Science, fun merge for youth at Ag Progress Days

July 25, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Hands-on activities designed to be fun, interactive and educational will expose young people to a variety of scientific fields at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 12-14.

Displays will engage young visitors in robotics, animal science, wildlife ecology and other topics, according to event organizers.

At the 4-H Youth Building, the focus will be zoonotic diseases and entomology, said building coordinator Mya Rushton, Penn State Extension 4-H teen program manager.

"An insect exhibit with live displays will be a big part of the 4-H Youth Building," she said. "Kids can learn about insects -- hold them in their hands -- and discover the subject of entomology."

The building also will showcase several robots built by 4-H members from across Pennsylvania, Rushton noted. Penn State Extension 4-H programs in most counties offer a robotics project, and many of the members have competed in national competitions.

Several other exhibits in the 4-H Youth Building will include live animals. A display on zoonotic diseases will teach visitors the proper handling of animals and good safety practices. The Pennsylvania Rabbit Association will feature Angora rabbits and show young people how to utilize wool from the animals by weaving and using a loom.

Fiber arts and the inner working of the Shaw family farm in Dauphin County will be displayed, while dairy princesses -- young ambassadors for the dairy industry -- engage youth in activities related to healthy diets that include dairy products. Youth also can look at fungi, such as mushrooms, through microscopes, with the help of Penn State plant pathology experts.

"Young people can find out about the great opportunities 4-H has to offer in science, engineering, technology, citizenship, leadership and healthy living," Rushton said. "We can offer fun, games, activities and prizes for all youth visitors who participate."

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

Several other exhibits aimed at children and their families can be found throughout the Ag Progress Days 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 Eighth and West Ninth streets.

-- Hands-on exhibits at the Pasto Agricultural Museum, which will give visitors a glimpse into farm and rural life before the widespread use of electricity and gas-powered equipment, Main Street, across from the red barn.

-- Games, a scavenger hunt, food demonstrations and other interactive activities at the Family Room on Main Street.

-- A-Maze-N Corn, outside the Joseph D. Harrington Crops, Soils and Conservation Building, at the end of East Fifth Street. This corn maze is accessible for wheelchairs and baby strollers.

-- Miniature horses and other demonstrations at the Equine Experience, at the top of Main Street.

-- Pedal Go Kart Derby: Kids supply the power for these go karts at the serpentine track on West Eighth Street, behind the Family Room building.

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, 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 12; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 13; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 14. Admission and parking are free.

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

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 25, 2014