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2011 Delaware State Fair-Stepping Inside to Learn about the Outside

2011 Delaware State Fair-Stepping Inside to Learn about the Outside
by Michelle Jacobs, Community Relations Officer, DNREC

Imagine going inside a building at your local state fair to find representations of a state park, a forest, wetlands, a beach with a boardwalk, and a house complete with a grass lawn and electric car in the driveway.  That’s what an estimated 21,000 visitors to the Delaware State Fair found when they entered the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) newly redesigned fair building.  The Delaware Conservation Partnership, consisting of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts, and DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship hosted the forest area. 


This year, as visitors entered the building they did not see the traditional display boards.  Instead they were given a “Passport to Green Living” and were encouraged to start their exploration of the all-new exhibits, from the First State’s beaches and wetlands to the woods and state parks.  They were also able to visit the environmentally-friendly Smart Energy House. 


The Passport challenged visitors to discover the answers to a few questions relating to the various areas highlighted in the building. Visitors to the forest learned the following: planting native trees provides habitat for native birds and wildlife; tree roots help hold soil in place by stopping erosion and improving water quality; and tree buffers along streams trap and use pollutants.  The 37 Partnership employees staffing the forest area reminded visitors of the importance of trees and assisted visitors as needed with finding the answers to the tree questions on the Passport.  Forest visitors were rewarded with either a �tree cookie’ necklace or a seed card bookmark. 


Handling the forest area of the fair building was a perfect fit for the Delaware Conservation Partnership.  Not only did it allow employees the chance to promote the benefits of trees, it further promoted the nationally celebrated Stewardship Week theme of FORESTS FOR PEOPLE - MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE. 


Caption: Rick Mickowski, Conservation Planner with the New Castle Conservation District, gives Dillon Mangene of Seaford the seed card bookmark he earned for correctly answering a question about trees.  (photo by Laurie Gandy)


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