Mississippi State University holds a Wood Magic Science Fair at their Forest Products Lab. This is an educational program of experiments, activities, and demonstrations for 3rd and 4th grade classes and their teachers. The first on-campus program was held in 1992 for one class of 3rd graders from a local grade school.
The program was a simple tour of the lab with some demonstrations about wood, and it lasted a couple hours. What was meant to be a simple one-time tour didn't turn out as such. As MSU Professor Dan Seale tells it: "The children seemed interested and well-behaved and we were mentally congratulating ourselves until one little girl challenged us with 'all you do is cut down trees and destroy the ozone!' This statement was rather startling, especially since one of her parents worked in a factory making wooden furniture." Because it was becoming increasingly apparent that there was a real need for children to learn more about forestry and forest products, a commitment was made to hold annual Fairs at MSU. What started out with 1 class of kids has expanded to a week-long event.
There is a need here in Virginia for scientific information about forest and wood products in our schools. Each October the Department of Wood Science & Forest Products at Virginia Tech and the Virginia Forest Products Association will hold an on-campus Wood Magic Show (WMS) at the Brooks Forest Products Center in Blacksburg, VA.
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