Campus Life

Ag Progress Days Family Room promotes health, nutrition, safety and fun

Elise Gurgevich, state coordinator for Penn State Extension's Nutrition Links program, talks to visitors in the Family Room during a previous Ag Progress Days expo. Credit: Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Families can play minigames, get valuable health and safety information, taste nutritious food and drink, and participate in hands-on educational activities in the Family Room building at Penn State's 2015 Ag Progress Days, Aug. 18-20, according to specialists in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

"Visitors to the Family Room will see Penn State Extension programs designed to provide high-quality information and help people make positive behavior changes to build caring, safe and healthy communities," noted lead organizer Elise Gurgevich, state coordinator for Penn State Extension's Nutrition Links program. "We'll offer many hands-on activities, food demonstrations and useful handouts for all ages."

The various exhibits are sponsored by the Penn State Extension Nutrition, Diet and Health Team and Nutrition Links program; Penn State Extension Food Safety Team; Penn State's Food Science Department; Penn State University Police Community Education Program; the Penn State Extension Pesticide Education Program; and the Penn State StrongWomen program. Displays and activities will include the following:

--Dining with Diabetes. This exhibit will focus on diabetes prevention and artificial sweeteners. Visitors can learn more about all of the sweetener options on the market today, how sweeteners compare, and the pros and cons of each. Penn State Extension educators also will offer cooking and baking tips.

--Healthy Lifestyles Food Demonstrations. Food enthusiasts can observe quick and healthful recipes being prepared hourly, gather serving ideas, taste the resulting fare, and receive a copy of the featured recipe.

--Home Food Preservation. Penn State food-safety specialists will provide information about how to preserve food at home safely.

--Internet Safety Tips and Firearm Safety.  Children can meet a police officer and learn about Internet safety while their parents can get tips to safeguard their Internet-active children. Firearms-safety information and gun locks (while supplies last) will be available.

--"MyPlate" Scavenger Hunt. Children can use the USDA's "MyPlate" model to plan a healthy plate and participate in a scavenger hunt to locate food items from Ag Progress Days vendors that fit the "MyPlate" model.

--Naturally Flavored Water. Visitors can taste water flavored with natural products and learn the importance of water in their daily diet.

--Pests and Pesticide Safety. Interactive stations will show visitors how to identify pests around the home and how to control pests using an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. Consumers will find out about Mr. Yuk and the importance of teaching young children what to do when they see a Mr. Yuk sticker on a product. Participants will receive Mr. Yuk stickers and fun prizes. The Pesticide Education Program's talking robot, DB Pest, will greet visitors at the building entrance.

--StrongWomen. Visitors will learn about foods that can help improve bone health and discover weight-bearing and stretching exercises designed to enhance their overall health and well-being.

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 18; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 19; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 20. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and Facebook users can find the event at

DB Pest, a talking robot operated by the Penn State Pesticide Education Program, talks to children outside the Ag Progress Days Family Room building in 2012. Credit: Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated August 03, 2015