Outdoor Expo offers life-long opportunities | Environment
LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Arkansas students will learn about nature, wildlife and conservation at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Youth Outdoor Expo, Oct. 29-30, at Lake Sylvia Recreation Area.
Fifth-graders from several counties in central Arkansas will experience the outdoors and outdoor skills in the Ouachita National Forest, about 30 miles west of Little Rock.
Events start at 8:45 a.m. and run until 2:15 p.m. each day. Stations feature instructors who teach about biology, archery, BB guns, fishing and many other topics. The biology station, for instance, focuses on scientific management of wildlife. Groups of students stop at each station for 45 minutes.
“We want them to know that if they’re interested in studying wildlife, conservation or other areas, they may be able to contribute and turn that into a job,” said Eric DeVries, assistant chief of the AGFC Education Division. “The stress is on scientific management. They’re all fifth-graders; they are at a good age – impressionable and curious.”
The expo also includes a “fair” with demonstrations about safe boating, herpetology, the AGFC Dive Team, the AGFC K-9 Unit, AGFC wildlife officers with decoys used to catch poachers, the AGFC mobile aquarium and more. This year’s expo will include a cannon net for catching wild turkeys.
“What I love most about the expo is that we are introducing kids to life-long active hobbies – step away from the video games and get outside,” DeVries said. “There is a whole world waiting to be explored.”
The expo reaches capacity with 2,000 students – 1,000 each day. The first AGFC expo in 2007 drew 500 students to Petit Jean Mountain.
“When we had 500 students, we realized we could make this a whole lot bigger,” DeVries said.
The USDA Forest Service is a major partner in the event.
(Source: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission)