A wide range of free educational exhibits and presentations, including several new activities and displays, along with music and entertainment, will be part of the Department of Natural Resources exhibit at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair, which runs Aug. 21-Sept. 1.
“The DNR building and surrounding park area is often the traditional first stop for many fairgoers,” explained Renee Vail, who helps coordinate the DNR exhibit. Minnesotans are passionate about our natural resources and this is an effective and entertaining way for us to help everyone celebrate our outdoor traditions.
Featured topics include state parks, ATVs, fishing, hunting, birds, bees, DNR K-9 unit, campfires, aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, forestry, lands and minerals, moose, boat and water safety, laser fire extinguishing, prairies, biking and wildlife.
Highlights of the DNR exhibit include:
Historic DNR buildingThe DNRs historic State Fair building is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. The log structure is the centerpiece of the DNRs exhibit and also serves as a landmark, a meeting place and a must-visit educational and entertainment destination, where generations of fairgoers have created life-long memories.
Displays inside the building cover a wide range of natural resource topics including fish, watersheds, aquatic invasive species, rocks and minerals, state lands, forests, trails and parks.
See photos of DNR building. (www.dnr.state.mn.us/statefair/dnr_building.html).
DNR fish aquariumsThe indoor fish exhibit underwent a major renovation in 2013 and now features five large aquariums inside the main DNR building. Each tank shows fish in their native Minnesota habitat: trout of southeastern Minnesota; fish of the St. Croix River; and species of central, southern and northern Minnesota lakes. The aquariums are built lower to the ground, making it easier for more guests to see the fish, turtles and other species.
DNR outdoor fish pondThe outdoor fish pond, on the south side of the DNR building, is stocked with about 45 different species of fish ranging from sunfish to paddlefish, walleye to bass.
Call of the Moose MinnesotaMoose in Minnesota are in trouble. A 50 percent decline in the moose population since 2010 has left the iconic Minnesota animal in real danger of disappearing. The Call of the Moose Minnesota campaign aims to advance awareness of the plight of the moose and to raise funds for moose research and management. Finalists of the Let Loose Your Minnesota Moose Moose Calling Contest will perform their calls on the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage on Friday, Aug. 29.
Adopt-a-River sculptureThis is the 21st consecutive year an Adopt-a-River sculpture has been on display. The sculpture will be created from trash and scrap collected by an artist in mid-July at an Adopt-a-River cleanup in St. Paul. The sculpture is a tribute to more than 90,000 volunteers who have removed more than 6 million pounds of trash from public waters at more than 3,200 cleanups. The sculpture is located in DNR Park, south of the DNR fish pond.
Invasive species exhibitVisitors should be on the lookout for emerald ash borers, purple loosestrife, zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil as they walk along a recreated prairie trail, conduct a watercraft inspection or visit an imaginary state forest campsite in a display inside the DNR building. People can practice using a boot brush to remove invasive plants, learn where zebra mussels might hide on a boat, and find out why they shouldnt move firewood. Through interactive activities and an informational video, people will learn how invasive species threaten the natural resources and recreational activities, and how to prevent their spread.
DNR Volunteer Outdoor StageA variety of groups will offer demonstrations and music on the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage.
DNR conservation officers will demonstrate how their patrol dogs detect wild game and fish hidden out of sight, apprehend people, and conduct a special demo on finding the invasive species zebra mussels on items.
Explore the history of wilderness ethics with Bigfoot and Leave No Trace Minnesota when a fur trader meets modern backpacker on the DNR stage.
The Raptor Center at University of Minnesota will educate people about raptors they see in their own back yards.
Last Chance Forever The Bird of Prey Conservancy of San Antonio, Texas will have live bird demonstrations.
Musical acts include: Ali V, Bill and Kate Isles, Bitter Ridge, BLT Band (Bill Lommel and Troop), Darlene and the Boys, Ecuador Manta, Joe Meyer Band, Overland Band, Peter Neuman and the Real Deal, Roxxy Hall Band, The Red Rock Swing Band, The Roe Family Singers. Ring of Fire: The life and music of Johnny Cash Plymouth Playhouse.
For more information, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/events/statefair/index.html.