If you move a log or stone this winter, you might find a small brown lizard, the green anole, hibernating underneath. Why is this reptile brown and not green at this time of year? Green anoles change colors depending on their activity level (not to match surroundings, as true chameleons do). When cold and sluggish, these lizards are usually brown. But on warm winter days, green anoles may move around and bask in the sun. In that case, they'll probably be green. (E-mail wildlife interpretive specialist Linda May at firstname.lastname@example.org for more on WILD facts.)
These classes are wild
Learning about the outdoors in Georgia is almost as easy as A, B, C. Youth can take part in wildlife education contests this spring such as the Give Wildlife a Chance poster competition
and the Youth Birding Competition art contest
. Wildlife Resources' regional education centers
also offer classes to fit almost any bent, be it identifying birds or learning how plants and animals weather winter. Teachers become students at specialized programs such as the forestry workshop this June at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center
and the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia's annual conference
March 14-16 at Unicoi State Park. Learn more
Wildlife managers nationwide are tracking climate change legislation that could increase state wildlife funding. The current leader is the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act
(S. 2191). Bound for the Senate floor after clearing a committee in December, the bill marks 18 percent of revenues from a proposed carbon permit auction -- as much as $9 billion a year -- for natural resources adaptation. Thirty-five percent will go to state agencies for wildlife and habitat work related to climate change. Meanwhile, Congress passed a fiscal 2008 appropriations bill packing $73.8 million for the State Wildlife Grants Program
, a $6.3 million increase. President Bush's approval is expected.
Smooth purple coneflower
: Aster or sunflower family.
: Federally and state listed as endangered; globally imperiled.
: Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia. (Considered extirpated in Pennsylvania.) Georgia has about 25 known sites, most on the Chattahoochee National Forest in Stephens County.
: Semi-dry meadows and oak/pine, rocky woodland on basic or near-neutral soils. Amphibolite rock outcrops are common to most Georgia sites.
: 2- to 4-foot-tall perennial with flowering heads composed of numerous disk flowers at center encircled by 13-21 ray flowers, each with a single, pale purple petal.
: Late May to early July. Fruits mature July-October.
: Nongame Conservation staff and other members of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance are restoring habitat through prescribed burning and removing woody competitors. In November, more than 300 1-year-old coneflowers were planted at three Stephens County sites. The lack of natural fires has degraded coneflower habitat at many sites.
"This is one of those no-brainer projects. It's very unlikely we will not succeed." Nongame Conservation botanist Mincy Moffett
By the numbers
North Atlantic right whales
- 400: estimated population
- 22: calves born in 2007, six so far this season
- 8: whales spotted entangled in fishing gear
- 4: whale deaths documented during the past year
- 3314: The number given a juvenile female. Dubbed "Yellowfin," she was freed from 300 feet of lobster gear in 2004 and spotted off the Georgia/Florida coast in December 2007.
Nongame in the news
- Weekend for Wildlife's platinum anniversary is proving golden. Registration for the Feb. 8-9 nongame fund-raiser filled by December, a first in the event's 20 years.
- Nest counts of federally endangered wood storks dropped from a record high of 1,918 in 2006 to an estimated 1,054 last year. Biologists blame drought that sapped freshwater wetlands the storks need for feeding and nesting.
- Have wings, will travel: A dunlin banded in Alaska last summer by Nongame Conservation program manager Brad Winn and others was photographed in November in Taiwan, 4,000-plus miles away.
* Savannah Morning News
: "Whales off to a Good Start," about migrating right whales off Georgia, Florida, S.C. (Dec. 21)
* Macon Telegraph: "Group Counts Middle Georgia's Feathered Friends
," about Christmas bird count at Rum Creek WMA/Piedmont NWR
* Chattanooga Times Free Press, "Cold-water streams are a refuge for fish during drought, scientists say
," about survey in Whitfield County spring for rare fish and other sensitive aquatics (Nov. 8)
* Jan. 17
: Sportsman's Day at the State Capitol. Georgia Wildlife Federation, www.gwf.org
* Feb. 3-9
: Prescribed Fire Awareness Week. Georgia Prescribed Fire Council, (850) 893-4153, ext. 239; email@example.com
* Feb. 8-9
: Weekend for Wildlife, The Cloister, Sea Island, Georgia DNR, (770) 918-6789; www.georgiawildlife.com
* Feb. 8-10
: Georgia Wildlife Federation Great Outdoors Show, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, Perry. www.gwf.org
* Feb. 21-24
: Southeastern Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation meeting at UGA, Athens. www.parcplace.org/
* Feb. 29
: Georgia Conservancy 2008 Youth Environmental Symposium. Ten finalists present projects at Zoo Atlanta. (404) 876-2900 or (912) 447-5910, firstname.lastname@example.org
* March 8
: Fire on the Mountain, Sprewell Bluff State Park, Thomaston. Noon start. Rain date: March 15. http://gastateparks.org; Thomaston Chamber of Commerce, (706) 647-9686
* March 14-16
: Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia annual conference, Unicoi State Park, Helen. www.eealliance.org/
* March 15
: Fitzgerald Wild Chicken Festival, Fitzgerald. (800) 386-4642; www.fitzgeraldga.org/
Send items to rick.lavender@gadnr.
Photo credits (from top):
* Right whale fluke: WRD
* American kestrel: Dan Vickers
* Smooth purple coneflower: WRD
* Rafinesque's big-eared bat: (C) Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org
* Searching for bats: Matt Clement
* Right whales: UNC Wilmington, permitted by NOAA Fisheries
"Georgia Wild" is a bi-monthly electronic newsletter produced by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and focused on conserving nongame species. The newsletter is delivered free to subscribers. Subscribe at www.georgiawildlife.com
The WRD Nongame Conservation Section conserves and protects Georgia's diversity of native animals and plants and their habitats through research, management and education. Staff conduct research and surveys, identify critical habitats, implement species and habitat restoration programs, promote awareness of wildlife conservation needs, provide guidance for managing private lands for the benefit of nongame wildlife, and develop management plans for state-owned natural areas.