Tag Archives: msu horse teaching and research center

Visitors acquire knowledge at Ag Expo

This year as they do every year, our Michigan State University Extension colleagues were out doing what they do best ‒ educating the public and promoting our programs at the Ag Expo, which ran July 22‒24 on the MSU campus. Two out of the three days produced comfortable temperatures in the 70s ‒ a welcome relief from the past few years in which staff worked in 90-plus degree heat and high humidity.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) tent featured diverse exhibits and educational presentations.

A new and popular presentation focused on drone technology. A representative from the MSU Department of Geological Sciences gave daily presentations about the unmanned aerial vehicles, their uses and pending litigations.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development featured traditional exhibits with new twists. Children received free books, which promoted early childhood literacy. They learned about science from “Oobleck,” a substance made from common ingredients. The idea comes from the Dr. Seuss book “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.” Attendees spun the Targeting 4-H Life Skills Interactive Educational Display wheel and learned about the 4-Hs in 4-H (head, heart, hands and health). The Commodity Carnival game taught visitors about how weather and commodity prices affect profit when selling livestock.

Michigan State University Extension educator Makena Schultz interests a visitor in the Targeting 4-H Life Skills Interactive Educational Display wheel at Ag Expo

Michigan State University Extension educator Makena Schultz interests a visitor in the Targeting 4-H Life Skills Interactive Educational Display wheel at Ag Expo. The event ran July 22-24, 2014, on the MSU campus. Photo credit: MSU ANR Communications

Master Gardeners exhibited the Smart Gardening initiative.

Our MSU Extension staff educated visitors with a variety of presentations. Gardeners enjoyed presentations on insect friends and foes in the garden as well as on growing smart tomatoes. They learned how to care for soil through talks on the foundation of soil and on the MSU soil test mailer. They also learned how to preserve food after harvest.

Producers learned about how rainfall simulation expands knowledge of crop production. They attended presentations on the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and deer mortality composition. Visitors also learned about the Affordable Care Act and the 2014 Farm Bill.

Staff at the MSU Extension Bookstore tent gave away free pesticide manuals and other products of interest to visitors. They also gave away promotional materials to direct people to the bookstore’s website.

 

Two Ag Expo visitors examine baby chicks at Ag Expo.

Two Ag Expo visitors examine baby chicks at Ag Expo. The event ran July 22-24, 2014, on the MSU campus. Photo credit: MSU ANR Communications

The distribution of knowledge was not confined to the grounds. Our staff also gave tours of the MSU Horse Teaching and Research Center and the MSU Poultry Teaching and Research Center.

Finally, it wouldn’t be Ag Expo without the opportunity to taste the traditional free dairy store ice cream or to hold a baby chick.

I don’t have the space to cover everything that our Extension staff presented or exhibited at Ag Expo. If you want to talk about your exhibit or presentation, feel free to let us know in the comments below this article.

Thanks to all of our staff who made the event a successful educational opportunity! Whether you worked out front or behind the scenes, we appreciate you!

 

 

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Volunteer to promote literacy

There’s a terrific project that gets kids excited about reading through their natural love of animals. The Horse Tales Literacy Project (formerly the Black Stallion Literacy Foundation) pairs little readers up with horses. The kids read Walter Farley’s Little Black, A Pony to horses at the Michigan State University Horse Teaching and Research Center on Forest Road near the MSU campus.

In addition, the kids visit interactive activity stations where they learn about various horse-related subjects such as horse nutrition, and tack and equipment.

If you’re free Tuesday, May 20 from 8:30 to 11, you can volunteer for an opportunity to be a part of this event. Volunteers will either hold horses as the kids read to them or they will help coordinate the activity stations.

Karen Waite, senior academic specialist in the MSU Department of Animal Science and the Extension Children and Youth Institute, coordinates the Horse Tales Literacy Project at MSU. Karen works closely with farm manager Paula Hitzler and the Friends of the MSU Horse Teaching and Research Center to make the magic happen.

Karen said, “This is a great way to spend part of a day. The young people are very excited about reading to the horses, and for many it is the first time they have ever been on a farm. It is fun for all involved, yet educational as well.”

You can get a good idea of the kids’ reaction to the project by watching this video and this slide show both produced by Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications. They document the time in 2010 when 135 first graders from Discovery Elementary in Williamston took part in the program. Kids from Discovery will be back again this year as they have every year.

If you think this is something you’d like to be a part of, contact Karen at kwaite@msu.edu. Just a few hours of your day will make a difference in a child’s life.

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