UGA Int'l Wildlife

Thursday November 27, 2014

In honor of Thanksgiving, I am posting some random, fun facts about turkeys that I would like to share!

    1. Male turkeys are "toms"; female turkeys are "hens".  Baby turkeys are "poults".

    2. Toms have "beards", which consist of black, hair-like feathers located on their breasts.

    3. Turkeys existed about ten million years ago

    4. Wild turkeys are native to northern Mexico and the eastern United States.

    5. A thirty pound tom requires 75 to 80 lbs of feed.

    6. Wild turkeys prefer to spend the night in (oak) trees.

    7. Wild turkeys can briefly fly at speeds up to 55 mph and can run at speeds up to 20 mph.

DISCLAIMER: The above photos were retrieved from this website: 

Thursday November 6, 2014

Hello all!  Thank you to those of you who came out to tonight's meeting!  In honor of Halloween, we discussed five cool facts about bats (shown below).  We also discussed the comeback of giant Galapagos tortoises, and the invasion of brown marmorated stinkbugs in the United States.

1. Bats can fly up to 60 mph.
2. Bats make up 25% of the world's mammal population with 40 of the 1,100 species living in the U.S.
3. Contrary to popular belief, only three different species of bats live off of animal blood--none live in the U.S.
4. Some bats can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour; it is common for a bat to eat its weight in insects in one night.
5. Over 50% of the bat species in the U.S. are either listed as endangered or are in severe decline.

Brown marmorated stinkbugs have spread to at least 41 states.  They are invasive, and made their way to the United States in the mid-1990s via a shipment of Asian goods.  They are particularly unappetizing to native predators due to their chemical defenses and odors.  An average stinkbug travels between one and three miles per day.  They pose a serious threat to agriculture.

Giant Galapagos turtles were down to only 15 individuals (globally) in the 1960s but have since increased in population to roughly 1,000 on the Galapagos island of Espanola.  This comeback is due to captive breeding and reintroduction efforts.  Half of the tortoises released in 1975 were still alive as of 2007.  These tortoise could face an issue due to the fact that feral goats consume a critical food source for the tortoises (native cactus).  These majestic animals can exceed 5 feet in length and can reach 550 pounds.  The oldest recorded one was 152 years old.  The tortoises face a threat from feral pigs, dogs, cats, rats, goats, and cattle--all of which either threaten their food supply and eggs.

DISCLAIMER: The above photos were retrieved from this website:

Tuesday November 4, 2014

In honor of Georgia SCB's heavy participation in our Driftmier Woods project, I found this article to be worthy of posting on here! (link)

Common Reed (or Phragmites australis) is an invasive weed that chokes off native vegetation and litters wetlands with its dense, tall patches.  This 'problem weed' has been managed in the past by toxic herbicides, controlled burns, and bulldozing; however, researchers from Duke University have found that prescribed goat grazing may be a better, more responsible approach.

The study found that at a wetlands site in Maryland, goats were able- in weeks- to reduce the coverage of Common Reed by as much as 80 percent.  The goats managed this feat by using a diet that consisted of approximately 80 to 90 percent Common Reed.

This approach of using goats to manage invasives is actually fairly popular and practical in the eastern U.S. and Canada.  Even in New York City, park administrators at Staten Island's Freshkills Park have used a herd of goats on a massive landfill reclamation project.

It should be noted that goat grazing is not always the answer in every scenario involving invasives.  For instance in small lots, goats can be much more expensive that hand-weeding.  Also it should be mentioned that goats do not always seek out Common Weed in areas with other dominant vegetation.

DISCLAIMER: The above photos were retrieved from this website:

Saturday November 1, 2014

As a club, it is a shared goal of ours to get people excited and interested in  conservation and in studying/sustaining our natural resources!  With that being said--inthe spirit of Halloween being yesterday-- check out this facinating, beautiful, and somewhat spooky montage of pictures showcasing some of the many deep sea creatures that inhabit our planet!

P.S. Also check out this amazing photo gallery of some deep sea creatures on National Geographic's website here!

