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"Considering that our town is only 3,000 people and our county is about 11,000, for that weekend we will have a real good crowd,” Purcell said. Fitzgerald’s Wild Chicken Festival is going strong and set for March 14-15 in this south Georgia city’s historic downtown area.The strong turnout affirms organizers’ decision in 2012 to stop buying and selling wild-caught rattlers, transforming what was a rattlesnake roundup into a wildlife festival. Check out the lineup of exhibits, shows and other fun. A controlled burn at Tallulah Gorge State Park in northeastern Georgia proved a blazing success Feb. Credit for the prescribed fire, aimed in part at helping the gorge’s native table mountain pines and rarities such as white monkeyface orchids, roundleaf sundews and turkeybeard, goes to careful planning and execution by the DNR, “A lot of important burning goes on all over the state, often in places that the public isn't always aware of," Klaus said.Morris and Jackie Jeffery of DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section were teaming with biologists Pete Pattavina of the U. Fish and Wildlife Service and Nikki Castleberry of the Georgia Museum of Natural History for the yearly survey of Black Diamond.The tunnel usually provides wintering habitat for an average of 5,000 tri-colored bats, formerly called eastern pipistrelles.As we begin planning our vegetable gardens, and our roadsides and front yards look like pincushions of daffodils, Georgia’s hibernating bats still have a month of sleep, deep inside the state’s fragile Georgia cave systems.But starting late last month, bat biologists and cavers led by DNR’s Trina Morris went underground to check the health and population numbers of hibernating bats. The non-native fungus that causes white-nose likely originates from Europe and arrived as an unwelcome passenger in North America around 2005, where it quickly started to move from state to state. At such a small size, bats such as tri-coloreds need to remain in an uninterrupted sleep, or torpor, in caves to conserve energy until insects start to hatch again in the spring.“We are developing a YBC ‘playbook’ that will hopefully allow others to start similar events in other states,” said Keyes, a wildlife biologist with the Nongame Conservation Section.

Biologists will check several sites where they detected the disease last year to document the progress of WNS and any population changes.Weekend for Wildlife, an annual event supporting nongame wildlife conservation in Georgia, raised more than 0,000 at Sea Island Jan. This year’s theme: Conserving endangered North Atlantic right whales.Partners including DNR, coastal counties and local and federal agencies have produced an aerial imagery dataset of coastal Georgia that offers the most high-resolution look yet at the region and will be used for everything from county planning to wildlife conservation.There's been no word yet on whether any have answered this call of the wild. For starters, watch this webinar by Nongame Conservation Section biologist Eamonn Leonard on the Coastal Georgia Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area ("Coastal network targets alien invaders," April 17, 2012). The first three weeks in March are time to report sightings in Georgia.

National Invasive Species Week has passed, but it’s never too late to learn about invasives (invasive plants alone ring up nearly billion a year in damages in the U. Calling all birders: Researchers hoping to learn more about the migration of rusty blackbirds, one of North America’s most rapidly declining migratory bird species, have joined with e Bird and others to organize a Spring Migration Blitz reaching from the southern U. Spotted turtles are also the focus of a citizen science effort, and March through May is one of the species' most active seasons in Georgia. Report observations of spotted turtles, with date, location and digital image, to [email protected] About 35,000 acres in south Georgia have been enrolled in a conservation easement program that enables owners to restore and protect wetlands – an ecosystem used by the federally listed indigo snakes.“We’re trying to promote common sense conservation of wildlife,” Purcell said.