The Call April 2016

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the Call

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The Official Publication of the Georgia Wildlife Federation


W H AT ’ S I N S I D E

Keeping GEORGIA Wild

Board member Charlie Miller retires. Page 4

GWF volunteer receives award. Page 7

Schools receive habitat grants. Page 10

The kids activity area at the Great Outdoors Show this past February was a hit with parents and children of all ages. Thanks to a generous donation from Derksen Portable Buildings, participants constructed a keepsake birdbox to install in their own yard or school. More on page 12.


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e Call

You’re Either at the Table or on the Menu By Mike Worley, GWF President & CEO

® BOARD OF DIRECTORS OFFICERS Chairman: Randy Young Vice Chairman: Brian Mask Secretary: Joy Campbell Treasurer: Don E. Chandler Immediate Past Chair: Matt Nichols DISTRICT DIRECTORS District 1: Jim Smith District 2: Mickey Brown District 3: Tom Jones District 4: Jeff Young District 5: Todd Teasley District 6: David Haire District 7: Vacant District 8: Vacant District 9: Tommy Gregors District 10: Vacant District 11: Vacant District 12: Carl Hall DIRECTORS AT LARGE Josh Burnette, Marietta Chris Gray, Buford James Manley, Dacula Kevin McKinstry, Tuscaloosa, AL Gordon Reynolds, Loganville Joel Vinson, Forsyth Steve Wrigley, Watkinsville GEORGIA WILDLIFE FEDERATION STAFF President and CEO: Mike Worley Sportsmen’s Programs Coordinator: Bonnie Eisterhold Executive Assistant: Becky Harris Conservation and Outreach Manager: DeAnna Harris Facilities Specialist: Simwone Jordan MCNC Program Manager: Hank Ohme Sportsmen’s Programs: Doug Rithmire Conservation Issues Coordinator: Gina Rogers Wildlife Technician & Volunteer Coordinator: Adam Schiavone Sportsmen’s Programs Manager: Sam Stowe THE CALL STAFF Editor: DeAnna Harris Contributing Authors: Hank Ohme, Gina Rogers, Mike Worley, William B. Ainslie Photography: Hank Ohme, Gina Rogers, DeAnna Harris, John Deitsch, Dale Higdon Layout: DeAnna Harris e Call is published quarterly by the Georgia Wildlife Federation (GWF), a not-for-profit corporation at 11600 Hazelbrand Rd., Covington, GA 30014. All editorial and subscription correspondence should be mailed to this address. Contributions to the content of this newsletter from members and readers are welcomed and encouraged, but all manuscripts submitted are subject to editing. ird-class postage paid at Covington, GA 30014. Annual membership dues to GWF begin at $35, which includes a subscription to e Call newsletter. Contact us at 770-787-7887 or Visit us on the web at (c) 2016 Georgia Wildlife Federation


It is hard to imagine we are already entering the second quarter of 2016! Where does the time go? In our case, we can answer that question at least a bit; the time has gone into the Gold Dome during the months of January, February and March. To give a sense of scale to the General Assembly session, during the 2015-2016 Legislative Session, lawmakers introduced 4,835 individual legislative initiatives (bills and resolutions). We don’t even want to talk about the numbers of amendments or substitutes to those initiatives. I’m oen asked how we sort through, pick out and prioritize the legislation we track and what legislation we actually get involved in from an advocacy perspective. e process is actually quite low tech. We keep in mind our membership is made up of hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. We pay attention to our founding tenant of advocating for professional, science-based management of our natural resources. Furthermore, we are always mindful of our belief system embodied in our 1936 mission statement: To encourage the intelligent management of the life sustaining resources of the earth — its essential water resources — its protective forests and plant life — and its dependent wildlife — and to promote and encourage the knowledge and appreciation of these resources, their interrelationship and wise use, without which there can be little hope for a continuing abundant life. Aer that, it is simply wading through the first reader (a short summary about the bill) for each initiative and seeing if it impacts or involves any of our beliefs, values or interests. We are also oen involved in craing legislation that fits our mission…so obviously we work on those as well. So what are some of the pieces of legislation we worked on this year? Hunting and Fishing License – HB 872 would have provided for the simplification of Georgia’s hunting and fishing license and would have expanded the number of licenses sold in Georgia. Some think it odd that an organization like GWF, whose very foundation is representing hunters and anglers, would have supported an increase in hunting and fishing license fees. However, we also saw the potential for additional resources to be provided to our hunters and anglers…more land, more access, more beneficial management. ese additional funds would have come both from license sales, but even more significantly, it would have generated more dollars coming to Georgia from federal funding sources. Surveys of hunters and anglers showed more that 80% supported an initiative of this type. Partners supporting the legislation included Trout Unlimited, Quality Deer Management Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Georgia Trappers Association, Coastal Conservation Association, Izaak Walton League, Quail Forever, and others. Unfortunately, this bill did not pass but we expect to see it back in the next session of the General Assembly. Stream Buffers – HB 966 proved to be a much more difficult bill to understand and pass than anyone expected prior to the session. Georgia has wisely protected vegetative buffer areas around the state’s streams (25-foot buffers around most streams, with a 50-foot buffer for trout streams) in order to prevent runoff, siltation and pollution from reaching our waterways and endangering our fisheries. e Official Code of Georgia had used a technical phrase of “wrested vegetation” (vegetation that has been altered or moved by flowing waters) to determine from where buffers should begin and be measured. Last summer the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that stream buffers could only be measure directly from wrested vegetation; therefore anyplace where wrested vegetation couldn’t be identified has no buffer. A simple wording change in the law was required to restore this critical protection to Georgia’s waterways. HB 966 proposed using the term “ordinary high water mark”, regularly utilized by the US Corps of Engineers, instead of wrested vegetation as the delineation point for buffers. is

