It's not every day that you can receive free trees to plant, pet a snake, learn how to charm a bee, feed rainbow trout, feed yourself a nice smoky hot dog, learn about columbine flowers, look at the sun through an opal gemstone, listen to a grand live performance of professional pickers and try very hard not to dance a jig. It was a beautiful day for our annual open house An estimated 1,500 visitors came through the hatchery last Sunday during the Neosho Dogwood Tour. Many thanks to our exhibitors, volunteers and "Friends."

Children's Division of Newton/McDonald County held their Child Abuse Prevention Walk at the hatchery. There was a nice turnout of participants for the walk along with a bake sale, free hot dogs and a balloon launch. The purpose of the walk was to increase awareness in the community regarding child abuse and neglect prevention as well as provide information about the foster care program. For more information contact Shawna Geary at 455-5142.

Additionally last Friday, our skies were filled with 40 majestic handmade kites completed by members of a local homeschool group under the tutelage of Mr. Don Iman of Pierce City. Mr. Iman is owner of Higher Ground Kites and a member of the AKA Kite Flying Association. He brought a variety of huge kites which he demonstrated to the delight of viewers. Carthage second graders toured last week as well.

We welcome student intern Eli Moran from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. Eli is working to attain a degree in biology and fish ecology and will complete 80 work hours with us as part of his education. Long distance visitor of the week is Mariana Vazquez from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Local visitor of the week is Peggy Kelly of Neosho.

Janice Eaton is the automation clerk at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.