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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Deep Waters: The Search for Lake Michigan’s Elusive Cisco

bloater
A male bloater, a type of deepwater cisco, collected from Lake Michigan. Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS

A type of deepwater cisco, the bloater is an important part of the Great Lakes food web providing important nutrients to native predator fish such as lake trout.  Yet their populations are low, if not completely extinguished, in much of the Great Lakes due to over-fishing, invasive species and habitat degradation. An effort by the Service at the request of the state of New York and the province of Ontario aims to restore bloater populations in Lake Ontario, which will help to support growing populations of lake trout and Atlantic salmon. The lessons learned as part of this effort will help to guide cisco restoration efforts in other parts of the Great Lakes.

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Detroit Tigers Root, Root, Root for Endangered Tigers

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Detroit Post Offices are selling these canceled Tiger Stamps for Opening Day. If interested, email USPS' Dan Lesperance. Visit Tigerstamp.com to order stamps.

As Major League Baseball returns for another season, we’re thinking about tigers.

Not just the ones in Detroit, the endangered wild tigers of Asia, too.

The Detroit Tigers have taken a leading role in helping the conservation of wild tigers – making donations, raising awareness and filming public service announcements.

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There’ll Be Days Like This ... And We're Ready!

A  forklift was used to move frozen slabs of river sediment
A forklift operator moves frozen slabs of river sediment into a heated garage to thaw. Photo by USFWS

The lyrics of a song made popular in the 1960s by the Shirelles state “There’ll be days like this.” However, after almost three decades with the Service and the last two spent at the La Crosse Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office, fisheries biologist Mark Steingraeber had never had a day like February 9 before. Yes, he’d previously handled large volumes of river sediment … at times requiring chain-of-custody protocols … but never in the form of frozen slabs requiring a fork lift to safely move them!

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And the Winner is ... Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

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Bison call Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge home. Photo by USFWS

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge took an early lead and never looked back in winning a USA TODAY Reader’s Choice poll to pick the Best National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors from all over the country enjoy the Oklahoma refuge's diversity of wildlife, including bison, elk and deer, and of habitats, such as open mixed grass prairie, forest and rock outcroppings.

Congrats to Wichita Mountains, the other “10 Best” refuges and the other nominees.

None of the winners near you? Find a refuge close by at http://www.fws.gov/refuges/refugeLocatorMaps/index.html

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High-Schoolers, Teacher Learn about Wildlife Forensics

class
 Ms. Laske's class watches the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory webcast.

Letitia Laske, a biology teacher at Brainerd High School in Brainerd, Minnesota, calls herself “a true newcomer to wildlife forensics.”

She needed to come up with a new elective course for her students, many of whom are avid hunters, trappers and anglers, and says in an email, “wildlife forensics is the one that stuck.”

Originally, she thought of forensics because she had some experience there. But she “wanted to pair the idea of forensics with wildlife conservation.”

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Federal Wildlife Officer Recognized for Excellence

Samantha Fleming
Federal Wildlife Officer Samantha Fleming with hunter Christian Wilder. Photo by Bill O'Brian/USFWS

Our dedicated employees are the people who, often with very little fanfare, make conservation happen. One of  them is Samantha Fleming, a Federal Wildlife Officer at Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland who was recently recognized as the 2014 Northeast Region Refuge Officer of the Year for her outstanding law enforcement service and for her wiliness to lead projects that extend beyond her duties. 

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Recognizing Women’s Vital Contributions to Wildlife Conservation

Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson continues to inspire.

March is recognized as Women’s History Month, and when it comes to making history in wildlife conservation, women have and will continue to make powerful contributions. This is no surprise. But more just a time to celebrate history, this month can serve as a reminder to girls everywhere that they don't have to merely be spectators in science and conservation. History gives them many mentors. Danielle Brigida, National Social Media Manager, takes a moment to highlight some incredible wildlife women of then and now.

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The Call of the Weird

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A young visitor peers at a live scorpion inside glass at Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. In an unusual refuge event, participants use UV lights to find the creatures at night. Photo by USFWS
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A scorpion glows under UV light at Ash Meadows Refuge in Nevada. Photo by USFWS

Nothing against birding or nature touring, but sometimes even die-hard nature enthusiasts want to break out of the mold and try something a bit more offbeat. We know the feeling. Consider these wild and wooly events some national wildlife refuges have planned this spring.

For instance, at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge and Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge, both in Nevada, you can search for scorpions at night, with the aid of only an ultraviolet flashlight, your wildlife detective skills and an expert guide. Look out: Night may impairyour vision; not so for the nocturnal scorpion. But you have an advantage, too: Under UV light, scorpions glow a fluorescent blue. 

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Our Science Women: Conserving the Nature of America and Beyond

Amanda Pollock

Throughout the month of March, our regions have celebrated Women’s History Month by uploading “trading cards” of just a few of the “Science Women” we have working for us. They work in jobs you’d expect from the Fish and Wildlife Service, lots of -ist jobs – biologist, ecologist, hydrologist – and others like refuge manager, ranger, wildlife inspector and federal wildlife officer. But you can also find a museum curator, an accessibility coordinator and an administrative officer. What unites these women – as well as everyone at the Service – is a dedication to the wild things and wild places that make up the world.

As Women’s History Month winds down, we remember Mollie Beattie, Mardy Murie and other conservation heroes for their history-making lives. And we salute all women working to make the world a better place.

Don't Forget to Pick your Favorite National Wildlife Refuge

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma provides habitat for large native grazing animals. More than 50 mammal, 240 bird, 64 reptile and amphibian, 36 fish, and 806 plant species thrive on this important refuge. It exists to ensure that wildlife once native to the Wichita Mountains remain on the landscape. Bison, elk, wild turkey, river otters, burrowing owls and prairie dogs have been reintroduced to the refuge.

Its plethora of species seems to have won over voters. It leads in USA TODAY's poll to pick your favorite National Wildlife Refuge.

Learn More and VOTE. Voting ends on Monday, March 30 at noon ET.  View the standings.

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