Colorful birds took flight to the delight of a large audience at Ag Day 2013.

Ag Day 2013

Largest crowd ever turns out for Ag Day 2013 festivities

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3:57 p.m., May 1, 2013--Beautiful weather, great entertainment and a variety of agricultural and environmental exhibits combined to make Ag Day 2013 the largest in history, with more than 8,000 visitors in attendance.

The record crowd of visitors gathered at the 38th annual Ag Day were able to see over 90 interactive exhibits and witness a variety of demonstrations including a beehive demonstration, a free flight bird show, a Seeing Eye dog demonstration, a tree climbing exhibition, live bands featuring University of Delaware faculty and professionals, and the unveiling of a portrait of Robin Morgan, former dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR). 

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New to Ag Day this year were horse-drawn wagon tours of the UD farm put on by Circle C Outfit from Bridgeville, Del., which featured Rick, one of the horses from UD’s herd.

Always popular at Ag Day are the many plant sales by the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG), UD Horticulture Club and New Castle County Master Gardeners, and the ice cream from the UDairy Creamery. This year the UDairy Creamery sold ice cream to over 3,600 patrons, practically doubling the amount that they sold at Ag Day 2012.

Also popular was the free flight bird show, which is put on by a CANR alumnus. "One of the unique things that we’ve been able to offer the past few years is we have an animal science alum who does animal training and behavior, who travels around the U.S. to train educators to conduct live bird shows,” explained Katy O’Connell, communications manager in CANR. “At Ag Day, he offers two free flight bird demonstrations where he has macaws, vultures, hawks and even chickens that he trains to do live demonstrations.” The crowd for the 2 p.m. showing topped 500 audience members. 

CANR Dean Mark Rieger, having been hired in August 2012, was on hand for his first Ag Day and welcomed those in attendance, saying, “We hope that you learn something about agriculture, and we also hope that you learn something about natural resources -- that’s the other part of our name. If you take the farm tour and you go on the carriage ride, you’re going to see wetlands, you’re going to see streams, you’re going to see woods, you’re going to see songbirds. If you go inside, you’re going to have a wildlife display in there, an entomology display, and things like that. So there’s a lot of different things here today; make sure you get around and see all those things.” 

Rieger also thanked O’Connell, who led the organization of the event, along with eight undergraduate students, Kim Yackoski, CANR assistant dean, and Latoya Watson, CANR academic adviser, before handing the microphone over to Tom Sims, CANR deputy dean, who had a special presentation for Morgan. 

Robin Morgan’s portrait

The portrait — a CANR tradition that sees each dean get their portrait painted and hung in Townsend Hall — was unveiled by Rieger and Sims.

Of Morgan, Sims said, “It was my privilege to work with [Morgan] as associate dean and deputy dean for nine years. She really was committed to our students, our undergraduate students, she was committed to our faculty, she built our faculty by hiring many of our current faculty members and was committed to agriculture and natural resources as she demonstrated throughout her tenure as dean.” 

After unveiling the portrait, painted by Kellie Cox, a UD alumna, Sims continued saying, “This is just a small way of saying thank you to Robin for all that she’s done. She’s now back on the faculty getting ready to teach a big class this fall so her commitment to agriculture and our students just goes on and on.” 

Rieger echoed these sentiments adding, “I want to thank Robin for coming out today and all the things that she did for the college. It makes my job a lot easier having to step into her shoes when she has done so much for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.” 

Photos by Danielle Quigley

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