LINESVILLE — The release: Scores of ducks — wings flapping and downy feathers flying — are sent soaring back into the wild at Pymatuning State Park.

The billed beauties are some of the more than 70,000 wild waterfowl banded for identification, tracking and study purposes and released at Pymatuning State Park since 1962.

Visitors to the Linesville area have the chance to learn more about those birds and all things outdoors at the 2007 Pymatuning Waterfowl and Outdoor Expo and this year’s Clean Water Festival throughout this weekend.

The Clean Water Festival at Linesville State Fish Hatchery on Linesville/Hartstown Road annually pulls in 3,000 to 5,000 visitors, according to organizers. This year’s events include demonstrations by local experts on topics such as fly tying and casting, forestry and tree identification tours, duck banding demonstrations, water safety dog demos, “stream critters” and more. Visitors will also have the opportunity to make fish-print T-shirts, paint with soils, play games and participate in lots of other interactive demonstrations.

Being promoted as whole family entertainment, Brian Pilarcik of the Crawford County Conservation District recently said festival organizers have put together what they’re calling their best event ever — and it’s free.

The Waterfowl Expo features numerous events along Main Street in downtown Linesville and at the Mill Street area, including a parade, food and craft vendors, family games, local business displays, and demonstrations of cider pressing, maple syrup production, honey production and chainsaw carving.

Altogther, it’s interactive fun for all ages that teaches a thing or two — OK, a lot — about nature and conservation.

Visitors to last year’s duck banding demonstration, for example, learned that information gathered from banding studies provides population estimates and allows wildlife experts to track migration patterns, identify breeding and seasonal habits and estimate hunting-related harvest and survival rates. Each numbered metal band gives specific information about the bird wearing it, including species, gender and age. An address and toll-free telephone number are provided for hunters to report information about waterfowl they’ve harvested.

Studies on reporting rates show that 75 percent or more of all waterfowl hunters report the banded birds they’ve harvested, according to state Game Commission officials.

Along with Pymatuning and the conservation district, this year’s events are coordinated by Creek Connections, the Penn-Ohio Watershed Association, the state Fish and Boat Commission and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Protection.



Ryan Smith can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at rsmith@meadvilletribune.com.



You can go

There are many activities scheduled for the annual Pymatuning Waterfowl Festival and Clean Air Festival throughout this weekend.

Events kick off today with a fish dinner and fish sandwiches from 4 to 6 p.m. at Linesville American Legion Post Home, and a fish dinner along with regular menu at Pymatuning Sportsmen’s Club starting at 5. On Saturday, there are events going on all day and throughout the evening along Main Street in downtown Linesville and at Mill Street area, including food vendors, family games, craft vendors, local business display, canned food donations being accepted at pageant winners booth, and demonstrations of cider pressing, maple syrup production, honey production and chainsaw carving.

For a detailed schedule of the entire weekend’s events, visit www.envisionlinesville.org and www.crawfordconservation.com.

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