PHOTO: Steve Patton, UK Agricultural Communications Specialist
The University of Kentucky Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability in Quicksand is hosting Mountain Ag Week Sept. 23-27.
"The main field day is Sept. 27, 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 are also offering focused workshops and tours, where people can really immerse themselves in one or two areas of interest."
The week kicks off with Pumpkin Days Sept. 23-24, where more than 700 area preschool children will come to the center for interactive, pumpkin-themed education. They will get to pick a pumpkin to take home.
Thursday, Sept. 25, the center will welcome elementary school and high school students for the Youth Natural Resources Field Day. Fifth- and sixth-graders will meet at the center and choose from topics that include water quality, energy, snap circuits, physical activity, food and nutrition, birds of prey and a physics zoo. Ninth- through 12-graders will meet at the UK Robinson Forest and choose between a wildlife or forestry track. The wildlife track offers interactive learning about radio telemetry, wildlife sampling techniques, wildlife track identification and wildlife forensics. The forestry track includes tree identification, wood magic, Kentucky’s logging history and forest exploring. Those interested in Pumpkin Days or the youth field day should contact their local county extension office for information about registration.
“We are trying to provide each student with unique hands-on experience that is relevant to the material they are being taught in the classroom,” Ditsch said about the youth programs.
The entire week leads up to the Appalachian Proud Field Day Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration begins at 9 a.m. EDT.
“The field day’s extensive program is about the opportunities and the future for sustainable economic development in agriculture and forest management in the Appalachian Region,” Ditsch said.
The field day will offer several research tours and workshops including livestock forage and fencing, teff establishment and management, seeded bermudagrass variety trial, forage variety testing, farm pond management and high tunnel research. Horticulture research tours will include raised-bed production drip irrigation systems, plastic-layers and waterwheel setters; ornamental corn, heirloom bean production and farm diversification; blueberries, black raspberries, filberts, rhubarb production and wildlife management; crop production considerations and low-cost guidance systems for vegetable production; cover crops and a look at the sweet potato variety trial.
A study tour of Robinson Forest, which is limited to 20 people, will depart RCARS at 12:30 p.m. and return at 4 p.m. Participants will learn about timber harvesting research to protect water quality and the current status of hemlock trees. Participants can also choose to make their own cutting board in the Wood Utilization Center or attend a beekeeping workshop.
The center will offer Master Logger continuing education from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Kentucky 4-H Performing Arts Troupe will provide entertainment at 11 a.m., with a Taste of the Mountains lunch following.
Exhibits under the tent will include more than 30 displays and demonstrations.
More information is available online at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/rcars.
David Ditsch, 606-666-2438; Chuck Stamper, 859-257-9511 ext. 233