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change would have essentially restored the regulation of stream buffers to the standard that has been used in Georgia for many years…and maintained all existing exemptions for agriculture, silviculture, utilities, railroads, etc. Confusion about this legislation and its impact led to HB 966 not passing, but we expect this issue to be addressed again in the next General Assembly. Partners included Trout Unlimited and the Georgia Water Coalition. Shoal Bass Bill – HB 483 would have named the shoal bass as Georgia’s “Official Native Riverine Sport Fish”. e shoal bass fishery is becoming a significant niche for anglers in Georgia. Its range is roughly 90% contained in Georgia and it is a beautiful black bass requiring clean healthy shoals in which to thrive. Time simply ran out in this high speed session for passage of HB 483, but don’t be surprised to see the shoal bass back in the General Assembly next year. Our partner in this legislation was the Flint Riverkeeper. License Plate for Coastal Marine Habitat – HB 736 was introduced to provide for a special vehicle license plate to support marine habitat conservation. is bill passed and was sent to the Governor for his signature, but was highly amended. e bill ultimately provided for a multitude of special license plates to include the marine habitat component and a plate to support the Law Enforcement division of Georgia DNR as well as many other licenses that had little to do with conservation. e primary proponent on this issue was the Coastal Conservation Association. Permits to Use Wildlife in Films – HB 840 allows individuals that can ordinarily hold wildlife, such as animal rehabilitators, to apply for permits to utilize that wildlife in films

and TV production. Georgia’s film industry has been required to leave Georgia to film wildlife because we had no mechanism to allow this practice. While GWF firmly maintains the tenant of the public ownership of wildlife, the animals utilized under these permits are held by rehabilitators that oen can’t be returned to the wild. is bill has been sent to the Governor for his approval. Georgia Legacy – HB 693 & HR 907 sought to establish dedicated funding for the purchase and maintenance of new public lands for outdoor enthusiasts. It would have taken 75% of the sales taxes paid on outdoor recreation equipment sales in Georgia and applied it to that purpose. e partners in the Georgia Legacy coalition are currently meeting to revamp/retool this campaign and effort. Expect to see more in the future. Partners include e Nature Conservancy, e Georgia Conservancy, e Trust for Public Land, Trout Unlimited, e Conservation Fund, and Park Pride. ere are other bills we worked on this year, but this gives you a sense of some of the important ones and also some of the more interesting bills we saw this session. You can certainly get a sense of the importance of having our sporting community represented at the Capitol. As an old lobbyist friend of mine used to say, “in the legislature you are either at the table or on the menu!” ank you for being a member of GWF and supporting our efforts at the Capitol. If you want to be more directly involved, sign up for our Camo Coalition. Camo Coalition is a direct action network run by Georgia Wildlife Federation that targets conservation issues of special interest to hunters and anglers. Together we are “Keeping Georgia Wild”!

Working Together at the 2016 Sportsman and Conservationist Summit On January 13, Georgia Wildlife Federation hosted the annual Sportsman and Conservationist Summit to discuss pertinent issues for the 2016 legislative session. Nineteen organizations were represented as leaders discussed ways to work together to ensure adequate funding for conservation in Georgia and protect water quality among other issues. Georgia Wildlife Federation would like to thank the following organizations for participating: Izzak Walton League, Coastal Conservation Association, Trout Unlimited, GA Trappers Association, GA DNR/Coastal Resources Division, GA DNR/Wildlife Resources Division, National Wild Turkey Federation, Georgia Conservancy, GA DNR/Law Enforcement, National Wildlife Federation, GA DNR, Westervelt, Congressional Sportsman's Foundation, Quality Deer Management, Miell Consulting & Advisory Services, GA Pictured left to right: Walter Rabon, DNR Deputy Commissioner; Spud Chamber of Commerce, Joe Tanner and Woodward, DNR Coastal Resources Director; Mike Worley, GWF President; and Dan Forster, DNR Wildlife Resources Director. Associates, and R-3 Coordinator/NWTF. 3

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Longtime Board Member Charlie Miller Retires aer 22 Years of Service

Charlie and his wife R.Lease enjoy live music and dancing at a 2014 event at the Alcovy Conservation Center (ACC) in Covington. One of Charlie’s most important contributions to the Federation is his donation of thousands of photographs documenting the work of GWF, including the construction of the ACC.

