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Jan. 16, 2021
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Volunteers needed for monarch conservation efforts;Various licenses offered by state

Researchers seek volunteers for monarch conservation efforts
 
Each fall, thousands of monarch butterflies stream across the southern U.S. on their journey to wintering grounds in central Mexico. In the spring, this eastern population of monarchs returns to the U.S. and Canada to breed. But not all monarchs migrate to Mexico. Some breed throughout the winter in the southern U.S., and scattered reports show that other monarchs might overwinter here in a non-reproductive state.  
 
Researchers and others studying monarchs are seeking more information to understand why and what it might imply for monarchs, a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. For this, they need the public’s help. 

In a collaborative effort called Journey North, Monarchs Across Georgia, the University of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are encouraging people to report monarch sightings from December through March in coastal states including Georgia.  The other states are Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. 
 
“We are reaching out to you, the community of nature enthusiasts and monarch observers, to ask for your help in monitoring locations of wintering monarchs in the U.S,” said Sonia Altizer, an ecology professor at the University of Georgia and director of Project Monarch Health. 
 
Understanding monarch migration and overwintering behavior is critical to conserving these butterflies. Studies have shown that monarch migration has changed in recent years in response to human activity.
 
Journey North coordinator Nancy Sheehan pointed out that citizen scientists have “a long history of being a part of scientific discoveries. I am sure the Journey North community – and future members – will hear this call to action and not only submit sightings but don their boots to help with any targeted conservation efforts identified through this effort.”  
 
For 25 years, observers have reported monarch and milkweed observations to Journey North. The information was then used to create real-time mapping visualizations of monarch migration and the presence of milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars eat. 
 
Monarch observations can be submitted December-March to the Journey North citizen-science project. Visit journeynorth.org/monarchs to learn how to report monarch sightings. 

Various fishing/hunting licenses offered by state
 
Although the holiday season has come and gone, there is a perfect gift for the outdoors enthusiast that works any time of the year. 
 
A fishing and/or hunting license is good all year long and it benefits wildlife and the wild places they enjoy, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. 
A youth license, a lifetime license or an annual hunting or fishing license are all great examples of how to give access to the great outdoors, and provide support for Georgia wildlife and state-managed lands. Youth and lifetime licenses come with a plastic card.
 
Youth License: The Youth Sportsman’s License is $15 and is for those under 16. The license provides for both hunting and fishing privileges, and is good through age 17, giving them a full year sportsman’s license once they reach age 16 (when they are required to have a license).
 
Resident Lifetime Licenses: With a lifetime license, a Georgia resident hunter or angler will not need to pay for another state hunting or fishing license – ever! From hunting trophy whitetails to casting for lunker largemouths, their cherished recreation in Georgia is covered. Applications and document details are at www.georgiawildlife.com
 
Annual or Other Licenses: Can’t purchase a lifetime license? How about an annual or 2-year license? This purchase provides your sportsman or woman access to the Georgia outdoors, and even if they already have a current license, the license you purchase will “stack” onto their existing one.
 
The Wildlife Resources Division uses hunting and fishing license sales to fulfill its wildlife mission. The sale of paid licenses is a key measure through which states receive federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funding. Uses of this funding in Georgia vary from operating public fishing areas to managing the state’s 1 million-strong deer herd.
 
For more info on licenses visit www.georgiawildlife.com

Posted online 12.28.20
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