Prepare to get your groove on at the 35th annual Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference as we examine restoration work being done throughout the Buckeye State. Hosted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the conference will be held on Tuesday, March 5, at the Ohio Union on The Ohio State University’s campus in Columbus.
From slithering serpents attempting a comeback tour to towering trees wanting an encore, this conference is full of funky presentations. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Chris Vandergoot from the U.S. Geological Survey. Vandergoot has been heavily involved in efforts to re-establish lake sturgeon in the Maumee River. This past fall, 3,000 juvenile sturgeon were released into the river, with more releases planned in future years.
Doors open for registration at 8 a.m., and the conference, titled “Stayin’ Alive,” will run from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The Ohio Union is located at 1739 North High Street, Columbus 43210 (on Ohio State’s campus). The conference is sponsored by the ODNR Division of Wildlife and is open to the public. Conference attendees should park in the attached Ohio Union South parking garage for $10.
Register now at wildohio.gov or call 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543). For a discounted registration rate of $25, people should register by Friday, March 1. The cost to register is $35 after March 1 or the day of the conference. A reduced-price student registration is also available for $10. Those who pre-register before the day of the conference will have the option of signing up for lunch.
Conference attendees who register before the day of the conference may also purchase the 2019 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp and pin featuring a pair of barred owls at the discounted price of $12, a 20 percent savings. Stamps and pins will also be available for purchase at the conference for the regular price of $15. Details about the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp are available at wildohio.gov. Proceeds from the sale of the annual Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp are used to support endangered and threatened native species, habitat restoration, land purchases, conservation easements, and educational products for students and wildlife enthusiasts.
The first Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference was held at The Ohio State University in 1985 with 40 people in attendance. The conference continues to grow, with more than 1,000 people at last year’s daylong event. Representatives from a wide range of conservation and natural resources organizations, including ODNR, will offer displays and be available to answer questions.