DEP to host 10th annual Wild Outdoor Expo in Jackson

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The 10th Annual WILD Outdoor Expo, showcasing New Jersey’s outdoors and opportunities for recreational activities, will be held Sept. 7-8 at the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson.

The expo runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and will be held rain or shine. Admission and parking, as well as most activities, are free. Some activities may require a minimal fee, according to a press release from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The expo will feature more than 100 exhibits, demonstrations and seminars highlighting wildlife, conservation and New Jersey’s outdoors heritage.

“This event provides a great opportunity for residents and visitors to discover new and exciting ways to enjoy the great diversity of outdoor experiences that are available in New Jersey,” DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said.

“This also is a great opportunity for families and people of all ages to appreciate the beauty of our environment, learn about conservation, try new activities, and see some of our wildlife and aquatic life close up,” she said.

One of the expo’s highlights is a giant mobile aquarium which will hold a variety of warm-water game fish from the Charles O. Hayford State Fish Hatchery in Hackettstown. Casting and fishing demonstrations, as well as instructional tutorials for new anglers, are planned.

In addition to the mobile aquarium, visitors can sharpen their camping and backpacking skills, try archery, learn how to build a bat box, improve their tree identification skills, and see birds of prey and reptiles up close.

Other activities will include nature photography and educational programs about a variety of activities. such as fishing, kayaking, rock climbing, shooting sports and wildlife watching.

“We are very fortunate in New Jersey to have many different types of ecosystems to explore and enjoy,” New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Golden said. “The expo provides a great opportunity for people to enhance their enjoyment of these opportunities while learning about the importance of protecting these resources for all to enjoy.”

Numerous exhibits, demonstrations and seminars will focus on air, water, soil, plants, animals and history. Experts will be available to discuss and provide advice about fishing, hunting, scuba diving, forestry stewardship and much more, according to the press release.

The expo also will feature an equipment flea market offering outdoor recreation and other environmental-related products for purchase. Refreshments will be available from food trucks and vendors.

Many of the activities and programs can help fulfill Boy Scout and Girl Scout badge requirements. For a complete list of free scout badge activities and events, as well as directions to the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area, visit www.wildoutdoorexpo.com

For more information about New Jersey’s wildlife management areas, visit www.njfishandwildlife.com/wmas.htm