Conservation at State Fair

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WCIA explores Conservation World with IDNR Director Colleen Callahan.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The State Fair is coming to a close Sunday but there is still a ton to do there between now and then.

Saturday was Park District Conservation Day. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) hosted 45 park districts from around the state at conservation world.

2019 has been a big year for IDNR. Under the direction of a new governor, its new director, longtime agriculture reporter Colleen Callahan said things are looking up for the state’s conservation.

“Illinois is in a better place today than it was a few months ago because we have a budget now and we have a capital budget which means now we have funding to actually do the things that needed to be done that we have been waiting to do. We did those things that needed to be done to the best of our ability with the limited resources and limited staff we had,” Callahan said.

Though this is her first fair as director, Callahan has been involved with the fair for decades.

“This is the best week of my tenure so far, I love the State Fair.”

She said this year’s fair is a great cake and Conservation World is the perfect icing.

“It’s the icing on the cake because it is informative, it’s educational and it’s entertaining all at the same time. It’s interactive,” said Callahan.

The 30 acre attraction features fishing clinics, a lumberjack show, wildlife exhibits, a BB gun range and much more. IDNR officials said Conservation World serves one big purpose.

“That’s the big thing with the BB gun tent. Bringing kids in, showing them stuff because a lot of kids don’t have that opportunity. They don’t have parents that hunt or fish but they want to be able to do that. In my opinion, that’s what Conservation World is for. It’s for the kids and the next generation,” said Conservation Police Sergeant Stuart Fraser.

Callahan said although the fair is coming to an end, the activities at Conservation World are just glimpse at what they do every day.

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