Category Archives: Youth

CDFW’s Invasive Species Program Announces Youth Art Contest Winners

The winners of the “Don’t Let it Loose!” Youth Art Contest have been announced by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Invasive Species Program.

As part of the California Invasive Species Action Week, 126 youths from across California submitted their original artwork. Participants were asked to send artwork depicting invasive species that might be released by pet/aquarium owners, how their release impacts our natural resources, or what one could do with unwanted pets/plants instead of releasing them. The top three posters from each grade division were selected by members of the CDFW’s Invasive Species Program and the poster which best exemplified the contest theme was selected as the CDFW Invasive Species Program Choice Award.

Noah Petersen (5th Grade), of Fresno (Fort Washington Elementary School), was named the winner of the Invasive Species Program Choice Award. Peterson created a poster outlining multiple ways to be a responsible pet owner and avoid letting invasive species loose.

The top winners of the 2017 Invasive Species Action Week Youth Art Contest divisions were:

Grades 2-4

First Place: Jennifer Kang, 7, Mountain View, Springer Elementary School

Second Place: CJ Andelman, 10, Santa Barbara, Homeschool

Third Place: Lucia Wilkinson, 7, Carmichael, Cowan Fundamental Elementary

Grades 5-8

First Place: Aaliyah Zamorano (6th Grade), Roseville, Excelsior Elementary School

Second Place: Jaya Wollenberger (6th Grade), Roseville, Excelsior Elementary School

Third Place: Maria Ramirez, 14, Santa Cruz, Mission Hill Elementary School

Grades 9-12

First Place: Esmé Kim Ison, 17, Santa Monica, Santa Monica High School

Second Place: Summer Knight, 15, Roseville, Woodcreek High School

Third Place: Alexa Aitchison, 16, Chula Vista, Eastlake High School

CDFW congratulates all the participants for their excellent work, and thanks the teachers, nature centers, volunteer organizations and parents who encouraged, educated and assisted the students.

For more information or to obtain artwork images, please contact the Invasive Species Program at invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
Rachael Klopfenstein, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 651-3122
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

 

Help Kick Off California Invasive Species Action Week by Volunteering

The fourth annual California Invasive Species Action Week will run from Saturday, June 3 through Sunday, June 11. Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Invasive Species Action Week is a statewide event that provides the public with opportunities to learn about and take action against non-native plants and animals that harm our environment and the native species that live here.

Federal and state agencies and numerous organizations across the state have teamed up to host more than 40 individual Action Week events this year. Examples of upcoming public volunteer opportunities include:

  • Sacramento County: CDFW’s Marine Invasive Species Program will be hosting interactive displays, screening of educational videos and a chance to see live and preserved invaders from June 5-9 at the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center. This family-friendly opportunity will have activities for all ages and picnic facilities are on site.
  • Mendocino County: Mussel Dogs (a consulting and inspection service) will host a public demonstration of their Quagga and zebra mussel detection dogs’ work on the banks of Lake Mendocino on Saturday, June 3, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sonoma County: California State Parks and Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods will host an invasive plant removal volunteer day in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve on Wednesday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Los Angeles County: The Mountain Restoration Trust needs volunteers to help trap and remove invasive red swamp crayfish from the Malibu Creek Watershed on Saturday, June 10 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Many other counties will also have volunteer opportunities this week. To view the full schedule of events and map, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/CISAW.

Don’t forget – stopping the spread of invasive species does not have to wait for the Action Week! Citizens can also contribute to a healthy environment by taking small, everyday actions – like selecting native plants for landscaping, cleaning your outdoor and aquatic gear after use, being responsible pet and aquaria owners, and reporting invasive species findings.

