Give wildlife a chance
Georgia DNR's Nongame Conservation Section
receives no state funding to conserve nongame wildlife, native plants and natural habitats. We depend on contributions, grants and fundraisers. Meaning we depend largely on you!
Here's how you can help:
* Buy a conservation license plate
. A portion of fees supports the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund.
* Contribute to the Give Wildlife a Chance state income tax checkoff
directly to the Nongame Conservation Section.
* Use GoodSearch
for your Internet searches (enter "Georgia Nongame Conservation Fund" under "Who do you GoodSearch for" and click "Verify").
* Join TERN
, the Nongame Conservation Section's friends group.
Eastern tiger swallowtails
are taking flight this spring! Named Georgia’s state butterfly in 1988, this common insect measures about 6 inches across with “tails” as long as 1 inch. Most eastern tiger swallowtails
are bright yellow with black tiger-like stripes, although some females are dark brown. The purpose of this dark color phase may be to mimic the pipevine swallowtail, a butterfly similar in appearance but distasteful to predators. You can attract this beautiful species to your yard by providing host trees including yellow poplar, red maple and black cherry to feed the caterpillars, as well as nectar-producing flowers for the adults.
Woodward Academy fifth-graders
are getting a valuable lesson in conservation. For about the past 10 years, fifth-grade science teacher Mike Murphy has led students in Earth Day fundraising projects that “let them know they can make a difference” for Georgia wildlife. Kids focused this year on bald eagles, approving an eagle design for Earth Day T-shirts and then selling the shirts to fourth- through sixth-graders at the College Park school
. Proceeds will easily top $1,000, with profits going to the state’s Wildlife Conservation Fund
. The shirts not only fit Woodward, where the mascot is a war eagle, they offer a break from uniform rules. Wearing the eagle T to school is OK on April 21.
of another 2011 budget extension also extended debate over fiscal cuts, and whether or how much the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants will be funded. The new continuing resolution runs out April 8. The federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30. States and a national Teaming with Wildlife coalition
have emphasized how the State Wildlife Grants program helps conserve more than 12,000 at-risk species, powers the strategically focused State Wildlife Action Plans and leverages "hundreds of millions of dollars" for conservation by working with private groups and businesses. Georgia projects
involving State Wildlife Grant include work to restore more than 15,000 acres of sandhills habitat and acquisition of Zahnd Natural Area in Walker County. One House resolution
also eliminated funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and sharply cut the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund. On a related note
, Satilla Riverkeeper
in Georgia was the 500th signer
of a Teaming with Wildlife letter supporting State Wildlife Grants funding and sent to senators.
Alligator snapping turtle
Macrochelys temminckii (Harlan)
: Loggerhead (for its large head) or alligator turtle.
t: One of the world's largest freshwater turtle species, alligator snappers
can top 220 pounds, with carapaces reaching more than 31 inches long.
: Carapace is dark to reddish brown, broad and lined with three jagged ridges. The turtle's enormous head is triangular with an elongated snout and strongly hooked jaws. The relatively long tail has three dorsal rows of tubercles
: The common snapping turtle
. Common snappers are similar in color and general appearance, but have less conspicuous carapace ridges, smaller heads, no elongated snout or supramarginal scutes, and a jagged keel on the tail.
: Large streams and rivers (and associated impoundments) draining to the Gulf of Mexico. Found from southeastern Georgia west to Texas, and north along the Mississippi River to Iowa. Georgia waterways with populations include the Chattahoochee, Flint, Ochlockonee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha and Suwannee rivers
: Includes crayfish, mollusks, fish, smaller turtles, water birds, carrion, and plant material in the water, such as acorns and wild grapes.
: Mating takes place in late winter or early spring. Nesting season is April through June. Nests are usually dug in riverbanks. Females nest only once every one to two years, depositing a clutch of up to 60 eggs. Hatchlings emerge 2½-3½ months later (their gender is determined by incubation temperature of the eggs). Turtles reach sexual maturity in 11-13 years.
Alligator snapping turtles, especially young ones, are known for lying motionless on the stream bottom with their jaws agape, wiggling their specialized, worm-like tongue appendage. The action lures unsuspecting fish within range of the fast, powerful jaws. (Watch a snapper in action
). The jaw force can exceed 1,000 pounds!
: The species is the most aquatic non-marine turtle in the U.S., leaving the water usually only to nest.
: Before being protected in Georgia by the state, these giant turtles were trapped heavily, particularly for the turtle soup industry. One trapper harvested 4,000-5,000 adult alligator snapping turtles in the Flint River from 1971-1983. Intense trapping of adult turtles -- especially a late-maturing species -- can undercut local populations. From 1998-1989, the same trapper reported only 62 alligator snappers caught in 783 "trap" nights (one trap out at night counts as one trap night).
: Listed as threatened in Georgia. No federal legal status. Global ranking is G3 to G4, or narrowly endemic to apparently secure globally.
