Purdue Extension State Fair exhibits feature educational games, info on health, conservation and nature

Thursday, August 2, 2018

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – When Purdue Extension heads to Indianapolis for the Indiana State Fair‘s Aug. 3-19 run, educators will be showcasing exhibits that make it fun to learn about health, conservation and the animals around us.

“The exhibits at the 2018 Indiana State Fair represent the breadth of beneficial work that Purdue Extension does across the state,” said Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension and associate dean of Purdue College of Agriculture. “From a full arcade of fast-paced, educational games kids will love to interactive activities for all ages that promote health, conservation and civic leadership, fairgoers will see how Purdue Extension makes Indiana a better place for all of us.”

The exhibits are:

* Light the Night

Say’s Firefly recently became the official state insect. At this exhibit, visitors can learn facts about how and why fireflies light up and about Purdue’s early basic research into firefly bioluminescence, which eventually helped lead to the creation of glow sticks.

“There is so much to learn from the animal kingdom by studying the biological adaptations certain species have developed to survive and thrive,” said Purdue entomology professor emeritus Tom Turpin. “Purdue entomologists, in the early 1980s, were on the leading edge of learning the chemical processes by which fireflies produce light. It’s just one example of how understanding and appreciating the insects we share the planet with can also lead to benefits for humans.”

* Pixel Play Arcade

This new exhibit features eight of the best educational games developed by Purdue Extension, including:

* Hot Plate, which teaches about nutritional health.

* Don’t Be a Zombie, which shows how to prepare for emergency situations.

* Hellbender Havoc, which teaches about the Hellbender, an aquatic salamander that is an endangered species.

“For the past 10 years, Purdue Extension has created fun and educational video games to share important information, particularly with young people, in a way that resonates with them,” said Jeff Rollins, Purdue Agriculture’s manager for exhibits and events. “The Pixel Play Arcade provides fairgoers with the ‘greatest hits’ from past exhibits and cover a range of topics from wildlife conservation to everyday health.”

* H2Whoa!

Visitors will learn how they can contribute to water conservations efforts. The exhibit shows how certain “indicator species” are used to help determine environmental health, demonstrates the important role of mussels in North America’s ecosystem and history, and show how things like trash, soil erosion and chemical waste threaten water systems.

* Be Heart Smart

In this interactive exhibit, visitors will learn about the circulatory system and heart-healthy choices they can make in their daily lives. The exhibit features seven interactive stations – including turning a wheel, pulling levers or taking a sit-up challenge – that will get the blood pumping and show how exercise can be enjoyable. A relaxation station will provide a quiet space where visitors can listen to audio tracks with guided imagery to help them rest and slow their heart rate.

* Lifestyles of the Feathered and Furry

Animal well-being is about more than just health, and this exhibit will show visitors how to recognize contentment in animals and understand if an animal can perform natural behaviors, such as grooming and stretching. The exhibit also offers information on how to provide for an animal’s health while preventing injuries and diseases.

Purdue Extension will host other events throughout the fair:

* The annual discussion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s August Crop Production report will be at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 10 in the Farm Bureau Building Ballroom.

* Purdue’s Women in Agriculture awards will be presented on Aug. 16 in the Normandy Barn at the fairgrounds. The program begins at 3:30 p.m.

* At 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. every day from Aug. 3-18, Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine will present animal surgery demonstrations and interactive displays in a tent on the north side of the fairgrounds near the Farm Bureau Building. In addition to being able to see live surgeries, other presentations offered during the fair include sessions on dog physical therapy, dairy calves and veterinary dentistry. The tent also houses the Indiana State Fair Vet Camp. For the fifth consecutive year, Purdue vet med faculty and students will be providing veterinary care for all of the fair’s exhibit animals, including most of the 4-H animals, under the coordination of Dr. Jonathan Townsend, assistant professor of dairy production medicine and Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s director of Extension.

The Indiana State Fairgrounds is located at 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis. Purdue Extension exhibits are located in the Purdue Extension Ag/Hort Building, located on the west side of the fairgrounds near the midway.

Sources: Jeff Rollins, 765-337-6492, jeffrollins@purdue.edu

Maureen Manier, 765-494-8403, mmanier@purdue.edu

Kevin Doerr, 765-494-8216, doerrkr@purdue.edu

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head, mmanier@purdue.edu

Purdue Veterinary Communications: 765-494-8216

Kevin Doerr, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, doerrkr@purdue.edu


Writer(s): Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu


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