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Jane Hodgins

Ash Research is Part of Ceremony Marking Tornado Anniversary at Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center on September 16

WOOSTER, OHIO, September 15, 2011 - On Friday, the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station will join the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) for a ceremonial tree planting commemorating the first anniversary of a tornado that destroyed buildings and research on the campus. The ash tree will be part of a long-term study of resistance to emerald ash borer (EAB).

The event will take place at the site of collaborative research between Jennifer Koch, a research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station, and Dan Herms of the Department of Entomology at OARDC. The tree planting will occur at exactly 5:29 p.m., the moment the tornado struck.

The tree planting is one of several events OARDC has scheduled to commemorate the one-year anniversary of an EF-2 tornado that touched down on campus. The tornado had winds of up to 135 miles per hour and damaged or destroyed several buildings and storage facilities, shattered a number of greenhouses, erased more than 1,500 large trees at Secrest Arboretum and throughout the campus, and destroyed numerous research plants, setting back scientific projects for months and even years.

The research planting is part of a species trial to look for resistance to EAB in Asian species of ash from the EAB’s regions of origin. Asian ash species that are EAB-resistant will be incorporated into a breeding program with native ash species. Eleven different Asian ash species will eventually be installed in the planting along with the native North American ash species. EAB-resistant Asian ash species may also be useful as replacements for North American ash in landscapes and as street trees.

First identified in Michigan in 2002, EAB has spread to 15 states in the Midwest and northeast and has killed millions of ash trees.

“The combination of North American ash trees having few natural defenses against EAB and the EAB having few natural enemies when it first arrived in the United States was disastrous,” according to Koch. “This research is a key part of helping native ash trees rebound from their own natural disaster.”

The public is invited to all of the events, which run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The OARDC is located at 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, Ohio. Directions and a map of the campus is available at

The largest university agricultural biosciences research facility in the United States, OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. The mission of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.