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March 11, 2002


For more information contact:
Mimi Dunne at 908-637-4125

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife invites the public to attend its annual Open House at the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center in Oxford, Warren County on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 & 7, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The hatchery annually produces more than 600,000 trout for stocking throughout the State's public waters and draws thousands of visitors each year for the many interesting interpretive and educational programs offered.

"Open House at the Pequest hatchery is one of the Division's premier events, held just prior to the opening day of trout season," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "Not only geared toward trout anglers, it provides a fun-filled day for anyone interested in the outdoors and New Jersey's wildlife. The Division of Fish and Wildlife invites the public to visit and join us as we celebrate spring."

As in past years, there will be demonstrations, special displays and activities related to New Jersey's fish and wildlife resources. Division freshwater fisheries biologists will demonstrate fish sampling equipment and show how eggs are stripped from fish during the culturing process. Children's activities include fish printing and aquatic insect explorations. There will be a gill net maze for kids to try out. Youngsters can learn about the Division's new Hunter Education Program and shoot a BB gun or bow under the supervision of a Hunter Education Instructor. Adults may try shooting a pellet gun, courtesy of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club volunteers. There will be short presentations on reptiles and amphibians, a watershed model and black bear research tools. The Division's Rockport Pheasant Farm will also exhibit and release pheasants during the weekend and there will be a sawmill demonstration each day.

Wildlife artists Ann Dixon, Irene Bowers and Carol Decker will be on hand both days to display some of their work. Other conservation groups will have displays in the Pequest auditorium.

An outdoor "living history" encampment by the New Jersey Muzzle Loading Association will be ongoing both days, featuring the dress, shelters and artifacts of a bygone era. Trout Unlimited will have fly-tying demonstrations and provide an opportunity for visitors to try their hands at casting various types of fishing rods. Individuals can feed the fish in the Fishing Education Pond, take a self-guided tour of the facility, hike the Natural Resource Interpretive Trail and take advantage of the picnic areas for lunch.

The Pequest hatchery is located on Rt. 46 nine miles west of Hackettstown in scenic Warren County. The facility can be the site of a family outing during the open house or anytime throughout the year. For more information about the open house or public and group visitation/programs call 908-637-4125 or visit the Division's website at