Friday October 17, 2014

Power transmission lines are starting to be viewed by some people as a prime opportunity for conservationists to protect wildlife.  Power transmission lines are roughly 150 feet wide, and can extend for hundreds of miles.  Due to fragmentation, environmentalists have frowned upon the creation of these spaces in the past.  However with proper management, some view these areas as opportunities to give some birds, pollinators, and other species a proper "last-hope" habitat to thrive in.  In fact, some power companies such as New York Power Authority, Arizona Public Service, and Vermont Electric Power have complied with a certification program formed by "Right of Way Stewardship Council", which is a group that promotes native wildlife management.  One way that these areas help native wildlife is because these corridors allow individual populations of a certain species to connect with one another.  Perhaps the use of pesticides and heavy mowing will become uncommon practices in these areas-- allowing power companies to perhaps save money and allowing native wildlife to survive.  Read more about this issue here.  Do you have any thoughts on this issue?  If so, mention them at the next meeting or post on the Facebook page here!

DISCLAIMER: The above photo was retrieved from this website:

Thursday October 2, 2014

At tonight's meeting, we discussed the anniversary of the sighting of a tropical kingbird at our own state botanical garden!  On September 30th, 2013.  This was the date of the first recorded sighting of a tropical kingbird in the state of Georgia.  These birds are dominant in South America and are RARELY seen in the southeast.  They are not high priority for conservationists.  They thrive in open country with scattered trees, urban areas, mangrove forests, and cactus forests.  They eat flying insects and some fruit.

We also talked about California's recent "plastic bag ban".  California's Governor Jerry Brown issued the first statewide ban on single-use shopping bags on September 30th, 2014!  The law (SB270) targets plastic bags used at grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and liquor stores.  The law will take effect at large stores in July 2015 and will take effect at smaller businesses in 2016.  Businesses will be allowed to charge at least 10 cents for paper bags, compostable bags, and reusable plastic bags.  While Hawaii does not technically have a "statewide ban" on plastic bags, each individual county of HI has taken action against plastic bags.  Therefore, it is slightly misleading to say that California is the first to address statewide plastic bag issues.

Lastly at the meeting, we briefly talked about Chile becoming the FIRST South American country to tax carbon!  President Michelle Bachelet has signed a law pricing each tonne of carbon emissions for Chile's electricity generators.  The law will apply to thermal generators of 50 MW or more and will exempt gas/biomass plants.  This carbon tax will be applied in 2018, and power plant emissions in Chile will start being measured in 2017.

DISCLAIMER: The above photos were retrieved from these websites:

Friday September 26, 2014

Earlier this month, high solar activity made it possible for many inhabitants in the northern United States (even as far south as South Dakota!) to observe the aurora borealis.  If you are unfamiliar with the science behind how the aurora borealis forms, check out this informative, entertaining video below!

Random Fact: While the northern lights are referred to as "aurora borealis", the southern lights are called "aurora australis".

Thursday September 4, 2014

At tonight's meeting, we discussed the significance and history of our own Piedmont Region of Georgia!  The Piedmont Region of Georgia ranges in elevation from approximately 400 ft to 1,500 ft above sea level.  Before the 1800s, the region used to be well-known for its hardwood forests and nutrient-rich soil; however the farming of cotton caused a lot of land-clearing, widespread erosion, and nutrient leaching in the region.  As a result, forestry became a dominant form of agriculture in the 1900s. Learn more about Georgia's Piedmont region here!

Also, we discussed the background of our chapter's "sponsored animal"- the Gopher Toroise!  These majestic animals can be found in most states of the deep south, but are especially prevalent in Florida.  These animals can live up to 80 years and Gopher Tortoises are a keystone species-- known for their ability to burrow.  Today, they are threatened by habitat destruction, road mortality, predation, and disease.  Learn more here!

DISCLAIMER: The above photos were retrieved from these websites:

Tuesday September 2, 2014

Have you ever wondered why UGA's beloved Chew Crew consists of goats as opposed to sheep/cattle?  

