The LSU AgCenter will present the “magic” of agriculture and natural resources again this spring as its annual “AgMagic” events unfold April 23-29 in the Parker Coliseum on the university campus in Baton Rouge.
The successful event is in its fourth year and is designed to help children and adults understand that food, clothing, lumber and other products all are part of the complex agricultural system.
AgMagic will be open for scheduled tours by school groups April 23-27. In addition, the public is invited to attend from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. April 28-29.
“Our faculty and staff are once again putting together a great lineup to help the public, and especially children, understand where their food comes from and what agriculture is all about,” said LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson.
The annual event features a variety of interactive exhibits that cover plants, animals, wildlife and other topics. They range from demonstrations showing the growth stages of plants from seeds to maturity to games designed to help children learn about farming, aquatic life and plants
Among the new features this year will be appearances by Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl. Kids also will be invited to make leaf prints, animal tracks and insect rubbings.
The popular “Bugs Rule” section that was introduced last year also has been expanded. Those exhibits and activities are designed to demonstrate the role insects play in agriculture and the environment.
It includes magnifying lenses to allow participants to view bugs up close and a greenhouse filled with plants and butterflies. It’s also the place where kids will be invited to do insect or bug rubbings.
“AgMagic takes visitors on a journey that shows them various aspects of Louisiana agriculture and the role it plays in the things they use every day,” LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor Paul Coreil said. “It’s an experience that will be interactive and visually stimulating, and it will help them see the links between food and fiber products and the forests, field crops and livestock produced by Louisiana farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.
“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.”
In addition to “Bugs Rule,” other sections in the interactive exhibits that will be offered:
“Animals Produce For You” will be an educational area that includes chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, dairy cattle 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 scheduled demonstrations on sheep shearing and milking a cow, as well as the opportunity to see eggs hatch in an incubator.
“Plant Products” will include a look at cotton, rice and sugarcane from seeds to mature plants. It also will provide a look at how vegetables are grown and how insects contribute to the process. Specialized educational signs will allow visitors to learn about the origin of products they consume, such as that ketchup is made from tomatoes.
“Farming the Waters” will feature 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 what it takes to protect our 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, as well as a portable saw mill, and will give kids opportunities to make leaf prints and animal tracks.
In addition to those exhibits, the “Body Walk,” an interactive educational exhibit designed to combat childhood obesity, also will be available April 28-29. 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 23 through April 27.
To obtain more information or to schedule a tour, visit www.lsuagcenter.com/AgMagic or phone (225) 578-2196.