, Pennsylvania (PA), BMSB has spread across North America and is now present in 42 states and eastern Canada, causing the greatest crop damage in the mid-Atlantic region and has become a homeowner nuisance (map below). In 2006, BMSB caused severe damage in fruit trees in New Jersey and PA and large populations were found in soybeans and ornamentals. In 2010, BMSB affected 90% of peach crops at some mid-Atlantic farms and caused an estimated $37 million in losses to other mid-Atlantic fruit orchards. Due to diverse host plants, BMSB has established itself as a primary pest in various crops and population pressures continue to increase.


Identifying BMSB

Brown Marmorated Sting Bug adults are relatively large compared to other stink bugs, measuring 1/2 - 2/3” long and 5/16” wide (Photo 1A). The name “marmorated” means banded or streaked, as in their appearance. The two white bands on their antennae, black and white banding on the abdomen, smooth shoulders, and mottled brown legs are distinguishing characteristics of BMSB that can help differentiate them from native stink bugs (Photo 1B).


BMSB adults and nymphs use their straw like mouthparts to feed on internal plant tissues. The action of sucking out the juices from fruits, vegetables, and seeds creates cork-like pockmarks and deformations that make fruits (such as apples, peaches, and pear) and vegetables (tomato, pepper (Photo 2), sweet corn) unmarketable.


BMSB Biology 

In the spring, BMSB adults emerge from overwintering sites (houses, barns, storage buildings, and dead trees) and become active on nearby crops such as peach, hardwood trees, and shrubs during warm sunny days. Adult BMSB have the capacity to fly more than a mile and some have been shown to have the ability to fly over 31 miles. In the spring and throughout the summer, BMSB adults feed, mate, and lay eggs. The adult female BMSB lays barrel-shaped, white to pale-green eggs in clusters of 28 on the underside of plant leaves. The BMSB female can lay 4-10 egg masses in her lifetime. BMSB have five nymphal growth stages, known as instars (Photo 3). Development from egg to adult takes approximately 32-35 days.


The first instar BMSB nymphs have an orange abdomen with brown rectangular markings. As the nymphs get older, they show banded antennae and legs with rust-colored abdomen and broad brown markings. Adults and all nymphal instars can feed and cause injury to their hosts. Nymphs and adults can be found on a wide range of plant species that bear buds, pods, and fruiting bodies. Their wide range of hosts include soybean, sunflower, cayenne pepper, tree of heaven, eggplant, tomato, Swiss chard, corn, cherry, moth orchid, mimosa, mulberry, and crabapple.

Monitoring Temporal and Spatial Dispersal of BMSB Adults

The high number of host plants that this pest feeds on, its high mobility, and lack of natural enemies make monitoring this pest in both conventional and organic agricultural systems a critical, yet challenging task. In October 2012, Dr. Anne Nielsen, an Extension Entomologist at Rutgers University, and collaborating institutions including Rodale Institute were awarded a grant funded by USDA – NIFA OREI program # 2012 51300-20097, entitled, Whole-farm Organic Management of BMSB and Endemic Pentatomids through Behavior-based Habitat Manipulation.

As part of a multi-state project, Rodale Institute participated in the investigation of the temporal and spatial movement of BMSB and native pentatomids and their aggregation in order to identify potential organic pest management strategies. In 2012 and 2013 we investigated overwintering structures and fabrics, cone traps on wooden pyramids, trap crops, and overwintering bug houses to better understand stink bug dispersal and aggregation. Below are the details and results of these tactics:

Overwintering structures and fabrics

In November of 2012, we surveyed structures such as buildings, offices, attics, sheds, greenhouses, barns, and garages at Rodale Institute for overwintering BMSB and recorded the number of dead and live adults per structure. We found living overwintering BMSB adults in the book store, the Rodale House, and the pavilion. Within these structures we also identified fabrics in which BMSB preferred to hide and overwinter. Overwintering BMSB were generally found hiding in dark-colored and water proof rain coats and black fabric “Grow Bags” (Photo 4).


