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Dad can take the family fishing free

Dad can check out his Father's Day fishing gifts and take family members along for free next weekend.

Saturday and Sunday, the last weekend in June, are the annual Department of Environmental Conservation free fishing days for all New York State waters.

Begun in 1991, the free weekend is designed to introduce family members and friends into the enjoyable challenge of sport fishing.

Two major events assist families in getting kids and grown-ups set up for angling outings.

* Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs' volunteers and DEC personnel assist kids and accompanying adults on an annual Chestnut Ridge Park Lake fishing foray Saturday morning.

ECFSC stations will be set up to show knot tying, tackle tips and a session on "Where to Fish" using the latest version of the Greater Niagara Hot Spot Fishing Map.

Kids can learn more about fish and aquatic life at learning stations on pond life and popular area fish species. Registered kids can enjoy catching fish from this sequestered pond and then add to the enjoyment with a hot dog lunch with goodies and giveaways at the park's lodge. Children can be registered at East Aurora Boys-Girls Club (652-4180). For details, call Dave Barus with the ECFSC (597-40781) or Mike Todd with the DEC (851-7010).

* Broderick Park Family Fishing Day begins at 5 a.m. Saturday at the foot of Ferry Street.

Buffalo United Front and the Greater WNY Anglers Association provide food, games, and prizes for this gathering that goes to 7 p.m. For information, call 818-3410.

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>Summer camps/workshops

Beaver Meadow Adventure Nature Camps offer kids from kindergarten to high school outdoors explorations and discoveries at their level of involvement.

A Pee Wee Naturalists (for children who have completed kindergarten) is set for June 28-July 2 or July 26-30, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each day. For kids completing first or second grade, a Nature Explorers program goes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, either July 5-9 or Aug. 2-6. Advanced Explorers, youths who have completed grades 3 or 4, gather either July 12-16 or Aug. 9-13. For students who have finished fifth or sixth grade, an Adventure Week goes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, July 19-23.

For registration information, call (800) 377-1520.

Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center at 93 Honorine Drive off Como Park Boulevard, will provide educators a series of WILD (wildlife in learning design) Workshops, Wet (water education for teachers) and Project Learning Tree daily programs from July 10 to Aug. 26.

Workshops help teachers heighten awareness, knowledge, and skills useful in making decisions about wildlife and the environment. For a listing of all scheduled presentations, call 683-5959 or visit dec.ny.gov/education/1913.html.

Hamburg Natural History Society holds three Triple Trek Summer Day Camps at three sites for each daily session. Keyed to youths ages 8-12, the camps will be held July 12-16, July 26-30, and Aug. 9-13.

Science Adventure Summer Day Camps are set for July 19-23, Aug. 2-6, and Aug. 16-20. Campers will explore geology, fossils, astronomy, weather, ecology, and rocketry at the Penn Dixie site. To register, call 627-4560 or go to penndixie.org.

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>Big Six Mile access open

Dock repairs are nearly completed and boaters can now access the Niagara River at the Big Six Mile launch site. "We can accommodate boat launching during the reconstruction, which should be finished this week," said Dave Clark, Beaver Island State Park manager.

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>Woodchuck derbies

Woodchuck chuckers have two contests this warm-weather season.

Oakfield Rod & Gun Club's "Heavy Hog Hunt 2010" goes from sunrise to 8 p.m. out of club grounds on Saturday, with a dinner set for 6-8 p.m. Weigh-ins are in two categories, gun and archery.

For more info and tickets for the competition or just the dinner, call Hunters Landing in Batavia at (585) 343-1474 or (585) 409-8506.

Auto Recyclers of William Street will be holding its "Third Annual Woodchuck Derby" July 17. Offering $3,000 in prizes, the derby invites hunters from across Western New York. For details, call 353-0839 or go to huntingwny.com.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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