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Fall opening of College of Agriculture and Technology's Bill and Alice Nix Petting Zoo features animals, renewable energy demonstrations, more

Sept. 30, 2009 -- The College of Agriculture and Technology announces the fall opening of the Bill and Alice Nix Petting Zoo on Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 8-10. This year, on Saturday, Oct. 10, the petting zoo  will also present demonstrations on renewable energy to introduce a new program in Renewable Energy Technology. ASU’s College of Agriculture and Technology offers this new program in partnership with the Arkansas Delta Training and Education Consortium (ADTEC), a group of community colleges. There will also be demonstrations on the creation of bioenergy and computer-aided drafting. Admission to the petting zoo for all three days is free, as are the demonstrations.

Dr. Samy Sadaka, of the University of Arkansas Extension Services, will operate a biodiesel trailer to demonstrate making biodiesel on the farm. The trailer can take oil seeds and extrude the oil. Oil can then be converted to biodiesel. He will also demonstrate energy savings by using Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs). The audience will see the wattage consumed from regular lamps, and they can compare that wattage with that used by CFLs.

Jack Osier, of Arkansas State University – Newport, will demonstrate solar-hydrogen fuel cell cars, and Mike Nagy, of Arkansas Northeastern College, will provide demonstrations of wind energy. Erin Gordon, of East Arkansas Community College and Terry Turner, of Phillips Community College, will offer demonstrations using solar energy.

ASU’s College of Agriculture and Technology will also present posters summarizing research related to biofuels, bioenergy crops, cellulosic ethanol, and algae culture conducted by college and  ABI faculty members Dr. Beth Hood, Dr. Brett Savary, Dr. Jay Xu, Dr. Ganapathy Sivakumar, Dr. Steve Green, Dr. Jennifer Bouldin, and Dr. Kevin Humphrey.

The Petting Zoo will be open from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday and Friday to schools by reservation only; visiting students, pre-K through second grade, will enjoy hayrides and the Petting Zoo stations.

On Saturday, Oct. 10, the zoo is open to the public from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be horseback rides on Saturday, as well. Petting zoo animals include sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, calves, rabbits, miniature horses, and a miniature donkey.

The Bill and Alice Nix Petting Zoo, sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Technology, is open twice a year – once in the spring (usually during the month of April) and once in the fall (usually during the month of October).    

Any students, faculty or staff at ASU can volunteer to help. For more information, contact Sherry Ellis, Agriculture Studies Office, at (870) 972-2087, or e-mail her at


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