Valley has plenty of plein-aire potential |

Valley has plenty of plein-aire potential

by Amy Roby
Whit Hall on the River Fork Ranch on Wednesday morning. Several events are slated for the ranch, located along Genoa Lane this month.
Kurt Hildebrand

In the Carson Valley, we are fortunate to be surrounded by such an exquisite and bountiful landscape. The Sierra Nevada and Pine Nut mountain ranges form a stunning backdrop against the beauty of the region’s varied topography, meandering waterways, and endless kaleidoscope sky.

These rich visual offerings provide ample inspiration for the upcoming Plein-Aire (outdoor) painting workshop at the River Fork Ranch Preserve. Artists are invited to join instructor Dana Childs and “Have a Brush with Nature,” 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 21.

Childs has more than 20 years experience teaching watercolor, graphite, and acrylic mediums. Driven by a passion for learning and for passing her knowledge on to others, she leads a variety of local-area art classes, workshops, hikes and outings.

Cost is $25 and includes guided instruction and supply rental; participants are asked to specify whether they prefer watercolor or pastel. Artists may also elect to bring their own supplies, all media welcome. Additional suggested items to bring are a camp chair, drinking water, snacks, sunscreen, and polarized sunglasses.

Pre-registration is required; go to to reserve a spot in the class. Questions may be directed to Childs via email at

Half of the proceeds from this event will benefit The Nature Conservancy.

Butterfly conservation workshop

Monarch butterfly populations have declined sharply across the United States over the last couple of decades, in large part due to the disappearance of suitable habitats that include the common milkweed plant. Monarchs lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed, and it is the only plant that Monarch caterpillars feed upon.

To help bolster the number of areas where Monarchs can thrive, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Nevada Division of Forestry host a Monarch Butterfly Conservation Workshop at River Fork Ranch Preserve on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 1-4:30 p.m. Attendees will learn how to create their own monarch butterfly way station and will take home free plants native to Nevada to help them get started.

Space is limited at this free event, and pre-registration is required. To secure a spot, contact USFWS biologist Michelle Hunt at 775-861-6341 or via email at

Questions about either the Plein-Aire or butterfly workshop can be directed to Kris Kirkpatrick at 775-322-4990 Ext. 3126 or via email at

River Fork Ranch Preserve is located at 381 Genoa Lane in Genoa.

September’s full moon

For those of us in the Pacific Time Zone, this year’s full harvest moon coincides with Friday the 13th. Take a look up at the sky tomorrow to see this rare treat; the moon will be fullest just after 9:30 p.m.

Amy Roby can be reached at