University of Wyoming Extension News

Annual program logs 20th year teaching youths natural resource skills

Elizabeth Martinez of Worland and other youths and adults puts their skills to the test following an afternoon of plant identification and plant anatomy during  Wyoming Resource Education Days at the Uinta County Youth Camp.

Elizabeth Martinez of Worland and other youths and adults put their skills to the test following an afternoon of plant identification and plant anatomy instruction during Wyoming Resource Education Days at the Uinta County Youth Camp south of Mountain View.

Rancher Kelly Guild, sitting on the tailgate of his pickup, was getting ready to answer the question why he was so willing to open up Guild Ranch rangelands near Fort Bridger to youths attending the week-long Wyoming Resource Education Days (WyRED).

Barbed wire, old posts and other items you’d expect to find in the back of a ranch pickup lie in the bed behind him.

The 30-or-so youths and adults last week were trodding, prodding and poking plant life and soil on the gentle slope up from the dirt road.

“First of all, it’s dealing with youth,” he said, his young dog content and near. “Anytime, it doesn’t matter if it’s dealing with WyRED or whatever, I think it’s very important to educate our young people. And second, I think we need to get the best minds we can back into agriculture. If they’re willing to participate in it, I’m sure willing to help them anyway I can.”

This was the 20th year of the program and the second time at the Uinta County Youth Camp (year 15). The annual program changes location each year.

Youths and adults had climbed into a Lyman Public School bus during morning cool at the high-elevation camp 20 miles or so south of Mountain View to start a day of tours, plant identification and soil profiling.

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University of Wyoming hosts field days this July at Sheridan, Powell

Mike Moore, left, manager of the Seed Certification Service, at last year's Powell Research and Extension Center field day.

Mike Moore, left, manager of the Seed Certification Service, at last year’s Powell Research and Extension Center field day.

Residents can ask-a-scientist during field days at University of Wyoming research and extension (R&E) centers in Sheridan and Powell this July.

Registration begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Sheridan R&E Center Tuesday, July 14. The field day is at the Watt Regional Agriculture Center on the Sheridan College campus at 3401 Coffeen Ave. in Sheridan.

Introductions and tours are 2-4 p.m., a buffet dinner is at 5 p.m. (RSVP required) and research presentations are 5:30-7 p.m. Presentations include horticulture, viticulture, alfalfa weevil resistance, forage production, a wildlife depredation project and pollinators.

For more information and to RSVP by July 10 for dinner, call 307-673-2856 or email

Registration for the Powell R&E Center field day Thursday, July 16, begins at 1 p.m. with farm tours, introductions and industry demonstrations 2-3:30 p.m., research poster sessions and refreshments 3:30-4:30 p.m., and dinner (RSVP required) 4:30-7 p.m.
Research includes herbicide trials, pollinator food plots and insect pressures, cropping systems – cover and companion crops, Elite malt barley nursery, grape rootstock and Simplot mapping/precision agriculture.

For information and to RSVP by July 9, call 307-754-2223 or email

The R&E centers are part of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station housed within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UW

UW horticultural experts begin monthly live webinar series

Chris Hilgert

Chris Hilgert

Gardeners and others vexed by plant problems and insect nuisances can send their particular pest questions to a panel of University of Wyoming horticultural experts for monthly live webinars beginning Thursday, June 25.

UW Extension county offices are host sites, said Chris Hilgert, state master gardener coordinator and a member of the panel. Other panelists are extension specialists Scott Schell, entomologist, Karen Panter, horticulture, and William Stump, plant pathologist.

Hilgert asked residents to let local extension office know they want to attend the “Plants, Pests, and Pathogens” webinar series. They should also send in their questions and any photographs that help show a particular problem.

The four will give updates about plant and insect questions they have observed around the state then answer questions sent from residents and those asked at the host sites.

All sessions are noon to 1:30 p.m. Dates in addition to June 25 are Thursday, July 30, Wednesday, Aug. 26, and Thursday, Sept. 24. The conferencing software Zoom is being used, said Hilgert, which allows 25 host sites. Panelists will be on the UW campus in Laramie.

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Program supporting landscape-scale conservation names administrator

Eric Peterson

Eric Peterson

The former director of the Sublette County Conservation District has been hired as administrator of a voluntary, market-based program to achieve landscape-scale conservation across the state.

Eric Peterson, a former UW Extension educator, was central to development of the Wyoming Conservation Exchange, said Kristi Hansen, water resource economics specialist at the University of Wyoming.

Those in agriculture, industry and others interested in conservation designed the program.

A conservation exchange provides financial incentives to landowners to engage in environmentally beneficial activities that might not otherwise be undertaken or continued, she said. Buyers, for example energy companies seeking mitigation credits or local/national environmental foundations, would pay sellers (landowners) for management that maintains or enhances ecosystem services and results in long-term conservation outcomes.

Exchange partners include landowners, the Sublette County Conservation District, UW, the Wyoming chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA).

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UW Extension range specialist’s blog translates complex research into plain English

Derek Scasta

Derek Scasta

A southwestern Wyoming producer baffled trying to understand new range cattle production research prompted a blog translating complex scientific literature into language for the general public.

University of Wyoming Extension range specialist Derek Scasta started the blog after visiting with the rancher.

“Scientists speak their own language and have to explain methods and statistics in great detail, making research very tedious to read and difficult for the general public to read,” said Scasta, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The blog “Rangelands4U” is at

“I regularly read research that deals with topics ranging from cattle to conservation,” said Scasta. “As an extension specialist, it is my job to make the information accessible and easy to understand.”

Research can be hard to access because not all scientific journals are openly accessible for free. Many research articles are behind paywalls.

“Many scientific journals rely on subscriptions by large libraries, or individuals have to purchase individual articles,” Scasta said. “This makes it nearly impossible for the average citizen to get information that has been vetted by the scientific community.”

Scasta said the typically one paragraph posts summarize key findings of the most recent research relevant to Wyoming rangelands.

Readers can subscribe with an email address to receive notifications of new posts.