Johnny Morgan, Gould, Frances I.
The LSU AgCenter brings the “magic” of agriculture to the Parker Coliseum April 22-28 on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.
AgMagic is celebrating its 10th year as a fun and educational event where children and adults learn about food, clothing, lumber, animals and other products that make up the complex Louisiana agricultural system, according to LSU AgCenter director of communications Frankie Gould.
“It’s hard to believe AgMagic is a decade old,” Gould said. “But watching the children learning new things about agriculture keeps us looking for new and exciting things to present.”
AgMagic will be open for scheduled tours by school groups from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. on April 22-26. In addition, the public is invited to attend from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on April 27-28.
“This year we are excited to put together another great event to help the public, and especially children, understand where their food and fiber come from and why agriculture is important,” said LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson.
Each year this event features exhibits that include plants, animals, wildlife and other topics. Some exhibits amaze children by showing the growth stages of plants from seeds to maturity. And other activities are designed to help children learn about farming, aquatic life, nutrition, 4-H and bugs.
AgMagic will highlight the science and wonder of agriculture through eight educational areas:
–Animals Produce for You includes chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, dairy cattle, beef cattle and horses. It will give participants a chance to see what animals eat and the products they provide. Children also will have an opportunity to see eggs hatch into chicks in the incubator.
–Farming the Waters will feature catfish, crawfish, oysters, alligators, turtles and ornamental fish, such as koi. Viewing stations will allow visitors to see both habitats and products, and visitors will learn how aquatic life is “farmed.”
–Plant Products will provide a look at how commercial crops and vegetables are grown. Visitors will learn about the origin of products they consume, such as seeing that ketchup comes from tomatoes. Visitors also will have an opportunity to dig for earthworms or sweet potatoes and pick “fruit from trees.” The “plant doctor” will be on hand, as well, because plants get sick, too.
–The World of Wonder will focus on forests, forest products and wildlife. Visitors can make a leaf stamp picture and learn about the native trees of Louisiana. The exhibit will illustrate the abundance of natural resources found in Louisiana and offer an opportunity for a “walk through the forest.” Visitors will learn that the forest products industry is the largest agricultural segment in Louisiana. This exhibit will include a chance for viewing the root system of a tree and visiting with Smokey Bear.
–The Louisiana 4-H section will highlight the youth development program and its “learn by doing” philosophy. Young people can learn about ATV safety and Louisiana’s wetlands.
–The Bugs Rule area will demonstrate the role insects play in agriculture and the environment. This section will give an up-close look at a variety of bugs and a butterfly house filled with butterflies and plants. Young people will see mosquitoes, hissing cockroaches and other interesting specimens. Also, children will be invited to complete “insect rubbings.”
–The Farm Gate to Dinner Plate area will introduce children to food science and provide an opportunity to build a “pizza” using Louisiana-grown products. Again this year, AgMagic will allow visitors to take a walk through the produce section of a “grocery store,” compliments of Rouse’s Supermarket, to see how fruits and vegetables from the farm wind up on store shelves.
–The Body Walk, an interactive exhibit designed to combat childhood obesity, will be in the 4-H Mini Farm adjacent to Parker Coliseum Monday through Sunday, except Friday. Sponsored by the LSU AgCenter and the Blue Cross and the Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, it is part of an overall program known as Smart Bodies.
Weekend visitors can enjoy the LSU AgCenter Storytime section featuring storybook readings by members of the Baton Rouge Junior League.
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 22 through April 26.