Cone traps on wooden pyramid

After an overwintering period, in the early spring BMSB adults emerge from wooded areas and human-made structures and begin sucking on green plants to nourish themselves and mate. They then move to crops such as peaches, then to berries, tomatoes, and peppers, then to apples and field crops. To monitor the temporal and spatial dispersal of BMSB adults from the overwintering structures to nearby outdoor areas, we set up four cone traps, each attached to black wooden pyramids (Photo 5) in spring of 2013.


A combination of vapor tape (to kill insect) and pheromone “Dead-Inn” trap from AgBio were placed within the cones. The traps were deployed on each side of the Rodale Institute Siegfriedale House (four cardinal directions). The house is surrounded by a wooded area from the north and a small herb and vegetable garden from the west (Photo 6). We collected and recorded bugs trapped in the cones twice a week between April 18 and June 10. Our first collected BMSB adults (four females) were in the west trap on May 20. Four and 10 days later, two male adults were also caught in the west side cone trap. By June, more males and females were seen in the east and south cones.


Trap Crops -Monitoring BMSB by crop and direction 

Early June of 2013, we tested five different plant species (admiral pea, sorghum, sunflowers, okra, and millet) as potential trap crops. We assessed the relative attractiveness of these different potential trap crops to BMSB by monitoring and recording BMSB abundance and life stages per crop.

We monitored weekly and did not see any BMSB egg masses, nymphs or adults until August 21, 2013. On September 4th the first BMSB adult and nymphs were seen on fruit heads of sorghum (Photo 7), sunflower, and millet. The last BMSB adult was observed October 2nd on the east side of sorghum (which was senescing) in a plot close to the wooded area. Among the tested trap crops, admiral pea flowered and died quickly and it was not a good candidate for trapping BMSB. Okra and millet did well in trapping, however, sunflower and sorghum were found to trap BMSB of all developmental stages as well as beneficial insects that feed on their eggs and nymphs. BMSB8

In addition, spined-soldier stink bugs, predators of BMSB, were also seen on millet, sunflower (Photo 8), okra, and sorghum planted towards the south plots, near the woods.


Other beneficial insects (natural enemies of BSB) (Photo 9) such as katydid, spiders, lady bugs, praying mantis, and wasps were also found on the plants where BMSB adults and nymphs were feeding.


We participated in a multi-state project to monitor BMSB adult preference for overwintering location and cardinal direction of overwintering structures. The idea was to use materials that are commonly found on farms to create a shelter to “trap out” overwintering BMSB. Based on our scouting record from fall 2012, we identified two structures to setup and deploy overwintering BMSB shelter traps at Rodale Institute: the pavilion and the Siegfriedale House. These two structures are surrounded by a wooded area and organic crops. The shelter traps were made of wood, coated with white weatherproof paint and stuffed with 1m2 of used row cover (Photo 10). We deployed the shelter traps on September 16, 2013. Four traps were placed outside and four inside on each side of the two selected structures.


On November 8, 2013, we checked and counted BMSBs in trap houses. At the garden pavilion, in outdoor houses, overwintering female adults were concentrated in the east side, followed by the south and west sides. Interestingly, only one male adult was found in the trap house located on the northern side. Indoor, however, female adults were in the north and west houses and the male adults were on the south and east side. At the Siegfriedale House, BMSB adults were not seen in either the outdoor or indoor trap houses.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) feeds on a diverse array of crops, which may result in the damage of various fruits and vegetables for farmers, particularly those in the mid-Atlantic region. Populations of this pest may increase with food availability, warm climate, sunny days, absence of natural enemies, and lack of management.

Organic farmers should scout their homes and farm structures during the fall/winter season to discover overwintering sites for BMSB adults. In the spring, growers can monitor for BMSB using observational sampling. Additionally, growers can set up pheromone traps, such as the “Dead-Inn” trap from AgBio or the stink bug trap from Rescue.

After testing multiple plant species as potential trap crops for BMSB, we have identified sunflower and red sorghum to be two crops that are highly attractive to BMSB. These crops are tall, brightly colored, and have seeds that are good protein sources. Brown marmorated stink bug movement into cash crops may be reduced by planting sorghum and/or sunflower around the perimeter of a production area. Additionally, these trap crops attract and provide resources for natural enemies (i.e. katydid, lady beetle, and wasps), which may help enhance their populations and naturally reduce BMSB abundance. The integration of above-mentioned management tactics can be viable strategies for both organic and conventional farmers to reduce crop losses.

