Missourians invited to discover nature at state fair

SEDALIA, Mo (MDC) - Missourians interested in discovering nature close to home can pick up information about how to do it at the Missouri State Fair Aug. 13 through 23.

The Missouri Department of Conservation's pavilion is at the south end of the fairgrounds. This year's displays invite visitors to "Discover Nature Near You." Displays focus on nature as an antidote to everyday stress and emphasize relaxation through beauty, restful scents, sounds and recreation.

As always, one way of decompressing at the Conservation Pavilion is to spend some time watching fish in big aquariums and viewing a wide range of other live animal displays.

This year's outside displays include wildflower landscaping demonstrations of plants for rocky sites, woodlands, water features and sunny borders. Don't forget to check out the indoor diorama depicting plants and animals along a riverbank.

The air-conditioned Conservation Kids Room, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, provides a welcome retreat from summer heat. This also is the place to go for children's programs and hands-on exhibits designed to encourage new nature discoveries.

Live programs offered at the Conservation Pavilion this year include:

· Family Camping, 11 a.m. Aug. 13;

· Get Ready to Go Fishing, 2 p.m. Aug. 13;

· Fish Cleaning and Cooking, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Aug. 14 and 15;

· Bird Watching, 11 a.m. Aug. 16;

· All About Bird Houses and Feeders, 2 p.m. Aug. 16;

· Firearms Safety at Home and Afield, 11 a.m. Aug. 17;

· Growing Rain Gardens, 2 p.m. Aug. 17;

· Nature Photography and Art, 11 a.m. Aug. 18;

· Outdoor Cooking, 2 p.m. Aug. 18;

· Know your Ducks, 11 a.m. Aug. 19;

· Hunting for Beginners & Being a Mentor, 2 p.m. Aug. 19;

· Know Missouri's Trees, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Aug. 20;

· Stopping Poachers: The Case of the Paddlefish, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Aug. 21;

· Reptiles of Missouri, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Aug. 22

· Wildlife Calls, 11 a.m. Aug. 23;

· Snake ID and First Aid in the Outdoors, 2 p.m. Aug. 23.

Conservation agents, biologists, foresters and other experts will be on hand to answer questions from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Overall, the Conservation Pavilion is a great place to pursue the 2009 Missouri State Fair's theme of "Rural Lifestyles."