Featured Stories

July 9 2019

ABAC’s Destination Ag Impacts Record Number of Students in Third Year

TIFTON—The buzz of children’s excited voices easily matched that of the bees inside the observation hive at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village. The observation beehive was one of the new additions to the Destination Ag program at the Museum during the 2018-19 year.  It was also one of the favorite stations for the record 10,980 students who participated in the program in its third year of existence.  “Destination Ag had a great year,” Museum Director Garrett Boone said.  “We have the nuts and bolts of the program in place, and now we’re concentrating on minute details that will provide the best possible fun, educational experience.” Destination Ag allows school children an up-close and personal look at where their food, fiber, and shelter originate.  This year, students from school systems in Brooks, Irwin, and Lowndes counties, as well as the Valdosta city school system, participated in the program for the first time.  They joined pre-kindergarten through third grade students from Tift, Colquitt, Cook, and Berrien counties. “It is vitally important to engage students with the importance of agriculture and natural resources at an early age,” Boone said.  “Along with our partners, we are working hard to provide opportunities to increase the awareness on the critical role that agriculture and natural resources play in our everyday lives—from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the house we live in.” Thanks to an initial gift of $250,000 from the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation to the ABAC Foundation, Destination Ag began educating students in September 2016.  In 2017, the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation committed $1 million over the next four years to continue the program.  The generosity of the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation allows the Museum to provide Destination Ag programming at no cost to the visiting students. “Industry partners are the cornerstones of Destination Ag,” Boone said.  “We can’t say thank you enough to the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation, and our other partners who make this program possible.” This year, the program’s partner additions included the Georgia Peanut Commission, the Georgia Pecan Growers Association, the Blueberry Growers Association, the Georgia Peach Council, Stripling’s General Store, and Pearson Farm. Sixteen ABAC students taught at the Destination Ag learning stations, adjusting their Museum workload around their own ABAC classes.  “According to our surveys, the attitude toward agriculture is much more positive after the students participate in Destination Ag,” Boone said.  “Besides our students on-site, we had 3,500 pre-k through 12th grade students participate in our off-site outreach programs.” Destination Ag also added a pollinator garden, two Shetliot sheep, two new dairy goats, and Georgia’s state reptile, a gopher tortoise, this year. “Our goal is to build upon what the students learn each year,” Boone said.  “For some of these students, this was their third year attending the program.  We get a little more in-depth as the students get older, and we increase their time at the various learning stations.” Signage for the poultry, beef, and dairy industries was added this year.  It proved to be particularly popular with the 1,500 adults who attended Destination Ag with the children. “One of the things we realized early on was that there was a secondary audience composed of the adults who came with the children,” Boone said.  “The adults really enjoyed seeing all the facts and figures on the industries that they utilize every day but often don’t really think about.” Boone said fourth graders from the participating counties will be added to Destination Ag when the new school year begins.  He said students from Turner County will also immerse themselves in the Destination Ag experience for the first time, elevating the expected number of children impacted by the program to over 21,000 for the 2019-20 year. “We intend to make Destination Ag the premier ag literacy program in the country,” Boone said. ###
July 1 2019

Tifton Native Selected as President of ABAC Ambassadors

TIFTON—Hannah King has been named the 2019-2020 president of the ABAC Ambassadors, one of the most prestigious student leadership organizations at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.  King, daughter of David King and MeLisa King, is a senior biology major at ABAC.  She is a Tifton native who grew up aspiring to be an Ambassador. “I actually remember as a child seeing the Ambassadors in their green blazers and always thought they looked so professional,” King said. “It was a dream that I had as a child that has become a reality. I am so honored to have this experience to serve on this team for a third year.” For that childhood dream to come true, King’s first step was to make ABAC her college of choice. Growing up in Tifton, she was familiar with the ABAC campus. "I knew that ABAC was the perfect school for me, and I knew that I did not want to go anywhere but ABAC,” King said.  “So many different qualities made me fall in love with the school. The campus is so beautiful, and the class sizes are smaller which allowed me to form great relationships with my professors. “ABAC has a family atmosphere, and there is something for everyone to make ABAC feel like home.” While attending ABAC, King has been involved with many activities and clubs on campus.  In the fall, she will serve as the Historian for the TriBeta Honors Biological Society. She has also served as a Stallion Society Leader and as a member of the Inter Club Council Board of Directors.  She is also a mentored research student. King began her mentored research with Dr. Christopher Beals, an Associate Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences. She will start her third year of researching how different chemicals affect different plant species.  Her mentored research earned her the honor of being the first winner of ABAC’s Student Engagement Programs Symposium. “I can remember the moment that I was told I had won first place,” King said.  “I was beyond surprised. That was my first big achievement in college.” In her research, King looked at how different copper concentrations affected different plant species. This research is still being conducted, and the findings will be used to see how different chemicals can be removed from the environment. This summer, King used an internship to shadow employees in every department at Phoebe Putney Health System. “This experience will help in making my decision for my ultimate career goal,” King said.   “My dream job is to become a pediatric physician assistant.” As president of the Ambassadors, King plans to continue the success of the very popular program. She also hopes to get the Ambassadors involved with new organizations in the community.  King will officially begin her term as president of the Ambassadors when fall semester classes begin at ABAC on Aug. 13. ###
July 3 2019

ABAC Celebrates National Ice Cream Day with Exhibit at Country Store on July 20

TIFTON—A unique collection of late 1800s drug store artifacts from the drug store in Boston, Ga., will be on display at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village on July 20 in celebration of National Ice Cream Day, which is on July 21. Museum Curator Polly Huff discovered a special collection of photographs that has never been displayed featuring drug stores from all over the state of Georgia and dating from 1890 to 1911.  Along with the Boston store’s artifacts, this photo collection will also be included in the exhibit and available for public viewing for the first time. The Museum Country Store will house the one-day exhibit, and visitors that day will have a chance to view it in its entirety at no charge.  Country Store Manager Tonia Carpenter said visitors arriving at the Country Store between 10 a.m. and noon on July 20 will be treated to a free sample of the Museum’s hand-dipped ice cream. Jason Gentry, an ABAC student from Tifton majoring in history and government, is one of the summer interns at the Museum Gallery.  He is working with Huff and Carpenter on this one day, pop-up exhibit. “These drug stores were a center point of small towns providing everything from medicines to ice cream and sodas and many things in between,” Gentry said.  “I have really enjoyed doing research on the artifacts we have.”  Museum operating hours on Saturdays in July are from 10 a.m.–3 p.m.  Saturday admission is $10 for adults, $8 for senior adults, $5 for children five to 16 years old, and free to children four and under. ABAC students receive free admission with a student ID. The Museum will be open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in July. Admission will be $7 for adults, $6 for senior adults, $4 for children five to 16 years old, and free to children four and under. ###