By Vicki Johnson
A wildlife and conservation display featuring nature-related organizations and agencies is new at the fair this year.
Wildlife Officer Matt Leibengood is coordinating the area in the merchant building to provide people with a one-stop location to get information about wildlife, conservation, hunting, shooting, archery and other outdoor pursuits.
"At least nine different agencies are being represented," Leibengood said. Each will have a table display where fair-goers can get more information.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife will be there, as well as Tiffin-Seneca chapter of the Izaak Walton League, Seneca Soil and Water Conservation District, Seneca County Pheasants Forever, Sandusky River Watershed Coalition, the local chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation, Ohio State Trappers Association, Seneca Muzzleloaders and maybe a few more.
The division of wildlife will have its archery trailer set up where people can try shooting a bow.
"Just go up to the trailer," Leibengood said. "It'll be right there in amongst the booths, and they can try their hand at archery."
Also, Seneca County Pheasants Forever will have its Laser Shot available for people to try. The portable fun range uses laser lights to simulate shots taken.
Fair-goers are invited to stop in and check the schedule for educational programs, or listen to announcements made on the fairgrounds.
Licensed wildlife rehabilitator Maribeth Taylor with God's Little Critters rehabilitation center of Willard is planning a program one evening.
SWCD is planning to show its model of how erosion happens, and Leibengood is encouraging other participants to plan education programs as well.
The first Seneca County Fair Taxidermy Contest is to take place Wednesday evening of the fair.
Participants will be setting up their mounts for display 4-6 p.m. and take them home the same evening after 8 p.m.
"There's going to be some interesting ones," Leibengood said.
Registered to participate are a half-body deer mount, a shoulder deer mount, a tabletop mink, a pheasant wall hanging, a gray fox, a couple turkeys and a deer taken by a youth last fall.
Winners will be determined by votes from people attending the fair. Fair-goers can vote on their favorite entry 6-8 p.m.
There is no entry fee, except fair admission. The winner gets a certificate and bragging rights, and possibly a prize if one becomes available.
Although it wasn't originally his idea, Leibengood said he coordinated similar displays while he was serving in Hancock County.
"It was because the wildlife officers before me already had it going," he said. "Some fair board members approached me and asked about setting up a similar display to Hancock and Wyandot counties."