For as long as I can remember, the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District - its employees and board members - have watched the Meigs County Fair from its fair booth behind the midway, tucked between the commercial and 4H buildings, off the beaten path.
The booth, which was just a storage shed actually, housed things like hay show and the mystery farm along with dozens of other little displays and posters ranging from the coloring contest to USDA flyers, and of course peanuts and candy. The booth was hot and faced the afternoon sun, which slanted right under the porch roof and into the interior, and during the obligatory thunderstorm the rain would drive straight into the open door.
That is changing this year. This year the SWCD is joining forces with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife to host the Conservation Corner, located in the Grange Building.
Every outdoorsman or rural landowner will want to stop by the Conservation Corner, which was the brainchild of Meigs County Wildlife Officer Chris Gilkey.
In addition to displays and contests, the usual stuff, there will be a “guest of the day” on hand each day from 2-6 p.m. as well as a guest speaker at 6 p.m.
One of my favorite features is what I call the “Conservation Conversation Corner;” a bench and small table and chairs, perfect for loafing or shooting the bull.
Monday’s guest of the day will be Mike Powers, Ohio State Parks Southeast District manager, followed by guest speaker Suzie Prange, ODNR-Division of Wildlife, who will speak on the “Status of Black Bears and Bobcats in Meigs County.”
Tuesday will be kid’s crafts from 10-noon with SWCD’s Jenny Ridenour and Lindsay Rist, ODNR-Division of Wildlife. The guest of the day will be Kaabe Shaw, an environmental specialist with the ODNR-Division of Mineral Resources Management, and the guest speaker will be Bob Placier from Hocking College who will talk about the “Owls of Southeastern Ohio.”
Wednesday’s guest of the day will be Carrie Crislip, USDA-NRCS district conservationist, and the guest speaker that evening will be Perry Brannan, service forester with the ODNR-Division of Forestry who will discuss programs for forest landowners.
On Thursday, Watercraft Officer Jeff Cramer with the ODNR-Division of Watercraft will be the guest of the day. Guest speaker will be Eric Householder, USDA-APHIS wildlife services technician, with the presentation “Coyote and Black Vulture Predation” geared towards helping producers identify and reduce losses to livestock.
Friday is, appropriately enough, fish day. Guest of the day will be Don Swatzel, ODNR-DOW fisheries biologist, who will also have the district’s large fish tank on hand. The guest speaker will be Mike Greenlee, ODNR-DOW, who will discuss “Management Recommendations for Quality Fish in Small Ponds.”
Saturday’s guest of the day will be R.T. Stewart, retired undercover wildlife officer and recent author of “Poachers Were My Prey,” who should also have copies of his book on hand for purchase and signing. The guest speaker will be Dr. Mike Tonkovich, ODNR-DOW Deer Program Administrator, whose presentation will be entitled “Unraveling the Mysteries of Deer Harvest Regulations.”
So stop by the Conservation Corner, hang out for a while. Fill out one of the comment cards and let us know what we can improve for next year.
See you at the fair!
Jim Freeman is wildlife specialist for the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District and a long-time contributor to the Sunday Times-Sentinel. He can be contacted weekdays at 740-992-4282 ext. 109 or at firstname.lastname@example.org