Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites
 
Fall 2009             

Dear Junior Ranger,
One my favorite fall childhood memories is playing in the leaves that fell from the trees in our yard.  I loved running and jumping into a big pile of raked leaves or making a fort out of the leaves.  I can still remember what the leaves smelled like and the feel of the warm sun as I lay in my leaf fort.  Try it for yourself and enjoy the fall season!
Cindy Reittinger
Chief Naturalist, Georgia State Parks

Also in this Issue:
* Cool Critter Contest
* Meet a Ranger
* Poison Ivy Quiz

* Fall Happenings

Cool Critter

Can you identify this cool Georgia critter? 

Be the first Junior Ranger to correctly identify this animal and win a free Park Pass - good for free admission to all Georgia State Parks for a whole year!  Email your answer to the Chief Naturalist.

Meet A Park Ranger

Chet Powell, Park Manager at Reed Bingham State Park holds an endangered eastern indigo snake that he uses in live animal programs at his park.

Do you think YOU might want to be a park ranger when you grow up?  Chet shares his background in this special interview for Junior Rangers.

What inspired you to become a park ranger?
I grew up on the park because my dad was the park manager.  I wanted to be a park ranger too when I grew up!

What are your job responsibilities?
I make sure that the park and park wildlife are taken care of and that our visitors have an enjoyable visit while experiencing nature and having fun too.

What do you like most about your job?
The fact that we have so many rare and endangered animals here at the park that we can share with visitors.  We provide visitors with the opportunity to see wildlife that they would otherwise never see. 

What advice would you give a Junior Ranger who may be interested in becoming a park ranger when they grow up?
To make sure that they they work hard in school especially in science class and talk to their school counselors about career options.
Tell your teachers and other adults about your plans so they can help you.

What did you study in college that helped you become a park ranger?
My favorite class was Herpetology. I love reptiles and amphibians and I use what I learned in my job all the time.

Help Count Birds

Would you like to be a citizen scientist?  A citizen scientist is an everyday person like you who helps scientists collect information about the world around us.  The Christmas Bird Count is the oldest citizen science project in the world and you could be a part of it this year. 
Every year between mid-December and early January citizen scientists go out in groups to count the different kinds of birds in the area.  Join a group from your local Audubon Society and count birds in your community.  Find out when there is a Christmas bird count in your community.


Roasting Tips

1.  Never point your marshmallow roasting fork/stick at other people.  Carry it with the tip pointing toward the ground.

2.  Allow your roasted marshmallow to cool before you eat it.

Learn More
Visit your local library and check out this title:

Don't Touch That!:The Book of Gross, Poisonous, and Downright Icky Plants and Critters
by Jeff Day MD




 
Georgia's Venomous Snakes
Six kinds of venomous snakes live in Georgia. 

A good way to recall the names of Georgia's six venomous snakes is to remember there are three "C"s and three rattles.  The three "Cs" are:
Copperhead
Coral snake (pictured above)
Cottonmouth (also called water moccasin) 

Three rattles = three rattlesnakes:
Eastern diamondback
Timber rattlesnake
Pygmy rattlesnake

Venomous or Poisonous? 
The terms 'poisonous" and "venomous" are commonly confused when it comes to discussing plants and animals.  "Venomous" refers to animals that inject venom into their prey when hunting or as a means of self defense.  "Poisonous" is used to describe plants or animals that are harmful if touched or eaten.  Therefore, snakes are venomous and poison ivy is poisonous.

Things to do:
* Click on the links above to learn more about each of the six venomous snakes in Georgia.
* Listen to a rattlesnake
* Visit a nature center or zoo to see the snakes they have on display.   Are any of them venomous?

Poison Ivy: Important Wildlife Food

Leaves of three let it be!  A plant oil found in poison ivy causes a rash in many humans.  All Junior Rangers should be able to identify this plant so that they can be sure to avoid it.  Test your ability to recognize poison ivy by taking the poison ivy quiz.
Poison ivy is an important wildlife food. 
Woodpeckers and many other birds eat the berries (pictured here) while deer and other mammals eat the leaves. 

Things to do:
* Click on the link above to take the poison ivy quiz.
* Find some poison ivy in your neighborhood and take a photo or draw a picture.  Email or mail it to: Chief Naturalist (address at page bottom) and you will receive a small prize.  You must include a description of where you found the poison ivy, your name, age and address.

Myth or Fact?

Can you tell how old a rattlesnake is by counting the sections on its rattle?No.  A rattlesnake's rattle gets a new section every time the snake sheds and a healthy snake may shed four times a year.  Rattles may also break off.  Never approach a rattlesnake close enough to examine its rattle!

Can you catch poison ivy from another person?
The rash is not contagious but, you can catch poison ivy from another person's clothing if they have been exposed to poison ivy and have the oils on their clothing or outdoor gear.  So, if you have been out hiking and walked through poison ivy don't let your baby brother hang on your pant legs!

Fall Happenings
Explore the Georgia Coast or step back in time and experience Georgia's rich history at these upcoming events:

Torchlight Tour of the Ancient City
Oct. 3   Etowah Indian Mounds, Cartersville

Walk along a torch-lit path and climb the steps of the illuminated  temple mound at night as you learn about the Indians who once lived there.

2009 Coastal Birding and Nature Festival

Oct. 8-12   Jekyll Island
Enjoy educational displays and a live bird show at the Jekyll Island Convention Center, take a guided walk or register to go on a field trip to another coastal site.  Its fun for the whole family!

Frontier Day
Oct. 17    New Echota State Historic Site, Calhoun
Tour the historic grounds and buildings as the sights, sounds and smells of frontier life of the 1820s Cherokee Indian Nation return to New Echota.
Craftsmen will demonstrate early 19th century skills such as basket making, spinning, weaving, blacksmithing. storytelling and music.

Candle Lantern Tour of Fort McAllister
Oct. 24    Fort McAllister, Richmond Hill

Experience the Fort by candle light. Walk the historic grounds and watch the soldiers going through their nightly duties and chores. Be sure to stay with your guide or you may be captured as a spy!
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