It Was A Perfect Day For Wildlife Fair

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Last Saturday, with perfect springtime weather, record crowdsisited Green Valley Park for the 14th annual Wildlife Fair.

This combined effort of the Payson Parks and Recreation Department, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the Mogollon Sports Association created a true family friendly environment.

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Amber Alexander, left, and Steven Leneberg pet a python. It doesn't feel like you think it does. It feels better than that.

The recreational outdoors provides so many opportunities for the young and old aliketo have a real appreciation of the wildlife in Arizona.t was interesting to note as I wandered through the exhibits the myriad of questionsthat were askedt the variousisplays.All these inquiries were triggered by observing wildlife firsthand and up close.

The Arizona birds of prey exhibit may haveeen the biggest attraction because the handlersalked through the crowds with the birds perched on their forearmor everyone to observe.I might add a great horned owl certainly got my attention.

Another popular display was the fish aquarium manned by the employees of the Tonto Fish Hatchery.All the various species of trout in the local waters of the rim country attracted manynglers with theeven pound Germanrown trout being the focus of discussion.

While all this was going onreen Valley Lake had its own venue of fishing and boating.

There was an entire fleet of canoes and kayaks available for those who wanted to test their skills at paddling on Green Valley Lake.Learning how tohandle a canoe on the water became a real challenge for many youngsters trying it for the first time.Parents were close by or in the boat giving pointers to many first time paddlers.

With a double stocking of catchable rainbow trout in the lake and a free fishing day the crowds at the waters edge continued to grow throughout the day.There were a lot of Kodak moments being captured as children were proudly holding their first fish and grinning from ear to ear.

Throughout the day, the crowds continued to grow waiting for the one o'clock drawing for 50 bicycles to be given away by Bill Luke Dodge, the Gracie Haught Memorial Children's Fund, and the local Wal-Mart.This in itself was a special event and made the day even more exciting.

Everyone involved in the Payson Wildlife Fair is to be commended for investing in the future of Payson, our youth.
A big thankou alsooes out to Mary McMullen of the Payson Parks and Recreation department and Randy Babb, program supervisor of information and education of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, who jointly coordinated this event.
This was small town America at its finest where people came together to create a valuable educational experience for the local children and an entertaining day for everyone involved.This weekend enjoy the Arizona Outdoors, God's creation.

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