DEP’s Wild Outdoor Expo
Scheduled Sept. 12 & 13
Popular free event showcases outdoor activities, opportunities at New Jersey’s parks, wildlife management areas and natural spaces
(15/P74) TRENTON, NJ – The great outdoor venues and experiences of New Jersey will be featured September 12 and 13 during the Department of Environmental Protection’s sixth annual WILD Outdoor Expo at the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township, Ocean County, Commissioner Bob Martin announced.
The Expo, which highlights the state’s natural resources and outdoor heritage, will include many environmental and conservation exhibits, demonstrations and seminars. The rain-or-shine event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Numerous exhibits and outdoor activities are planned. Participants of all ages can try the activities at the Expo or take in some outdoors learning on everything from camping skills, fishing and kayaking to rock climbing, shooting sports or wildlife watching.
“The goal of the Expo is to create a family fun day where New Jersey residents of all ages can acquire new outdoor skills, and learn about the state’s natural resources through a combination of conservation information, education and hands-on opportunities and activities,” said David Chanda, Director of the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.
The WILD Outdoor Expo is a one-stop information, demonstration and participation event for outdoor adventure activities. Visitors can sharpen their navigation and backpacking skills, participate in turkey calling, get an introduction to archery, practice bike maintenance basics, learn about local bats, hone their bird and tree identification skills, watch a dog detection demonstration by the State Park Police K-9 Unit, see quail and raptors up close, participate in nature photography workshops, and much more.
There also will be plenty of hands-on fun for families, including nature hikes, an exotic reptile display featuring a python and alligator, an inflatable soil tunnel, WILD crafts, and demonstrations with birds of prey.
One of the Expo’s highlights will be a giant mobile aquarium, which will show off New Jersey’s plentiful fishing opportunities. The tank holds thousands of gallons of water and will be loaded with huge trout and warm water game fish from the state’s Pequest and Hackettstown fish hatcheries. Casting and fishing instruction and demonstrations are planned.
Also on display at the Expo for the first time will be two new off-road wheelchairs called Trackchairs, which were recently purchased by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. These are specially made tracked wheelchairs powered by batteries that are specifically designed to help people with disabilities get outdoors to go hunting, hiking, fishing, wildlife watching, to the beach, and much more. The Division of Fish and Wildlife will purchase more Trackchairs in the near future, and is developing a comprehensive plan for their use and availability.
About 120 conservation, environmental and recreational exhibits, demonstrations and seminars are planned about New Jersey’s air, water, soil, flora and fauna, and history. Numerous experts will be on hand to discuss topics from hunting to bird watching to scuba diving and forestry stewardship in the state. A historic encampment and demonstrations of crafting dating to the 1740s also are planned.
Many of the free activities and programs offered at the Expo can help fulfill Boy Scout and Girl Scout badge requirements. A complete list of free scout badge activities at the event can be found at www.wildoutdoorexpo.com.
In addition, the Expo also features an equipment flea market for getting or resupplying gear needed for outdoor recreation, or to purchase other environmental-related products. Food will be available from a variety of vendors, or visitors may bring their own.
The Expo is sponsored by the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, State Forestry Services and State Parks Service, as well as the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. It is partly financed by a grant from the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation’s (USSAF) Trailblazer Adventure Program and funding from Bass Pro Shops, the New Jersey Sportsmen’s Wildlife Foundation and the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance. Admission and parking are free. Most activities are free; some are offered for a modest fee.
For a complete list of events and directions to Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area, visit: www.wildoutdoorexpo.com
For more information on New Jersey’s wildlife management areas, visit: www.njfishandwildlife.com/wmas.htm
For more information on New Jersey’s state parks and forests, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/