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Opportunites now available for nature preservation

This October and November bird lovers and nature conservators alike will have the opportunity to help restore habitat for Northern Bobwhite Quail, Loggerhead Shrikes, Eastern Meadowlarks and other species. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Non-Game Division began efforts to restore grasslands a few years ago. Despite talented staff, they kept running into a problem ‘“ how to obtain seeds?  The department began buying seeds from a supplier in the Midwest. Although they bought only native species, biologists noticed that those plants did not seem as hardy. Perhaps because those plants were adapted to a different climate. Some wondered if the projects would be more successful if ‘native genotype’ seeds were used ‘“ i.e. seeds collected in the wild in Georgia. But collecting grass seed is a time-consuming process. While it is easy and takes no training it can rarely be done mechanically. And one person can only collect so many seeds by hand. That is where the Georgia Important Bird Areas (IBA) program steps in. In October 2008 the IBA program organized two Volunteer Conservation Day events in which a total of 60 people collected 34 pounds of seeds. The seeds were used in several locations in Georgia. Building from that success, we are planning for Seed Collection days in 4 counties this year. Biologists are already getting in line for the valuable seeds. Now the group needs as many volunteers as possible! Families, individuals, outdoor groups, scout troops, church groups ‘“ anyone is welcome to come to one or more event! To sign up, or for more information, contact IBA Coordinator Charlie Muise by email (cmmbirds@yahoo.com) or telephone (678-967-9924) Events remaining this year: October 31 Seeds for Candy at Panola Mountain State Park, (Rockdale County) starting at 1 pm (we will be bird banding at 6:20 for early risers). We’ll give a bag of Halloween candy to every volunteer. Bring a scary mask if you’ve got one! For directions, please see this map: http://tinyurl.com/yjvn3u5 November 7 at Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Park. (Paulding County) Phil Delestrez will lead this, meeting at 10:00 am. Meet at Pickett’s Mill, Charles Winchester will give a summary of the site and brief tour.

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