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Jeffrey Klinefelter Wins Another Connecticut Duck Stamp Art Contest
In a contest filled with great artwork, a panel of judges recently selected Indiana artist Jeffrey Klinefelter's depiction of buffleheads flying across Barn Island Wildlife Management Area as the winner of DEEP's 2018 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation (Duck) Stamp Art Contest. Jeffrey is a previous winner of the CT contest when his depiction of canvasbacks in front of the Ledge Lighthouse in New London was featured on the 2016 CT Duck Stamp. Jeffrey's newest painting will be the image for the 2019 stamp. A pair of Canada geese on the Connecticut River with the East Haddam swing bridge in the background, submitted by Colchester, Connecticut, artist Melissa Barker, placed second. Third place went to Chris Goins of Sheridan, Arizona, who submitted a painting of a pair of redheads.

Hunters are not the only ones who can purchase Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamps. Anyone who wishes to support wildlife and wetland conservation and restoration in our state should buy a Duck Stamp. Stamps can be purchased for $17 each through the  Online Sportsmen Licensing System  and at select DEEP offices.

Bobcat Project Update
Project researchers take several measurements of bobcat kittens, including skull circumference, girth, and tail length.
The DEEP Wildlife Division's Bobcat Project is studying the population, distribution, and reproduction of bobcats in Connecticut. In fall 2017, 50 bobcats were captured and given GPS (global positioning system) collars in order to better understand habitat use, movements, and behavior. The primary focus of the study in the spring and summer months is female denning behavior and kitten survival.  When the dens of collared female bobcats are found, kittens are counted, tagged, sexed, and measured. A hair sample is collected for DNA analysis.

Please send us your bobcat sighting reports, especially of females with kittens, over the next few months. Sightings can be reported on iNaturalist, on the CT Fish and Wildlife Facebook page, or by sending an email to deep.ctwildlife@ct.gov. Photos are always appreciated, but not necessary.

2018-2019 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide Available
The 2018-2019 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.

Junior Waterfowl Hunter Training Days will be held on Saturday, September 29 and Saturday, October 27, 2018. Participants must be between 12 to 17 years of age, possess a valid small game junior hunting license (ages 12-15) or valid hunting license (ages 16 and 17) and a Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp (which includes the HIP permit). Junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age who possesses a valid hunting license; however, adult mentors are not allowed to carry a firearm.
Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day, Sept. 22, 2018
SAVE THE DATE! Come to the DEEP Wildlife Division's Franklin Wildlife Management Area in North Franklin on Saturday, September 22, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM to participate in a FREE, new event sponsored by the Bureau of Natural Resources. Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day explores Connecticut's fish and wildlife resources and legacy of outdoor traditions, with live animals, demonstrations, archery, fish casting, fly tying, shooting clays, 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.
National Pollinator Week: June 18-24, 2018
June 18-24, 2018 is " National Pollinator Week",  an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, and beetles. Pollinator Week draws attention to the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations and encourages people to take action to help these important animals.

What can you do to help?  Pollinators need places to nest, feed, and protect their offspring. By managing your property to be pollinator-friendly, you may be able to greatly improve pollinator habitat. Maintaining natural areas (unmanicured areas of your property) is key for long-term pollinator protection. If you have a forest, meadow, or wetland on your property, bees will use those areas extensively for both feeding and nesting. You can also give wild bees a helping hand by providing nesting sites. These sites could be patches of untilled, bare, well-drained soil, which is perfect for many ground-nesting bees. Sites for wood-nesting bees include old logs with beetle burrows (for mason bees and leafcutter bees), or brush piles (for safe places to hibernate). To encourage butterflies, you should plant the caterpillar host plants. For example, monarchs need milkweeds to feed on as caterpillars. New Jersey tea is eaten by many Connecticut insects, making it a great addition to a pollinator garden. Planting native food plants in your yard or garden is a great way to encourage pollinators to flourish!

