Daily Archives: February 1, 2014

Eastern Red Bat

Eastern Red Bat

Eastern Red Bat (Photo Credit: Michael Durham www.durmphoto.com

The Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)lives throughout Kansas wherever there are caves and hollow trees but they also hang from live branches of deciduous trees. On the coldest winter days they may find refuge on the ground under leaf litter. They are insectivores that feed on moths primarily which they find by echolocation using the frequency range of 35-50 kHz. They help farmers by eliminating vast numbers of harmful insects and pollinating crops. Although mating occurs in late summer, sperm is stored in the female reproductive tract until spring to coincide with ovulation at which time fertilization occurs. They give birth to 3 or 4 young in June. In recent years it has been estimated that nearly six million bats of various species have succumbed to “white nose syndrome” caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. The disease is moving west from a cave where it was discovered in New York but may not be in Kansas at this time. A University of Colorado study indicates that wind turbines cause millions of bat deaths annually. Although bats can evade wind turbine blades by echolocation, they are killed by the barotrauma caused by the drop in atmospheric pressure near the blades that causes hemorrhaging in their lungs.

Greater Sage-Grouse

Sage-Grouse are an iconic bird of the west evoking images of wild prairies. Their mating dance is among the most unique in the animal kingdom. Living in open sagebrush plains, the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is the largest grouse species in North America.

Greater Sage-Grouse are notable for elaborate courtship rituals. Each spring males congregate in leks to perform a “strutting display” that sounds like a coffee percolator. Females observe these displays and select the most attractive males. Females make nests on the ground at the base of a sagebrush plant or grass patch. After her clutch of 6-13 eggs hatches, the young are immediately able to follow her.

Greater Sage-Grouse are totally dependent on sagebrush-dominated habitats where they forage on the ground. Lacking a muscular crop they are unable to digest hard seeds like other grouse. Sagebrush is a crucial component of their diet year-round, with leaves, buds, stems, flowers and fruit, as well as insects, the primary food of the Greater Sage-Grouse.

Currently, Greater Sage-Grouse occupy approximately 56 percent of their historical range in the western U.S. They were never native to Kansas. Evidence suggests that habitat fragmentation and destruction has contributed to significant population declines over the past century. If current trends persist, many populations may disappear in several decades, with remaining fragmented populations vulnerable to extinction. The Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that the Greater Sage-Grouse warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act but is precluded since the needs of other species facing more immediate and severe threat of extinction take priority. Greater Sage-Grouse live in wilderness areas of western states that are also home to mule deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. We need to protect Sage-Grouse habitat from irresponsible off-road vehicle use, damaging drilling, mining, transmission and other energy development activities.

Kansas Quail Initiative in the Running for Grant

Votes for  the Kansas Quail Initiative could bring $25,000 grant to program   You can help Kansas bobwhite  quail with just the click of your mouse. Sportdog Brand, a company that  produces electronic dog training equipment, is asking the public to help select  conservation projects that they can support with additional funding.   Sportdog’s Future Forward Fund contest is a spin-off from their  Conservation Fund program, which supports grassroots organizations that work  with state, federal, and private wildlife and land management agencies to  conserve wild game populations and critical wildlife habitat. The Future  Forward Fund contest accepted conservation project proposals from around the  country before selecting a top seven. The Kansas Quail Initiative (KQI),  nominated by Quail Forever, made the cut. Voting is open now through Nov. 30,  2012. You can vote for the KQI on Sportdog’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SportDOGBrand,  Twitter feedwww.twitter.com/SportDOGBrand,  Sportdog’s website www.sportdog.com or  the email address [email protected].       The project with the most votes will receive a $25,000 grant. The  second place vote-getter will receive $5,000.

      KQI is a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism project  designed to reverse declining bobwhite quail populations at a landscape level.  The project includes the designation of two large quail management focus areas  in the eastern half of the state where landowners will receive 100 percent  cost-share to improve habitat on their land. The goal is to increase quail  numbers by 50 percent and to increase suitable quail habitat by 5 percent in  each focus area.       Additional support for KQI is provided by the National Wild Turkey  Federation, Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, Quail Forever, Safari Club  International, Kansas Wildlife Federation, and the Nature  Conservancy.Kansas biologists have joined forces with biologists in other  states to form the National Bobwhite Technical Committee with a goal of  improving quail habitat across its range through a National Bobwhite  Conservation Initiative.