Another opportunity to monitor for invasive species during and beyond the Action Week is through California Nerodia Watch, the CDFW’s citizen-science monitoring project for invasive (and restricted) Nerodia watersnakes. Currently, Nerodia watersnake populations are established in Roseville, Folsom and Harbor City, with several sightings reported in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Nerodia are notorious predators of fish and amphibians, and if their range expands, they will pose a serious threat to nearby endangered fish and wildlife. Members of the public are encouraged to help CDFW biologists to monitor and prevent the spread of existing populations! Visit the CDFW invasive species profiles at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives/species to learn more and report observations through the iNaturalist project webpage (www.inaturalist.org/projects/california-nerodia-watch) or by downloading the iNaturalist smartphone app.

For questions or more information about Action Week or California Nerodia Watch, please contact invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Rachael Klopfenstein, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 651-3122
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

 

2017 Invasive Species Youth Art Contest Kicks Off with “Don’t Let it Loose” Theme

Young artists and future biologists are invited to enter this year’s California Invasive Species Art Contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). This year’s theme is “Don’t Let it Loose!”

Youths in grades 2 through 12 are eligible to enter. Entries should depict invasive species that might be released into California’s waters, parks and wildlands, along with appropriate messaging such as (but not limited to) the following:2017 CISAW Youth Poster Contest Announcement Flier

  • Releasing invasive species into the wild can harm the environment and California’s native plants and animals
  • Description(s) of one or more species that are commonly released into waters, parks or wildlands
  • Explanations or illustrations showing other ways to rehome unwanted pets or plants

All types of media are welcome and encouraged – drawings, paintings, animations, comic strips, videos, public service announcements, etc. Submissions must be received no later than May 5, 2017, and may be submitted by email or regular mail.

Winners will be chosen in three age divisions: grades 2-4, 5-8 and 9-12. Winners from each division will receive awards and have their posters displayed on CDFW’s Invasive Species Action Week webpage. The submission judged to be the best overall will also receive the “Invasive Species Program Choice” Award.

The entry form and a pdf of the contest announcement flyer can be found online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/CISAW.

The contest is sponsored by CDFW’s Invasive Species Program as part of the 2017 California Invasive Species Action Week, June 3-11. The goal of the Action Week is to increase public awareness of invasive species issues and encourage public participation in the fight against California’s invasive species and their impacts on our natural resources.

Many people don’t realize the potential implications of very simple acts. For example, the release of non-native crayfish used as fishing bait has likely resulted in the decline of California’s native crayfish and impacted other species dependent on the habitat. The dumping of aquarium plants can ultimately end up destroying the quality of our waterways and lands. Red-eared sliders, aquarium fish, and Nerodia watersnakes are other examples of released species that can become invasive and negatively impact native species.

California Invasive Species Action Week activities around the state will include presentations on aquatic and terrestrial invasives, guided outings to observe and assess infested areas, invasive species removal efforts, habitat restoration projects and the announcement of the winners of the youth poster contest. Opportunities for youths and adults to participate or volunteer will be available across the state through participating agencies, organizations and volunteer groups, with information and details to be provided on the Action Week webpage.

More information about CDFW’s Invasive Species Program, including examples of invasive species currently affecting California’s wild lands, can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives.

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Media Contacts:
Rachael Klopfenstein, CDFW Invasive Species Program, (916) 651-3122
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival Draws Record Crowd

A record crowd of over 7,500 enjoyed the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival earlier this month at Lake Sonoma Visitor Center and Warm Springs-Don Clausen Fish Hatchery east of Healdsburg in the Russian River watershed.

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The event celebrated the return of steelhead to the hatchery operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and  featured displays, booths and activities put on by more than 60 different state and federal agencies, non-profit conservation groups and vendors.

“More than 2,000 adult steelhead have returned to the hatchery so far,” said CDFW Senior Hatchery Manager Brett Wilson. “We are predicting between 4,000 and 6,000 fish will return this year, which is above average.”

