Mary Ann Van Osdell, Pace, Katherine B., Martin, Karen M. | 9/24/2009 7:15:50 PM
SHREVEPORT, La. – Enter the World of Wonder and follow a path through a forest as you listen to birds chirping and water trickling in the wetlands. Feel the soft fur of different types of animals, and count the years of growth on a large tree “cookie.”
These will be some of the experiences at AgMagic – an interactive, visually stimulating educational experience for children and their families at the State Fair of Louisiana this year, said Karen Martin, 4-H regional coordinator for the LSU AgCenter, which is co-sponsoring the event with the State Fair of Louisiana and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
“AgMagic is going to provide a great opportunity for youth and adults to truly see the importance of agriculture to the state,” Martin said. “The AgMagic experience will be very visual and will provide the kids who attend a fun way to learn about agriculture through some hands-on activities.”
This is a new, free event at the fair, said Katherine Pace, 4-H agent in Caddo Parish. It will be open during normal fair hours except when guided tours are conducted for third- through sixth-graders Nov. 4-6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
School groups can sign up for tours online at www.lsuagcenter.com/agmagicstatefair.
The site includes activities for children and facts about animals.
“As you move out of the forest, you’ll enter the gardens and dig potatoes,” Martin said.
Visitors can see cases of prize-winning quilts and clothing and enter the Louisiana Country Market where they can view a variety of Louisiana products and the canned goods with their brightly colored ribbons. They also may taste a variety of new foods and learn about their nutritional value.
As they leave the country market, visitors will enter “fields” of crops, including soybeans, wheat and cotton as well as their products. The barn will include information about the dairy industry and provide the opportunity to hold a baby chick.
Following the barnyard, exhibits will include water sources and ways to conserve water, and bugs will come alive in the entomology area with exhibits about insects and bees.
Visitors can finish their AgMagic experience by leaving their mark on the 4-H graffiti wall, playing 4-H hopscotch and testing their 4-H trivia knowledge.
“As you exit, all of your senses will come alive in the 4-H mini farm, where you’ll hear pigs squealing and cows mooing,” Martin said.
“Louisiana 4-H has always been an integral part of the State Fair of Louisiana,” said Chris Giordano, the fair’s president and general manager. “The fair’s board of directors and I are truly honored to be able to give both youth and adults visual and hands-on opportunities that teach them agriculture, which is the ultimate goal of AgMagic at the State Fair.”
“We are very pleased to continue our expanded partnership with the State Fair of Louisiana in 2009,” said Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service.
“Our educational exhibits were very well-received in 2007 and 2008; however, this year we have partnered with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and the State Fair to expand our educational impact with an inaugural AgMagic educational experience that focuses on the importance of agriculture and forestry to everyone in Louisiana,” Coreil said. “Visitors will learn about a variety of quality-of-life products that are used in the home daily that come from farmers, forests and ranchers that they never thought were part of agriculture.”
The fair runs Oct. 22-Nov. 8 in Shreveport.
Schools interested in finding out more about Ag Magic also may call Pace at 318-226-6805.
Mary Ann Van Osdell