 

Women

Becoming an Outdoors  Woman

Women  in the Outdoors Kansas (WITO)

Women Caring for the  Land – Kansas Rural Center

Hunter Education & Hunting lease  letter for WCL participants

Kansas  Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Welcome to  Kansas Hunting – Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism

Hunting Leases  in Kansas –  Kansas State University Dept. of Agricultural Economics

Improving upland bird  habitat – click on Habitat programs

Kansas Walk-in Hunting  Access Program

Teachers

Kansas Association for  Conservation and Environmental Education

Kansas  Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom

Kansas  Green Schools

National  Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitats

National  Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools USA

Kansas  WRAPS (Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy)

Konza  Environmental Education Program

Earth  Partnership for Schools Summer Institute

A  Voyage of Learning Teacher’s Academy – Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri

The  Aldo Leopold Foundation

College aged students

Kansas  State University – Department of Animal Sciences and Industry         Extension  Wildlife Management Program

Kansas  State University – Department of Biology       Fish,  Wildlife and Conservation Program

Kansas  State University – Wildlife and Outdoor Enterprise Management

University  of Kansas – Environmental Studies Program

Emporia  State University – Fisheries and Wildlife Biology

Colorado  State University – Warner College of Natural Resources

kacee

High School Aged Students

The  Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program (WHEP) is a 4-H and FFA youth natural  resource program dedicated to teaching wildlife and fisheries habitat  management to junior and senior level (ages 8-19) youth in the United States.  Today’s students are our future land stewards. Students in WHEP have a greater  understanding of the value of land and how it can be managed to benefit  wildlife and fish. When they join the work force, former WHEP participants can  apply their WHEP skills and knowledge to create better habitat for wildlife and  fish, no matter what professional field they have chosen. Studying a science-based manual specific to  Kansas, participants: Learn wildlife terms  and concepts          Learn about wildlife  habitat          Learn to identify  some wildlife species          Learn how to judge  the quality of wildlife habitat          Learn about wildlife  habitat management practices          Learn about wildlife  damage management The WHEP is a hands-on environmental education  program. WHEP also provides participants an opportunity to test their wildlife  knowledge in a friendly competition. Each state is allowed to enter one 4-H team,  and or one FFA team in the annual National WHEP Contest, typically held the  last full week of July. The state usually selects the team through a state  competition. Each team consists of 3-4 members, ages 14 -18*.  The  national contest moves to a different state each year.  4-H and FFA age is:       * 14 years old as of January 1, of  the present (contest) year.       * 18 years old as of January 1, of  the present (contest) year.           However, if you are under the age of 14, you can  still participate at the junior level.

In  1996 WHEP was awarded the Conservation Education Award by The Wildlife Society;  which is the only professional organization that certifies wildlife biologists  nationwide.

KWF members  and friends, any help is appreciated.  Help getting  students interested in the WHEP program, funds to support the contest, or  volunteers the day of the event are all welcomed.  For more information, contact Charlie Lee  at:  [email protected] https://mail.google.com/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Kansas Envirothon

The Kansas Envirothon is  an outdoor, environmental high school competition where students learn and are  tested on soils, forestry, wildlife, aquatics, and a current issue.           In 2013, all teams are required to compete in  oral presentations at the Kansas Envirothon competition.  The oral  presentation will be for 10 minutes with a total of 50 points possible. All  team members are required to participate in the presentation.

KWF members and friends, get involved  and join in the fun!   Contact Roberta Spencer [email protected] for more information on how  to volunteer at an Envirothon contest near you!