For more, see the protected species accounts at www.georgiawildlife.com. Also see: Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia (UGA Press).
Want to comment
on proposed regulations that would set fees for non-hunting/angling use of designated parts of Georgia’s wildlife management and public fishing areas? Public hearings
are scheduled next month, with comments also possible online and by mail before April 29.
Georgia's conservation tax credit
proved more popular than ever in 2010. An annual report by DNR biologist Kristina Sorensen shows the most acres certified (47,310) and applications received (79) for the program that rewards landowners for their donations of permanent conservation easements or land. (Download a copy
The first Atlantic white-sided dolphin
documented in Georgia was found stranded on Cumberland Island last month. The dolphin, which was in poor condition and had to be euthanized, represents a species
more common on the outer continental shelf along the northeastern U.S.
to this year’s DNR Youth Birding Competition T-shirt Art Contest
. Coordinator Linda May said judges picked from among 166 drawings and paintings for four age-category winners, with announcement of the grand-prize winner due at the April 17 awards banquet. Sign up for the birding competition
by March 31!
Fitzgerald's Wild Chicken Festival
March 18-19 attracted a crowd of more than 7,000, with 100-plus vendors. In 2001, the south Georgia city made the successful switch from a rattlesnake roundup to a wildlife-friendly celebration that focused on the local wild Burmese chicken population.
Giving to the Give Wildlife a Chance
state income tax checkoff reached only $205,000 last year
, the least since the 1990s. DNR officials hope 2011 marks a rebound for the fundraiser vital to conservation of the state’s nongame wildlife.
No doubt sightings will continue
but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the eastern cougar is extinct
, and probably has been since the 1930s. Following a formal review, the agency recommended removing the subspecies from the list of endangered animals, saying sightings examined described cougar species either released from captivity or migrated from other areas.
with DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section? Find out in the section’s 2010 annual report
, online at www.georgiawildlife.com
A litter pickup at Sprewell Bluff
bagged two truck-and-trailer loads of beer cans and other trash last month from the state outdoor recreation area near Thomaston. Credit goes to the nearly 50 volunteers from Atlanta Audubon Society
, Flint Riverkeeper
, the Student Conservation Association
, DNR and others.
At a recent regional bat meeting
, former DNR bat intern Laci Coleman earned top student oral presentation honors for her talk on summer roosting habitats of northern yellow bats on Sapelo Island ("Follow the yellow bat home," June 2010
). 2010 intern and fellow University of Georgia student Beth Oxford drew praise for a presentation about foraging bats’ habitat associations on Georgia barrier islands, while “Bat Matt” – UGA doctoral candidate Matt Clement – detailed his research into winter roosting and bat activity in cypress-gum swamps.
Name that session
: It was the second joint meeting of the Northeastern Bat Working Group, Midwest Bat Working Group and Southeastern Bad Diversity Network and 21st Colloquium on the Conservation of Mammals in the Eastern United States. You can breathe now.
Impacts of wind energy farms
on bats and white-nose syndrome were headline topics at the colloquium. The threat of WNS is well known, but turbines on wind farms are also quiet killers
, with annual mortality estimated at about 400,000 bats a year.
Plants in office settings
can boost your attention span, according to research reported in Scientific American. All of which prompted the gotta-read headline: Houseplants make you smarter
Beetles that roll?
On the Georgia coast, Georgia Southern University associate professor Alan Harvey and former grad student Sarah Zukoff documented eastern beach tiger beetle larvae distorting their bodies into wheel shapes and being blown uphill by sea breezes, a never before seen combination
in animals that use "wheel locomotion."
The latest version of i-Tree
offers a more powerful but still free tool to gauge the ecological and economic value of trees in communities. The U.S. Forest Service and partners recently announced
the release of i-Tree v.4
Trout Unlimited provided
a $2,500 grant to Sheila Humphrey for wildlife education at Smithgall Woods Regional Education Center
. The program, part of Smithgall Woods-Dukes Creek Conservation Area near Helen, reaches more than 15,000 students each year.
Duncan Johnson Sr.
is the newest Board of Natural Resources
member. Appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal, the Johnson Motor Company Dealerships president and vice chair of the Central Savannah River Area Alliance replaces Bill Archer, whose term expired.
Bringing live bighead carp
into the U.S. or across state lines is now banned. Bigheads are the latest Asian carp listed as “injurious”
and considered a dire threat to native fishes, with fears this species that can top 60 pounds will spread to the Great Lakes.
Did you see ...
C-4 Library Channel in Rome
Southern Exposure program discusses whooping cranes with DNR
(scroll to "Southern Exposure: Whoopinng cranes").
Georgia Public Broadcasting
: Submit your best nature video
by April 8 for Georgia Outdoors' Earth Day Video Contest. Chosen clips will be part of an Earth Day episode premiering April 22.
