By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - Back in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into the law the Morrill Act, a land-grant bill that allowed funding for agricultural colleges.
To mark the Morrill Act's 150 anniversary, the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is holding an open house from 9 a.m. to noon at a variety of locations in Fort Pierce.
"The facility offers research, teaching and extension opportunities," said Jackie White, academic coordinator at the Indian River Research and Education Center.
"The courses we teach and the events we conduct are pertinent to what the local needs are here in St. Lucie County."
At the research and education center, located at 2199 S. Rock Road in Fort Pierce, the school will show a video of the history of the Morrill Act and students will make presentations.
The Treasure Coast Rare Fruit Club and Native Plant Society will have a display on hand, and there will also be walks through the teaching garden.
Around the corner at 8400 Picos Road, the St. Lucie County Master Gardeners will hold a festival and plant sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. At this location, residents can also learn how to grow and preserve their own food, care for citrus and learn beekeeping.
Just down the street at the St. Lucie County Extension Windstorm Training Center at 8350 Picos Road, residents can learn about designing their yards, bed bug prevention and control and how to control invasive animals. The building, also called the hurricane house, will illustrate ways to protect your home in a storm.
The final location is down Picos Road at the St. Lucie County Extension 4-H farm, located at 1901 South FFA Road. There, students involved in 4-H will show how they care for farm animals. Residents can take a tour of the farm, learn how to grow food hydroponically and how to take care of water resources.
"We're encouraging people to stop at all four locations," Ms. White said.
To keep the event fun, a punchcard will be handed to attendees of the events. People traveling to all locations get the card punched five times at some of the many displays that will offer it, and the card can be returned to the education center for a gift.
"The research we do reflects the agriculture that takes place here in St. Lucie County," Ms. White said. "Everyone in the family is invited to come out and see what the students here are accomplishing."
For more information about the celebration, call Karen Murphy at (772) 462-1660.