Get connected to New Jersey’s outdoors this weekend at the Department of Environmental Protection’s third annual New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo, a celebration of the state’s bountiful natural resources and rich outdoor heritage.
The Expo, to be held rain or shine on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15-16 at the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township, will offer classes, lessons, demonstrations and exhibits on a host of outdoor activities.
Numerous environmental and conservation exhibits, demonstrations and seminars are planned for the weekend. Visitors – whether avid outdoorsmen or novice adventurers of any age– can learn about and try a wide array of activities including fishing, hiking, kayaking, camping skills, rock climbing, wildlife watching, shooting sports and much more.
“The Expo helps people connect with the natural world by providing a unique blend of conservation information, education and hands-on opportunities to learn outdoor skills and activities,” said Dave Chanda, Director of the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.
“It is designed to encourage people to get outdoors to enjoy the superb opportunities found in New Jersey’s parks and wildlife management areas,” added Rich Boornazian, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources.
The WILD Outdoor Expo is a one-stop information, demonstration and participatory event for outdoor adventure activities. Expo attendees can get an introduction to archery, learn how to build a bat house, take in a turkey calling demonstration, develop their compass skills on an “orienteering treasure hunt” or participate in geocaching workshops. There will also be plenty of hands-on fun for families including WILD crafts, and demonstrations on birds of prey and snakes of New Jersey.
A centerpiece of the Expo this year will be the Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Experience. This 1,000 square foot interactive exhibit on wheels is dedicated to demonstrating the many ways water shapes our lives. The exhibit uses models to explore the nature of watersheds and the movement of water- via rain over a city landscape, a running river, computer model simulations, and a 40-person multi-sensory theater.
Also, the popular “Hog Trough” will engage visitors and gets anglers excited about great fishing opportunities in New Jersey. This giant mobile fishing tank holds thousands of gallons of water, and will be loaded with monster trout and warm water game fish from the Pequest and Hackettstown State Fish Hatcheries.
More than 100 different conservation, environmental and recreation exhibits, demonstrations and seminars are planned about the state’s air, water, soil, flora and fauna, and history. A host of experts will be on hand to provide information on an array of topics from hunting to nature photography to scuba diving in New Jersey. There will be a historic encampment and re-enactment of crafting dating to the 1740s.
The Expo also features an outdoor supply flea market for getting or resupplying the gear needed for outdoor recreation. Food will be available from vendors, or bring your own if you prefer.
The Expo is sponsored by the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, Division of Parks and Forestry, and Green Acres Program, as well as the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
Admission and parking are free. Most activities are free, except for a few that are offered for a modest fee. Some activities require pre-registration.
For directions to the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area and more information, including a video tour of the 2011 Expo and a complete listing of 2012 programs, visit: www.wildoutdoorexpo.com
Image courtesy New Jersey DEP