his appointment to the board Aer 22 years of service, in 1994. Charlie Miller stepped down For the next 22 years, from the GWF Board of Charlie served the board in Directors this past fall. Always smiling, and oen with a camera numerous roles including Director-at-Large, Delegate to in-hand, Charlie has been a the National Wildlife Federation, constant figure at GWF since Vice Chairman, and three terms joining in 1987 at the Atlanta as Chairman. As a Buckarama. He and Always smiling, and board member of his lovely wife R.Lease have often with camera the Georgia Master Gardener attended special in-hand, Charlie events, fundraisers Miller has been a Association, he played an active and meetings too constant figure at role in GWF’s numerous to GWF since joining Wildlife Habitat mention. rough in 1987. Program by the years, Charlie strengthening ties has been an active and partnership opportunities volunteer and board member, between the two organizations. and a dear friend of In addition, Charlie represented the Federation. GWF on the Georgia Aer retiring from Department of Transportation’s Goodyear in 1988, Charlie Roadside Enhancement and jumped wholeheartedly into the Beautification Council during GWF volunteer program led at that time by Devra Phillips. With the Roy Barnes administration. Charlie’s infectious smile training and experience in public and generosity have le its mark speaking, taking on the role of on all of us. To our lifetime GWF county representative for DeKalb was a natural fit. Charlie member #19, the staff and board utilized his talents by promoting of GWF would like to say “thank the mission of GWF to others in you” for the countless hours you have given to make GWF a his community, and his passion for growing the Federation led to better place.

Since 1993, hunters have been bringing meat to the tables of those in need through the Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program. is successful program continues to provide opportunities during hunting season for hunters to share their harvest with those in need. Georgia Wildlife Federation has been a sponsor of GHFTH since it began by assisting in promoting the program and raising funds to pay processors for venison delivered to food banks. e 2015-2016 season resulted in the donation of 13,990 pounds of venison to foodbanks throughout Georgia which equates to just short of 56,000 meals. GWF thanks our 2015-2016 sponsors and sportsmen for making a difference in the lives of fellow Georgians. 2015-2016 Sponsors: Walmart, Georgia Food Bank Association, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Washington EMC and Snapping Shoals EMC. 4


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e Georgia Wildlife Federation Board


GWF Welcomes Josh Burnette to the Board of Directors In February, the GWF board unanimously approved Josh Burnette to serve as a Director-at-Large. Josh, an avid bird hunter, flyfisherman, and runner, serves as Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Southwire Company, LLC, where he is lead corporate and business counsel to the company’s five core business divisions, as well as their Canadian affiliate, Southwire Canada Company. Josh celebrated his fih anniversary at Southwire in January. Prior to that, he served as Southwire Corporate Counsel and an Associate Corporate Attorney at Dentons (formerly McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP). Aer graduating cum laude from the University of Richmond in Virginia with a B.S. in Business Administration & Finance, Josh received his J.D. from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law in Macon. He lives in Marietta with his wife of 11 years, Marjorie, a nurse practitioner at e Harbin Clinic in Rome, and his 8-year-old son Colton. e staff and board welcome Josh, Marjorie and Colton to the GWF family and look forward to working with Josh and the talent and energy he will bring to the table.

Top: GWF board member Tom Jones joins GWF staff for Sportsman’s Day at the Capitol to network with other likeminded organizations and elected officials. Pictured left to right are Mike Worley, Sam Stowe, Gina Rogers, Tom Jones, and Adam Schiavone. Middle: GWF board member Jeff Young congratulates the winner of a handcrafted turkey call during the 2016 Great Outdoors Show (GOS) this past February in Perry. Bottom: GWF board members Carl Hall and Don Chandler prepare to recruit new GWF members during GOS while former GWF President Todd Holbrook demonstrates the art of tying flyfishing lures.

Newly elected Director-at-Large Josh Burnette and son Colton enjoy an evening out with the Federation at the Camo Coalition Dinner and Auction this past March. 5

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Thank you to all who have recently joined or renewed your membership with Georgia Wildlife Federation. Your ongoing support keeps GWF moving forward. Coastal Conservation Assoc. (CCA), Savannah Dunwoody Woman's Club Inc., Dunwoody Monroe County Sportsmen Federation, Forsyth Service Guild of Covington, Covington Southwest Georgia Sportsman's Club, Albany The Izaak Walton League of America, Atlanta The Redbud Project, Gainesville Mr. and Mrs. Les M. Ager, Hawkinsville Mr. and Mrs. Richard Aldredge, Lawrenceville Mr. David Allen, Social Circle Dr. and Mrs. Jonathan P. Ambrose, Watkinsville Mr. James Amerson, Cochran Mr. Richard Applegate, St Simons Island Mr. T. Joshua Archer, Atlanta Mr. and Mrs. Andy Austin, Social Circle Mr. Lamar Q. Ball, III, Monroe Wilson and Sarah Barmeyer, Washington DC Mr. Frank Barron, Jr., Rome Dr. and Mrs. William Bates, Jr., Albany Mr. Donald Becker, Madison Ms. Marybeth Bentsen, Conyers Mr. Norm D. Bissell, Smyrna Mr. and Mrs. Sam W. Booher, Augusta Mr. David Botts, Atlanta Dale H. Bowers, Newnan Dr. and Mrs. James B. Bradley, Eatonton Mr. and Mrs. Stanley C. Brinkley, Marietta Ms. Sarah C. Brookshire, Gainesville Mr. Jimmy Bullock, Birmingham Mr. David C. Burghardt, Doraville Ms. Carol T. Bush, Atlanta Mr. Joe H. Bynum, Jr., Atlanta Ms. Charlotte Camp, Locust Grove Ms. Lorna Campbell, Decatur Sam & Betsy Candler, Sharpsburg Mrs. Gail A. Carone, Marietta

