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Woodbury resident Megan Wallace, a junior at Stillwater Area High School, will be volunteering at the CHS Miracle of Birth Center at the Minnesota State Fair Aug. 27 to Sept. 2. Wallace will primarily be working with the poultry animals. Submitted photo.

The born identity

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Woodbury resident Megan Wallace has never been to the Minnesota State Fair before.

But this year, she will not only be attending the fair for the first time, she will be right in the middle of the action.

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Wallace will be volunteering at the CHS Miracle of Birth Center Aug. 27 to Sept. 2.

"I live in Woodbury, I don't work on a farm, I haven't lived on a farm," said Wallace, a Stillwater High School junior. "I just think it's going to be a really amazing opportunity."

The CHS Miracle of Birth Center is an agricultural education exhibit where visitors can witness live births and newly born farm animals.

Additionally, the exhibit also teaches visitors about animal agriculture production, veterinary science and the birthing process.

Wallace said she will primarily be working with the poultry animals during her shifts.

"Seeing animals be born is a really cool thing," she said. "It's really cool to be a part of that."

An animal lover

Wallace heard of the opportunity at the Miracle of Birth Center through Stillwater FFA, which is a national youth organization that partners students with agricultural education.

At Stillwater Area High School, FFA is a component of the agriscience department.

Wallace just completed her first year as a member of FFA.

Since FFA students are typically the volunteers at the Miracle of Birth Center, Wallace said the program adviser encouraged all FFA students to apply.

In addition to FFA, Wallace also works at the Stillwater Veterinary Clinic.

"I love the opportunity to be able to take care of them and take care of them," she said. "How can you not love furry little animals?"

Working at the fair

During her time at the Miracle of Birth Center, Wallace's days will be split up into two primary tasks.

In the morning, she will help get the animals ready for the day by feeding them, giving them water and making sure they are clean and ready for visitors.

In the afternoon, Wallace said she and the other FFA volunteers will be responsible for answering questions and helping oversee the animals.

Wallace and the other volunteers will be staying on-site.

"It's going to be lots of early mornings and late nights," she said.

Even though Wallace hasn't spent much time working with livestock, she said she isn't too nervous about working with the animals.

"Yeah,they are big animals, they are capable of really dangerous things but they are also really sweet," she said. "If you treat them right they won't have issues."

Wallace won't be going into the Miracle of Birth Center completely unfamiliar with livestock; she volunteered at the children's barnyard during the Washington County Fair earlier this month, where her favorite animal was a two-week old calf.

"He was the sweetest thing," she said. "He would suck on your fingers."

Wallace said she is most excited about seeing visitors' reactions.

"Unless you have a farm, you haven't really been around livestock," she said. "They've never been able to experience this and have reactions to these animals."

Wallace said she expects the Miracle of Birth Center to be an educational experience for her and visitors.

"I hope by the end of it I feel better about teaching people about agriculture and about the people who produce their food," she said. "They have this stereotypical vision of a farmer in their head and I hope I can change that view for them."

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
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