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February 1, 2006

Native reptiles, amphibians on display at 2006 Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic

Want to hold a snake or pet a lizard? Then head on over to the 2006 Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic, which will feature an exhibit of native reptiles and amphibians.

The 22nd Annual Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic will be held at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia March 24-26. Doors will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, March 24; from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25; and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 26. The reptiles and amphibians exhibit will be in the Ruff Building.

For more information on the Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic or any of the above programs call the S.C. Department of Natural Resources office at (803) 734-4008 in Columbia or visit the Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic Web site at http://www.psclassic.com.

"The display will feature examples of native snakes, turtles, lizards, frogs and salamanders," said Steve Bennett, herpetologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and coordinator of the Classic reptile and amphibian exhibit. "We will be talking about their natural history and conservation, and visitors will be able to get up close and personal, to hold or touch a snake or other animal. It will be both fun and educational."

Bennett said the exhibit is made possible by a number of groups and agencies who will be represented there: Charleston Turtle and Tortoise Society; Alligator Adventure of North Myrtle Beach; South Carolina Aquarium; Cypress Gardens; Greenville Zoo; Riverbanks Zoo; Carolina Wildlife Cares; Savannah River Ecological Lab; DNR; and private individuals who have volunteered to help.

South Carolina Wildlife magazine's Wildlife Shop will have its "Poisonous Snakes of South Carolina" poster as well as a new snake t-shirt at the 2006 Classic. Continuing the reptilian theme, visitors may learn all they want to know about snakes and other reptiles by attending one of the seminars provided by Roark Ferguson or Okefenokee Joe in the Moore Building.

There will be more than 300 exhibitors on site with the latest fishing, hunting and outdoor equipment for show and sale.

Admission to the 2006 Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic is $6, and parking is $1. Seniors 60 and over get in for $5 while children 10 and under are admitted free. Visitors bringing five canned food items for Harvest Hope Food Bank receive $1 off admission. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday, March 24; from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic is sponsored by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, WCOS-FM Radio, WIS-TV, and South Carolina Wildlife magazine, The Hampton Fund uses proceeds for natural resources conservation projects in South Carolina. Examples include programs such as Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs; Operation Game Thief; and Project WILD.

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