June 25, 2010

For decades the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture has offered Eastern Kentuckians vital support through Robinson Forest, Robinson Station and the Wood Utilization Center. Now, all three units are operating under one umbrella and a new name to reflect their unity—the Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability or RCARS. In October, the center will continue the long-standing tradition of hosting a biennial field day.

"The main field day is Oct. 2, but we have activities planned all week," said David Ditsch, director of the center. "We still have the traditional wagon tours of our research plots, but we've also got some very focused workshops and tours where people can really immerse themselves in one or two areas of interest."

The week will begin with two Pumpkin Days Sept. 28 and 29 when approximately 1,000 children will come to RCARS for pumpkin-related educational experiences. The children will taste pumpkin dip, create pumpkin art and learn how pumpkins grow. They’ll also pick a pumpkin from the patch to take home.

The center will welcome middle school students for Youth Natural Resources Field Day Sept. 30.

“We have several activities targeted to the middle-school students including water quality testing, nature crafts, geocaching, vermi-composting and enviroscape activities,” Ditsch said. “We are trying to be relevant to their culture and trends and teach them something at the same time.”

The whole week leads up to the Mountain Ag and Energy Field Day Oct. 2. This is the first time the field day will take place on a Saturday.

“We wanted to reach more people,” Ditsch said. “The change will hopefully allow more working people to attend and benefit from the tours, booths and other educational opportunities throughout the day.”

Ditsch explained that this year the field day will have a significant energy focus.

“I’m very excited about this addition,” he said. “It is a very timely topic for our region, and we’ll be getting support from the Governor’s Office of Ag Policy to help address energy efficiency, energy sources and economic opportunities.”

Other focus areas of the Oct. 2 field day will include basic horse management, pasture renovation, a cutting board-making workshop, high value fall crops and farmers markets, beef cattle production, grapes, vineyards and winemaking, beekeeping and honey production, small flock pasture poultry production, the history of Quicksand and the impact of Robinson Station on Eastern Kentucky and a tour of the Robinson Forest Stream Zone Management area.

More details will become available as the field days draw near.