This past weekend about 5,000 outdoor enthusiasts gathered in Sturbridge at the Hamilton Rod and Gun Club for the Facts About Wildlife and Nature Society’s (FAWNS) Massachusetts Outdoor Expo. At the expo, known as The Big MOE, participants learned about and tried kayaking, archery, rock climbing, fishing and target shooting. There were live birds of prey and native reptile exhibits and workshops to learn how to identify trees, build a bird box or safely use a tree stand for hunting or photography. MassWildlife’s Peter Mirick, who worked with MassWildlife’s Gary Zima and more than 200 volunteers to put on the event this year, said there was a superb group of reenactments of both eastern and western (tipi) pioneer encampments. There was also mountain biking, geocaching, taxidermy, ice fishing instruction, tomahawk throwing, wild game tasting, and wildlife arts and crafts.
The all-day family celebration of the outdoors and wildlife is in its 14th year and was free, thanks to co-sponsors like the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, Hamilton Rod and Gun Club, The Weatherby Foundation, Whitetails Unlimited and the Worcester County League of Sportsmen's Clubs. It was a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to connect with outdoor and wildlife education programs, sporting clubs, and other community pathways to learn more about outdoor activities.
The photos of the angler were taken last weekend by staff wildlife photographer Bill Byrne. Bill also made a photo of the family at the archery station at the 2008 Big MOE.