August 29, 2008

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture conducts research across Kentucky with two stations in Quicksand and Princeton. Each year, the two hubs take turns showcasing their efforts by offering a field day of fun and education. This year, on Sept. 25, Robinson Station at Quicksand takes its turn with a wide variety of events sure to please young and old.

"We feel that we've got a very diverse and outstanding program for this field day," said David Ditsch, superintendent at Robinson Station. "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."

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. EDT followed by a choice of several unique morning-long workshops before more traditional field day activities in the afternoon. At the Wood Utilization Center, participants may attend a workshop about the Shaker design and its popularity. Participants will hear about archaeological excavations at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, learn about the kinds of woods Shakers used and even build their own Shaker-style box to take home. Registration is $25 for materials and lunch.

A Farmers' Market Workshop will begin at 10 a.m. Visitors will learn about value-added products for expanding farmers' market sales in Kentucky, new sampling guidelines for food handling, using high tunnels to extend the market season, fall decorations and crafts, fall strawberry, raspberry and blackberry production, profitable fall vegetables, flower arrangements and decorating pumpkins for fall festivals. Registration is $5 and includes lunch.

A third morning workshop will be at Sebastian Farms, a short distance from the station, to learn about co-grazing beef cattle and goats. Discussion and tours will include fencing options for mixed species grazing, meeting the mineral needs of beef cattle and goats, general goat management, the effects of mixed species grazing on plant population, animal performance in a mixed species grazing system and vegetation management with goats. Registration is $5 and includes lunch.

Participants may also elect to attend a research tour of Robinson Forest. Topics on this tour, which is limited to 50 people, include re-establishing American chestnut trees and black bears in eastern Kentucky.

The Robinson Forest tour also includes information about shiitake mushrooms, best management practices for timber harvesting and controlling invasive trees in eastern Kentucky. Registration is $5 and includes lunch.

A separate youth component focusing on energy and the environment will begin at 9:30 a.m. and is open to middle and high school students. Pre-registration is required.

More traditional field day tours begin at 3:30 p.m. and include horticulture, plant and soil sciences and the Wood Utilization Center. Ditsch encourages visitors to check out exhibits under the tent and see the food preservation demonstrations in the Robinson Station Auditorium from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The day draws to a close with a complimentary dinner from 5 to 7 p.m.

For more detailed information and directions, visit the field day Web site at http://ces.ca.uky.edu/robinsonstation or a local Cooperative Extension Service office.