Ambassadors at the fair

GrowNextGen ambassadors are at the Ohio State Fair, working to educate the public about agriculture in the Land & Living display. Their participation is sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council and Battelle. The ambassadors are sharing with fair visitors about drones, biodiesel, DNA, and bees.

Drones are part of modern agriculture’s use of technology to help find what can damage a crop and reduce the food supply. “We have field maps on our table. Visitors can see how the little robot drones simulate what drones would look at in the field. They can pretend to spray the bugs they found,” ambassador Kyla McCoy explained.

“One woman who stopped by was talking to her children about the uses of drones, but she said she’d never thought of the ways drones can be used in agriculture.”

McCoy is in an ag education program in college, and she said this experience has helped prepare her for working with students in the classroom. “There are many misconceptions we’ve addressed. We’re trying to bring clarity to everyone we interact with.”

Mekenzie Jolliff, coordinator of the ambassadors program, said their confidence levels have risen as they’ve gained experience doing the activities and interacting with the public.

Ambassadors are talking about biodiesel made from soybeans and demonstrating how it powers putt-putt boats. Another activity involved DNA extraction, starting with strawberry puree, meat tenderizer, dish soap, and salt. Adding isopropyl alcohol separates the DNA. This leads to conversation about modifying the DNA in plants.

The fair provides lots of opportunity to interact with and to inform the public. The ambassadors are doing a great job of outreach! Invite them to your classroom or community event!