LSU AgCenter presenting AgMagic April 20-26

Elma Sue Mccallum, Merrill, Thomas A., Dumas, Terry L.  |  3/4/2009 2:52:20 AM

News Release Distributed 03/03/09

The LSU AgCenter’s AgMagic, an event focused on helping young people have fun while also learning about the role of agriculture in their daily lives, will be presented April 20-26 at Parker Coliseum in Baton Rouge.

AgMagic provides an opportunity for children and adults to understand that food, clothing, lumber and other products all are part of the complex agricultural system. It also shows them the important connections among agriculture, the environment and their lives.

“AgMagic is in its sixth year and continues to excite and inform young people about agriculture,” said Dr. Bill Richardson, chancellor of the LSU AgCenter. “The event provides a fun, interactive educational experience for school groups and families.”

Admission to the event is free, and it’s open for scheduled tours for school groups April 20-24. The public is invited to attend from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. April 25-26.

The annual event features a variety of interactive exhibits that cover plants, animals, wildlife and other topics. They range from showing the growth stages of plants to activities designed to help children learn about forestry, aquatic life and more. Kids also will be invited to make leaf prints, animal tracks and crayon rubbings of insects.

“AgMagic will help young people see the links between food and fiber products and the forests, field crops and livestock produced by Louisiana farmers, ranchers and forest landowners,” said Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of extension. “It also tries to show how Louisiana agriculture plays a vital role in the state’s economy – in addition to contributing to the food we eat, clothes we wear and homes we live in.”

Among the interactive exhibits at AgMagic:

–"Animals Produce For You" will include live chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, dairy cattle and beef cattle. It will give participants a chance to pet the animals and to see what animals eat and the products provided by the livestock industry. Kids also will have an opportunity to see eggs hatch in an incubator.

–"Plant Products" will showcase specialized crops grown in Louisiana, such as pecans, watermelons and bedding and ornamental plants. It also will include cotton, rice, sugarcane, vegetables and other plants, as well as how crops are grown. Specialized educational signs will allow visitors to learn about the origin of products they consume, such as ketchup is made from tomatoes.

–"Farming the Waters" will feature live catfish, crawfish, alligators, turtles and ornamental fish, such as koi. Viewing stations will allow visitors to see both habitats and products, and visitors will learn how you "farm" aquatic life.

–The "World of Wonder" will focus on forests, forest products and wildlife. The exhibit will illustrate in a natural-type setting the abundance of natural resources found in our state. Visitors will learn about protecting the environment and that the forest products industry is the largest agricultural segment in Louisiana. This exhibit also will include a chance for visitors to view the root system of a tree and to see Smokey Bear.

–The Louisiana 4-H section will highlight the youth development program and its “learn by doing” philosophy. Kids can learn about ATV safety, Louisiana’s wetlands and citizenship. Louisiana 4-H is an educational program of the LSU AgCenter designed to help young people develop leadership, citizenship and life skills.

–The popular “Bugs Rule” area will demonstrate the role insects play in agriculture and the environment. Participants will be able to view live bugs up close in a special butterfly house filled with plants and butterflies. Young people also can see hissing cockroaches and other interesting specimens. It’s also the place where kids will be invited to do crayon rubbings of insects.

In addition to those exhibits, the "Body Walk," an interactive educational exhibit designed to combat childhood obesity that guides young people through giant replicas of parts of the body, also will be available April 25-26. Sponsored by the LSU AgCenter and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, it is part of an overall program known as "Smart Bodies."

Tours for school groups and other groups must be scheduled in advance. Dates and times available for group tours are between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day from April 20 through April 24.

Photos from previous years and a variety of learning activities are available on the Web at www.lsuagcenter.com/AgMagic. You also can obtain more information or schedule a tour from that site or by phoning (225) 578-2196.

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Contacts:
Elma Sue McCallum
Terry Dumas

Writer:
Tom Merrill

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