April 1, 2022 | By: Jordan Strickler
Quicksand, Ky.

(To view the video click here)

The University of Kentucky’s Wood Utilization Center has long been recognized for its work with the forest products industry. However, it is also a great place for the public to engage in woodworking activities while learning about the state’s forestry and natural resources. Now that COVID-19 seems to be on the decline, activity in the center is beginning to pick up once again. 

Located at UK’s Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability in Quicksand, the Wood Utilization Center is a component of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s experiment station. It contains an industrial hardwood processing laboratory, classrooms and a kiln for drying hardwood lumber. 

Several times a year, the center invites groups from across the commonwealth to engage with specialists to provide a fun, educational experience. After a brief hiatus due to COVID-19, groups are once more beginning to participate in the center’s activities. 

“I’ve brought several groups here, and we’ve had a great time each visit,” said Nanette Banks, Letcher County extension agent, family and consumer sciences, who brought a group of Extension Homemakers to the center on March 21. “We were supposed to do this last year, but unfortunately, the pandemic kept us from being able to come.” 

Banks’ group was given the opportunity to create their own bird feeders with a chance to learn more about Kentucky birds after finishing their projects.  

“This is something we do quite a bit for extension,” said Bobby Ammerman, UK extension associate in wood products with Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and assistant director of RCARS. “It’s great to get groups back to doing this. Occasionally, we also take the materials we need to visit other parts of the state and allow the group to work on their projects outside of the wood center. We allow our classes here to make all sorts of products from bird feeders to cutting boards to Shaker boxes.” 

After their projects were completed, Banks and the Extension Homemakers used the center’s renovated classroom to learn more about Kentucky’s wildlife and forests. 

On this day, birds were the topic as Matthew Springer, an assistant professor of wildlife management gave a seminar about the various species which inhabit Kentucky. 

“We are always looking for new ways to engage extension agents and the public, and this is one of the most popular ways,” Ammerman said. “Both the public and the staff here really enjoy these kind of educational activities.” 

To learn more about classes, contact Bobby Ammerman at bammerma@uky.edu. For more information about the Wood Utilization Center, go to https://forestry.ca.uky.edu/wood-utilization-center-map. To learn more about RCARS, visit https://rcars.ca.uky.edu/. 

(See the video story here)


Bobby Ammerman, bammerman@uky.edu