For information related to this article contact Dr. Gladis Zinati at the email address: gladis.zinati@rodaleinstitute.org

This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, under Prime Award Number 2012-51300-20097, Subaward Agreement Number 4819.

Published on November 18, 2015.

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The Dirt on Biodegradable Plastics

The Dirt on Biodegradable Plastics: Are they compatible with organic practices?

By Johanna Mirenda, OMRI Technical Director

With the proliferation of plastic in the environment and in our lives generally, it’s no wonder that interest is growing in biodegradable forms of plastic. However, there is an ongoing debate concerning how completely these items biodegrade, and how compatible they are with organic principles. One example occurs with biodegradable dishware and cutlery. Although many such products are “biodegradable” and “compostable,” OMRI is not aware of any products that meet the organic standards for compost feedstock. These products generally contain prohibited ingredients as binders, or otherwise as part of the manufacturing process. As such, biodegradable dishware is not allowed as a feedstock in compost for organic growers. This means that composters are required to remove such items from any compost intended for the organic market – a time consuming and challenging step for waste handlers. In order for a compost to be OMRI Listed, the compost manufacturer must first demonstrate this type of “removal step.”

An even more complex debate surrounds the use of biodegradable “bioplastic” mulches on organic farms. The USDA organic regulations currently permit “mulching with fully biodegradable materials” as well as “Plastic or other synthetic mulch: Provided, that, they are removed from the field at the end of the growing or harvest season.” Some organic producers have misunderstood the allowance for biodegradable mulches to mean that any mulch that is fully biodegradable would be allowed under this section. However, the allowance currently only applies to nonsynthetic materials such as straw and specific synthetic substances like paper mulches.

There are several advantages to plastic mulches, including warmer soil for early season planting, water conservation and weed suppression, all with minimal impact on the surrounding soil and water resources. They even protect the underlying soil from compaction by air and water, reducing the need for tilling and protecting soil health. However, most plastic mulches are removed and discarded at the end of the growing season, and disposal is a concern. Recycling is possible, but transportation is an issue, and it can be hard to find plastic recyclers in all areas. In addition, the application and removal of plastic mulches requires significant additional labor. All in all, it adds up to a lot of plastic waste and a search for better solutions.

Earlier this year, an effort to allow leave-in-place, biodegradable mulches for organic use generated a lot of enthusiasm and support from all types of stakeholders, and resulted in a change to the organic regulations. The 2014 addition of biodegradable biobased mulch films to the National List permits their use in organic production as long as they meet the following criteria, and are not derived from genetically modified organisms:

  1. Meets the compostability specifications of one of the following standards: ASTM D6400, ASTM D6868, EN 13432, EN 14995, or ISO 17088;
  2. Demonstrates at least 90% biodegradation absolute or relative to microcrystalline cellulose in less than two years, in soil, according to one of the following test methods: ISO 17556 or ASTM D5988; and
  3. Must be biobased with content determined using ASTM D6866

In January 2015, National Organic Program (NOP) Memo 15-1 further clarified that these mulches cannot contain any prohibited ingredients. OMRI researched the availability of such mulches and found no product on the market that meets the standard as written.

Bioplastic mulches are generally made up of several polymers, some derived from renewable vegetable biomass and others from biodegradable fossil fuel materials (petroleum products). For example, some currently available biodegradable mulches are made primarily with polylactic acid, an ingredient derived from corn starch, tapioca root, or sugarcane, but they also contain feedstocks derived from petroleum chemicals. More details about the makeup and manufacturing process are available in OMRI’s Report on Biodegradable Biobased Mulch Films, authored for the USDA.

While manufacturers continue to work on developing a technology that will meet the standards, the debate continues about whether the benefits are worth the costs. If and when there is an OMRI Listed biodegradable, bioplastic mulch, that will be big news indeed!

