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First Land and Lake Festival at Atwood deemed a success

An ODNR Wildlife officer instructs a visitor to the Land and Lake Festival how to properly use a bow.

Kyle Valentini

Rural Action, through its Huff Run and Mud Run watersheds office along with the Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District, the Harrison Soil and Water Conservation District, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District hosted the inaugural Land and Lake Festival, a one-day conservation education and outdoor recreation event at Atwood Lake Park June 13.

With 135 visitors including 25 children who went through the Passport to Fishing program, Marissa Lautzenheiser, Rural Action’s Huff Run Watershed and Mud Run Watershed coordinator said for a hot, muggy day, the event was deemed a success.

“We will do it again next year, and we plan on having more organizations participate, and even more hands-on activities,” Lautzenheiser said.

The event goal was to target adults and children with hands-on learning that would motivate them to make lifestyle changes that would have a direct impact on water quality issues throughout the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District and surrounding region including acid mine drainage, agricultural impacts, untreated septic and sewage impairments, poor riparian buffer zones, and others all while highlighting the opportunities that already exist for outdoor recreation.

MWCD provided a free kayak demo that let visitors paddle in a cordoned section of the lake at a leisurely pace. MWCD staff was on hand to assist with lifejackets, instruction and safety.

Laura Marie Davis, an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Tuscarawas Soil and Water Conservation District, represented the Norma Johnson Center. Visitors could get up close and personal with tadpoles, a frog and a newt that Davis assured would be returned safely to the watershed at the close of the event.

“So many people ask if the animals will be returned to their habitat,” Davis said. “It’s nice to know people care about them. We try to teach the importance each animal plays in the eco system.”

Many other activities were popular including the ODNR Wildlife Passport to Fishing program, which was hosted by Rural Action staff who are certified facilitators. The program provides participants with skills, techniques and information that allow beginner anglers to fish on their own. The program consists of four stations that focus on hands-on participation with a strong conservation message.

The ODNR Wildlife Archery Trailer, an enclosed space that allows individuals of all skill levels learn to hold a bow, pull a bowstring, aim and fire was popular with boys and girls.

ODNR Mineral Resources Management conducted electrofishing demonstrations and explained why it is an important tool in understanding the health of local waterways.

Local soil and water districts along with OSU Extension constructed a low tunnel and encouraged visitors to plant seeds in biodegradable ice cream cones while educating attendees on various farm and garden practices that allow for season extension.

Representatives from the Akron Zoo performed shows about wildlife in Ohio.



Published: June 19, 2015
New Article ID: 2015706199973