Cornucopia Fest Highlights Agriculture and the Environment

<p>Thomas Meyer, associate professor of natural resources and the environment, explains the workings of a ‘total station,’ a piece of equipment used in surveying, to participants in the Cornucopia Challenge scavenger hunt. Photo by Susan Schadt</p>

Thomas Meyer, associate professor of natural resources and the environment, explains the workings of a ‘total station,’ a piece of equipment used in surveying, to participants in the Cornucopia Challenge scavenger hunt. Photo by Susan Schadt

One Sunday each fall, UConn’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources hosts a festival to showcase its wide array of teaching, research, and education programs.

Cornucopia Fest 2009, held in front of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ W.B. Young Building on Oct. 4, was part of the University’s Family Weekend. Thousands of students and visitors walked among the displays, interacting with experts from the College and trying out activities such as fly casting, sinking putts, and guided hiking in the UConn Forest.

Participants also rode hay wagons around the College; observed service animals, police dogs, and a carrot mascot in action; and wandered through the Horticultural Show, with its theme of “Alice in Wonderland.” Food venues included a chicken BBQ to raise money for poultry research, and a UConn Dairy Bar ice cream stand.

The Fest, now in its 15th year, aims to educate attendees about agriculture, the environment, food, and quality of life in an enjoyable and participatory way.

“Any time you can put yourselves out there, and 5,000 people come to find out about what you’re doing, that’s great,” says Gregory Weidemann, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

A new activity this year, the Cornucopia Challenge scavenger hunt, drew participants from a broad spectrum of ages. Visitors filled their scorecards by answering questions such as “What is narcosis?” and by doing activities, including making a print with a rubber fish form.

Those who filled in 20 of the 30 spaces on the card received a College of Agriculture and Natural Resources water bottle and were entered in a drawing for prizes, including cakes from the UConn Bakery, reusable shopping totes with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources logo, and a blanket made entirely of wool from UConn and other Connecticut flocks, with a grand prize of four tickets to a UConn football game.

The event was hosted by students, staff, and faculty, and coordinated by Sara Putnam, director of communications and assistant to the dean for human resources.