Feast Like a Hellbender to support conservation efforts

April 5, 2013  

Hellbender mascot

Students can enter the Name the Hellbender Mascot contest. (Purdue University photo/Rod Williams)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Extension is hosting an afternoon of games, educational programs and an all-you-can-eat Cajun-style dinner to support efforts to protect the hellbender, an endangered giant salamander.

Feast Like a Hellbender takes place April 20 from 4-6 p.m. at the Harrison County Extension office, 247 Atwood St., Corydon. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children 12 and younger, and can be purchased online at http://www.HelpTheHellbender.org.

Proceeds will go toward hellbender conservation in the Blue River. The river runs through portions of seven southern Indiana counties.

"Everyone is invited to this event," said Rod Williams, a Purdue assistant professor of forestry and natural resources and leader of the university's hellbender conservation program. "There will be door prizes, games for kids, educational materials for teachers, giveaways for anglers and a dinner of shrimp creole, shrimp étouffée, crawfish creole, boiled crawfish and jambalaya. We'll also introduce the Purdue hellbender mascot."

The hellbender is the largest salamander in North America, typically 11-24 inches long. The docile amphibians have flat green or brown bodies that have noticeable wrinkles on the sides. They live under flat rocks in rivers and streams across Appalachia, parts of the Midwest and the northern tips of several southern states. The eastern hellbender is endangered in five states and either protected or of special concern in many others.

During Feast Like a Hellbender, Purdue forestry and natural resources students will lead activities and demonstrations for teachers, K-12 youth, farmers and fishermen.

"In conjunction with the event, we're sponsoring student contests to name our hellbender mascot, write short stories about hellbenders and color or draw hellbender pictures," Williams said.

Contest entries must be submitted by April 15, and winners will receive free admission to Feast Like a Hellbender and a hellbender T-shirt.

Contest rules and additional event information are available on the "Help The Hellbender" website.

Writer: Steve Leer, 765-494-8415, sleer@purdue.edu

Source: Rod Williams, 765-494-3568, rodw@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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