Youth activities immerse young Ag Progress Days visitors in science

July 20, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Robots, rabbits and Rosie the Tarantula are all part of the variety of activities for youth at this year's Ag Progress Days.

Mya Rushton, 4-H teen-project staff member and 4-H Youth Building coordinator, said planned activities will engage youth in science by focusing on subjects such as engineering, entomology and animal science.

This year's focal point is the 4-H robotics program. The building will showcase several robots, including one that shoots basketballs.

"4-H members across Pennsylvania built the robots," she said. "Most counties have a robotics program, and many of the members have competed in national competitions."

An entomology exhibit with live displays and a tarantula named Rosie also will be part of the 4-H Youth Building. Ryan Bridge, a 4-H leader who is known as the "The Bug Man," will give an hour-long presentation complete with live insects at 2 p.m. on Aug. 15.

Several other exhibits in the 4-H Youth Building also will include live animals. The Pennsylvania Rabbit Association will feature Angora rabbits and teach youth how to utilize wool from the animals by weaving and using a loom.

The Penn State poultry science program will showcase baby chicks and the incubation process, while dairy princesses -- young ambassadors for the dairy industry -- engage youth in activities related to dairy nutrition.

Youth also can look at fungi, such as mushrooms, through microscopes.

Just outside of the 4-H Youth Building, young visitors can participate in a pedal go-kart derby from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m on Aug. 15.

Rushton said the best aspect of the 4-H Youth Building is the chance to educate youth on the world around them.

"They think a Madagascar hissing cockroach is dangerous or creepy, then they find out their purpose, and that we need them in our ecosystem," she said. "They are so close to something we are taught to stay away from. There's an initial shock, then they get to laughing.

"It's total excitement for children," she added.

The 4-H Youth Building is located just off of Main Street at the Ag Progress Days site, behind the Family Room.

Several other exhibits aimed at children and their families can be found throughout the grounds:

--Kids' Climb, where children can don safety equipment and harnesses and climb a tree like a professional arborist, Main Street, near the Equine Exhibits Building.
--Shaver's Creek Environmental Center exhibits showcasing turtles, snakes, birds of prey and amphibians, Main Street between West 8th and West 9th streets.
--Hay making demonstrations and interactive exhibits, Pasto Agricultural Museum, Main Street, across from the red barn.
--Play Mini-Golf … Man v. Rodents, Family Room, Main Street.
--Corn Maze, outside the Crops, Soils, and Conservation Building, at the end of East 5th Street
--Miniature horses, a stick horse show (Aug. 14) and other demonstrations at the Equine Experience, at the top of Main Street.

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 14; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 15; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 16. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website at Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress.

  • A youth examines a tarantula spider at the Youth Building during a recent Ag Progress Days.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 23, 2012