Free workshop demonstrates phone apps for range, weed monitoring

Close up of man's hands as he uses a tablet in a field.
Rangeland managers can learn to use GrassSnap, a mobile app for monitoring range conditions. Photo: Nebraska Extension

A hands-on workshop lets rangeland managers explore new tools to monitor range and pasture conditions. “Electronic Range and Weed Monitoring for this Generation” is a free UW Extension workshop in Glenrock Dec. 1 and Douglas Dec. 12.

In Glenrock, the event is at the Glenrock Community Library, 506 South 4th Street, Thurs. Dec. 1 at 4 p.m.

In Douglas, the event is at the Converse County Library, 300 E. Walnut Street Wed. Dec. 12 at 3 p.m.

The class is free but registration is requested to ensure class materials are available for each participant. Instructor Scott Cotton is a certified rangeland manager and UW Extension agriculture and horticulture educator across three states.

For more information or to register, contact Cotton at 307-235-9400 or scotton1@uwyo.edu.

Participants will use Web Soil Survey, a USDA-developed electronic range monitoring program that lets users capture scientific data. GrassSnap for photo monitoring helps producers get comparative landscape views year to year and simplifies downloading, storing, and saving notes. Both apps can be used on smart phone or tablet.

UW Extension bulletin explains soil moisture sensors for irrigation management

Man is looking at a soil moisture sensor in a field.
Vivek Sharma examines a soil moisture sensor used in a Powell Research and Extension Center field.

A new University of Wyoming Extension publication focuses on different methods and techniques of soil moisture measurement and how producers and water managers can determine soil moisture.

“Methods and Techniques for Soil Moisture Monitoring,” B-1331, shows how effective irrigation management combined with more efficient irrigation systems and soil moisture monitoring can lead to more efficient water use and reduced energy costs.

Vivek Sharma, extension irrigation specialist, provides brief descriptions of each soil moisture monitoring method and how sensors operate in order to know which sensors are suitable in a particular production setting and operation. Sharma is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the University of Wyoming and is based at the Powell Research and Extension Center.

The bulletin is available in pdf, HTML or ePub formats. To view or download the bulletin, go to www.uwyo.edu/uwe and click the Find a Publication link and type in the bulletin title or number.

Profits, trade subjects of Nov. 20 Beef Production Convention

Blockchain technology in agriculture, the new Wyoming beef trade agreement with Taiwan and livestock market update are topics at the 2018 Southeast Wyoming Beef Production Convention in Torrington Tues., Nov. 20 at the Goshen County Fairgrounds.

Registration is $20 or $15 for students and includes coffee and pastries, a locally made lunch, and a trade show. Doors open at 9 a.m. for registration and trade show. The program is 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For schedule and to register, go to bit.ly/2018WYObeefconv or call the Goshen County Extension office at 307-532-2436.

The program is hosted by University of Wyoming Extension and Wyoming Stock Growers Association with sponsorship from USDA Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and the USDA Risk Management Agency.

Presentations on Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) provide livestock producers with an overview and rationale for seeking certification.

Other topics include why cow size matters for Wyoming range operations; strategies to meet changes in markets and spring precipitation; the Ag Legacy Estate Planning program; and new pests and weeds added to the Goshen County Noxious Weed List.

Award-winning program brings teens together for camp training

Teens reported fun and friendships among the takeaways from the first Wyoming 4-H Counselor Camp. In Wyoming, 17 counties host or co-host summer 4-H camps.

The idea was simple: Instead of each 4-H camping program preparing teen counselors, get everyone together for a statewide training.

The result, said Kimberly Fry, 4-H educator in Campbell County, was that 21 teens in 2018 contributed more confidently and competently to the experiences of 475 Wyoming campers last summer.

In recognition of the Wyoming 4-H counselor camp, on Nov. 7 University of Wyoming Extension presented its Creative Excellence Award to the 4-H educators and state youth development specialist who piloted the program.

Group photo with award winners holding plaques
Left to right are Bret Hess, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Mary Kay Wardlaw, UW Extension associate director-east; Warren Crawford, state youth development specialist; Kimberly Fry, Campbell County; Amber Armajo, Washakie County; Megan Brittingham, Goshen County; Kelly Crane, UW Extension associate director-west; and Mary Louise Wood, Albany County.

Those receiving the award at UW Extension’s state conference in Casper were 4-H educators Amber Armajo, Washakie County; Megan Brittingham, Goshen County; Robin Schamber, Uinta County; Mary Louise Wood, Albany County; Warren Crawford, state youth development specialist; and Fry.

“This camp opened my eyes to new ideas we could bring to our camp,” said Carl Gray, a first-time camp counselor from Campbell County.

Teenage volunteers typically take on planning, organizing and teaching roles and act as group leaders, cabin leaders, friends and mentors. The April 2018 counselor training at the Wyoming state fairgrounds in Douglas was organized around 15 core competencies, said Fry.

Organizers included sections on teaching, facilitating, teamwork and leadership, child and adolescent development and camper behavior management. Participants shared practices for flag etiquette, vespers, camp songs and recreation.

Wyatt Bullock, an Albany County 4-H’er, said he hopes the counselor training continues next year. “I want our camp to get better and this would help, but also it was a lot of fun!”

For more information on University of Wyoming Extension and to find a county office, see www.uwyo.edu.

Extension educators earn recognition for special efforts on behalf of youths

Group photo with award-winners holding plaques
Bret Hess, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Mary Kay Wardlaw, UW Extension associate director-east; Mary Louise Wood, 4-H youth educator; and Abby Rux, Cent$ible Nutrition program assistant

Special needs students in Molly Martin’s class at Laramie Middle School learned teamwork, gravity, motion and food choices last year from Albany County University of Wyoming Extension educators Abby Rux and Mary Louise Wood.

For adapting and delivering science (Wood) and Cent$ible Nutrition (Rux) programming to students of varying skill levels and abilities, the two received the diversity enhancement recognition award from UW Extension Nov. 7 at its state conference in Casper.

“The students I work with have disabilities that vary from moderate to profound,” said Martin.

“Mary Louise engages them in lessons full of discovery and exploration and brings lots of fun and positivity to my classroom,” she said. “Abby uses visuals and props and is very dynamic as she educates students about making smart food choices in their daily lives.”

Eloise Riley, who nominated Rux and Wood for the recognition, said, “The cool part is the programming they do is traditional 4-H and Cent$ible Nutrition, but they make adaptations.”

Riley is the Wyoming senior family readiness support assistant with Cybermedia Technologies, Inc., a special needs contractor to Albany County School District #1.

School professionals and paraprofessionals described development of fine motor skills and goal setting and interaction with caring adults as outcomes of the extension education for these students in grades 7-9.

“This group is not generally considered your average 4-H population but can gain the most from the 4-H experiential model,” said Wood, who joins them at least once a month.

Rux first worked with the students last year, bringing weekly lessons for 16 weeks throughout fall and spring.

“I am a great advocate for the work of UW Extension,” said Riley. “And I think their work is exemplary in the world of really good work.”

For more information on University of Wyoming Extension in Albany County, see wyoextension.org/albanycounty.