September 10, 2008

Presque Isle State Park to Host Its First Wild Resource Festival


Contact: Terry Brady of Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, +1-717-772-9101

ErieCountyLandmarkOffering 'Celebration of Nature'

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/-- With its expansive backdrop of unique and abundant natural resources boasting National Natural Landmark distinction, Presque Isle State Park in Erie County will host the Wild Resource Festival's annual salute to nature from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

"This is Presque Isle's day to shine after being selected as the state park to offer a Wild Resource Conservation Program festival," said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Michael DiBerardinis. "With its 3,200 acres arching into Lake Erie, the state park is a haven for migrating birds and it is home to many of the state's endangered, threatened and rare plant and animal species. The location is a natural choice for an event and program that provides so many educational benefits."

Based at the Tom Ridge Environmental Education Center, Wild Resource Festival events offer visitors a variety of hands-on, educational displays and exhibits, hiking, fishing and other group activities, entertainment and refreshments.

"Education is the focus but emphasis is on fun as park visitors are invited to sample a broad spectrum of the outdoors world around them," said DiBerardinis. "The festival is designed to provide children, families and wildlife enthusiasts of all ages a chance to talk to the state's leading scientists and get a front-row seat to view Pennsylvania's non-game animals and plants."

Organized by DCNR's Wild Resource Conservation Program, festivals have been held at parks in the east, west and, now, northwest sections of the state to offer more people a chance to attend. The Pennsylvania Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission also participate in the event.

"Once again we are very proud of the many prominent naturalists, botanists, biologists and other speakers who will be introducing park visitors to our wealth of outdoors riches," said Wild Resource Conservation Program Executive Director Greg Czarnecki. "We'll be offering many unique Presque Isle demonstrations and activities that are geared to the entire family."

Many of the festival speakers have been involved in Wild Resource Conservation Program-supported projects in recent years, studying mammals, inventorying plants and banding birds.

Since the start of the festivals in 2005, Clinton County-based Woolrich Inc. has provided support. This year, Friends of the Tom Ridge Center also have provided funding. Activities are free and registration is not required.

Activities will include: programs by Carnegie Museum of Natural History entomologists who invite visitors to bring "mystery insects" for identification; the capture, banding and release of birds; and a behind-the-scenes tour of the research labs at the Tom Ridge Environmental Education Center. A special performance by local musician Sam Hyman is scheduled from noon to 2 p.m.

Educational presentations also will be offered throughout the day by the American Chestnut Foundation, Save Our Native Species (SONS) of Lake Erie, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Erie Zoo and other conservation groups and agencies.

Often termed "Pennsylvania's only seashore," Presque Isle offers visitors a panoramic coastline as well as swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, bicycling, in-line skating and other recreational activities. Along with Erie Bluffs, it is one of two state parks on the shores of Lake Erie.

Housed within DCNR's Office of Conservation Science, the Wild Resource Conservation Program conserves Pennsylvania's non-game wildlife and native wild plants through research, restoration projects and public education. It has reintroduced river otters to Pennsylvania's waterways and ospreys to its skies, while awarding grants to projects studying and protecting plants, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and other species.

A full list of festival activities and exhibitors is available at

CONTACT:Terry Brady

(717) 772-9101

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

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