President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, Plains Dr. Charles B. Christian, Madison Mr. and Mrs. Philip L. Coffin, Hoschton Dr. and Mrs. Frank T. Corker, Hahira Ms. Gail Cowie, Atlanta Mr. Luther O. Cox, Jr., Conyers Mrs. Susan Crawford, Marietta Mr. & Mrs. Mark D. Crowther, Snellville Mr. and Mrs. Noah W. Culpepper, Carnesville Mr. Mahlon Davidson, Oxford Mr. and Mrs. Judson Davis, Americus Mr. James O. Day, Griffin Mr. Walter Deriso, Jr., Atlanta Mr. and Mrs. Ronald O. Determann, Decatur Mr. David Dixon, Leesburg Mr. Ray Duensing, Social Circle Mr. David L. Edwards, Upatoi Mr. David S. Eisner, Dacula Mr. Richard Esparza, Ellijay Mr. and Mrs. Henry Evans, College Park Mr. Robert Falls, Meigs Diamond Floyd, Jackson Mr. Thomas F. Follrath, Loganville Mr. Dan Forster, Social Circle Mrs. Aline P. Foster, Forest Park Mr. and Mrs. Byron Freeman, Athens Mr. & Mrs. Ronald R. Frost, Vidalia Mr. Daniel L. Galpin, Warner Robins Mr. Tom Gay, Atlanta Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Gennings, St. Mountain Mrs. Richard Gerakitis, Atlanta Mr. and Mrs. Chris Gray, Buford Mr. and Mrs. Jim Griffin, Atlanta Mr. Robert Griffin, Midland Mr. Billy Griner, Brunswick Ms. Alice Grist, Bowdon

Ms. Kelly Grow, Athens Ms. Elouise Gugel, Marietta Mr. Sheffield Hale, Atlanta Mr. Scott Hansard, Cumming Dr. Robert L. Harbin, Rome Mr. and Mrs. Bucky Harris, Covington Mr. and Mrs. Mike Harris, Bishop Mr. Ross Harrison, Albany Mr. Julian F. Harwell, Conyers Mr. Sam B. Hay, Jr., Covington Mrs. J. D. Herrington, Augusta Dr. Thomas A. Hetherington, Savannah Mr. William D. Higdon, Dacula Mr. and Mrs. K.B. Higgins, Jr., Atlanta Mr. Preston Hodges & Mrs. Sandra Hollis, Austell Dr. Tommy Hopkins, Griffin Mr. John A. Howard, Johns Creek Mr. Corbett Howell, Americus Mr. Shepherd L. Howell, Cartersville Mrs. Julie G. Jenkins, Madison Mr. Michael Saunders & Dr. Rosalie Jensen, Dahlonega Mr. Daniel Johnson, Lawrenceville Mr. Dave Johnson, Lilburn Mr. and Mrs. Barry Jones, Alpharetta Mr. and Mrs. Jim Jones, Powder Springs Mr. and Mrs. Raymond A. Kelleher, Dunwoody Ms. Julian Keniry, Washington Col. and Mrs. Barrett T. King, Saint Marys Dr. Melissa A. Kling-Newberry, Macon Mr. Woodie Knight, Covington Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey J. Korn, Marietta Nancy and Steven L'Hernault, Atlanta Ms. Mary Lambright, Savannah Dr. Kevin Lanclos, Bishop Ms. Emily H. Langston, Atlanta

Georgia Wildlife Federation would like to thank The Westervelt Company, a GWF corporate member, for their generous donation of a 2013 Ford F150. The much-needed vehicle will be used to haul equipment to off-site events and for maintenance tasks around GWF headquarters. GWF members from Rockdale Career Academy enjoy a beautiful day hiking along the Alcovy Conservation Center’s boardwalks and trails skirting the tupelo swamp. The trails are open to members Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5pm and on weekends for special events and rentals. 6

