Festival to coincide with exhibit opening

June 2, 2011

Martinsville Bulletin

The Virginia Museum of Natural History’s Living Off the Land family festival on Saturday will coincide with the opening of its newest special exhibit of the same name.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum. The exhibit will open Saturday and continue through Jan. 14.

The festival is a celebration of Virginia’s outdoor and wildlife resources, with interactive programs, games and crafts for people of all ages. Participants from across Virginia and the Southeast will be on hand to provide a variety of activities throughout the day.

Activities will include a laser shot simulator, wilderness survival techniques and kudzu basket making, said Carolyn Seay, special events manager at VMNH.

One of the highlights of this year's festival, The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ laser shot simulator, will allow visitors to test their shooting skills in a safe, fun manner, according to a release from the museum.

The simulator teaches safe gun handling and shooting through a video game-like interface, the release states. Using a projection camera linked to a computer, video projections of various animals appear on a screen for participants to test their accuracy using an artificial rifle.

Continuing the firearm theme, the National Wild Turkey Federation will provide an inflatable air gun range, allowing visitors to test their shooting skills in a controlled environment. Christine Rolka, the federation’s director of education, noted that the range “helps promote gun safety and ethical shooting” in addition to being a fun activity for children.

Another highlight of the festival will be the participation of Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing. Visitors will be able to take part in multiple outdoor survival programs, including Lost, Wild Edibles, Outdoor Survival, Tracking and Leave No Trace. The programs are designed to teach skills for surviving in the outdoors, the release states.

Music will be played throughout the festival by Rhythms Round the World, which uses instruments made from gourds and bamboo sticks. Visitors will be able to listen and learn how the different instruments are made, according to the release.

Other activities will include introducing visitors to kudzu and its many uses, proper planting method workshops, fishing and casting games, archery and fishing demonstrations, kayaking and canoeing demonstrations, taxidermy demonstrations and bird carving.

The museum’s education staff will providing hands-on games and crafts for children during museum festivals, according to the release.

Festival visitors can take advantage of the museum’s Summer Discovery 2011 program, which offers all visitors reduced admission rates from May 29 through Sept. 41.

Participants at the festival will include National Wild Turkey Federation, DGIF, Nancy Basket, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agency, Smith River Adventure Outdoors, Southwestern Virginia Master Naturalists, Jimbo & Kim Cary, Bob Penley, Fairystone State Park, David Greer, Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing and Steve Reynolds Taxidermy.

The “Living Off the Land” exhibit is presented by the National Wild Turkey Foundation, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Taco Bell.

For more information about the Living Off the Land family festival and exhibit, visit www.vmnh.net.


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