LSU AgCenter’s AgMagic this year had a record number of visitors — 13,840 — and LSU AgCenter officials are already starting to plan next year’s event.
“It was a huge success. We had a lot more and a lot nicer exhibits this year,” said Terry Dumas, LSU AgCenter animal sciences professor, who co-chairs the AgMagic project.
AgMagic was held April 21-27 at Parker Coliseum in Baton Rouge with numerous exhibits to show children and their parents where food, fiber and wood products originate. The event is free.
Frankie Gould, director of LSU AgCenter communications and co-chair of AgMagic, said more than 9,572 attended during school visits.
“This was 2,000 more than last year,” she said. “Attendance has been increasing every year since we started in 2004.”
Teacher Natalie Jadid, a fourth grade teacher at University Lab School at LSU, said the exhibits provided students with tangible displays of what they had been learning about plants. “It’s a good review,” she said.
Third-grade teacher Maria Shingleton of Children’s Charter School of Baton Rouge said AgMagic follows her science curriculum.
“This is what is expected of them to learn. This is what we’ve been studying,” she said. She especially appreciated the hand-washing lesson students were given at the last exhibit.
Teacher Carla Theriot of Southdowns Preschool said the event helps students learn what they’ve been taught in class. “It’s wonderful. I like the hands-on opportunities,” Theriot said.
Amber Brown, a fourth grader from Jehovah-Jireh School in Baton Rouge, was trying to absorb as much of the information she could at the insect exhibits. She carefully wrote in her notebook the name of each butterfly on display in a lighted container. “We don’t have to, but we just want to,” she said.
Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for extension, said the event helps young people understand more about how their lives depend on agriculture. “We believe a large number of youth today do not understand how farmers and forest landowners help to improve their daily lives by providing many of the products we take for granted every day.”
Coreil said AgMagic makes it clear that farm products are essential for daily life. “Cotton grown by Louisiana farmers provides the fiber to make blue jeans. Milk produced by Louisiana dairy farmers provides the cheese we love on pizza. Louisiana forest products provide toilet tissue, cardboard boxes and toothpaste and help with clean water and provide wildlife habitat. Louisiana poultry farmers provide the chickens used by Popeyes. And the sugar produced by Louisiana sugarcane farmers provides the ingredients in ice cream and candy,” Coreil said.
The LSU AgCenter Cooperative Extension Service provided much of the funding for AgMagic. Sponsors included the Baton Rouge Advocate; WAFB-TV; McDonald’s; Baton Rouge Parents Magazine; radio stations 96.1 The River, WJBO, WYNK and WFMF; Lamar Inc.; American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists; Louisiana Rice Growers Association; Louisiana Forestry Association; Louisiana Rice Promotion Board; Jeff Davis Rice Growers Association; Louisiana Cotton Producers Association; Louisiana Land Bank and the East Baton Rouge Parish Master Gardener Association.