The 30th annual Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference will once again highlight some of Ohio’s conservation success stories that often occur in the unlikeliest places. Entitled “Superheroes Among Us,” the conference will recognize and explore some of the amazing abilities of Ohio’s wildlife while recognizing many of the people that work so diligently to preserve and understand these creatures.
“This event provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to share their ideas about conservation,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer. “Every year, we look forward to providing a forum that encourages education and discovery about Ohio’s diverse wildlife populations.”
This year’s keynote speaker is photographer and author David FitzSimmons from Bellville. FitzSimmons has published conservation books, articles and photographs during his 17-year photography career. His presentation is entitled, “The Superpower of Wildlife Photography.” Other topics discussed at the conference include citizen science and barn owls, range expansion of Ohio’s fishes, volunteers enhancing cavity-nesting bird populations, the American woodcock, the influence of taxidermy on museum collections, aerial wildlife surveys and strategic trail camera placement.
The first Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference was held in 1985 with 40 people in attendance. The conference continues to grow, as approximately 1,000 people attended last year’s daylong event. Representatives from a range of conservation and natural resource organizations, including the Ohio Wetlands Association, Ohio Bird Sanctuary and Black Swamp Bird Observatory, will offer displays and be available to answer questions. ODNR staff will also be on hand to answer questions from those in attendance.
The conference will be held on Wednesday, March 12, at the Aladdin Shrine Center, located at 3850 Stelzer Road, Columbus, Ohio 43219. Doors open for registration at 8 a.m., and the conference runs from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The conference is sponsored by the ODNR Division of Wildlife and is open to the public. People may register online at wildohio.com or call 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543). Registration before Wednesday, Feb. 26, costs $25, and the cost will be $35 after that date. A reduced-price student registration is also available for $10.
Conference attendees who pre-register online may purchase the fifth Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp, featuring a midland painted turtle, at a discounted price of $12, a savings of 20 percent. Details about the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp are available at wildohiostamp.com. Proceeds from the sale of the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp will be used to support endangered and threatened native species, habitat restoration, land purchases, conservation easements and educational products for students and wildlife enthusiasts.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.