Outdoor expositions (expos) are high visibility outreach and education events put on by fish and wildlife agencies and others as a way to thank supporters and to engage potential clients in conservation efforts by introducing them to fun, lifelong outdoor pursuits. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo is an annual education and outreach event coordinated and conducted by the agency as an open house to its statewide programs and efforts. Begun as a one-day event in 1992 to thank hunters for their contributions to conservation, Expo grew quickly into an annual two-day affair to recognize hunters, anglers, boaters, park goers, and others involved in conservation of the state's natural and cultural resources. Expo also has attracted a high percentage of non-traditional customers and families to Texas Parks and Wildlife's mission, people, programs, and places. The agency has completed its 15th year of producing the event, reaching over a half million people directly and millions more with Expo-spawned activities provided at local events throughout Texas. Expo provides hundreds of hands-on activities that include five factors needed to successfully introduce people into the outdoors and conservation: 1) threshold experience, 2) access to equipment, 3) access to mentors, 4) access to opportunities, and 5) social support. Expo also provides unique opportunities to strengthen the community of outdoor enthusiasts, regardless of interest (i.e., hunting, fishing, bird watching) by involving them in its planning and production. Expo markets the agency's mission and message to minority and urban audiences, creating relevancy for those constituents who might not otherwise come to hunting or fishing events. Many states are currently conducting Expos or Expo-like events. The Weatherby Foundation offers funding support, professional guidance, and planning materials to assist state wildlife agencies producing large, education focused, free Outdoor Expo events that can meet criteria similar to Expo events held in states like Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming.

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