Want to learn more? Check out our Pollinators in Connecticut webpage or visit the website for the  Pollinator Partnership.
Connecticut Has Joined the Alliance for America's Fish and Wildlife
The Wildlife Division has created a new webpage to highlight the Alliance for Fish and Wildlife and the effort to pass the national, bi-partisan Recovering America's Wildlife Act to provide critical funding for fish and wildlife conservation. You can learn more about how the Act will benefit Connecticut's fish and wildlife from the Connecticut State Fact Sheet (PDF).  Like and follow the Facebook pages for the Recovering America's Wildlife Act and Alliance for Fish and Wildlife to stay up-to-date on the Act's progress and learn more about fish and wildlife conservation.
Planet of Plastic?
June's featured action for 2018 Year of the Bird is to reduce single-use plastic by saying no to plastic bags, straws, and bottles, and commit to recycling to save seabirds and other wildlife from ingesting the trash that pollutes our oceans. It is important for all of us to remember to "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle" as we go about our everyday lives. Use a refillable water bottle instead of buying single use bottles. Invest in reusable straws and shopping bags, and always have them handy. Learn what items are recyclable in Connecticut. Small steps from all of us can have big results in reducing the waste plastic in our environment.

Meadow Brook Wildlife Management Area Expanded
Meadow Brook Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Colchester grew by 109 acres when DEEP purchased a parcel from Prospect Hill Associates with the help of a Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson) grant. The new acquisition is located along the southeast edge of the wildlife management area and shares a 2,656-foot boundary line with the original area. The property provides two additional roadside access points and, with the existing Meadow Brook WMA, a buffer from houses along Prospect Hill Road. The addition of this property to the WMA reduces encroachment from development, thus maintaining the various hunting programs and providing more habitat for wildlife. You can read more about this important acquisition in an article published in our bimonthly magazine, Connecticut Wildlife. Maps of public hunting areas on state forests, wildlife management areas (including Meadow Brook), and other similar properties can be found on the DEEP website.
Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Wins 2018 CT Envirothon Competition
On May 24, 2018, 29 teams comprised of high school students from across the state competed in the 2018 Connecticut Envirothon competition held at Topsmead State Forest. Envirothon is a natural resource based education program that is managed by a steering committee comprised of several conservation and environmental organizations.  High school students work in teams led by a teacher/advisor. During the school year, teams receive curriculum materials and are invited to a series of training workshops in the Envirothon study areas of soils, aquatics, wildlife, forestry, and a current environmental issue. "The CT Envirothon is a fun and educational program that engages high school students in solving real world natural resource challenges," said Peter Picone, DEEP Wildlife Division Biologist and wildlife station leader. In May, teams meet for an all day field competition where they put their knowledge to the test. This year, the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering from Windsor, CT, came in first place and will advance to the national-level competition. 

Learn About Butterflies at Sessions Woods
A free, informational program on Butterflies is scheduled for July 12, 2018, starting at 10:00 AM at the Wildlife Division's Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington (directions). Natural Resources Educator Laura Rogers-Castro will provide participants with a lesson on the basics of butterfly identification, including tips on distinguishing the various butterfly families. Following a brief indoor program, Laura will guide the group on a walk to identify the local butterfly fauna at Sessions Woods. Meet in the classroom located in the exhibit room of the Education Center. Inclement weather cancels. (Butterflies are most active on sunny days!) This program is appropriate for ages 8 years and older. No exceptions please!

The Sessions Woods Conservation Education Center's Public Program Series is a cooperative venture between the CT DEEP Wildlife Division and the Friends of Sessions Woods. Please register for this program by calling 860-424-3011 or email laura.rogers-castro@ct.gov.
Reminder: Help us count wild turkey broods. Participate in the Annual Turkey Brood Survey.
Species of the Month: Monarch Butterfly
One of the most recognized insects in North America, the monarch butterfly is notorious for having a strong natural instinct that guides it to and from its warmer wintering grounds. The monarch migration is considered to be one of the greatest natural phenomena in the world. In Connecticut, this once prevalent species has seen a steep decline in sightings over the years. Habitat loss, herbicide and pesticide use, and the effects of global climate change are likely the greatest threats to monarchs. Despite the challenges facing monarchs, there is plenty we can do to help keep this species a common sight.  

Read an article about the monarch butterfly in Connecticut Wildlife magazine.

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