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- LEAVE YOUNG WILDLIFE ALONE!
- INVASIVE PLANT GUIDE REPRINTED
- CLUBS AND TEENS! SIGN UP FOR A PHEASANT HUNT
- NORTHERN FOREST WOODCOCK INTITIATIVE HONORED BY INTERIOR DEPARTMENT
- RECORD BREAKING BROOK TROUT CAUGHT IN ASHFIELD
- WILDLIFE WORKSHOP FOR EDUCATORS
- FAMILY FISHING OPPORTUNITIES
- JUNE OUTDOORSWOMAN WEEKEND PLANNED
- UPCOMING MEETINGS & PUBLIC HEARINGS
LEAVE YOUNG WILDLIFE ALONE!
The arrival of spring means the arrival of newborn and just-hatched wildlife. These youngsters soon venture into the world on shaky legs or fragile wings and are discovered by people living and working nearby. Every year, the lives of many young wild creatures are disturbed by people who take young wildlife from the wild in a mistaken attempt to "save" them.
These well-meant acts of kindness tend to have the opposite result. Instead of being left to learn their place in the world, young wildlife removed from the wild are denied important natural learning experiences which help them survive on their own. Most people quickly find that they can't really care for young wildlife, and many of the animals soon die in the hands of well-meaning people. Young wildlife that does survive human "assistance" have missed experiences that teach them to fend for themselves. If these animals are released back into the wild, their chances of survival are reduced. Often, the care given to young wildlife results in some attachment to humans and the animals may return to places where people live, only to be attacked by domestic animals or hit by cars. Some animals become nuisances and people have even been injured by once-tamed wildlife.
Avoid these problems by following one simple rule when coming upon young wildlife: If You Care, Leave Them There! It may be difficult to do, but this is a real act of compassion. MassWildlife offices have already received calls about young wildlife that were picked up by people. The young are quite safe when left alone because their color patterns and lack of scent help them remain undetected. Generally the parent will visit their young only a few times a day to avoid leaving traces that attract predators. Wildlife parents are not disturbed by human scent. Baby birds found on the ground may be safely picked up and placed in a nearby bush or tree. Wildlife parents are not disturbed by human scent. Avoid nest and den areas of young wildlife and restrain all pets.
Leave fawns (young deer) where they are found. Fawns are safest when left alone because their camouflaging color help them remain undetected until the parent returns. Unlike deer, newborn moose calves remain in close proximity to their mothers who, in contrast to a white-tailed doe, will actively defend calves against danger. An adult cow moose weighing over 600 pounds will chase, kick and stomp a potential predator, people included.
Only when young wildlife are found injured or with their dead mother
may the young be assisted, but must then must be delivered immediately
to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Due to the difficulty in their
care there are no rehabilitators licensed to care for fawns. It is illegal
to possess most wildlife in Massachusetts. Information
on young wildlife has been posted at www.mass.gov/masswildlife and
is also available at MassWildlife offices.
INVASIVE PLANT GUIDE REPRINTED
Just in time for the growing season, A Guide to Invasive Plants in Massachusetts has been reprinted and is now available for purchase from MassWildlife and other partners. Currently, guides are available for sale at MassWildlife's Field Headquarters in Westboro and the New England Wildlife Flower Society in Framingham. The Guide is $5 a copy. To purchase a guide from MassWildlife, stop in the office during business hours or send a request to Invasive Plant Guide, MassWildlife Headquarters, NHESP, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd, Westboro, MA, 01581and include a check payable to: Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Fund. Credit cards are not accepted.
The Guide is designed to assist in the identification of 66 invasive plant species currently regulated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These invasive plants are non-native species that spread aggressively and have been determined to pose a threat to Massachusetts' native plants and habitats. This guide is the result of a collaborative effort by the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group, (MIPAG) a group of state and federal agencies, private conservation organizations and plant nurseries formed to further educate citizens about the negative impact of invasive plants. First printed in January of 2007, the guide was quickly snapped up by gardeners, nurseries and garden centers, botanists, naturalists and other plant enthusiasts. Within a few months, very few copies remained and due to the demand, work commenced to reprint the guide.
Invasive plants impact the Massachusetts environment by competing with native plants for limited natural resources, dominating habitats and reducing food and shelter for a host of native wildlife. This competition can cause forests, wetlands and meadows to become degraded, diminishing their ecological values and functions, as well as the economic and aesthetic values of Massachusetts natural landscapes. In one year alone, Massachusetts spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to control aquatic invasive plants. This figure doesn't take into account extensive containment efforts undertaken by municipalities, private landowners or lost revenue due to decreased recreational boating, swimming and fishing activities.