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Ms. Casey Levitt, Jasper Mr. and Mrs. Anthony D. Link, Midland Dr. Mitchell S. Lippman, Marietta Mary Anne and Tom Mall, Gainesville Mr. James Marshall, Macon Mr. and Mrs. Chris Martin, Covington Mr. Gerald Martin, Bonaire Mr. Duncan K. McClusky, Tifton Ms. Carole Y. McCollum, Baldwin Mr. John McMennamy, Rydal Mr. F. Faison Middleton, IV, Albany Mr. and Mrs. Marvin A. Mitchell, Jr., Atlanta Ms. Marcie Moore, Lawrenceville Mr. David F. Moore, Jr., Alpharetta Mr. Sherman Morton, Jr., Byron Ms. Darlene O. Moye, Waynesville Mr. and Mrs. William H. Murdy, Oxford Mr. G. A. Nasworthy, Tiger Mr. and Mrs. Leon Neel, Thomasville Mr. Brad Nelson, Covington Ms. Kathy Obendorger, Nahunta Mr. Glen Palmer, Stockbridge Mr. Jack Paradise, Lincolnton Ms. Ann Parker, Covington Mr. Bill Pate, Whitesburg Mr. and Mrs. John Polhemus, Roswell Mr. Geoff Pope, Atlanta Mr. and Mrs. Neal Pope, Chamblee Mr. Ronald A. Prather, Grovetown Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Pulliam, Jr., Big Canoe Mr. David Raney, Dallas Mr. John D. Reed, Flowery Branch Mr. and Mrs. Ted J. Rikard, Lilburn Ms. Beth Roach, Jesup Scott and Barbara Robinson, Covington Mr. Patrick Rodeheaver, Warner Robins Rev. and Mrs. Samuel G. Rogers, III, Macon Mr. H Lee Roper, Sandy Springs Mr. Dave Sandlin, Newnan Mr. Brooks Schoen, Atlanta

Ms. Sharon Schultz, Stone Mountain Mr. Jack Scott, Cochran Mrs. Geraldine Scruggs, Augusta Ms. Martha Sheffield, Stone Mountain Mr. J.M. Shivers, Williamson Mr. Richard Shock, Powder Springs Ms. Heather F. Simmons, Madison Mr. Glenn T. Sinquefield, Albany Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Sirmons, Decatur Mr. J. J. Slemenda, Atlanta Mr. Don Smith, Fayetteville Mr. James E. Smith, Thomasville Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Stafford, Ludowici Dr. Zolinda Stoneman, Athens Mr. Todd Teasley, Covington Mr. & Mrs. Horace Thom, Lagrange Ms. Martha C. Thomas, Stone Mountain Mr. Gary Thompson, Atlanta Mr. Van Thompson, Mt Vernon Dr. Jerome P. Tift, Macon Mr. and Mrs. James C. Tillman, Jr., Fayetteville Dr. and Mrs. Samuel D. Tonge, Commerce Mr. and Mrs. George M. Uhrin, Peachtree City Dr. Andrea Underhill, Kathleen Billy and Theodosia Wade, Social Circle Mr. Moye Walker, Forsyth Mr. and Mrs. Gene Wallace, Mansfield David and Connie Waller, Covington Dr. H. P. Walls, Carrollton Mr. Jack V. Walz, Sandy Springs Mr. Milton Watson, Atlanta Mr. and Mrs. Steve Wawrzyk, Clayton Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Whatley, Peachtree City Mr. Mark P. Williams, Jesup Mr. Roy Witherington, Sarasota Mrs. Debra Young, Monroe Mr. G. W. Young, Jonesboro Mr. Edward Zawadzki, Berkeley Lake Mr. and Mrs. Carlos L. Zellner, Trion

GWF Member and Volunteer Suzy Downing Wins Award for Efforts at Mill Creek Nature Center

GEORGIA WILDLIFE FEDERATION MISSION STATEMENT Believing that the natural resources of this state are economic, social, recreational, and aesthetic assets which should be restored and perpetuated for our posterity, and realizing that this can only be achieved through an aroused and enlightened opinion among the people of Georgia, we dedicate this Federation to these ends: To encourage the intelligent management of the life sustaining resources of the earth - its essential water resources - its protective forests and plant life - and its dependent wildlife - and to promote and encourage the knowledge and appreciation of these resources, their interrelationship and wise use, without which there can be little hope for a continuing abundant life. 1936

e December meeting of the Southern Wings Bird Club proved to be a special evening for GWF volunteer Suzy Downing. To her surprise, the Suwanee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution made a special visit to present her with the organization’s National Conservation Award. Recognizing her achievements for environmental awareness, this prestigious award was given in part for her dedicated work at Mill Creek Nature Center. GWF is thankful for the passion Suzy brings to our organization and her dedication in spreading the mission of the Georgia Wildlife Federation. e presentation was made by Pam Lyle, Conservation Committee Chairman of the Suwanee Chapter of the DAR, and Christine Lanzing, Conservation Committee Chairman of the Georgia State Society. Pictured here, le to right, are Pam, Suzy, Christine, and Hank Ohme, GWF’s Program Manager for Mill Creek. 7

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Welborn Wetland, Cornish Creek and the Alcovy Conservation Center Provide Unbeatable Site for Wetland Stream Training