The festival promotes understanding of the critical role natural resource agencies and conservation partners play in the stewardship of the Russian River fisheries in a format which lets children experience trout fishing, see steelhead spawned and meet with a wide variety of conservation professionals from biologists to rangers. This year a new interactive exhibit showcased the major fisheries of the area, history of the dam, and hatchery practices put in place to maintain a broad gene pool and promote genetic diversity of fish stocks.

CDFW facilitated outreach on the steelhead population and life cycle and threats that face water users and facilities like quagga mussels. The CDFW mobile fish exhibit featured live steelhead. A program on joint hatchery partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to raise endangered coho salmon, the Coho Salmon Conservation Program, was also featured. One of the most popular experiences was the kids’ fishing event at the hatchery.  Young anglers were thrilled at the chance to catch one of the steelhead trout raised in the hatchery.

Warm Springs-Don Clausen Fish Hatchery raises and releases 300,000 steelhead each year with 200,000 additional steelhead released from the satellite Coyote Facility, to support a recreational fishery in the Russian River. Adult steelhead spawned in the hatchery are returned to the lower portions of the river to migrate out to sea and return another year.

Warm Springs-Don Clausen Fish Hatchery is a mitigation hatchery mandated to compensate for the impact of the dam on the local steelhead population and conserve the local fishery.

The Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival is hosted by the Friends of Lake Sonoma, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Sonoma County Water Agency and CDFW. For more information, please visit www.lakesonoma.org.

Media Contacts:
David Moore, CDFW Bay Delta Region (707) 766-8380
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

Young Hunters, Mentors Enjoy Successful Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days

Nearly 1,000 young hunters took to the fields on Feb. 4-5 this year, as Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days opened to clearing skies and the ducks and geese were plentiful. These special two days of waterfowl hunting were open only to junior license holders age 17 or younger, and their non-hunting adult mentors.

Various hunts were conducted on 21 wildlife areas and national wildlife refuges where the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) operates waterfowl hunting programs. Private waterfowl clubs and conservation organizations, including the California Waterfowl Association and individual chapters of Ducks Unlimited, hosted twice this number of young hunters statewide.

The main objective of Youth Waterfowl Days is to provide young hunters with a special opportunity to learn more about waterfowl hunting and provide a mentored experience.

youth-with-honker-2
Colby Fritter, 11, earned his hunter education certificate and bought his license on the first of two Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days.

“This year CDFW staff worked at opening previously flooded areas like the Little Dry Creek Wildlife Unit, since Grizzly Island and Yolo Bypass Wildlife Areas were closed due to flooding,” said Craig Stowers, an environmental program manager with CDFW’s Wildlife Branch Game Management Program. “Not only did the young hunters have some great experiences, but they also did very well, averaging nearly three birds each on Saturday.”

One of the top-producing areas was Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, where young hunters averaged 5.4 birds on Saturday. On many of the other state-managed properties, such as Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, youths averaged approximately three birds each. Numerous private duck clubs and organizations with waterfowl properties throughout the state opened their doors to young hunters as well. Some, like the Cameron Duck Club in East Nicolaus, provided guided hunts for youths.

Eleven-year-old Colby Fritter of Chico completed his Hunter Education Course on Saturday. He secured his license at 3 p.m., just in time to go to a private duck blind for an afternoon shoot. On his first hunt, with his first shot, he took a Canada goose with his Youth Model Remington 870 20-gauge.

“He lit up like a Christmas tree,” said his father, Scott Fritter. “He worked and studied hard to pass the hunter education course and exam and it really paid off. It was an experience and opportunity of a lifetime.”

At the Little Dry Creek Unit in the Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area, staff cleaned up flood debris to prepare for the 63 youth hunters who hunted the first day.  Each of the young hunters was directed to a blind or free-roam area deemed safe to hunt. Upon completing their hunt, they were invited to dine on hot dogs, chips and bottled water. It was the first time the unit was open since Jan. 7, and provided exceptional opportunities for the young hunters.

Waterfowl hunting results, including results for each state-managed Youth Hunting Days hunt, are available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl#877772-hunt-results.

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Media Contact:
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478