ECO Meet               ECO-Meet is a contest for high school students that will challenge and inspire  an interest, appreciation and understanding of the natural sciences and the  Kansas environment through interscholastic competition.  The ECO-Meets  offer a chance for the most naturally-qualified high school students to show  what they know and win scholarships. http://www.kansasecomeet.org/

The  Kansas ECO-Meet contests occur in the fall.   Nine regional ECO-MEETs are  scheduled for 2013.

http://www.kansasecomeet.org/_themes/ecomeet/cacbul1a.gif Milford (Milford Nature Center) – Wednesday, October 2
http://www.kansasecomeet.org/_themes/ecomeet/cacbul1a.gif Salina (Lakewood Discovery Center) – Thursday, October 3
http://www.kansasecomeet.org/_themes/ecomeet/cacbul1a.gif Hutchinson (Dillon    Nature Center) – Tuesday, October 8
http://www.kansasecomeet.org/_themes/ecomeet/cacbul1a.gif Wilson (Wilson Lake) – Wednesday, October 9
http://www.kansasecomeet.org/_themes/ecomeet/cacbul1a.gif Hays/Webster (Sternberg Museum) –    Thursday, October 10
http://www.kansasecomeet.org/_themes/ecomeet/cacbul1a.gif Wichita (Great Plains Nature Center) – Tuesday, October 15
http://www.kansasecomeet.org/_themes/ecomeet/cacbul1a.gif Southeast Kansas (Greenbush) – Wednesday, October 23
http://www.kansasecomeet.org/_themes/ecomeet/cacbul1a.gif Lawrence (Prairie Park Nature Center) – Monday, October 28
http://www.kansasecomeet.org/_themes/ecomeet/cacbul1a.gif Olathe (Ernie    Miller Nature Center) – Wednesday, October 30
http://www.kansasecomeet.org/_themes/ecomeet/cacbul1a.gif The 2013 KANSAS STATE ECO-MEET will be held at the Dyck Arboretum in Hesston on Thursday, November 7.               Contact Jim Mason at [email protected] for more information about the 2013    Kansas ECO-MEET contests.  KWF members and friends, get involved and join in the    fun!

Elby’s Envirothon (and WHEP) Advice           Here’s  some advice. I trust it may help. Let’s start with Envirothon first.  Go to other states’ Envirothon web pages and  read their learning objectives and see what study materials they suggest.  Pennsylvania and New York have good pages.   Work on ID items with specimens either in the wild or brought in to the  classroom. That is, show students the various animals, plants, fish, etc. that  they may need to identify.

In  the case of Forestry, work on identifying trees from bark, leaves and fruit. It  is early to have leaves but there may be leaves by the end of the month. Also  be sure students know how to measure the number of board feet in a tree using a  Biltmore stick. There are web pages and videos to demonstrate this as well as  how to use a clinometer to get tree height. I usually discuss what makes for a  good lumber tree and what defects we should be looking for such as embedded  objects, limbs too low to the ground, etc. It doesn’t hurt to touch on some of  the main diseases. You might try to get the state forester to visit.

Aquatics–  start with fish and freshwater mussel identification. There is an excellent  pocket guide to Kansas freshwater mussels. KDWP&T has a great fish ID guide  and at one time had sets of fish ID cards to be used for study. Aquatic plants–  collect some of the most common for study; these would include pond duckweed,  arrowhead, coontail, filamentous algae, water lily, and other water loving  plants. There is an excellent book titled Producing Fish and Wildlife from  Kansas Farm Ponds that has much valuable information in it. Students also need  to know about possible invasive aquatic species both plant and animal such as  Asian carp, zebra mussels, water willow, water hyacinth, etc.

Wildlife–I  would want them to be able to ID most Kansas animals, certainly the ones that  are here year round and that would include some birds, nearly all mammals and  some herps. (snakes, lizards, frogs, toads, turtles.) They probably can’t know  them all but they should know the Kansas state reptile is the ornate box  turtle, and so on. More importantly they should know the habitat requirements  of the mammals and birds. This will also help with the WHEP preparation and the  WHEP study guide is an excellent short summary of what they should know in this  area. The decline in available habitat is what lies behind the decline of  almost every wildlife species and certainly those that are threatened and  endangered.

Soils–  Know the basic types of soils in Kansas and know how to do a ribbon test. Know  about soil horizons (the layers you see in a road cut or pit.) Know what  structures make up soil. Know a little about soil chemistry.  Be able to locate a piece of ground on a map  by township and range number, etc. Be able to use a county soil map and  topographical map.