Jo front 3 medJohanna Mirenda holds a bachelor's degree in Horticultural Science with a minor in Biology from Pennsylvania State University, and is currently enrolled in a master's program in Sustainable Food Systems at Green Mountain College. She studied agriculture and ecology in Peru and New Zealand, and has several years of academic research experience in plant nutrition. Prior to joining OMRI, she served as the Policy Director for Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO), a USDA-accredited certification agency. Johanna works remotely from New Hampshire, where she lives with her husband Jason and their dog Moose.


About OMRI

Founded in 1997, the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) provides organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production, handling, and processing under U.S. and Canadian organic standards. OMRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. When companies apply, OMRI reviews their products against the organic standards. Acceptable products are OMRI Listed® and appear on the OMRI Products List© or OMRI Canada Products List©. OMRI also provides technical support and training for organic professionals.

Fourteen Graduate From The Master Composter Program

On October 7, Rodale Institute graduated fourteen volunteers from its inaugural Master Composter program. This class series was designed to train individuals from the community into composting and waste educators. Rodale Institute’s Compost Production Specialist, Rick Carr, taught the program through six lectures, hands-on composting activities, and field trips to local waste management facilities. This education program was funded by the Environmental Resource Management (ERM) Group Foundation which supports environmental initiatives and activities. The Rodale Institute Master Composters will engage the community through public education and outreach on the benefits of composting, recycling and waste diversion.


The Master Composter class takes a field trip to the Allentown Yard Waste Processing Facility.

Composting is the controlled decomposition of organic materials and its practice has many benefits for both organic agriculture and waste management. Compost is rich in micro-biology and nutrients, which are used to build soil health. Rodale Institute’s founder J.I. Rodale wrote, “Healthy Soil=Healthy Food=Healthy People” and rather than using chemical fertilizers, composting regenerates our soil health and assists in many soil functions such as preventing plant disease. The practice of composting diverts organic material from waste management facilities and thereby mitigates green-house gas emissions. Organic materials destined for landfills will decompose anaerobically producing methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas, and more importantly, the valuable nutrients from the organic material are lost and unused.


For another field trip, the class tours the Pioneer Crossing Landfill.


Over the next year, the newly graduated Rodale Institute Master Composters will volunteer a minimum of forty hours of public service ranging from waste separation and diversion education at public events to consulting organizations or individuals on their composting practices. The volunteers who attended the class had various motivations to learn about composting. Some individuals were avid gardeners looking for ways to improve the health and abundance of their crops and others were interested in more advanced composting topics such as compost extracts (teas) and vermicomposting.

Congratulations to our graduates! To learn more about composting, click here.

Rodale Institute Seeks Field/Equipment Specialist





Rodale Institute is seeking Field/Equipment Specialist to join our team!

Job description and qualifications are listed below. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to elaine.macbeth@rodaleinstitute.org

SUMMARY: The Rodale Institute, a world leader in organic agricultural research, is looking for an equipment mechanic to manage a diverse shop for equipment maintenance and fabrication.


● Work in a team environment to conduct day-to-day activities, to perform routine maintenance on equipment necessary to support all farm functions.
● Oder parts and shop supplies to facilitate smooth operations and minimize equipment “down time.”
● Conduct routine inspection s as needed to ensure safe working conditions.
● Use computerized record keeping system to track all shop records.
● Work with all other teams; compost, landscaping, livestock, ASC, orchard, greenhouse, and research as time allows supporting their goals and objectives.

Note: Other duties may/will be assigned on a case by case and as-needed basis.


Must be able and willing to work in all types of weather, be able to lift in excess of 50 pounds, have good communications skills – (both written and verbal), and be flexible in hours as farm work can be unpredictable. Must be able to weld with MIG and ARC, use standard cutting torch equipment and be familiar with the safe operations of all hand tools for mechanical purposes. Must be trustful and respectful to all staff and visitors.


Should have several years’ experience in all types’ agricultural equipment repair and maintenance. Vocational Technical experience, welding certificate or other course work will be valued.


Minimal travel required, most work conducted on-site.


Rodale Institute Seeks Interns in ASC and Communications Department


Rodale Institute is seeking interns in both the ASC and Communications department.

