The Youth Birding Competition turns 9 this year, and coordinator Tim Keyes is seeing plenty of evidence the event is making an impact for conservation – from “growing” young birders to providing an event template for competitions in other areas.
“We are developing a YBC ‘playbook’ that will hopefully allow others to start similar events in other states,” said Keyes, a wildlife biologist with the Nongame Conservation Section.
Collected from the four corners of the Southeast, the creatures are critical part of the focus of this south Georgia event, according to Bruce Purcell of the Evans County Wildlife Club.
The 24th annual version of this contest encourages Georgia children in kindergarten through fifth grades to learn about the outdoors by entering artwork of native nongame plants and animals. Through the windows of my sunroom, I was able to watch the snow slowly filling up my backyard.
The strong turnout affirms organizers’ decision in 2012 to stop buying and selling wild-caught rattlers, transforming what was a rattlesnake roundup into a wildlife festival. Check out the lineup of exhibits, shows and other fun. A controlled burn at Tallulah Gorge State Park in northeastern Georgia proved a blazing success Feb. Credit for the prescribed fire, aimed in part at helping the gorge’s native table mountain pines and rarities such as white monkeyface orchids, roundleaf sundews and turkeybeard, goes to careful planning and execution by the DNR, “A lot of important burning goes on all over the state, often in places that the public isn't always aware of," Klaus said.
The change drew strong support from conservation organizations and added to the event’s popularity. "When we burn Tallulah Gorge it is right in your face: It’s a beloved state park; a four-lane highway skirts its rim; it's a landmark for Georgians.
Biologists will check several sites where they detected the disease last year to document the progress of WNS and any population changes.
As we begin planning our vegetable gardens, and our roadsides and front yards look like pincushions of daffodils, Georgia’s hibernating bats still have a month of sleep, deep inside the state’s fragile Georgia cave systems.