In the Guide, each invasive plant description includes a photograph, the plant's regulatory status, key identification characteristics, habitats where the plant is likely to be found, type of threat the plant poses to native species and habitats, and its current distribution and place of origin. Similar plant species are also briefly described to aid in plant identification. The guide includes the MIPAG definitions of three categories of invasiveness, brief explanations of how invasive plants are introduced and spread, why invasives are a problem, where to learn more about invasive plant control, and the Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources' regulations regarding their importation, sale and propagation. Useful websites about invasive plants are also referenced. More information about invasive plant species.
CLUBS AND TEENS! SIGN UP FOR A PHEASANT HUNT
Sportsmen's clubs across the state who wish to encourage young people to participate in the traditions of safe, ethical hunting and to enjoy the great outdoors should sign up for a program designed specifically for clubs and young people by MassWildlife. The Massachusetts Young Adult Pheasant Hunt Program was designed to be conducted by sporting clubs who want to provide young adults ages 12 to 17 with a positive outdoor and hunting experience, as well as the opportunity to practice skills learned from the Basic Hunter Education course, in a safe, relaxed and friendly environment. Under the supervision of knowledgeable, safe adult hunters, young people experience shotgun shooting practice and handle firearms in the field at a "dress rehearsal", and later, participate in an actual pheasant hunt. Clubs wishing to offer the program must sign up with MassWildlife by June 15.
Clubs choosing to participate in the program will receive a guide to conducting a successful program, a hunting safety kit that includes orange vests, eye and ear protection, and other educational materials on hunting safety. MassWildlife will provide participating clubs with pheasants for the hunt. Most of the activities associated with the Young Adult Pheasant Program will occur in the summer through October. "This program serves two audiences," said Mark Tisa, MassWildlife Assistant Director. "The first audience is the organized sporting club looking for ways to mentor young adult hunters in the skills and ethical standards of hunting. The other audience is the young adult hunter who has already learned some basic hunting skills and knowledge and wants to go further with the experience." Tisa commented that this program provides an important "next step" in the education and experience of young, would-be hunters. 17 clubs across the state participated in the Young Adult Pheasant Program in 2007.
The deadline for clubs to sign up for the program is June 15. Clubs
already planning to run a program this fall can download a Request for
Pheasants and Program Materials as well as an Application form from
the Education area of MassWildlife's website New clubs to the program
can also download the 2008 planning guide designed specifically for
the Young Adult Pheasant Hunt. For more information, contact Mark Tisa
NORTHERN FOREST WOODCOCK INITIATIVE HONORED BY INTERIOR DEPARTMENT
MassWildlife was recently notified that the Department of Interior has awarded the Northern Forest Woodcock Initiative as one of 21 recipients nationwide of the Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation Award. The Award recognizes the work of groups and individuals who achieve excellence in conservation through collaboration and partnerships. The Northern Forest Woodcock Initiave (NFWI) was created to increase early successional habitats at a landscape level for the benefit of woodcock and other wildlife requiring similar early successional habitats. The approach of the initiative is a linked set of strategies that includes development of best management practices (BMPs), establishment of habitat demonstration areas, monitoring of woodcock populations and outreach to private landowners. The NFWI is a group of New England and New York partners including 5 state fish and wildlife agencies including Massachusetts, federal agencies, non-profit conservation groups as well as timber companies, utilities and environmental consultants.
In a letter to MassWildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting
Regional Director, Marvin E. Moriarty wrote, "We were not surprised
to learn that this well-organized partnership was selected to receive
this competitive award, because your agency's participation in this
conservation initiative is a prime example of how, together, we can
achieve higher success by rallying our expertise and resources than
we ever could by working as independent organizations." For more
information about the Northern Forest Woodcock Initiative go to: www.timberdoodle.org.
RECORD BREAKING BROOK TROUT CAUGHT IN ASHFIELD
Recently, MassWildlife fisheries biologists certified a new state record for a brook trout caught on April 19. Peter Harand of Easthampton caught a 10 pound eastern brook trout from Ashfield Lake in Ashfield. Deciding to forego yard work for an hour, Harand was fishing with spinning tackle and a spoon when he caught the huge fish. He first brought the big brookie to Daves Pioneer Sporting Center in Northampton for weighing and entering his catch in the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program. He then brought the fish to MassWildlife's Field Headquarters to have it weighed and certified by fisheries biologists. Harand's catch breaks the record set in 1968 by Thomas Laptew of a trout weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces caught in the Otis Reservoir in Otis.
