CAMBRIDGE, OH – One of the most unique educational venues created, has to be the Deerassic Park Education Center, located across from Salt Fork State Park in Cambridge, Ohio. This center focuses on providing youth and families with exceptional outdoor education opportunities, encouraging a lifelong love and appreciation for all of the outdoors, and encouraging youth and families to pursue recreation and hobbies on their own after they leave the park.
Founded in 1996, The National Whitetail Deer Education Foundation is dedicated to providing this type of education at little to know cost through their programs and events, and through their commitment to maintaining the Deerassic Park Education Center. The education center is located on 130 acres, with a main building, a 3 acre pond, trails and event areas including 15,000 sq. ft of pavilion space. The Deerassic Park Education Center also maintains and educational herd of deer for youth and families to experience viewing, while the main building houses a unique collection of mounted animals and artwork. Included in the collection are replicas of world record “Beatty Buck”, harvested by Mike Beatty and the “Stephens Buck” harvested by Brian Stephens. Also in the collection is the one of a kind “Megaloceros: Irish Elk” that went extinct over 10,000 years ago, this replica was produced by world renowned taxidermist/artist Ken Walker.
Throughout the year, Deerassic Park Education Center provides community and educational events and programs to reach out to youth and families. These include: School Field Trips to the park, annual family events such as Spring Fling and Fall Festival, summer programs and educational opportunities. The classes and programs taught include canoeing, archery, riflery, nature hikes, deer lectures and conservation education. Over 5,000 youth come to the park annually for these education programs. Deerassic Park Education Center also provides Ohio Division of Natural Resources education programs such as Passport to Fishing (over 200 youth attending in 2014) and Hunter’s Education (over 150 youth attending in 2014).
Deerassic Park Education Center takes its responsibility as a community citizen very importantly as well, working with many local groups to increase awareness and provide support. In October, they hosted the Physically Challenged Bow Hunters of America’s Ohio Hunt, in which they provided hunters with varying degrees of disabilities the opportunity to hunt on private plots throughout the area. Deerassic Park Education Center also works with local groups to host events such as the Cystic Fibrosis Walk, Secret Santa Fundraising, Relay for Life and many, many others.
Deerassic Park Education Center and the National Whitetail Deer Education Foundation feel incredibly blessed to provide all of these opportunities, and wouldn’t be able to do so without their primary fundraiser the Deerassic Classic Giveaway and Outdoor Expo, held the first Friday & Saturday of August. This one of a kind event features over $1,000,000 in prizes and boasts the world’s largest 50/50 ($217,000 in 2014). This two day event is a one of a kind opportunity for supporters of quality outdoor education to enjoy themselves while providing the funding needed to provide the parks programs throughout the year. The vent begins on Thursday Night with a campground kick off party and concert. On Friday we open the gates and everyone enjoys the vendors, stage shows and the Big Buck Bonus Drawing. On Saturday we host the main event all day long, with the Classic Drawing (a prize every five minutes), the Loot & Shoot Raffle, Locked & Loaded Raffle, Cold Hard Cash Raffle, as well as dozens of side raffles. We finish out the evening with a concert and fireworks.