Explore “The Secret Garden” in AgriWorld at the East Texas State Fair

There’s a bug in our garden – quick, kill it!! Whoa, not so fast. Maybe it’s one of the thousands of good bugs helping our plants grow! Fall is coming – burn those leaves!! Wait! – There’s a better way to recycle leaves and not add to air pollution – composting! Besides, we are under a burn ban and cannot burn leaves anyways. Wish you had some more water for your plants? Save some rain for a drier day.

So many of us have grown up in an urban environment, surrounded by concrete and asphalt, and so we don’t know all that much about agriculture, gardening and the natural environment. Kids especially often don’t have a good understanding of where the fabric for our clothes, the wood for our homes, and the food on our table come from.

That’s the purpose of the AgriWorld exhibit at the East Texas State Fair, which starts today. AgriWorld is in the Youth Education Building (Building E), and consists of a series of displays and exhibits that educate kids on a wide range of subjects from gardening, to agriculture, and the outside natural world around us.

Rainwater harvesting in the water conservation section.

It starts with the Secret Garden, a series of displays in a backyard setting. Follow the yellow brick road (actually brown “bricks”) with Dorothy and her 3 companions to explore the various exhibits. In the water section, you’ll see rainwater harvesting in action, and learn about water conservation. Around the corner you’ll learn all about butterflies, their fascinating lifecycle, and the amazing migrating monarch butterfly.

Next is the recycling and composting yard where you can learn how to turn leaves and other yard waste into a valuable garden soil additive. Look for the worm box where little wigglers turn food waste into rich plant nutrients.

"Is this a good bug, or a bad bug? Let's see......"

Good bugs and bad bugs, they’re all around us, and most are good or beneficial, and that’s what kids will learn from this interactive display.

Where does our food come from? Someone has to first grow it in gardens and farms, and there’s an exhibit that shows some common garden fruit and vegetable plants. The Farmer’s Market shows how garden produce then gets to the table. What other things do we get from plants? How about the cotton in the clothes we wear?

Learn about City Critters who make their home all around us, regardless if you live in the city or country.  Challenge your knowledge and play the Junior Master Gardener game at the two computer kiosks.

But, that’s not all. Next in AgriWorld is Country Life with a barnyard, where you can see chicks hatching from eggs, grown chickens, guineas, Nigerian dwarf goats, miniature donkeys, a Holstein calf, and pot-bellied pigs. While there learn all about the 4-H program.

Finally explore the Wildlife Zone where you will find a large fish tank filled with native fish and crawfish, and a really cool observation honeybee hive. Investigate the mysteries of the Wildlife CSI (Critter Scene Investigation) exhibit, make and identify animal tracks, and learn about camping in our State Parks.

Pre-scheduled school tours will be next Tuesday through Friday 9:00 to 2:00, but you are welcome to come explore AgriWorld anytime before or after that time when the Fair is open.

Check out the East Texas State Fair’s web site and Facebook page to find out more about what’s going on.

The kids will love AgriWorld, and so will you!

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