Wildlife Expo adds variety to learning

Johnny Morgan  |  9/18/2018 7:08:34 PM

(09/18/18) CLINTON, La. — The young and the not-so-young returned to nature and learned some of the lessons offered there at the second annual Wildlife Expo in Clinton on Sept. 15.

The event, held at the LSU AgCenter Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station, offered an opportunity for attendees to see what’s being done at the station, hear informative presentations and get some hands-on experience with wild animals.

Following the success of last year’s event, the program featured a carnival-like atmosphere, complete with games, information booths, vendors and, of course, food.

Glen Gentry, resident coordinator of the station, said the goal of the event is to let the public know what the AgCenter does.

“Not only are we talking about the deer and feral hog research, but today we have shooting sports and AgMagic,” he said.

Gentry said the event helps people know where they can get information they need.

“We’re not aware of anything like this that is happening around the state,” he said.

The station, located just south of Clinton, is known for its research on red deer, white-tailed deer and feral hogs.

Rogers Leonard, AgCenter associate vice president, welcomed those in attendance.

“We want you to know that this station belongs to you, the taxpayers,” he said. “Our doors are open to the public all the time, and we look forward to having you come by to visit.”

This year’s event featured a wide variety of animals from various snakes and turtles to a South American sloth.

Also included were displays of wildlife furs and skins, a Louisiana black bear presentation and research updates.

Nature lovers were treated to a plant walk to look at native browse plants and learn what it takes to make them better.

One of the highlights of the event was the demonstration of sausage-making by members of the LSU AgCenter School of Animal Sciences.

Dylan Biber, junior in animal science, and research associate Phillip Alford showed the proper way to make homemade sausage from pork or deer.

“Many people don’t know that we have a slaughter and meats processing lab on campus where we teach proper meat processing techniques,” Alford said.

A treat for those in attendance was a taste-test of the finished product that was grilled after processing.

Other presentations during the program included falconry, wildlife rehabilitation, snake presentations and bird identification for kids.

Again this year, Terry Vandeventer brought his Living Reptile Museum, which is a traveling educational program that introduces audiences to the world of snakes.

Vandeventer is an expert in the field of herpetology and presents positive, factual material about snakes.

Paul Davidson, of the East Feliciana Tourism Commission and one of the planners of the event, is also a bear expert and gave a presentation on the Louisiana black bear.

“I see this event as a great way to help build community,” Davidson said. “After working for the AgCenter back in the ‘70s, I fell in love with this research station.”

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Members of the Louisiana Amphibian and Retile Enthusiasts show off one of the many reptiles at the second annual Wildlife Expo held at the LSU AgCenter Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station on Sept. 15. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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Young archers try their hand with bows while others shoot skeet at the second annual Wildlife Expo held at the LSU AgCenter Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station on Sept. 15. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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Phillip Alford, a research associate in the LSU AgCenter School of Animal Sciences, and Dylan Biber, a junior in the school, show the proper way to make homemade sausage from pork or deer at the second annual Wildlife Expo held at the LSU AgCenter Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station on Sept. 15. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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