Teachers turn conservation students at forestry/wildlife workshop

Kristina Summers, a senior public relations and information specialist with the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, attended much of the fourth annual Teacher Conservation Workshop held June 23-27 at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield. Here is her in-the-field glimpse of the workshop and participants adventures around the state.

Registration and anticipation

The bestest classroom: Smithgall Woods

Sheila Humphrey has a classroom without equal. About 3,000 children a year visit Smithgall Woods Regional Education Center, where Humphrey, as the center's educational coordinator, and others teach them about nature-based topics varying from animal adaptations to stream ecology.

"The kids when they're leaving say, 'This is the bestest field trip we've ever had,'" Humphrey said.

Volunteers needed for grass seed collection that benefits birds, others

A call for volunteers, from Georgia Important Bird Areas coordinator Charlie Muise.

Dear bird lover,

Here is a chance for you to help birds and enjoy a few hours with like-minded people in a beautiful place.

The Georgia Important Bird Areas (IBA) program is leading an effort to collect native warm-season grass seeds. We will provide these seeds to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and DNR staff will sow the seeds by hand as part of an effort to restore native grasslands, increasing important bird habitat.

Arrowhead: better than outdoors TV

"Better than Animal Planet Live!" is how one second-grader described her visit to Arrowhead Environmental Education Center.

Located on 337-acre Arrowhead Wildlife Management Area near Armuchee, the center offers fun and learning in northwest Georgia. Originally developed from farmland into a private hatchery, the property, which includes 14 hatchery ponds and three lakes, was bought by the state in 1968 and is used to help in managing waterfowl and other wildlife.

Georgia's Bobwhite Initiative benefits nongame, too

The Bobwhite Quail Initiative is a private-land incentives program developed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Board of Natural Resources and the state General Assembly to address the severe decline in bobwhite quail and other grassland-forb wildlife species.

Eight years into the initiative often called BQI, it is clear this competition-based program is helping wildlife beyond the states beloved gamebird.

Treasured cove added to northwest Georgia conservation lands

McLemore Cove is many things. Beautiful valley. Biological treasure. Historic site. But one thing McLemore has not been is public property. At least not until October, when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources joined with leaders from the Georgia Land Conservation Program, Walker County, the Open Space Institute Inc. and others to announce the acquisition of 1,839 acres of the cove where Pigeon and Lookout mountains meet.

Part 1: Rare birds & state lands, DNR's eye is on the sparrow (and warbler)

By Tim Keyes

The State Wildlife Action Plan focuses on species of high conservation concern in Georgia.  Some such as bald eagles and wood storks are relatively easy to detect and monitor and have been addressed through existing programs. Others, including some that occur on state property, are more difficult to detect, and their ranges and densities are much less known.