Children can take a break from the heat and learn about agriculture at the same time at the North Dakota State Fair this year.
The Agrium Seed Survivor exhibit is located in the main lobby of the North Dakota State Fair Center and teaches children ages 3 through 12 about many different aspects of agriculture.
Jennifer Ashley, marketing director for the State Fair, said Agrium is a fertilizer company in Canada, and Seed Survivor is an exhibit that teaches children about everything that goes into making plants grow and why they are so important to the environment.
Children interact with several displays at the Agrium Seed Survivor exhibit in the North Dakota State Fair Center Tuesday afternoon. The exhibit teaches about things such as plants, soil, sun and water.
This watershed model at the Agrium Seed Survivor shows how rain falls onto the ground and drains into streams and rivers, which in turn drain into ponds and lakes.
"They have this beautiful exhibit that travels all over the nation, and we are lucky enough to have it at the North Dakota State Fair this year," Ashley said.
She said there are many different interactive games provided in the exhibit for children to play that teach them about plants.
An insectscope allows children to look at different insects and see what they do, and a coloring area allows children to engage in an age-old pastime that shows them plants need sun, soil, nutrients and water to grow.
One of the more interesting parts of the exhibit is the watershed, which is a model that shows how rain falls into rivers, which then feed into lakes. The exhibit defines a watershed as an area of land where all water drains into a common body of water. Lakes, streams, ponds and wetlands are all part of a watershed. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes and can cross national and international borders.
Ashley said that is just the beginning of what there is to do at Seed Survivor.
"There's a place where you can plant your own plants and there is also several interactive games on computers located throughout the exhibit," Ashley said.
Each area of the exhibit has short facts posted for children and parents to read. Some examples are an average-size tree can produce enough oxygen to keep two to four people alive, and it can take 1,000 years or more to form 1 inch of soil.
The exhibit is open in the air-conditioned comfort of the State Fair Center's main lobby from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.
Ashley said it's in the perfect location and children as well as their parents have loved it so far. She said the afternoons are a really busy time for Seed Survivor, probably because that's when the weather is usually at its hottest and everyone needs a break from the sun.
"It's an air-conditioned building so it's a great place for families to come, take a break and still do something fun," Ashley said.
Ashley said the exhibit has been a great addition to the State Fair this year. The combination of traditional agricultural-based learning has really been enhanced by the interactive technology and hands-on opportunities the exhibit provides. That makes it a big hit with children and parents alike.
"We're all about promoting ag here at the North Dakota State Fair, because we have all the resources right here to tell the story of what North Dakota, as well as the rest of the world, can bring to the table in agriculture," Ashley said. "And this is just another great way that we can do it."