Deborah Hurlbert, Merrill, Thomas A. | 4/22/2005 1:16:39 AM
The LSU AgCenter will once again transform its Parker Coliseum in Baton Rouge into a place where people can learn about the wonders and magic of agriculture April 12-21.
Continuing a successful event that started last year, the LSU AgCenter will offer "AgMagic." The event is designed to help children and adults understand that food, clothing, lumber and other products that result from agricultural production don’t just come from a store.
It will feature a variety of plants and animals and even will include a replica of a small forest planted on the coliseum’s dirt floor. It also will provide participants with a chance to experience the "Body Walk" – an interactive exhibit that is part of the new "Smart Bodies" efforts to combat childhood obesity that are being presented by the LSU AgCenter and a charitable subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.
"We are proud to bring AgMagic back again this year," LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor Paul Coreil said.
"As we did last year, AgMagic will take children and adults through a journey of Louisiana agriculture and economically beneficial commodities they use every day," Coreil said. "The AgMagic experience will be an interactive, visually stimulating environment that will link food and fiber products we use every day to the forests, field crops and livestock produced by Louisiana farmers, ranchers and forest landowners."
The AgMagic event has replaced the traditional 4-H Mini Farm that formerly was conducted each spring in a smaller facility adjacent to the Parker Coliseum during the LSU AgCenter Spring Livestock Show. It provided school groups with a chance to see smaller farm animals and to learn a limited amount about a few Louisiana agricultural commodities.
This year’s AgMagic exhibits will provide a look at aquaculture, wildlife and farm animals, as well as featured crops such as sugarcane and cotton. In addition to providing a glimpse of the vast ecosystem contained in a forest, visitors will walk through a small forest constructed inside the coliseum as they enter the world of renewable resources.
The exhibits will include:
–"Animals Produce For You." This educational area will include chickens, pigs, goats, sheep and dairy and beef cattle. It will give participants a chance to see what animals eat and the products provided by the livestock industry. There also will be a chance for participants to see eggs hatch in an incubator.
–"Plant Products" will focus on plants, soils and the environment. It will include a look at cotton, sugarcane, grasses for lawns and soils of Louisiana. The exhibit also will focus on things everyone can do to help the environment and will include a putting green to help make learning about specific turfgrasses a little more fun.
–"Farming the Waters" will feature catfish, crawfish, alligators, turtles and recreational and ornamental fish. Viewing stations will allow visitors to see both habitats and products, and visitors will learn how you "farm" aquatic life. They’ll also have a glimpse at how new robotic boats designed by LSU AgCenter scientists can help in "farming the waters."
–The "World of Wonder" exhibit will focus on forests, forest products and wildlife. The exhibit will illustrate the abundance of natural resources found in our state, as well as the vast economic value derived from forests and forest products.
Debbie Hurlbert of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development unit, one of the event’s organizers, said teachers will be provided with resource guides they can use back in their classrooms.
AgMagic will be open to the general public from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. April 16. On other days during its April 12-21 run, it will be open for scheduled tours by school groups and other organizations.
The Body Walk, which will be housed in the 4-H Mini Farm Building adjacent to the Parker Coliseum, will be available April 12-19. This 35-ft by 45-ft walk-through exhibit representing the human body is part of a new statewide program designed to battle childhood obesity. It is being administered by the LSU AgCenter in conjunction with Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Louisiana Child Caring Foundation.
To obtain more information or to schedule a tour, visit www.lsuagcenter.com/AgMagic or phone (225) 578-2196.