Since we are a small staff, our internships provide an opportunity for real hands-on experience! Click below to learn more about our internship programs and how to apply.

Check out our other job, internship, and volunteer opportunities here!

Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach.  For more than sixty years, we’ve been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing our findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet. And we are an equal opportunity employer.

Rodale Institute Seeks Director of Communications


Rodale Institute is seeking Director of Communications to join our team!

Job description and qualifications are listed below. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to elaine.macbeth@rodaleinstitute.org

Rodale Institute is the oldest and most respected organic research institute in America. Our mission is to provide the research and practical knowhow to help transition farms and acres to organic agriculture, to improve the livelihoods of farmers, increase food security, accelerate environmental and soil regeneration and reverse climate change.

Rodale Institute is seeking a highly qualified Director of Communications. Essential attributes for a successful candidate include strong leadership, communication and presentation skills, along with creativity. The Communications Director oversees and develops versatile communications and marketing programs designed to facilitate the vision and mission of Rodale Institute. The Director of Communications reports to the Executive Director.


•Responsible for implementation of comprehensive marketing, communication and public relations plans and measure actions that enhance the organization’s mission.
•Work closely with the development team to focus messages to targeted audiences
•Track and measure the level of engagement within the network over time.
•Lead the generation of online content that engages audience segments and leads to measurable action.
•Develop, implement, and evaluate the annual communications plan.
•Develop and implement a strategic communications plan to advance the Rodale Institute’s mission and brand.
•Oversees the annual report, marketing materials, and electronic communication’s including website, news, and social media.
•Broaden the awareness of Rodale Institute’s programs and priorities by increasing the visibility to key audiences.
•Create marketing relations strategy that will allow Rodale to cultivate and enhance meaningful relationships with targeted, high-level external audiences, including the media and key influencers.
•Work with leadership team and staff to recognize internal and external communication opportunities and solutions, and define and execute appropriate strategies to support them.
•Identify and develop compelling stories, and utilizes the best medium to tell these stores in a manner that enhances the mission.
•Serves as a spokesperson on media interactions that promotes the mission.
•Prioritize media opportunities, and prepare talking points, speeches, presentations and other supporting material as needed.
•Cultivates and manages press relationships.
•Drive media engagement and growing awareness of the work of the organization by defining and ensuring consistency of brand identity across all platforms.
•Oversees the day-to-day activities of the communication’s team.
•Monitors staff performance and development of goals, set objectives, and conducts performance reviews.
•Performs other job-related duties as assigned by the Executive Director.


•This position requires a high level of communication with sophisticated audiences and high levels of responsibility, integrity, confidentiality, and sensitivity.
•Ability to understand and then use data to drive decision-making and strategic planning.
•Ability to build strong relationships with various constituencies.
•Evidence of superior strategic planning, organizational development, and organization building skills.
•Experience directing the creation of and writing for organizational newsletters, annual reports, and other communication pieces.
•Ability to think creatively and assist with the development of unique and effective strategies to meet the organizational goals.
•Compassion, patience, respect for others and assertiveness.
•Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal skills and ability to influence and engage a wide range of donors and foster long-term relationships.
•Experience with planning, writing, editing, and production of press releases, annual reports, marketing literature, and other print publications.
•Able to work independently and has the ability to implement new initiatives.


This position will require travel.

CFO of the year award goes to…

LVB CFO 2015 072-32 - LR(Kutztown, PA, September 17, 2015) Elaine Macbeth, Director of Finance and HR at Rodale Institute, won a CFO award at the Lehigh Valley Business CFO of the Year awards this Wednesday.

Macbeth was selected winner and top financial executive of the Nonprofit Small category based on her career achievements, impact of her contributions, and her leadership in other areas of management.

Created by Lehigh Valley Business, the awards recognize financial executives at all levels who contribute to the region’s economic growth and stability.

“It is such an honor to receive the CFO of the year award from Lehigh Valley Business,” says Macbeth. “I want to thank all that have supported me over the many years but I also couldn’t be more proud to represent Rodale Institute.”