Instructors and participants gave high marks to the hospitality and care which was shown by Georgia Wildlife Federation in allowing and accommodating this public/non-profit partnership. By William B. Ainslie, Wetlands Regulatory Section, EPA Region 4 e tupelo swamp, known as Welborn’s Wetland (named in honor of former EPA Region 4 Wetland Branch Chief and wetland conservation advocate, Tom Welborn), Cornish Creek, the Wharton Tupelo Swamp, and the spacious and hospitable Alcovy Conservation Center combined to provide the ideal setting for an Environmental Protection Agency sponsored training course on Watershed Hydrologic Processes. Water flowing from hillside slopes, like those adjacent to Welborn wetland, as well as water flowing down and over the banks of stream channels, like Cornish Creek, provide the driving ecological force which allow wetlands and streams to provide the services and benefits we have come to appreciate. Flood water storage, water quality enhancement and plant and animal habitat all result from the landscape position, soils, plants and water which interact in streams and wetlands. In addition, the diversity of wetlands and riparian zones located at the Alcovy Conservation Center provide important water use benefits downstream including enhanced water supply and fishing opportunities fully supportive of the State of Georgia water quality standards and designated uses. To better understand how the water, or the hydrology, behaves at the Alcovy Center, Dr. Bruce Pruitt with the U.S. 8

Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) and Mr. Morris Flexner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Athens, GA, installed a series of shallow groundwater wells and a stream stage recorder to measure water levels in Welborn Wetland and Cornish Creek. e installation and information was used as the basis for a training course in measurement and interpretation of hydrologic processes given to staff members from various southeastern state water quality agencies. Personnel from Kentucky, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama attended the course led by Dr. Pruitt. Various aspects of wetland and stream hydrology and the application to real world situations were discussed over the course of a week this past fall. Ideal weather conditions and the close proximity to Welborn’s Wetland, the Wharton Tupelo Swamp and Cornish Creek allowed the participants to experience field examples of the concepts discussed in class and see actual field instruments used in the measurement of stream and wetland hydrology. e Alcovy Conservation Center and staff provided a first rate meeting facility and location to have this unique training opportunity. Instructors and participants gave high marks to the hospitality and care which was shown by Georgia Wildlife Federation in allowing and accommodating this public/nonprofit partnership.

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Camp Charlie

Getting Ready for Camp Charlie


Georgia Wildlife Federation staff is getting ready for Camp Charlie, a family camping event to be held April 22-24 at the Alcovy Conservation Center in Covington. Named in honor of conservationists Charlie Wharton and Charlie Elliott, Camp Charlie brings together several families from the community with the desire to camp but who may lack the confidence or experience to try it on their own. During the weekend, volunteers come alongside each family to provide assistance and instruction in everything from setting up a tent to cooking dessert in a dutch oven. In addition, participants are treated to a full day of activities at neighboring Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center including archery, fishing, canoeing, and a fabulous birds of prey show. Staff, volunteers and campers are all looking forward to getting out of the office and enjoying a great weekend outdoors.

Adopt-A-Stream Training at the Alcovy Conservation Center On Friday, April 29, from 9am - 3pm, the Yellow River Water Trail will host a biological AdoptA-Stream workshop at the Alcovy Conservation Center in Covington to train volunteers in identifying macroinvertebrates and collecting stream samples. In class, students will learn to identify a collection of specimens and understand how these organisms relate to water quality. Following, participants will practice their newly acquired skills in the field. Volunteers are encouraged to adopt a stream site in their community and monitor for macroinvertebrates quarterly. e training is suitable for ages 10 and up. (Ages 10-13 must be accompanied by a parent.) Please dress appropriately for water sampling and bring rubber boots, insect repellent, lunch, and a $5 donation to help cover the cost of supplies. We will proceed rain or shine. For more information or to register, contact Tamela Mills at See you on the river! 9

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Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Program: Planting the Seeds By Gina Rogers, GWF Conservation Issues Coordinator Over the years the US Fish and Wildlife Service has been a great partner to the Georgia Wildlife Federation. We have collaborated on many projects that have enhanced wildlife habitat, outdoor education and GWF’s outreach programs. In late 2014/early 2015 GWF re-granted $10,000 from the USFWS’ Partners for Fish and Wildlife program to ten schools spread out across Georgia’s coastal plain and piedmont regions. e purpose of these $1,000 grants was to help Georgia schools enhance existing or create new Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat with a special emphasis on planting pollinator species. e following schools were recipients of GWF’s Schoolyard Habitat Grant program: Arabia Mountain High School, Lithonia Camden High School, Kingsland Chattahoochee Hills Charter School, Chattahoochee Hills Honey Creek Elementary School, Conyers Intown Community School, Atlanta Margaret Winn Holt Elementary School, Lawrenceville Metter Elementary School, Metter Montessori School of Covington, Covington Rocky Plains Elementary, Covington West Newton Elementary, Covington Most of the schools focused on creating butterfly gardens, planting native pollinator species, building raised beds for flowers and edible plants, composting and basically creating an environment suitable for insects, birds and small mammals that could easily be observed by the students while offering essential habitat. Honey Creek Elementary in Conyers has an impressive terraced stone amphitheater already built into the courtyard of the school. eir science lab teacher, Catherine Bowers, has worked with the students, faculty and parent volunteers to remove old bushes and plant pollinator species and build raised beds to grow vegetables. ey have plans for creating a wetland and small mammal habitat which will be visible thru the windows of all the classrooms surrounding the courtyard. By enhancing an existing 10

outdoor classroom, Mrs. Bowers has created an enchanting learning environment that is now being utilized more intentionally by the teachers at Honey Creek while simultaneously providing habitat to local wildlife. At Camden County High School in Kingsland, AP Environmental Science teacher, Julie Parsons has taken an existing wetland in front of the school and made it into a living classroom viewed by hundreds of students and teachers daily. e high school is accessed by several pedestrian bridges which cross the wetland. Mrs. Parsons used her GWF grant to purchase boots, wetland plant guides, signs, and birdhouses. She had her AP Environmental Science students inventory the plants in the wetland and identify the native and invasive species. Her students have an ongoing project of cleaning up the wetland, removing the invasive plants and planting additional native pollinator species. ey have placed signs throughout the wetland identifying the native wetland plants. She plans to use the wetland and nearby streams to teach the students about citizen water monitoring programs like Adopt-A-Stream, the important functions of wetlands for filtering and storing water and to encourage individual science projects that will enhance their

