Award-winning CSU Ag Adventure exhibit sparks learning in next generation

CSU Ag Adventure collage

On one Saturday alone, a record 2,800 people wound their way through the Ag Adventure exhibit on the third floor of the Hall of Education at the National Western Stock Show, learning about everything from the importance of honey bees to why eggs are so hard to come by in the grocery store right now. 

Visitors young and old were guided by student volunteers from Colorado State University representing each major in the College of Agricultural Sciences. At the end of the exhibit, children had the opportunity to take a pledge and become Junior Ag Ambassadors with the hope that at least some of them will be inspired to pursue agriculture as a future career.

CS Ag Adventure employees
Baylee McSwain (left), Jenny Bennett (middle) and Charley Miller (right) have spent months preparing for the Ag Adventure exhibit at the National Western Stock Show.

“The Ag Adventure program is unique – I don’t know if there’s anything like it in the U.S. or the world,” said Jenny Bennett, the agricultural literacy coordinator at CSU who heads up the exhibit. “We hope that by exposing kids to agriculture, we can provide them with valuable knowledge about something that impacts virtually every part of their lives.”

School field trips to the National Western Stock Show and Ag Adventure are a rite of passage for kids growing up in the Denver metro area – and Bennett is a firsthand example of how they can make a tangible difference. She grew up in Aurora and said her family has virtually no background in agriculture, but visiting the stock show piqued her interest in the industry and made her choose CSU for her undergraduate degree. 

She volunteered for Ag Adventure then, and now leads the team of two employees and 30 student volunteers who start preparing for January’s stock show in October, putting in long weeks to ensure visitors have the most inspiring experience possible. 

The exhibit was recognized with a 2022 Award of Excellence from the International Association of Fairs and Expos as a program designed to educate consumers on the story of food. 

Bennett is quick to say the students are the drivers behind the success. Hover over the images below to meet some of the CSU students working to ensure that the future of agriculture remains bright in Colorado and beyond.