Education, Wildlife Projects Announced for 2008

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The topics vary from diamondback terrapins on Tybee Island to native plants in Atlanta. But the focus is the same: Help Georgians learn about and enjoy the wildlife around them.

The state Wildlife Resources Division recently approved 17 Nongame Educational and Watchable Wildlife projects for a total of $59,539 in funding. The 10-year-old program supports efforts by private, public and nonprofit organizations to enhance wildlife education and viewing opportunities statewide.

Wildlife Resources awarded $65,814 to projects through the competitive process last year. The total topped $54,100 in 2006. The money comes from sales of the state’s hummingbird and bald eagle license plates and the Give Wildlife a Chance state income tax checkoff, the two primary sources of income for the division’s Nongame Conservation Section.

This year’s projects, picked by a panel of nongame wildlife biologists and staff, include:

  • Overhauling the diamondback terrapin exhibit and signage at Tybee Island Marine Science Center.
  • Planting native plants as part of the education-oriented UrbanWatch Atlanta program at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
  • Creating a frogs exhibit at Georgia Southern University’s Center for Wildlife Education that will be a springboard for programs and even research-related podcasts by students.

Creating a frogs exhibit at Georgia Southern University’s Center for Wildlife Education that will be a springboard for programs and even research-related podcasts by students.The State Botanical Garden of Georgia will use the support it receives to install nest boxes, feeders and cover for neotropical migratory birds in a Shade and Native Flora Gardens area. In 2007, funding from the Nongame Educational and Watchable Wildlife Program helped the Athens garden start a native plants program that now has a waiting list and a growing lineup of volunteers willing to spread the word about Georgia’s homegrown plant species.

Nongame Conservation Chief Mike Harris said the Wildlife Resources program extends conservation beyond what the division can do.

“We really appreciate all of the good work that local governments and nongovernmental organizations are doing, and this is our chance to work with them to achieve a common goal,” Harris said.

Other projects picked were submitted by Atlanta Audubon Society, Dunwoody Nature Center, Georgia Herpetological Society, Jekyll Island Authority, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, Pebble Hill Plantation, Sanctuary on the Sapelo, Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Museum and Nature Center, the city of Social Circle, Tidelands Nature Center, University of Georgia Marine Extension Service and Woodbine Woman’s Club.

The call for 2009 proposals will be made in March. Twenty-three proposals were submitted this year.

Education projects include outreaches, exhibits and other activities in which the goal is to educate students, teachers or the public about nongame wildlife conservation. Watchable wildlife projects increase opportunities to observe nongame on property open to the public.