Check out this cool chart below! (Learn more about prescribed grazing here.)

DISCLAIMER: The above chart was retrieved from the following website:

**********************  SPRING 2014  **********************

Saturday May 10, 2014

Gobi Bears

Thursday April 24, 2014

For the final Spring 2014 edition of "Conservation News", we were discussed a recent rule that has been changed- affecting marsh conservation in coastal Georgia, landslides across the country, and the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report.

    LOCAL (link here): Georgia's EPD (Environmental Protection Division) will no longer require developers to adhere to a 25 foot             buffer zone from the edge of coastal salt marshes unless there is evidence on the marsh banks of wrested vegetation.              (This means that there needs to be evidence of flattened or twisted plants and grasses in the area.)  Georgia's 100 mile                 coast contains approximately 300,000 acres of marsh, which is roughly one-third of the amount of marsh on the East                 Coast.  Marshes are important specifically for their abilities to filter sediments and pollutants, to protect the land                     from events such as hurricanes, and to protect the food chain by providing an area for animals such as shrimp, fish, and             crabs to thrive.

    NATIONAL (link here): Landslides seem to be to have been a "hot topic" in the news lately (i.e. Jackson Hole, WY & Oso, WA)

Four things that con contribute to landslide occurrences include:
    • water (which can trigger a landslide by decreasing friction between bedrock and overlying sediment)
    • earthquakes (which can disrupt friction through vibration)
    • wildfires (which can loosen soil by destroying vegetation, whose roots act like "glue" to the soil)
    • volcanoes (which have unstable surfaces that are commonly associated with loose rock and acidic groundwater)

    GLOBAL (link here): The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change) will complete its Fifth Assessment Report in                     October 2014. This will be the first assessment report since 2007.  A press release (see link) was                                         recently produced that suggests ways that we can limit the increase in global mean temperature to only two                             degrees Celsius above observed pre-industrial levels. 

         The third Working Group report (a piece in the Fifth Assessment Report) required the analysis of 1200 climate change             scenarios from scientific literature.  In fact, these scenarios were produced from 31 modeling teams who studied economic,          technological, and institutional factors that would affect our future.  The Working Group III report also used about 10,000             references to produce sixteen chapters of work., 235 authors, 38 editors, and 900+ experts dispersed into teams to                 produce the Working Group III report.  It includes a Summary of Policymakers,  a technical summary, 16 main chapters,                 and three annexes.

DISCLAIMER: The above photos were retrieved from these websites:

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Did you know UGA is working hard to create a more sustainable future?

  Here are just a few (of many) random facts:

    - UGA offers its students ONE-HUNDRED FIFTEEN sustainability-related degree programs as well as EIGHTEEN certificates.

    - Joe Frank Harris Commons will be home to a food waste-composting project that is underway so food scraps can be used in       the fertilization of campus landscapes and community gardens.

    - The university's current plan calls for a 20% reduction of carbon emissions by 2020 as well as a reduction in energy                  consumption by 25%.

    - The university has already installed 30 solar-powered- mixed-recycling and landfill compactor stations (BigBelly bins) throughout       campus.

    - UGA now consumes 25% less water than it did in the year 2007.

    - UGA recycles 5.6 million pounds of trash each year.

    - The university has over 19 miles of bike ways.

    - Lastly, UGA uses only 3 (non-toxic) cleaning products to improve air quality.  (Note: That number used to be over 350!)

DISCLAIMER: The above photo was retrieved from the following website:

Monday April 7, 2014

In honor of the awesome hog roast this past weekend,, here are a few facts about some of the food that was served!  All of these species are invasive in the Georgia.

Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)

  • Originates from Asia
  • Introduced in the late 1800s as a form of erosion control
  • Now covers over 7 million acres

Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus monodon)

  • Originates from the Indian and Pacific Ocean
  • A relatively new problem species, it is likely they were released from a farm during a hurricane
  • While not a serious problem yet, it is likely their numbers will continue to grow as they prey upon native species such as shrimp crabs and clams
Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)
  • Originally introduced through stocking as a game fish
  • They are currently found around the southern great lakes, the entire Mississippi watershed,  and the Gulf states
  • They may outcompete native species such as the Redbreast sunfish
Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)
  • Originates from Africa
  • Popular in aquaculture
  • Competes with native species, while consuming small fish and amphibians
Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)
  • Hybridized with Japanese Wisteria in many places
  • Introduced in the early 1800’s as an ornamental plant
  • Can entwine and kill native trees
Silverthorn (Elaeagnus pungens)
  • Native to Asia
  • Introduced as an ornamental plant
  • Capable of climbing and destroying trees
Asian Clam (Corbicula fluminea)
  • Native to Asia, Africa, and Australia
  • Believed to be introduced to America as a food source in the early 1900s
  • Large colonies can clog waterways and pipes
  • Widely distributed throughout entire U.S.
Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
  • Suppresses native vegetation by forming thickets
  • Threat to riparian areas and areas where it can rapidly colonize
  • Introduced to America in the late 1800s for ornamental purposes and erosion control
Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
  • Establishes frequently in disturbed habitats
  • Can change forest structure by causing small trees and shrubs to collapse under the weight of vines
  • Introduced here  in early to mid-1800s for wildlife forage & cover, ornamental reasons, erosion     control
Feral Hog (Sus scrofa)
  • Native to Eurasia and introduced to America around the 1500s as a food source
  • Carry serious diseases that can be transmitted to people and domestic animals
  • In southwest Georgia, they caused roughly $80 million in damage during 2011

DISCLAIMER: The above photos were retrieved from these websites: 

Tuesday March 25, 2014

"Solar Power Basics" (U.S. Department of Energy):

Also, here is a cool interactive map that shows solar energy potential throughout various regions of the United States!  It may not surprise some people that Alaska has a relatively low potential for solar energy compared to the rest of the United States.  However, many people are unaware that the southeastern United States (i.e. Georgia, Florida, etc.) has relatively low potential when compared to areas of the West and the Southwest (i.e. Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, etc.).     

DISCLAIMER: The above photo was retrieved from the following website:

Thursday March 20, 2014

I hope everyone had a great spring break!  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend tonight's meeting due to the fact that I had an Environmental Stat test from 7 to 9:30 pm.  Here is a post about 'dealing with the dead".  (Read this article for additional information.)

Have you ever thought about how our disposal of dead bodies in the United States impacts the environment?  The management of corpses can be a very difficult job, and is closely intertwined with the tradition and cultural values that we have in our country.  In the United States, it is very common for traditional burials as well as cremation.  However, these forms of disposal are not free of environmental consequences.

    Traditional Burial: 30 million board feet of casket wood in America per year; annually uses as much steel as the amount of steel              used for the Golden Gate Bridge; embalming involves the use of formaldehyde (a carcinogen for disinfection and                         preservation)

    Cremation: Used for 32% of corpses in the United States; releases a large amount of fossil fuels into the atmosphere as well                 as toxic chemicals from embalming; uses enough energy annually in America to send someone to the moon-and-back                      approximately 83 times

    "Greener" Options: Hybrid burial grounds, natural burial grounds, conservation burial grounds, "cremains", etc.


DISCLAIMER: The above photos were retrieved from these websites:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Thursday March 6, 2014

Since many UGA students are travelling for spring break next week, I decided to make tonight's conservation news about vacationing.  Particularly, I spoke on how tourism can negatively affect natural attractions across the world.  

    -Local: Marine Debris at Tybee Island, GA (link)
    -National: Tourism at Aspen, CO, Jackson Hole, WY, and Yellowstone National Park (link)
    -Global: Litter at Mount Everest (link)
DISCLAIMER: The above photos were retrieved from these websites: 

Tuesday March 3, 2014

Here is just a short video about the Tanyard Creek Chew Crew- something every Georgia SCB member should check out at some point!  Can you imagine what certain parts of UGA's campus/Athens would look like without people like Dr. MacDonald in this world?

