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Making It Last

The Eastern Spadefoot is one of Connecticut's most secretive creatures. This primitive frog spends most of the year burrowed below ground, emerging at night to feed during warm-weather rains. The State Wildlife Grants Program has helped us learn more about this state-endangered species and is funding research on a newly-discovered population in western Connecticut. These data will help us proactively enhance and restore spadefoot habitat.
2019: Make a Difference for Wildlife
There are plenty of simple ways to help wildlife, and each month we will highlight an action you can take to benefit the species that call Connecticut home.

Do not release helium balloons. While balloons are a popular celebration tribute, it is illegal for any person or group to intentionally release 10 or more helium balloons per day under the Connecticut General Statutes Section 26-25c. However, not releasing any balloons is best. The law was passed to protect wildlife, particularly marine animals that live in Long Island Sound. A summer breeze can transport balloons released in inland areas all the way to the Sound. Once in the Sound, the deflated balloons - just like plastic bags and other floating plastic garbage - look like food (mainly jellyfish) to some sea creatures. When marine animals, particularly sea turtles, eat the floating plastic, their digestive systems become blocked and the animals die.
Join Us for Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day
SAVE THE DATE! Join us at Hammonasset Beach State Park (Meigs Point Area) in Madison on Sunday, September 15, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM to participate in a FREE event sponsored by the DEEP Bureaus of Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation.  Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day explores Connecticut's fish and wildlife resources and legacy of outdoor traditions, with live animals, demonstrations, fish pole casting, fly tying, archery, kid's activities, outdoor skills, a photo contest, and more! Bring a picnic lunch and stay for a few hours or the whole day! Activities are still being planned, so stay tuned to our website as September approaches to get more details ( www.ct.gov/deep/DiscoverOutdoorCT). 

Register and let us know you are coming (suggested but not required).
Enter the Discover Outdoor Connecticut Photo Contest
Have you taken an amazing wildlife photo? We want to see it! The Discover Outdoor Connecticut photo contest is open through August 16, 2019. Enter your best shots and possibly win some great prizes. Photographers may enter one photo in each category: 1) wildlife (including fish and insects); 2) people enjoying the natural world; and 3) scenic landscapes and flora. Judges will select first, second, and third place winners for each category, plus winners in a separate youth category (ages 15 and younger). There will also be a "People's Choice" award selected by popular vote when all entries are displayed at Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day on Sunday, September 15, in the Meigs Point Nature Center at Hammonasset Beach State Park.

2019-2020 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide Available
The 2019-2020 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide is now available on the DEEP website. Printed versions will be available in the near future at town halls and select DEEP offices (Hartford, Sessions Woods, Franklin WMA, Eastern District, Western District, Marine Headquarters). The Migratory Bird Hunting Guide contains season dates and other important information pertaining to upcoming hunting seasons for waterfowl (including Canada geese), woodcock, snipe, rails, and crows.

In the final year of the current format for the Connecticut Duck Stamp Art Contest, a panel of judges selected a depiction of a pair of wood ducks painted by Frank Dolphens, Jr., of Omaha, NE, as the winner of DEEP's 2019 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation (Duck) Stamp Art Contest. Frank's painting will grace the 2020 Connecticut Duck Stamp. Changes are in store for selecting the image of the Duck Stamp starting in 2021.

Bobcat Project Update
The DEEP Wildlife Division is in its second year of the Bobcat Project, and so far more than 100 bobcats have been captured, tagged, and fitted with short-term GPS collars. All GPS collars from 2018 have dropped off of the bobcats as planned, and the 2019 collars are scheduled to automatically detach this coming fall. Collar data have revealed that bobcats are using urbanized areas far more than expected. GPS data have shown that some bobcats regularly cross main highways in their home range travels. The average home range size was found to be an impressive 8.35 square miles for females, and 24.03 square miles for males.  

Report State-listed Species to the Natural Diversity Data Base
The peregrine falcon is just one state threatened species in Connecticut. If you encounter a state-listed species (plant, invertebrate, or vertebrate), please take a few moments to fill out a survey form for DEEP's Natural Diversity Data Base (NDDB). Because of the comprehensive nature of the NDDB, the DEEP is interested in obtaining new and updated information on critical natural resources from Connecticut's citizens. Please submit field notes, photographs, and a map with detailed locations of state-listed species and critical habitats. 

The Invasive Spotted Lanternfly
Photo courtesy of Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org

Connecticut may have another invasive insect to worry about - the spotted lanternfly - a plant-hopping pest that has been hitchhiking its way through the Northeastern United States. This destructive insect originated in parts of Asia and is believed to have hitchhiked on a shipment to Pennsylvania in 2012. In 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of infestations in Berks County, and the insect has been on the move since. The spotted lanternfly is dangerous for many reasons - the biggest of which is its rapid population growth. This invasive pest also sucks sap from plant stems and leaves, harming everything from trees to grapes to apples and more. With no native predators and a variety of food sources, the insect population can grow exponentially. 

Save the Date! The "Take it Outside: Outdoor Cooking Expo" is coming to the Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington on August 25, 2019. More details to follow.
Upcoming Hunter Education Courses for August 2019
Conservation Education/Firearms Safety courses are administered by the Wildlife Division and taught throughout the year by a dedicated corps of certified volunteer instructors. Certifications are offered in the disciplines of firearms hunting, bowhunting, and trapping. Following is a list of upcoming courses for the month of August. These courses post for registration 30 days prior to their start date.  Please note: Courses can be scheduled at any time, and this may not be a final list of the month's offerings.

Firearms:
- Thomaston: August 6, 8, and 10
- Harwinton: August 21, 23, 24, 26, and 28

Bowhunting:
- Thomaston: Saturday, August 3
- West Suffield: Saturday, August 10
- Norfolk: Sunday, August 11
- Harwinton: Saturday, August 17
- Monroe: Saturday, August 17

Coyote Land Trapping:
- Burlington: Sunday, August 11

Species of the Month: Common Tern
The common tern is North America's most widespread tern, spending its winters as far south as Argentina and Chile. Dipping its bill in the water with its wings up, the common tern drinks on the fly, equipped with specialized nasal glands that excrete excess salt! These social birds are often found foraging in groups and nesting on the ground in colonies. Prior to the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918, common tern feathers and sometimes entire individuals would be mounted on women's hats, resulting in the near extirpation of the common tern along the Atlantic Coast.
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