With no UFO sightings reported in Alabama this year, some might feel it's a mystery as to how an unusual design with an Auburn flavor has ended up in a corn field on the Auburn University campus.
The corn field MAiZE — featuring Aubie driving a tractor, a huge interlocking AU and “College of Ag” — promises to be a popular destination for visitors to the campus this fall.
Bill Hardy, associate dean for the Auburn University College of Agriculture, came up with the idea for the project after seeing a magazine article about corn mazes that are planted throughout the country. The article described one maze in Tennessee that drew more than 27,000 visitors last year, generating significant income for the farmer who developed it.
Hardy felt that a similar activity at Auburn could serve as a major funding source to assist in covering the cost of Ag Heritage Park — a project designed to preserve the role that Auburn University agriculture has played in Alabama history. Hardy also thought it would be a fun activity that would bring positive publicity to the Auburn University College of Agriculture.
The maze opened for touring on Aug. 30 and will remain open throughout the football season.
Planning for the project began on May 15. The corn was double planted, first going length-wise of the field and then cross-wise. The resulting grid pattern, in addition to giving a thick stand of corn, made it easier to lay out the pattern in the field.
After the design was laid out in the field and the walking paths were cut, several miles of netting were installed to clearly define the paths and to keep visitors from crossing from one path to another.
The corn field MAiZE is located behind the Hill dorms, just southeast of the Old Rotation. Turn onto Donahue Drive off South College and then turn right onto the dirt road extension of Woodfield Drive. Also, those who are tailgating may walk from campus. Go up Mell Street past the President's Mansion and the Hill dorms and follow the signs.