: "Dead anchovies clog California harbor
" (March 8)
Nongame in the news
Savannah Morning News
: "Birding competition designed for children
," March 31 deadline looms for 2011 Youth Birding Competition. (March 23)
The (Gainesville) Times
: "TV program tells how to take care of hemlocks
," 30-minute regional cable show created by Dahlonega-based Save Georgia's Hemlocks. (March 17) View images and script
The Florida Times-Union
: "McIntosh swamp fire out but threat remains
," 960 acres burned; cautions over dry conditions remain. (March 16)
: "Following the monarch
," UGA scientists discover, with help from students monitoring monarchs, that migration helps guard butterflies against parasite's impact. (March 13)
: "Local’s art displayed in Deal’s office
," turtle mosaics created by Cindy Murphy for DNR Weekend for Wildlife catch governor's eye. (March 16)
: "Georgia income tax checkoff helps conserve rare animals & plants
," DNR release on checkoff's role in conservation. (March 14)
Savannah Morning News
: "National Marine Fisheries Service: Endangered sturgeon at risk with deepening project
," species draws greater scrutiny for harbor project. (March 13)
The (Bainbridge) Post-Searchlight
:"Submerged logs issues rise again
," proposed Senate Bill 218 would make harvest of logs in some state rivers more financially feasible, yet also resurrecting environmental concerns. (March 11)
The Florida Times-Union
: "Georgia Supreme Court: McIntosh County island owned by state, not family
," decision favors DNR in dispute over 40-acre island in Altamaha River. (March 8)
: "From U.S., fire ants go abroad
," non-native pest with U.S. genes found from Asia to Australia and New Zealand. (March 4)
Savannah Morning News
: "Savannah Riverkeeper keeping herself on river
," advocate plans month on river near Augusta to raise Riverkeeper members and attention to issues. (March 3) And: She comes off after goals reached (video on WRDW-TV Augusta
(Raleigh-Durham, N.C.) (and others via AP): "Bat fungus found in second N.C. county
," white-nose syndrome documented in Yancey County in western part of state. (March 2)
(Chattanooga, Tenn.): "Biologists declare eastern cougar 'extinct'
," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review finds no evidence endangered cougar subspecies still exists. (March 2)
Eastern Land and Resources Council Journal
: "Georgia Department of Natural Resources land conservation projects along the Altamaha River
," lauds partnership that has protected 36,000 acres since 2005. (February)
: "Professor says coast is vital to environment
," LaGrange College biology teacher discusses the work and importance of salt marshes. (February)
Cedartown Standard and Rockmart Journal
: "Georgia projects earn 5 star recognition
," DNR Georgia Wild article on work recognized by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Five Star Restoration Grant Program. (Feb. 28)
: "‘Firefighters’ keep flame for restoring wildlife habitat
," DNR release about conservation through prescribed fire. (Feb. 28)
The New York Times
: "How species save our lives
," column explores medical advances credited to naturalists. (Feb. 27)
Photo credits (from top):
* Alligator snapping turtle (in masthead). John Jensen/Ga. DNR
* Henslow's sparrow at Paulk's Pasture WMA. Evan Schneider
* DNR's Todd Schneider and son Evan at Paulk's Pasture. Roy Brown
* Woodward Academy Earth Day eagle T-shirt. Courtesy of Mike Murphy
* Turkeybeard at Sprewell Bluff (left, by Hal Massie); turkeybeard in bloom at Dawson Forest WMA (right, by Ga. DNR)
* Alligator snapping turtle. John Jensen/Ga. DNR
* Martha Joiner, second from right, and DNR botanist Lisa Kruse, right, during a trip to the pitcherplant bogs Joiner helps conserve. Hew Joiner
* Alligator snapper caught in Decatur County. John Jensen/Ga. DNR
* One of the "purps" -- young pitcherplants Martha Joiner raised. Lisa Kruse/Ga. DNR
* Crossvine. Terry W. Johnson
* North Atlantic right whale mother and calf off Tybee Island. Ga. DNR, NOAA research permit # 775-1875
* Prescribed fire at Tallulah Gorge this month. Nathan Klaus/Ga. DNR
* Janisse Ray and her father at Moody Forest celebration. The Nature Conservancy
* Brett Boisjolie, right, crew leader for DNR's prescribed fire strike team, with other participants at Moody Forest. Kelly Jarvis/Student Conservation Association
volume 4, issue 3
A free monthly e-newsletter produced by DNR and focused on Georgia's rare and other nongame. Subscribe or see previous issues
Wildlife not legally trapped, fished for or hunted, plus native plants and natural habitats.
The Wildlife Resources Division's Nongame Conservation Section
. Our mission: Conserve and protects Georgia's diversity of native animals and plants and their habitats through research, management and education. It's worth repeating that we depend on grants, donations
and fundraisers such as nongame license plate sales
(the eagle and hummingbird tags), the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund state income tax checkoff
and Weekend for Wildlife
Buy a tag:
Nongame license plates – the eagle and hummingbird – are available at county tag offices
, by checking the wildlife license plate box on mail-in registration forms and through online renewal
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