Nevada Field Day provides hands-on activities and demonstrations

Nevada Field Day provides hands-on activities and demonstrations

Nevada Field Day provides hands-on activities and demonstrations

RENO – At Nevada Field Day on Sept. 17, visitors will be treated to a variety of hands-on activities, winetasting, demonstrations and giveaways, including a Farm-to-Fork Cooking Demonstration and samples at noon on the Main Stage from the University of Nevada, Reno’s own Elisabeth Watkins. 

Watkins is known to many as the Farm Girl Chef from Linden, and is a winner of Food Network’s Chopped Junior and a TEDx presenter. 

She earned her undergraduate degree and is working on her graduate degree from the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, which is hosting the event, with its Experiment Station and Extension units. 

The event is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the University’s Main Station Field Lab, 5895 Clean Water Way in Reno, near the intersection of McCarran Boulevard and Mill Street.

Watkins says she acquired her culinary skills through Extension’s 4-H youth development programs, and she will be using produce and meat from the Experiment Station’s Desert Farming Initiative and Wolf Pack Meats. 

The Initiative, which will also be selling its organic produce at the event, runs a commercial farm, including orchards, open fields, hoop houses and a greenhouse, and seeks to advance climate-smart farming and food sovereignty through demonstration, education, research and outreach. 

Wolf Pack Meats, which will be offering tours at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., provides USDA-inspected harvesting and processing services to local farmers, teaches students the latest in meat technology, and maintains its own herd to study ways to produce meat in greater quantities with higher quality.

Other demonstrations on the Main Stage at Nevada Field Day will involve protecting your home from wildfire embers, container gardening, and propagating indigenous food and medicinal plants. 

In addition, the College’s award-winning student logging-sports club, the Nevada Loggers, will be conducting logging sports events, including chopping, bucking and chainsaw demonstrations. There will also be tours of the sheep facilities (10:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.) and cattle facilities (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.).

The event will be buzzing with activities at more than 40 booths focusing on the latest advancements in agriculture, horticulture, nutrition, natural resources and the environment. The new line of apparel from wool from the College’s Rafter 7 Merino sheep will be on display and for sale. The sheep are world renown for their fine, soft wool.

At the winetasting table, a partnership formed last fall among the College, its Experiment Station and the Nevada Grape Growers & Winemakers will be giving samples to those 21 and over. The partnership seeks to support activities and events, such as classes, wine evaluations, vineyard tours, roundtables, professional speakers and more, 

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to promote the grape-growing and winemaking industries in Nevada.

The tasting table will feature the University’s riesling wine and red blend wine. The riesling grapes are from Lenox Vineyards in Silver Springs. Award-winning Nevada Sunset Winery harvested the grapes and oversaw winemaking activities. The red blend is made from four varietals from Nevada Sunset Winery, and the precise blend is a result of a wine-blending competition sponsored by the College in February.

There will also be activities and information for kids. The 4-H Youth Development Program will be inviting youth to participate in paper-making, as an example of how 4-H projects engage youth to learn about science, health, citizenship and more. The Rethink Your Drink Nevada Program will be there with healthy drink recipes for children and information on reducing children’s intake of sugary drinks.

Other booths will have activities and information for both adults and youth. Some will be making tortillas from different varieties of corn to teach about plant breeding, sampling produce and asking tasters to give feedback on sweetness for a research project, giving out fall seedlings and seed packets, offering gardening tips, selling plants from plant research, and providing information on a variety of research projects the College is conducting, such as research on:

•weather and climate (Find out how you can help scientists learn more about Nevada.)

• plant breeding and genetics

• alternative, low-water-use crops for Nevada

• using precision irrigation management methods and equipment to improve 

• water conservation

• plant characteristics for adapting to drought, salinity and heat

• increasing plant tolerance to harsh environments and increasing biomass productivity

• strategies for improving water-use efficiency in plants

• cactus pear production and uses

• growing hemp in Nevada

• animal reproduction, genetics, nutrition and meat science (Kids, come pick up a cow puzzle.)

• using modern equipment to evaluate forage

• conserving and restoring Great Basin rangelands and improving sustainable agricultural practices

• using virtual fences and collars and GPS-tracking ear tags to manage cattle grazing

• methods to address wildland fire management challenges in the Great Basin

the relationships between diet and chronic kidney disease

• how bacteria and other microbes in the digestive tract affect the Nevadans’ health (Get information on participating in the study.)

• better understanding insect hormones and sense of smell to discover new, safer insecticides and management practices. (See live insect displays.)

• mosquitoes and ticks, and how to decrease their impacts as vectors carrying 

• diseases such as Lyme disease (See how to remove a tick.)

• economic factors throughout the state, including the economic value of hunting and the Nevada State Parks system

Nevada Field Day has been a College tradition for decades, and for over 65 years, faculty have used the 800-acre Main Station Field Lab to provide hands-on educational experiences to students and to conduct research. It has been home to hundreds of programs, such as those focused on raising healthy cattle, controlling noxious weeds, developing low-water-use crops, and preserving air and water quality.

“September is great time of year for people to visit the University’s Main Station Field Lab,” said Bill Payne, dean of the College. “There will be a lot to see and do, and it really helps people understand how we blend the missions of the University in terms of teaching, research and engaging with our communities to serve Nevadans in their everyday lives.”

Faculty and staff will also be on hand to provide information on the College’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as programs offered by Extended Studies – noncredit professional development programs and industry-specific training programs.

Other organizations the College often collaborates with will also be on hand providing information, including the Western Regional Agricultural Stress Assistance Program of Nevada; Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit, USDA – Agricultural Research Service; Nevada Section Society for Range Management; and Bees4Vets, a nonprofit that supports veterans and first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) by teaching beekeeping. The program uses space at the University’s Main Station Field Lab to conduct programs.

Finally, Codfather Burgers & Hamburgers food truck will be on hand. Admission is free, thanks to support from the Truckee Meadows Water Authority and Western Nevada Supply. For more information, call 775-784-6237. 

Persons in need of special accommodations should contact Paul Lessick, civil rights and compliance coordinator, at or 702-257-5577 at least five days prior to the event.