Conservation Building features fish and more

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 31, 2003

One part of the Freeborn County Fair could be considered as a temporary aquarium with live fish swimming around in nine display tanks, plus a quiet place to learn more about the region’s natural assets and environment.

Exhibits in the Conservation Building, just to the west of the outdoor water fountains, again this year have those live fish, free literature, several informational posters, and special booths for area deer hunters, the Albert Lea Audubon Society and the Freeborn County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The fish tanks have trout, blue gills, crappies, northern pike, walleye, bullheads, carp, suckers, sheepshead and dog fish. All the fish, except the trout, came from the state’s Department of Natural Resources area office and warm water fish hatchery in Waterville. The trout are from the state fish hatchery in Lanesboro.

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Above the fish tanks are several mounted trophy fish contributed by Vic Savik of Freeborn, plus a huge blue marlin courtesy of Jodi Ackland. (This blue marlin is obviously not native to the area’s lakes and streams.)

This is the 16th year the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has sponsored a booth at the fair. The GrandRapids based organization started in 1980 and now has 20,000 members in 61 chapters around the state, according to a spokeswoman.

Tom Norby of rural Albert Lea says there are 250 or so sportsmen and sportswomen in Freeborn County and nearby areas who are now members of this organization and belong to the Southern Gateway Chapter. Officers of the chapter are: Jack Adams, president; Steve Olson, vice president; Blane Hammer, secretary; and Bill Hammer, treasurer.

Norby and his wife Sandy are hunters and strong promoters of the Hides for Habitat program.

The area and state deer hunters are involved in educational and research projects and works closely with the state’s Department of Natural Resources to preserve and expand the deer herds around the state. Habitat improvement for deer, which also benefits other forms of wildlife, is a high priority for the organization. And like many organizations, the deer hunters become involve in legislative and regulatory matters, including their strong support for the statewide TIP (Turn-In-Poachers) program.

One important project the Southern Gateway Chapter and the South Central Pheasants Forever became involved with is the 1,100-acre Grass Lake Habitat east of Emmons near the Iowa line, Norby added.

Another part of the decor in the Conservation Building at the fairgrounds is a series of posters which serve as educational aids to help identify birds, fish, animals, lizards, fungi (mostly mushrooms), trees and tree leaves, area wildflowers and even butterflies.

The Friday, August 1 (Kids’ day) fair schedule follows:

(*denotes events in agriculture, 4-H or other competitive areas.)

Bicycle stunt shows, near grandstand, times posted at fair

*4-H dairy show, indoor arena, 9 a.m.

*FFA dairy follows 4-H dairy show

*General livestock judging contest registration, indoor arena, 9:30 a.m.

*General livestock judging contest, indoor arena, 10 a.m.

Lowery Carnival, noon-midnight

*4-H horse halter/showmanship, outdoor arena, noon

Jim Jayes, magician, Entertainment Square, 1:30-2 p.m.

*Youth beef fitting and showing contest, indoor arena, 1:30 p.m.

Zoomobile, Entertainment Square, 2-3 p.m.

Zoomobile booth program, Conservation Hall, 3 p.m.

*4-H horseless horse, outdoor arena, 2:30 p.m.

*4-H supreme showmanship contest, indoor arena, 3 p.m.

Grapevine Twist Square Dancers, Entertainment Square, 3-4 p.m.

Dana Seadlund, country vocalist, Entertainment Square, 4-4:30 p.m.

Jim Jayes, magician, 4:30-5 p.m.

Paul Goodnature, folk trio, Entertainment Square, 5-6 p.m.

David Jo, vocal variety, Entertainment Square, 6-7 p.m.

*4-H horse pleasure, outdoor arena, 6 p.m.

Paula Hanson, vocal variety, Entertainment Square, 7-8 p.m.

The Second Take Band, vocal duo, Entertainment Square, 8-10 p.m.

Raw-hot-dog-eating and milk-chugging contests, 8:15 p.m., beer garden

Grandstand: The Oak Ridge Boys, 7 and 9 p.m.

(Contact Ed Shannon at ed.shannon or 379-3434.)