Chew Crew

Thursday February 20, 2014

For those unable to attend, tonight's meeting included these topics:

    -Local: the history and migration patterns of Piping Plovers (link)
    -National: ice coverage on the Great Lakes and the effects this could have on the environment (link)
    -Global: newly published article on Narco-Deforestation and the effects that DTO's have on the environment (link)

DISCLAIMER: The above photos were retrieved from these websites: 

Note: Don't forget to let me know in person, or comment below as to what genre/type of issues you would like me to focus on this semester!

Wednesday February 12, 2014


-Birds often mistake road salt for seeds/grit, which can lead to toxicosis/death in bird populations                                          -Some wildlife (i.e. deer, moose) are attracted salt crystals on roadways, which can lead to accidents                                       -Use of road salt can increase chlorine amounts in surface waters- which can particularly be detrimental to fish,                 macroinvertebrates, insects, and amphibians                                                                                                            -On top of impacting water quality, road salt can sometimes promote soil erosion and can reduce soil stability

Read other effects that road salt can have on the environment here.

Thursday February 6, 2014

Don't forget to download the Marine Debris Tracker App that was mentioned during tonight's meeting! For those who were unable to attend, some of tonight's conservation news included:

    -the "success" story of Wood Storks in the Southeast (Read more here.)

    -conservation efforts by Remote Footprints (Learn about "Project Remote" here)

    -the issue of plastic waste in our oceans and Dr. Jenna Jambeck's research

        DISCLAIMER: The above photos were found from these websites: 

Wednesday January 29, 2014

Below I have posted an interesting slideshow about the recent decline of wolves at various national parks (particularly Yellowstone) in the U.S. When dealing with the management of wolves, it is important to be mindful of their complex social structures.

Thursday January 23, 2014

Starting with tonight's meeting, I decided that it would be a good idea to feature 3 topics per meeting: a local/regional conservation issue, a national-level conservation issue, and a global issue.  Below are each of the topics that were discussed for today:

    -LOCAL: Georgia's endangered Smooth Conflower (link
    -NATIONAL: The current drought in the West (link)
    -GLOBAL: The “Status and Ecological Effects of the World’s Largest Carnivores” (link)


        DISCLAIMER: The above photos were found from these websites: 

Thursday January 16, 2014

Given their unique growth patterns, longleaf pines present an excellent example of how prescribed burning can be a very necessary part of forest conservation. Hundreds of years ago, 90+ million acres of longleaf pine tree forests used to dominate the southeastern United States- extending from Texas all the way to Virginia. 

Today, less than 3 percent of that original forest coverage exists; however, the USDA's Longleaf Pine Initiative along with many other initiatives across the southeastern U.S. are working hard to increase that number. Longleaf pine conservation efforts hope to help preserve some of the 900+ unique plant species, 30 federally listed threatened or endangered species, and 10 designated candidate species that depend on these forests for survival. 

Watch below to learn more about current conservation efforts in Georgia:

Longleaf Pines

**********************  FALL 2013  **********************

Wednesday October 30, 2013
Hi everyone. Sorry it's been a while! The twitter account is updated more frequently but we are trying to keep this one more up to date as well. 

Today I have a new posting about invasive species. DID YOU KNOW that the United States exports a number of species which become invasive around the world? Check out the top 10 here: Top 10 Invasive Species Exported from America

Wednesday October 9, 2013
Hey everyone. We're all waiting for the government shutdown to end, and we all have our individual political opinions (which should not be discussed here). Who is giving voice to the species and environment? I don't think many people realize how involved government agencies are in protecting the public resource and managing/funding research. What happens when there are 10 mountain lions living in Santa Monica and one was just hit by a car? There has been ongoing research on this small population for years, and now it's been put on hold. What happens when these agencies aren't allowed to look?
Read the article here:

Monday October 7, 2013

This isn't exactly news but, I bet you didn't know how much water went into making a latte when you look at the whole picture. It definitely alters the perspective