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Above: Students from Julie Parsons’ AP Environmental Science class in Kingsland show off their new waders. Le: A student from Honey Creek Elementary in Conyers fills birdfeeders to attract resident species to the courtyard garden. conservationists. We believe that children need to be water and to encourage individual science projects that exposed to the natural world at an early age, to be will enhance their knowledge of their school's wetland. encouraged to let their curiosity lead All of the grant recipients them on a personal journey of have done a wonderful job creating discovery in order to foster a love for wildlife habitat and new learning We believe that children and desire to protect Georgia’s wildlife environments on their school need to be exposed to the and natural places. ere is no property. ey have committed to natural world at an early age, keeping their schoolyard wildlife substitute for fresh air, nature’s to be encouraged to let their symphony of wild sounds from our habitats maintained for ten years. animals, rushing water and the wind, e lead teachers have formed curiosity lead them on a and the feel of the natural world under committees to work on personal journey of incorporating their wildlife habitat discovery in order to foster a foot and in our hands. e desire to protect our natural resources starts as a into each grades’ curriculum, love for and desire to protect small seed planted in our hearts when engaging volunteers and community Georgia’s wildlife and partners, and keeping the habitat we are young children and is watered natural places. by our many outdoor experiences and relevant to the school and local the influence of adults around us as we community over time. GWF is grow. All of Georgia’s schools proud to support Georgia’s schools encourage local citizens to volunteer and dedicated teaching staff. We are honored to work with educators across the state to and mentor their students. As a conservationist and outdoor enthusiast, please consider donating your time at encourage outdoor education, the teaching of life science and environmental science, interactive learning your local school and having a positive impact on the next generation. environments, and the growing of our next generation of 11

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ÂŽ Thank you to all of our vendors, sponsors, seminar speakers and attendees for a terrific 2016 Great Outdoors Show in Perry. Proceeds from the show provide funding for Georgia Wildlife Federation conservation programs like the Camo Coalition and Georgia Hunters for the Hungry. Mark your calendars. The next winter show will be February 3-5, 2017. Photos by Hank Ohme. Patrons enjoyed daily demonstrations with Days End Retrievers.

Kids were entertained with nature crafts, catfish rodeo, BB range and live animal exhibits.

GWF’s Sam Stowe presents Brent Gibbins with the 2016 door prize. 12

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9th Annual Shoot for Conservation Sporting Clays Tournament Friday, May 6 Cherokee Rose Gun Club Griffin, GA Registration begins at 8am. Shooting begins at 9 am. e Georgia Wildlife Federation's Shoot for Conservation is a great way to support conservation efforts in Georgia while enjoying a refreshing day in the field with other sportsmen and women. Held at Cherokee Rose Gun Club in Griffin, the shoot raises critical funds for GWF programs like the Camouflage Coalition, Georgia Hunters For e Hungry, Mill Creek Nature Center, the Alcovy Conservation Center and our annual Conservationists Summit. Registration is $165 for individuals or $660 for a team of four and includes a golf cart (one/every four shooters), one round sporting clays, 100 rounds of 12- or 20- gauge ammunition per shooter, and lunch. To register for the shoot or partner with GWF as a corporate sponsor, visit or contact Sam Stowe at or 770-787-7887.

New Coordinator Focused on Increasing Hunting and Shooting Sports Participation in Georgia

Georgia Wildlife Federation has partnered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, National Wild Turkey Federation, Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, Wildlife Management Institute, Quality Deer Management Association, Safari Club International and others to fund a position dedicated to recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) of hunters and shooters. e role of this new R3 coordinator is to develop and implement a plan that engages state agencies, conservation organizations and other stakeholders to increase the effectiveness of outdoor education and mentored hunting opportunities for people of all ages, genders and abilities. Charles Evans has been hired to serve as Georgia’s R3 coordinator. GWF’s role in the partnership is to provide office space and equipment for Evans. “GWF began as a sporting organization in 1936”, remarks GWF President Mike Worley. “Raising a new generation to appreciate and enjoy shooting sports is part of who we are, and we are proud to come alongside other organizations to support the R3 program.” "I come from a long line of outdoorsmen and to be able to take on a position that will be fundamental in ensuring the future of hunting and shooting sports is a dream come true," said Evans about his new position. Atlanta Buckarama - 7 deep outdoor roots. From a Evans is a GeorgiaAugust native5with Perry Buckarama August 19 - 21 young age, he has been an avid sportsman and conservationist. Buckarama February 3-5, 2017 He earned his wildlife biology bachelor and master’s degrees from featuring the Fisharama & Turkeyrama University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. 13

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Facebook Feed Heavy rains in late 2015 caused significant damage to the boardwalks of both the Alcovy Conservation Center and Mill Creek Nature Center. Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, everything was back to normal in no time.