Current  issue– Rangeland–Know species associated with rangeland, both native grasses  and forbs, and the animals– especially those that might be considered keystone  species. I would want them to know about succession stages (very important in  WHEP) and the tools such as prescribed burning needed to keep rangeland open.  Know the importance of having a polycultural ecosystem versus a monocultural  ecosystem.  Know how the grasses vary  across the state with rainfall patterns and know possible invasive species for  rangeland including sericea lespedeza, cheat, and leafy spurge, etc.

Most  importantly feel comfortable about writing and presenting a plan to effectively  manage rangeland for multiple uses, including livestock grazing, recreating,  etc.

 

WHEP–  Use the study manual. Get some aerial maps from the local NRCS office and learn  how to identify features including being able to use shadows and other aspects  to determine riparian areas, mature woodlands — all of the succession stages.   Know the habitat requirements for various  species and what you might do to encourage certain species to be in an area or  conversely, leave an area.

Practice  using a Hormel-type scale to rank areas as appropriate for a given species  based on interpretations of aerial photographs. Practice giving reasons. FFA  students will know this already.

Go  out and select an area of maybe twenty acres in size, create a scenario where a  landowner wants to manage it for largemouth bass, wild turkey and cottontail  rabbits (or other species), then develop a management plan that tells what you  are going to do to with the ground to reach the objectives, i.e., plant mast  trees, food plots, build a pond or improve a pond and so on. Practice  identifying wildlife and wildlife foods.

I  hope this helps.  I guess some of you  know I keep boxes of furs, bones, freshwater mussels for teaching. Angela Anderson  (KWF board member) has many of the furs and some other materials currently.  However, there are many fine pocket guides available to help students. I strongly  recommend a pocket wildlife ID booklet that also has tips on field dressing,  etc, available from KDWP&T’s outdoor store for $1.50.

Questions,  Elby Adamson           KWF  board member            [email protected]

Outdoor Adventure Camp

A Summer Treat for  YoungstersOutdoorAdventureCampArcheryGirls

Outdoor  Adventure Camp (OAC) is a six-day summer camp for kids who either enjoy the  outdoors or want to learn more about it. This conservation education program is  co-sponsored by the Kansas Wildlife Federation and KSU Cooperative Extension  Service. This popular camp and educational opportunity has been operating since  1986.

If you are a Kansas  youngster who enjoys the outdoors, now is the time to make plans to attend  Outdoor Adventure Camp from the first Sunday in June through that Friday at the  Camp WaShunGa  area of Rock Springs Ranch, just south of Junction  City. The camp is open to boys and girls ages 10 to 12  that summer.

Mornings will be spent traipsing the  grounds at Camp WaShunGa  with instructors, getting a hands-on feel for how various critters and plants  live together in the ecosystem we call Kansas.  Afternoons are spent learning about several areas of the outdoors, including  mammals, insects, birds, fish and amphibians and reptiles. Ecology, wetlands,  riparian areas and watersheds are some terms you will learn about at this  unique camp.

Since the prairie does not go to  sleep at sundown, neither will you. Depending on the evening, you may be out  and about prowling for owls, stargazing, spotlighting spiders or watching bats  gobble bugs.

Other activities include scavenger  hunts, water sports including swimming and canoeing, fishing, shooting sports  including rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, archery, and pellet gun. You’ll pick  your choices, or participate in all if you like.

The price of the camp includes all  food, instruction and lodging. A swimsuit, sleeping gear and clothes you’ll  wear for a week are about all you need to bring. Sunscreen, insect repellent, a  cap and water bottle also will come in handy. The price for the entire week is  $300. You may want to bring a little extra money for snacks or maybe souvenirs  at the Milford Hatchery and Nature  Center during a field trip.  Space is limited and the registration deadline is May 31.

Send your application and full fee  to Outdoor Adventure Camp, c/o Theresa Berger, 406 S. New  York Ave., Sylvan Grove, KS  67481. Checks should be  made payable to the Kansas Wildlife Federation. If you need more information or  an application, phone 785-526-7466.   Evenings are best, or leave a message on the machine.

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Outdoor Adventure  Camp Application & Brochure

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