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Over 600 Attend 2nd Annual Wild Resource Festival at French Creek
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Blustery weather only inflated the enthusiasm of the more than 600 people that attended the 2nd Annual Wild Resource Festival on May 20 at French Creek State Park.

Awed by 33 scientific presenters and assisted by 31 volunteers, attendees enjoyed educational exhibits, special activities, and 10 different walks—from mushroom forays to swamp explorations.

According to Sara Nicholas, Executive Director of the Wild Resource Conservation Program (WRCP) and the coordinator of the festival, “People really liked the walks. They provided a first hand look at the natural resources guided by leading experts in various fields.”

The festival wasn’t just a treat for the mind, but for the senses as well. Author Mimi Brodeur tempted taste buds with assorted mushroom-based recipes, well suited to the WRCP focus for 2006—the year of the fungi. Auditory stimulation came from the stage where contemporary acoustic rock and folk musicians shared their soothing talents.

A black snake and milk snake, on display from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, were smooth to the touch based on the animated accounts of the many children and adults who handled them.

Colorful songbirds, safely captured in mist nets and quickly released, were a gift to the eyes of the onlookers at the Bird Banding program. The smells of the native plants for sale by several vendors provided olfactory delights.

The festival was more than an opportunity to learn. According to Nicholas, “It’s great to meet the grantees (of the Wild Resource Conservation Fund). They get to show the public what they do and how they do it.” Sally Just, Director of DCNR’s Office of Conservation Science, added “The festival was an excellent celebration of all of our natural resources and it connected people to those resources in direct, meaningful ways.”

When asked about her favorite moment from the day, Nicholas recollected a fun-filled half hour on a butterfly walk. “Our energetic leader had us leaping through the meadow netting butterflies and then he showed us where a variety of caterpillars were living, even deep down in mowed lawns. It was very eye opening.”

Eventually the sun did shine on the festival and with the light playing on Hopewell Lake and the air abuzz with wild sights and sounds and human voices bubbling with excitement, one couldn’t help but feel a linkage to the environmental rhythms and mysteries of the planet – especially the little piece called Pennsylvania.

Watch for notices for the May 2007 Wild Resource Festival—promising a world of fun and discovery, naturally.

A special thank you to the sponsors of the 2006 Wild Resource Festival: Woolrich, PSECU, Natural Lands Trust, American Mushroom Institute, Blackberry Farms, Phillips Mushroom Farms, United States Hot Air Balloon Team, Café 110, Friends of the Daniel Boone Homestead, Zou’s Garden.

For more information, visit DCNR’s Wild Resource Conservation Program webpage.

Courtesy of DCNR’s Resource Magazine.


5/26/2006

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