For 22 years, Macbeth has guided Rodale Institute in long-term financial gain. She became a director ten years ago, a position she continues to skillfully lead in.

Rodale Institute is proud and thankful for Macbeth’s work and leadership.

A complete list of the Lehigh Valley Business CFO of the year awards winners and nominees can be found here.

Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For more than sixty years, we’ve been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing our findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet.


For more information:



Twitter: @rodaleinstitute

Instagram: @rodaleinstitute


Rodale Institute Announces Jeff Moyer as Executive Director

Aaron Kinsman
Office: 610-683-1427
Mobile: 215-589-2490


Rodale Institute Announces Jeff Moyer as Executive Director

Jeff Headshot small file

(Kutztown, PA, September 9, 2015) Rodale Institute, a non-profit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach, today announced the appointment of Jeff Moyer as the Executive Director. Moyer has worked with Rodale Institute since 1975, most recently as the Institute’s Farm Director. Working directly with farmers of all backgrounds, Moyer is a renowned voice for the farmer’s perspective regarding issues in organic agriculture. He is widely respected for his contributions to Organic No-Till and the design of the No-Till Roller Crimper.

“The appointment of Jeff Moyer to Executive Director will begin the next phase of Rodale Institute’s evolution,” said Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale Inc. and Co-Chair of Rodale Institute. “Jeff has spent his whole career dedicated to the Rodale Institute and is uniquely and wonderfully prepared to continue the Institute’s leading edge research. Jeff is a successful organic farmer himself, and understands the importance of regenerative organic farming to create healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people and a healthy planet.”

Moyer’s achievements include a five year term on the National Organic Standards Board, which assists the USDA Secretary of Agriculture to develop standards for materials and practices used in organic production and advises on other aspects of implementing the National Organic Program. He is also a member of the Leonardo Academy’s committee on sustainability, board chair for the Seed Farm, a founding and current member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic and a past board member of the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

“It’s an honor to accept this opportunity to lead the Rodale Institute,” said Moyer. “Looking forward, my focus is on continuing the Institute’s training of new organic farmers and providing support to farmers transitioning to organic in order to meet the enormous and growing demand for organic and to expand the number of acres in organic production across the U.S. and around the world. ”

Since its founding in 1947 by J.I. Rodale, the Rodale Institute has been committed to groundbreaking research in organic agriculture, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating people about how organic is the safest, healthiest option for people and the planet. The Institute is home to the Farming Systems Trial (FST), America’s longest-running side-by-side comparison of chemical and organic agriculture. Consistent results from the study have shown that organic yields match or surpass those of conventional farming. In years of drought, organic corn yields are about 30% higher. This year, 2015, marks the 34th year of the trial. New areas of study at the Rodale Institute include rates of carbon sequestration in chemical versus organic plots, new techniques for weed suppression and organic livestock.


Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For more than sixty years, we’ve been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing our findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest options for people and the planet.


For more information:

www.facebook.com/rodaleinstituteTwitter: @rodaleinstitute
Instagram: @rodaleinstitute


Water Resource Conservation for Students

Thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, this fall Rodale Institute will expand educational opportunities for young people interested in water resource conservation.

Rodale Institute currently conducts rigorous, multi-disciplinary research to document the agronomic WPECfrontand environmental impacts of organic and conventional farming practices. The decades of high-quality research and education programs at Rodale Institute have naturally expanded the concept of healthy soil = healthy food = healthy people to include water conservation and water quality. Soil is the ultimate filtration system for providing clean water, and farm management practices either support or inhibit these processes.

Through this grant, Rodale Institute will host fourth grade students and faculty from the Circle of Season’s Charter School, allowing them to learn about water resource conservation.  Highlights of the program include a green roof, rain barrels, riparian buffers, the Water Purification Eco-Center, and  no-till organic farming practices. Additionally, Rodale Institute staff will provide students with a tour of the farm and hands on learning activities including water and soil testing.

Participation by school students and educators will provide them with outdoor learning opportunities that will strengthen in-class science curriculum.

Additional funding from the grant will provide interpretive signs at key demonstration areas around the farm to provide visitors an increased learning experience.