WILDLIFE WORKSHOP FOR EDUCATORS IN CHELSEA
Educators in the Boston area may want to take advantage of a Project WILD/Aquatic WILD workshop to be held at the Chelsea Hall of Science at Chelsea Public Library on My 31. This exciting eight-hour interdisciplinary environmental hands-on/minds-on workshop focuses on terrestrial & aquatic wildlife and ecosystems. Participants will actively engage in activities, evaluate materials for unique needs & settings, share experiences with other educators, take home ideas & resources to integrate in to their teaching, and make correlations to state content standards. Scout leaders, youth group leaders, after school program leaders, and formal & non-formal educators find the materials & workshop experience very valuable. Hours may be used toward obtaining PDP's. Pre-registration is required by calling Ron or Leo Robinson at Chelsea Hall of Science 617/466-4350 x 62103. For more information about Project WILD, visit the Education area of the MassWildlife website.
FAMILY FISHING OPPORTUNITIES
Looking for a way to spend some quality time with your family in the great outdoors and learn a new skill or brush up on your technique? Try a free fishing course, clinic or family fishing festival near you! MassWildlife's Angler Education Program has teamed up with other agencies, municipalities, organizations and businesses to provide free fishing opportunities and loaner equipment for beginning anglers of all ages. Fishing events for the month of May are below. View the Angler Education Calendar page for continually updated events.
- May 18--Five Mile Pond Family Fishing Festival, Springfield -- This event is designed to introduce curious or beginning anglers of all ages who have an interest in learning about fishing. Cast a line, learn about fish in our waters, safety, ethics, and fishing equipment. Bait and terminal tackle included, bring your own rod and reel! 9 AM - 2 PM. The Festival is organized in cooperation with the Pine Point Community Council and the Springfield Parks and Recreation Department. MassWildlife Angler Education volunteers will be on hand to assist. For more information, contact Jim Lagacy at 508/389-6309.
- May 24--Watson's Pond Family Fishing Festival, Taunton--This event is designed to introduce curious or beginning anglers of all ages who have an interest in learning about fishing. Cast a line, learn about fish in our waters, safety, ethics, and fishing equipment. No equipment is needed, but if you have your own, bring it along! 10 AM - 2 PM. The Festival is organized in cooperation with the Taunton Mayors Office & the Taunton Fish Wardens. MassWildlife Angler Education volunteers will be on hand to assist. For more information, contact Jim Lagacy at 508/389-6309.
- May 31-- Family Fishing Day, Sudbury -- Visit the Great Meadows
National Wildlife Refuge and try your hand at fishing with staff and
Mass. Angler Education Program volunteers! Cast a line, learn about
fish in our waters, safety, ethics, and fishing equipment.Equipment
will be provided, but if you have your own, bring it along! 10 AM
- 2 PM. This special event is organized in cooperation with the US
Fish and Wildlife Service and MassWildlife. For more information,
contact Sue Russo at 978/ 443-4661 x34.
JUNE OUTDOORSWOMAN WEEKEND PLANNED
Calling all women interested in outdoor recreation! Save the dates for the Massachusetts 12th Annual Becoming an Outdoorswoman Program (BOW) at the Eastover Resort in Lenox from June 6-8, 2008. This weekend workshop is open to women 18 and older who want to try new outdoor skills in a supportive environment. Learn about new outdoor skills and recreation opportunities right here in Massachusetts including archery, kayaking, wild edible plants, nature photography, fly fishing, shooting and more. This experience makes a wonderful gift for Mother's Day or for any special woman in your life! Limited to 100 women. Registration materials are posted on the MassWildlife website.
UPCOMING MEETINGS & PUBLIC HEARINGS
- May 21--Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting & Public Hearings, Greenfield --The May meeting of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board will be held Wednesday, May 21, at 1 PM at the Downtown Campus of Greenfield Community College, 270 Main Street.Meetings and public hearings are open to the public and are handicapped accessible.
- May 21--Two Public Hearings will also be held May 21 at the Downtown Campus of Greenfield Community College, 270 Main Street. The first public hearing will be held at 3 pm relative to the listing, delisting, and name changes of certain plants and animals on the Massachusetts list of endangered, threatened, and special concern species. The second hearing will be held at 3:30 pm to amend or establish rules and regulations relative to resident minor sporting licenses.
The Fisheries and Wildlife Board will accept written comment on the proposals at any time prior to the public hearings, and will accept either written or oral comment at public hearings. Typically, further written comments will be accepted by the Board for period of fourteen days following the hearings. More details on the regulatory proposals can be found on the Public Meetings area of the MassWildlife website.
- June 12--Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Advisory Committee Meeting - This meeting will be held from 1:30- 4:30 pm. The role of the Committee is to provide the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife with independent scientific advice on the conservation and protection of over 400 species of wild plants and animals that are not hunted, fished or trapped. In addition, the Committee advises the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program on matters such as promotion of the Natural Heritage Fund, funding priorities for biological field research and inventory as well as other issues concerning the protection of biodiversity in Massachusetts.