Wildlife Blog

WHC Receives Illinois DNR Grant to Benefit Lake Michigan Shoreline

WHC staff meet IL Governor Pat Quinn

By Colter Sonneville, Ecological Restoration Field Manager Fellow Chicago Field Office staffer Shelley Cabrera and I recently attended a press conference given by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at Chicago’s Oak Street Beach. We were there on a sunny spring Saturday to hear the governor announce that WHC was one of 26 beneficiaries of a $1.6 million investment in environmental and education projects that will benefit the Lake Michigan shoreline. WHC was awarded a grant of $50,004 for “Restoring Urban-Industrial Habitats in the Illinois Coastal Zone.” With a focus on the South Chicago and Calumet Region, WHC will improve hydrologic regimes, [more...]

The Night I Saw an Eastern Tiger Salamander

eastern tiger salamander

by Colleen Beaty, Senior Research Assistant, Wildlife Habitat Council Way back in college I took a Herpetology class, which included four outdoor field trips. One of my fondest memories from that class is our nighttime field trip to a large vernal pool in a nearby forest. There was, of course, an abundance of spring peepers and other tree frogs, complete with the cacophony of all the males calling for mates. Vernal pools like the one I visited that night are particularly attractive to amphibians because they provide a relatively safe place for them to breed in the spring. Vernal pools [more...]

New Member Spotlight: Navajo Refining Company

Navajo Refining Company logo

by Jeff Ghannam, Director of Communications, Wildlife Habitat Council The Navajo Refining Company, located in Artesia, New Mexico, recently joined the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) as a Corporate Member. The Navajo Refinery has crude oil capacity of 100,000 barrels per day and is a subsidiary of HollyFrontier Corporation, which is among the largest independent petroleum refiners in the United States. Navajo’s wildlife habitat, managed by a team of five employees, focuses on the Navajo Nature Trail, a roadside, 1/4-mile trail owned by the City of Artesia. We asked Navajo a few questions about its conservations goals and plans for the [more...]

Wildlife in Winter: Now You See Me…

An arctic hare blends in with the snow.  Photo source: USFWS

By Colleen Beaty, Senior Research Assistant, Wildlife Habitat Council It just snowed (again) out here on the East Coast, so it seems only fitting that I wrap up our “Wildlife in Winter” blog series by talking about how some animals camouflage themselves in the winter to blend in with snow. In the warm months, species like the snowshoe hare sport a brown fur coat that helps them to easily blend in with the bare ground, making it harder for predators to spot them from far away. In the winter, however, their brown fur would be highly visible against the white [more...]

Recognize Endangered Species Day on May 16

Entrance sign to the nearly 700-acre El Sobrante Wildlife Preserve in Corona, CA, where work is being done to protect the Stephens’s Kangaroo rat and other endangered species. Photo courtesy of Waste Management’s El Sobrante Landfill and Recycling Center

By Robert Campbell, Education Specialist, Wildlife Habitat Council What do a Brown pelican, Morelet’s crocodile, and Maguire daisy have in common?  They are all species which, due to their recovery in the last few years, have been “delisted” from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species List.  While regulation has no doubt aided in the recovery of these species, public awareness and education, too, have played a vital role in this rebound. WHC certified programs around the country (and beyond) do their part to protect endangered species and reach out to nearby communities to make them aware of the importance [more...]

International Certified Programs Now Included in Conservation Registry

By Corinne Lackner Stephens, Certification Manager, Wildlife Habitat Council The Wildlife Habitat Council participates in the Conservation Registry, an online database that tracks and maps conservation, restoration, and wildlife projects across the U.S. The registry is an interactive tool that allows WHC to include all of its certified programs on one portal so it can manage its data more efficiently and better convey the breadth of its certified programs. Defenders of Wildlife initiated the Conservation Registry in 2008 to facilitate informed decision-making, inspire collaboration, and provide context and effectiveness for conservation work. It started in the Pacific Northwest and has since [more...]

Wildlife in Winter: Catching Prey Under the Snow

An ermine in the snow. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

By Colleen Beaty, Senior Research Assistant, Wildlife Habitat Council Last week I wrote about how some animals like voles, mice, and shrews utilize subnivean habitats as a way to stay warm and avoid being seen by predators while they forage. Of course, predators need to eat too. And while the snow allows the rodents to stay out of sight, there are several predators such that have developed other ways of finding their prey. For example, weasels (especially ermines) will dig down through the snow to look for rodents and their subnivean tunnels.  Sometimes they will even take over the tunnels [more...]

Wildlife in Winter: Finding Cover Under the Snow

A deer mouse emerges from under the snow. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

By Colleen Beaty, Senior Research Assistant, Wildlife Habitat Council Here in the Mid-Atlantic region, we’ve been experiencing snowfall on almost a weekly basis for the last month or so.  And while all this snow causes school shutdowns and traffic headaches for us, some of the local small mammals, like voles, mice, and shrews, do very well by staying beneath the snow. This type of habitat is called subnivean habitat, a word derived from the Latin words sub (beneath) and nives (snow). Voles, mice, and shrews dig tunnels under the snow, which allow them to travel safely between burrows and food [more...]

Wildlife in Winter: Hibernation

Photo courtesy of Karen Laubenstein, USFWS.

By Colleen Beaty, Senior Research Assistant, Wildlife Habitat Council Last week I wrote about migration as a strategy for surviving the colder temperatures and food shortages during the winter. However, a number of other animal species have instead evolved to use winter dormancy to make it through the winter. Hibernation is a type of winter dormancy typically employed by mammals. Other species such as birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians undergo other types of winter dormancy (also called torpor) to get through the winter and other metabolically-stressful periods. During hibernation, an animal’s metabolic rate, breathing, and heartbeat are suppressed, increasing their [more...]

Talking to Yourself: Making Employees Aware of Your Projects

Photo courtesy of  Fairmount Minerals

By Jeff Ghannam, Director of Communications, Wildlife Habitat Council The Wildlife Habitat Council knows that including employees in the planning, designing, and implementation of a wildlife habitat project is vital to its success. When an engaged group of employees take ownership of a project, the project is likely to be better maintained over the long term and viewed more favorably by the employees and the company. But how do you simply communicate to your employees about your habitat projects? In a time when employees are busier than ever, how do you make them aware of all the benefits of getting [more...]