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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Wood Magic Science Fair and forestry equipment show come to Starkville

Students+learn+about+the+chemistry+and+production+of+different+wood+products.
Ivy Rose Ball | The Reflector

Students learn about the chemistry and production of different wood products.

The Mississippi State University College of Forestry Resources is putting on the Wood Magic Science Fair and the Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show from Sept. 18 through Sept. 22.
The Wood Magic Science Fair is being held by the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts as an opportunity for third and fourth grade students to learn about the importance of forest products. It is being held outside the MSU Wood Identification building at 201 Locksley Way.
The Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show will be held Friday and Saturday in MSU’s John W. Starr Memorial Forest at the intersection of Saint Mark Drive and Highway 25.
Kevin Ragon, program director of the Wood Magic Science Fair, said Mississippi has over 19 million forested acres and that each Mississippian uses about 5.5 pounds of wood every day, whether it be in diapers, amazon boxes, medicines, food or housing.
“We teach the students how important our forests are to our everyday life and the science behind what it takes to grow, care for and responsibly use this valuable resource,” Ragon said.
Dan Seale, Warren S. Thompson professor of Wood Science and Technology, founded the fair in the mid-1990s. Since then, the science fair has had over 150,000 participants.
“It has been so effective that it has been replicated at Virginia Tech, South Carolina, and Washington State. It took hold around the United States,” Ragon said.
The fair will host 4,500 students, teachers and parents from all parts of Mississippi this week.
Children will participate in a variety of educational demonstrations and activities to teach them about the importance of Mississippi’s forest industry. Throughout the day, participants will see a sawmill in action, learn how plywood is made, investigate how strong pencil lead is and help presenters make paper.
Children will learn about the importance the forest industry plays in Mississippi’s economy. Ragon noted how these lessons can instill a little state pride into participating elementary students.
Ragon acknowledged Mississippi’s fortune to have such abundance of natural resources.
“When they come, these kids start to see that Mississippi is a leader in sustainable bioproducts,” Ragon said. “They realize very quickly that not only do we lead in forestry, but we lead in agriculture and other areas.”
Jane Strawderman, a freshman industrial and systems engineering major, remembers attending the fair in 2013. Strawderman said the demonstrations shown enhanced her science education, as she had never seen real experiments conducted in her elementary school.
The Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show has been held since 1984, making it the longest-running, live, in-woods equipment demonstration in the South. It is held by the Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show, Inc., in partnership with the Mississippi Loggers Association, Mississippi Forestry Association and MSU’s College of Forestry Resources.
The show boasts 72 exhibitors and an expected attendance of 6,000. Participants can expect to see food trucks, a children’s play area, loader and skidder competitions and continuing education programs for foresters and loggers. There are two $1,000 cash giveaways that are drawn throughout the show.
The Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show consists of live and static forestry equipment displays. In the back of the lot, a few acres of trees have been marked off for equipment demonstrations. Observers can sit in air-conditioned tents and watch the equipment chop down pine trees.
Admission will be $40 and the event will open at 8 a.m. The show is pedestrian-only, and golf carts are available to assist visitors with mobility concerns.
John Auel, the show’s director, said none of the lumber will go to waste and that the lumber will be donated to MSU to be sold.
MSU’s Society of American Foresters student chapter is helping to set up the show. Logan Lowrey, a senior forestry major, is one such student.
“We are fundraising for our trip to the National Society of American Foresters in Sacramento, California,” Lowrey said.

About the Contributor
Kate Myers
Kate Myers, News Editor
Kate Myers is a freshman communication major. She currently serves as the News Editor. [email protected]
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Wood Magic Science Fair and forestry equipment show come to Starkville