Build a Wildlife Area campaign fighting for habitats

The best wildlife habitat can be described by one word: variety.
While large, mature woodlots may be great for squirrels, they offer little to grassland species. Brushy areas don’t offer much for either, but they can be crucial in providing escape cover from predators and weather while providing fruit-bearing shrubs and a perfect home for brush-loving birds.
In wildlife management lingo, this variety of cover provides an “edge effect,” which allows wildlife the advantage of choosing its best cover. The number and variety of habitat and their edges will increase the variety and number of species there.
Wildlife habitat has suffered greatly in Ohio due to urbanization and modern farming practices.
Fence rows are gone, woodlots removed, waterways are stripped, and odd areas once considered too difficult to farm and left fallow are forced into production with bulldozers and tiling.
With most of Ohio’s lands in private ownership, it’s difficult to offer wildlife more of a chance at survival.
If we could only build homes for wildlife.
Through the Ohio Build a Wildlife Area campaign, Pheasants Forever and its partners will raise funds to be used for the acquisition and management of wildlife areas in Ohio. All funds raised through the campaign will be tripled by matching grants.
“Initiating this Build a Wildlife Area campaign in Ohio, a state where 97 percent of land is held in private ownership, is especially important right now, not only in helping out current hunters, but in terms of giving future hunters opportunities and retaining them as well,” said Doug Bensman, Pheasants Forever regional wildlife biologist,
The effort is to engage individuals, corporations, nonprofit and government organizations to create permanent public wildlife areas. What really makes the campaign special is that, through matching grants, Pheasants Forever stretches one dollar into three; $100,000 becomes $300,000.
Those kinds of dollars can purchase land. The Build a Wildlife Area campaign gives the most conservation bang for the conservation buck. Once lands are acquired, they are turned over to a state, park district or the property can become part of the Forever Land Trust.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ohio Outdoor News have already pledged their support of the Ohio Build a Wildlife Area campaign.
To learn more, contact Jim Inglis at 866-914-7373, email jinglis@pheasantsforever.org or visit www.OhioPF.com.
Along the Way:
Through May 16, more than 98,000 rainbow trout will be released at 63 Ohio public lakes and ponds.
“By stocking these ponds, we hope to create an opportunity for anglers to be successful, especially young anglers who might be fishing for the very first time,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Scott Zody.
“Trout fishing provides the ideal introduction to the outdoors for our children and can help foster a lifetime love of fishing.”
Many locations will feature special angler events, including youth-only fishing, on the day of the scheduled trout release.
Contact the Wildlife District 2 Office at 419-424-5000 for specific information. Rainbow trout are raised at state fish hatcheries and measure 10-13 inches. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five.
Areas receiving trout include: April 10, Lima and Schoonover Lakes, Allen County; April 16, Lamberjack Lake, Seneca County; April 18, Whitestar Quarry, Sandusky County; and May 3, Giertz Lake, Hancock County.
Step Outside:
• March 22: Seneca County Pheasants Forever Banquet, Meadowbrook Ballroom, Bascom. Contact Val Gillig, 419-934-3891 or vgillig2005@yahoo.com.
• March 28: Pheasants Forever Banquet, Hancock County Humane Society. Contact: Andrew Crates, 419-365-7777.
• April 5: Whitetails Unlimited Banquet, The Cube, Findlay. Doors open at 4 p.m. Contact 419-422-8451 or 419-422-1182.
Abrams is a retired wildlife officer supervisor for the state Division of Wildlife in Findlay. He can be reached at P.O. Box 413, Mount Blanchard, OH 45867-0413 or via e-mail at jimsfieldnotes@aol.com

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