Representatives from the Army Corp and EPD joined Georgia Wildlife Federation staff and several Georgia Water Coalition partners in the field to explain how buffer determinations are made on waters of the state. The process involves defining wrested vegetation. Currently, only state waters with wrested vegetation are guaranteed buffers.

Dr. Maribel Fernandez's Conservation Class at Georgia Gwinnett College made 15 brown-headed nuthatch nesting boxes. The students were assisted by volunteers from the Southern Wings Bird Club and the Georgia Wildlife Federation. The nesting boxes will be placed in various Gwinnett locations in the hopes of increasing the dwindling populations of this bird species. 14

The Georgia Water Coalition's Capitol Conservation Day was a huge success! Over 170 people from around the state came to Atlanta to talk to their legislators about protecting Georgia's water resources and private property rights. Georgia Wildlife Federation was a sponsor of the event. Mike Worley and Gina Rogers enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new conservationists. The focus for the day was supporting HB966 - a bill that would better define buffers for our state waters and working to defeat SB 326 - a bill that would weaken the state permitting process for land disturbing activities.

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e Quick, Small Hooded Merganser e male hooded merganser is one of the most striking looking ducks for its white tued crest, black vertical stripes, and narrow beak. e smallest of the merganser duck family (which includes the common and redbreasted), the hooded merganser has many qualities that make it a special animal. e drake is usually silent except during courtship rituals. Its voice is compared to the pickerel frog and can be heard a half mile away. is explains the nickname “frog duck” given to it by Okefenokee Swamp dwellers. e hooded merganser’s habitat is very different from the large mergansers. A bird of woodland waters such as streams, rivers, swamps and ponds, it is a freshwater and forest-dependent cavity nester. It likes fast moving streams with gravelly bottoms. e hooded’s ideal nesting habitat is a flooded shoreline with dead, standing trees. In nonbreeding season, the duck can be found in brackish estuaries and along the Gulf Coast in mangrove areas. Rarely seen on saltwater in the southeast U.S., it has been seen on saltwater areas of the northwest Pacific Coast. Migrating in singles, twos or small groups, the hooded is a fast flier that travels in early spring and late fall. It has what is called a sea duck trait of closely following watercourses instead of crossing landmasses Notice the striking difference between a male hooded merganser more directly. e hooded is one of the (top photo) and female (far right in bottom photo). GWF quickest ducks to be airborne when startled. volunteer John Deitsch captured this incredible shot of the Studies of the duck’s feeding habits female merganser along with a female bufflehead and a have discovered that 95 percent of the time redhead. This is the first sighting of a redhead at Mill Creek. they eat animals found in small streams such as small fish (darters and minnows), crayfish other displays. and insects (caddis fly larvae and dragonfly nymphs), and Depending on geography, the duck lays her eggs five percent of their diet is vegetable matter such as sometime in February or March. (In colder areas, the duck bladderwort and milfoil. lays in April or early May.) Sometimes, due to competition An active daytime feeder, the hooded obtains food for nesting cavities, the hooded will share its nest with by making short dives into shallow and oen rapidly common goldeneye or American wood duck. If the eggs are flowing water. It also gets food at the surface and has been eaten by predators, a replacement clutch is laid. seen feeding with herons. e mother is a restless sitter and oen absent from e age which the duck starts to breed is assumed the nest. It takes approximately 33 days for the eggs to to be at two years old based on studies of captive-reared hatch. Five weeks aer hatching, the mother leaves her birds. When courting, the drake pairs with a mate some ducklings once they have learned to swim, dive and feed time between winter and early spring. To incite the drake, themselves. e ducklings remain together approximately the female bobs its head, points its bill downward and utters three weeks until they are able to fly. a hoarse “gack.” e drake raises its crest and shakes its head, utters a froglike call, and imitates drinking, among 15

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UPCOMING EVENTS Earth Day Celebration April 16 Mill Creek Nature Center Buford, GA Camp Charlie April 22 - 24 Alcovy Conservation Center Covington, GA Adopt-A-Stream Training April 29 Alcovy Conservation Center Covington, GA Shoot for Conservation May 6 Cherokee Rose Gun Club Griffin, GA Atlanta Buckarama August 5 - 7 Atlanta Expo Center Atlanta, GA Perry Buckarama August 19 - 21 Georgia National Fairgrounds Perry, GA Sportsmen’s Dinner & Auction August 25 Alcovy Conservation Center Covington, GA

Sixteen-year-old GWF volunteer, John Deitsch, captured this fabulous photo of a male wood duck taken at Mill Creek Nature Center. It is rare to see a wood duck on the water at MCNC. For John to get close enough for a photo is a treat for all of us. Right: A wood duck’s view of Mill Creek Nature Center. Photo by Dale Higdon.

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