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Thingamajig Invention Convention: Farm Bureau Foundation Reaches New Audiences

Newsroom / July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2014 – The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture reached a new audience of more than 4,000 students of elementary to high school age recently in Prince George’s County, Maryland, at the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington’s 20th annual Thingamajig Invention Convention. The event attracted students from across Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area, allowing them to participate in interactive educational activities and create eco-friendly inventions for the chance to win prizes.

A YMCA camper and his advisor learn about agriculture across the U.S. by playing one of the 19 My American Farm games. Photo by Kenna Lewis. Click on the image for a high resolution version.

The theme of the convention was STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, a primary focus of the Foundation. Julie Tesch, executive director, said it was thrilling to be invited to the event because of the opportunity to reach a new demographic.

“Our real hope is to work with the urban audience better,” Tesch said. “A lot of these kids have never seen a plant grown before or they’ve never seen an animal. So the more we can do to make agriculture and especially where their food grows relatable and exciting the better.”

The Foundation hosted a “make and take” booth at Thingamajig where students created flower pens with the Foundation logo and parts of a flower on them. Additionally, kiosks were set up for visitors to play several My American Farm games. “My American Farm offers a variety of fun interactive activities; kids are learning while having fun,” Tesch shared.

The Foundation is always looking for more opportunities like Thingamajig that offer interaction with new groups.

“Think outside the box on what we could be doing, because there’s so many ways that we can reach students,” Tesch said. “[Thingamajig] is a foot in the door for us, so the first step is doing these informal things and then hopefully we can get into the schools and do more Ag in the Classroom training.”

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture aims to build awareness, understanding and a positive public perception of agriculture through education. To learn more about how the Foundation is working to share the story of agriculture or to make a donation, visit the Foundation website.

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