"We are very excited to welcome those
attending this year's state fair to the new-look Conservation
World," Brunsvold said. "If you have been here before, you will love
what we've done to the place."
The Department of Natural Resources
recently completed a $1 million accessibility project within the
more than 30-acre Conservation World area, located at the northwest
corner of the fairgrounds. Funding for the project came from bond
funds allocated for improvements that enhance accessibility for
people with disabilities.
"If you haven't visited Conservation
World, come discover one of the best and most popular venues at the
fair," said Brunsvold. "It is really a fair within the fair, with
grass, trees, ponds, and plenty of free programs and entertainment.
Thanks to the capital improvement project, Conservation World looks
better than ever, is accessible to people with disabilities and is
very stroller-friendly for families with young children."
Conservation World is open from 10 a.m.
to 7 p.m. each day of the Illinois State Fair. The expansive
schedule of free entertainment, informative exhibits, seminars,
interactive displays and hands-on activities for youngsters offers
visitors an opportunity to sample Illinois' diverse natural
resources and outdoor recreation.
The Conservation World entertainment
lineup features three shows daily by the famous Scheers'
Lumberjacks. The performances, which are at noon, 2:30 and 5 p.m.,
include competitions in logrolling, chain saw and crosscut sawing,
pole climbing, and ax throwing.
The Purina Incredible Dog Team will
have performances each day at 1, 3:30 and 6 p.m.
The Springfield Park District's Henson
Robinson Zoo will present birds of prey programs at 11:30 a.m. and
4:30 p.m. daily and reptile programs at 2 p.m. daily. Additional
reptile programs are planned for 10:30 a.m. Aug. 14-15 and Aug.
21-22 and at 5:45 p.m. Aug. 16-20.
The birds of prey and reptile programs
will be conducted in the new Conservation World amphitheater area,
which has been made possible through a partnership with the Illinois
"We are particularly grateful for the
support of the INA Landscape Committee for generously donating
materials, labor and expertise for the new permanent outdoor
amphitheater," Brunsvold said. "Their investment, including
installation of a permanent stage next year, approaches $200,000. It
complements Conservation World's natural aesthetics and enhances the
overall experience for our visitors. In addition, the work of the
INA will provide us with a permanent venue to host school, scout,
civic and other groups for educational and professional programs
throughout the year."
The Illinois Nurseryman's Association
Landscape Committee includes landscape architects and design firms,
garden centers, nurseries, and tree farms. Representatives of the
committee participating in the Conservation World project are from
Collinsville, Mokena, Monee, Petersburg, Quincy, Rushville,
Springfield and Wilmette.
A new arboretum within Conservation
World features a collection of 26 species of trees representing
historical events and famous Americans. A self-guided walking tour
of the tree collection is possible with a brochure and map --
available at the Conservation World entrance -- containing brief
descriptions of each tree. Funding support for the historic tree
trail was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest
Service Urban and Community Forest program and the Urban and
Community Forestry program of the Illinois Department of Natural
Fishing is a featured attraction at
Conservation World. Demonstrations at the Hawg Trough, a
5,000-gallon water tank stocked with Illinois sport fish, will be at
11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. each day. The Berkley
Fishing Trailer will be on display during the first weekend of the
fair, Aug. 13-15.
Featured Illinois artisans
demonstrating their unique talents include metal sculptor Dan
Johnson, scheduled for Aug. 13-15, and the Southern Illinois
University glass blowers, scheduled for Aug. 17-22. Johnson will
allow youngsters to assist him as part of the interactive
work-in-progress during the fair.
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Also featured at Conservation World
this year are chain saw artists Tim and Karen Barker and world
champion whip cracker Chris Camp, "The Whip Guy."
The Sangamon Valley Woodcarvers'
demonstrations are featured daily, while Conservation World favorite
Smokey Bear will visit with youngsters each day at 1 and 5 p.m.
Hands-on activities for youngsters in
Conservation World include five daily fishing clinics -- including
catch-and-release fishing -- at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m.
and 4:30 p.m. and a free 3-D archery range and a BB gun range open
from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Illinois Conservation Police dog
demonstrations are scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 13-15 and Aug. 20-22.
Field dog demonstrations will be conducted at the Conservation World
pond Aug. 13-15 at 4 p.m.
Tents featuring displays and activities
focusing on natural resources stewardship and outdoor recreation are
located throughout Conservation World. Visitors can talk about
rules, regulations, hunting and fishing with Illinois Conservation
Police officers and with wildlife, fisheries and restoration
biologists from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. State
parks, education programs, mining and oil production, forestry
management and tree farming, and protection of threatened and
endangered species are also featured.
The director's tent will include
displays highlighting environmental and natural resources protection
and enhancement efforts by the Department of Natural Resources and
the Illinois Conservation Foundation; the new World Shooting Complex
shooting sports and recreation site in Randolph County; and Outdoor
The new tent pads installed as part of
the Conservation World accessibility project are made possible
through a technology demonstration grant funded by the Illinois
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Approximately 116
tons of recycled glass went into the production of the concrete for
the tent pads, testing a new use of glass in place of the more
common aggregate and sand concrete mix.
Conservation World also welcomes
participation by a number of other state agencies and conservation
organizations. They include the Illinois Department of Human
Services, which hosts an air-conditioned mobile nursery for nursing
babies or changing diapers; the Illinois Environmental Protection
Agency, with children's games focusing on clean air, water and other
environmental efforts; and a variety of environmental organizations
and outdoor sporting and recreation groups.
Crafts and other vendors will provide
unique wares and gift items, while candle dippers, fossil, rock and
mineral vendors will also be on hand. The Illinois Department of
Natural Resources' popular gift shop will have a wide variety of
merchandise on display and available for purchase at the
Conservation World log cabin.
Food vendors include Murphysboro's
famed 17th Street Barbeque, featuring a menu that includes world
champion ribs, chicken, fish and a new prime rib sandwich. Other
food vendors specialize in old-fashioned root beer, strawberry
shortcake, kettle corn, pork rinds, honey, jams and jellies, shaved
ice, and hot fried river chips.
Conservation World will host a
celebrity pork cook-off competition on Sat., Aug. 21, benefiting the
American Red Cross. Beginning at noon, for a small donation visitors
will be able to sample grilled pork chops prepared for the
competition. The event is in cooperation with Weber Grills, the
Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Conservation
Foundation, Noonan's True Value Hardware of Springfield and WFMB
Sportsradio 1450 in Springfield.
State Fair admission includes free admission to Conservation World.
For more information, contact the Illinois Department of Natural
Resources public events staff at (217) 785-8955.
Department of Natural Resources