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NMSU's Corona Center focuses on sustainability at Half Day of College

CORONA, N.M. - New Mexico State University's Corona Range and Livestock Research Center will focus on "Sustainability of Rangelands" at this year's Half Day of College on July 17.

Shad Cox, ranch manager at New Mexico State University's Corona Range and Livestock Research Center, leads a class session at a recent Half Day of College at the center. The Corona center's 2009 Half Day of College is Friday, July 17.(NMSU photo)

Experts will be available to talk about how juniper trees use available precipitation, the benefits of selling carbon credits and how to harness the power of alternative energy in your own backyard.

"The goal of the Half Day of College is to bring education in a forum to ranchers and landowners throughout the state of New Mexico," said Shad Cox, ranch manager. "I hope they benefit from the knowledge of the experts and have their questions answered about carbon sequestration, alternative energy and hydrology."

Sam Fernald, an associate professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences, will speak about the hydrology of piņon-juniper trees on rangelands. Cox said there are misconceptions when talking about trees, tree removal and annual precipitation, and whether removing the tree would increase the water table. The ranch manager said Fernald will separate fact from fiction on this topic and other theories concerning hydrology and piņon-juniper trees.

Joel Brown, a rangeland management specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, will speak to attendees on the ins and outs of carbon sequestration on ranches and how to use the sale of carbon credits as an alternative source of income.

Cox said experts will also be on-hand to discuss alternative energy through wind and solar power. He said large corporations want to construct big wind farms on productive land, which may leave some of the ranches out of the mix. Experts will discuss with landowners how they can capture a scaled-down version of solar and wind energy to use for themselves.

The sessions will run concurrently in order to give individuals a chance to attend the sessions they want.

Also planned is an update on the Southwest Center for Rangeland Sustainability, a multi-purpose research and education facility that will serve as a center for distance education as well as support for graduate research projects.

Registration for the Half Day of College starts at 8:30 a.m., with an introduction and update on the Southwest Center for Rangeland Sustainability at 9 a.m. Classes are at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided at noon.

To reach the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center, travel on U.S. 54 for a short distance north of Corona, then turn right on the county road that leads under the railroad overpass. The ranch headquarters is about eight miles east of the highway.

Anyone with questions on the event, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, can contact Cox at (575) 849-1015 or shadcox@nmsu.edu.