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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

New exhibits make their debut this Picnic Day

Yes, Picnic Day means the usual betting on random dogs at the Doxie Derby and lining up for the chance to milk goats and cows. The Quad will be packed with booths. Children will run around chasing dogs and eating hot dogs. But for the first time ever, scattered throughout the usual chaos of the event, new exhibits will be on display for Picnic Day visitors. What sorts of activities will make their debut this year?

1) Northern California Sled Dog Rescue (NorSled)

A few additional fluffy companions will make an appearance at this year’s Picnic Day.

“We’ll have two or three dogs out there with us, which will most likely be huskies or malamutes,” said Chris Drake, professor of statistics at UC Davis and one of NorSled’s volunteers. “They will be there for people to play with and for them to see what our rescued dogs are typically like.”

NorSled is a nonprofit organization founded in 1998 that focuses on rescuing unwanted Northern-breed mixes such as Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes and samoyeds. Members of the organization rehabilitate dogs, foster them in their own homes, attend adoption fairs and hold events to educate schools about sled dogs.

“We will be there to provide information on the breeds and on some of the things we do for the dogs and, of course, to talk about how people can volunteer,” Drake said.

The NorSled website offers information on each dog they have available for adoption in the Northern California area, complete with pictures, personality profiles and even videos. As NorSled does not have a central headquarters, all of these dogs are fostered in the homes of volunteers, which increases the need to find them permanent homes.

Look for the NorSled booth on Hutchison Field from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

2) Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue

Just as there are rescue organizations and shelters dedicated to finding homes for abandoned dogs, there are also groups that care for rescued birds.

“[On Picnic Day] we hope to get the word out that our organization exists and to answer questions about that,” said Pamela Lee, development director and chief financial officer for Mickaboo.

The rescued, unwanted, neglected or abused birds are similarly housed in foster homes until Mickaboo can connect them to permanent adoption.

“We will have a variety of birds such as finches, macaws, and amazons with us,” Lee said.

As one of the group’s goals to educate the public about the most updated bird care the avian visitors will provide an interactive supplement to Mickaboo’s booth.

Mickaboo is also a nonprofit organization that relies primarily on volunteers so information on how to get involved will be available as well.

Mickaboo will be located on Hutchison Field from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

3) UC Davis K-14 Outreach Center for Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM)

This year, the UC Davis C-STEM Center will have an interactive display of modular robots that have been developed by UC Davis and its industrial partners.

Called the Mobot, the robot is designed to be fully functional. According to the C-STEM website, “The Mobot has four degrees of freedom. It can roll, crawl, stand and tumble. In addition, like Lego, Mobot can also be used as a building block to create a snake, tank, trunk, humanoid and any systems you can imagine.”

Kevin Gucwa, graduate student in the UC Davis mechanical and aerospace engineering program, said that the robots are part of an effort to broaden student participation in the studies of math and science before they enter college.

“We are aiming at high school and younger,” Gucwa said. “But we’ll have undergraduate students and graduate students as well as high school and middle school students demoing the robots. We’ll be able to show [Picnic Day attendees] what the robots can provide in terms of learning.”

The C-STEM center hopes that the robots will help engage younger students and encourage them to pursue higher education in the areas of computing, science, technology or engineering.

“It shows what UC Davis is doing in connection with local schools,” Gucwa said. “The robots are a new and different way to present information to students.”

Learn how to program your own modular robot outside Bainer Hall from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

LANI CHAN can be reached at features@theaggie.org.


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