'Scoop on Poop' Educates Iowans on Value of Nature's Nutrients

Interactive exhibit at Des Moines zoo explains the uses of livestock manure.

Visitors to Des Moines' Blank Park Zoo this summer are learning about the value of livestock manure in Iowa in a new, interactive exhibit. It will be on display throughout the summer.

The "Poop Cycle Investigation" exhibit brings an opportunity to show how the manure of all animals is used in nature. What's more, the exhibit will also teach children and adults the value of manure in Iowa's robust livestock industry and the impact cow, pig, chicken, turkey and sheep poop has on growing Iowa crops for feed, food and fuel.

"Iowa's Manure Cycle" exhibit is sponsored by Iowa ag groups as a complement to the Zoo's new "Scoop on Poop" exhibit. The Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa Cattlemen, Farm Bureau, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship, Iowa Egg Council, Iowa Manure Management Action Group, Iowa Sheep Industry Association, Iowa Soybean Association and Midwest Dairy Association of Iowa.

Fun, interactive exhibit helps people learn

"This is an opportunity to tell the story of how livestock manure is used in Iowa," says Gretta Irwin, executive director of the Turkey Federation and spokesperson for the sponsoring organizations. "We're pleased to be partnering with the zoo on this project this summer and excited to help explain "Iowa's Manure Cycle."

The "Poop Cycle Investigation" takes zoo-goers on a fun and interactive trip through the "Iowa Manure Cycle." Visitors can test their knowledge by identifying manure from different livestock species, and learn how manure is used to fertilize crops that produce feed for the livestock, food for people and fuels such as ethanol and soy biodiesel. The exhibit also challenges visitors to identify the everyday products are possible through the cycle of crop production that hinges on the availability of 'nature's nutrients' - manure. For example; renewable fuel production depends on having manure as a source of crop fertilization.

Once visitors have visited each of the five kiosks in the exhibit, they can become certified "Poop Cycle Investigators" and receive a license that verifies their knowledge of "Iowa's Manure Cycle."

"The sponsoring organizations feel it's important that the general public understands that livestock manure is used responsibly, helps replenish our soil, and has tremendous value in Iowa. Our exhibit will hopefully make people realize that poop is an organic and natural substance that for centuries helps Iowans in many ways," says Irwin.

The "Poop Cycle Investigation" exhibit opened at the zoo May 26 and will run through September. For more information on the "Iowa Manure Cycle" exhibit, contact Gretta Irwin, executive director of the Iowa Turkey Federation at (515) 232-7492 or e-mail [email protected].

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