UW Extension introduces Pasture Geeks classes
Land managers and range livestock producers will discover technologies available for developing grazing plans and increasing rangeland productivity during Pasture Geeks classes in Douglas.
"I had some producers in my area who I surveyed express interest in ecological site descriptions," said Ashley Garrelts, UW Extension range management educator in Converse County. "The program was developed from that. I use technology when working with ranchers quite often, and I thought that if they knew how to use some of the programs I use it would be beneficial to them."
Web Soil Survey and the Grazing Response Index is the first Pasture Geeks class 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 19, in Room 2 on the Eastern Wyoming College Campus. Lunch and breaks are provided.
"It will be a fun class with a lot of hands-on activities and learning," said Garrelts. "Hopefully, participants will leave the class with a better understanding of technology and how it can be used in grazing plans."
Pre-registration for the first Pasture Geeks class is requested by Nov. 14. Class size is limited to 20, and the cost of each class is $40 to cover handouts, a jump drive, and use of the computers at Eastern Wyoming College.
Subsequent Pasture Geeks classes are Google Earth and Planning a Grazing System, Nov. 26; and Ecological Site Descriptions and State and Transition Models, Dec. 3.
The Converse County UW Extension office, in partnership with the Converse County Conservation District and the Wyoming Private Lands Grazing Team, is sponsoring the classes.
Attendees of the classes will leave with:
--The ability to navigate Web Soil Survey and the Ecological Site Information System;
--The understanding of why and how technology can be helpful when determining grazing management;
--An understanding of how grazing management affects different plant communities;
--The ability to calculate the number of livestock a pasture can support based on management and environmental conditions;
--A toolbox of management and monitoring actions that will aid in increasing rangeland productivity and the bottom line; and
--The opportunity to share information with peers.
Scholarships for the Pasture Geeks classes are available.
"We offer scholarships to those who cannot afford to take the workshops," said Garrelts. "It is something Converse County extension does for all its agricultural programming."
There will be a field activity for those who attend all the workshops on May 15, 2013. Details about the field activity will be available on the UW Extension calendar at http://bit.ly/Uvs2h3.
"The field activity will be used to show how the tools taught in the classes can be used in the field," said Garrelts. "This will include working through a state and transition model field activity and also looking at smartphone apps that are available. Hopefully, we will be able to hold this activity on one of the participant's properties."
For more information and to register, call Garrelts at 307-358-2417 or firstname.lastname@example.org.