DALLAS — Texas A&M Dallas will mark its Silver Anniversary on May 30 by having its first open house since the early 1980s.
“We especially invite those people who drive by on Coit Road every day and wonder what goes on inside,” said Dr. Tim Davis, the center’s resident director. “It should be a great educational experience for families and completely free of charge.” The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m on Saturday, May 30.
“Also featured will be our old friend and former colleague, Neil Sperry,” Davis said. “He has scheduled a seminar at 2 p.m. on Texas gardening. While Neil is one of the more well-known of our alums, we invite all our friends, partners, supporters and employees over the 25 years to join in the celebration.
“Kids should really enjoy the Pizza Ranch where they can see the raw materials for their favorite food. And the Mobile Dairy Classroom gives a closer look at one of our safest and most reliable foods. Visitors will be able to safely meet a fire ant queen, talk to experts on this persistent pest, and also stroll our test gardens and see what plants may be in nurseries next year.
“Some very forward-thinking people started this facility in the 1940s as a private ag research foundation,” said Davis. “They had names you’d recognize, like Jonson, Carter, McDermott and of course, Ralph Rogers, who was instrumental in starting the Dallas Arboretum. They wanted to preserve the farming economy in the Texas blacklands.
“We pledged to carry on that mission when it came into the A&M family in 1972. We kept the pledge while building on it to serve our growing urban population. Our scientists and specialists found ways to adapt the newest methods in traditional agriculture to the urban need for better turf grasses, ornamental plants and reduced use of chemicals.”
“We’re proud of our accomplishments in agriculture and want to share how it impacts the lives of people here in the Metroplex.” said Dennis Smith, Silver Celebration chairman and Camp County Extension agent. “We think many will be surprised at how scientific advances in agriculture bring new and better foods to their supermarkets, how better cotton T-shirts get to their stores, and where reliable consumer information comes from, whether it’s about health, nutrition, landscape plants or insects you find at home or outdoors.
“We have scheduled food safety demonstrations focusing on cooking beef safely to avoid E-coli, the popular new herbal oils and vinegars and outdoor grilling. All 22 counties in the Dallas region will have exhibits, as will the Texas Forest Service and 4-H. There will be both walking and riding tours.
“The long-stemmed bluebonnet was born here at the Dallas Center,” said Smith. “So was Prairie buffalo grass, four new zoysia grasses that stand up to the Texas sun and humidity, and the Don’t Bag It Lawn Care program. These are only samples of the things to be seen at the open house on Saturday. We’re looking forward to showing people around.”