Friday, July 21, 2017

July Council Meeting Minutes

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on July 20, 2017, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Present were Mike Henshaw, Byron Tuggle, Jimmy Madison, Kerry Clark, Jeremy McDonald, Walker Shortnacy, J. D. Snoddy, Allison Cochran, and Johnna Franks.  The following topics were discussed:

  • T-shirts for FAWN program.  The Winston County Soil and Water Conservation District has agreed to sponsor the FAWN program by giving $600 for this year's program.  Johnna is researching FAWN t-shirt options and other items with the WCSWCD new logo.  Jeremy shared examples of t-shirts from the Payne Creek Demo Area programs.
  • Mike shared information about the Resource Advisory Committee funds available from the Forest Service.  The Winston County Commission has submitted a proposal requesting over $71,000 for road maintenance and educational activities in the county.  
  • Jeremy, Kerry, and Johnna stressed the importance of treating the numerous cogongrass spots that have occurred in the county.  Most of them have been on state highways, and the indication is that it is being spread by road maintenance activities.  The council will prepare a letter to send to both the ALDOT and the Winston County Road Department on the importance of treating cogongrass infestations and cleaning equipment to prevent the spread.
  • The Winston County 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Teams placed second and fourth at the recent state competition in Auburn.  The council voted to provide $200 to help cover the team's expenses.
  • Jimmy Madison, the new Emergency Management Director for Winston County, introduced himself and gave a brief background on his previous experience in the fire service and law enforcement.
  • Byron said he has been attending in-service training and conducting home visits with students that have Agri-science projects at home.
  • J. D. said the Winston County Arts Council has an exhibit at the Bankhead House in Jasper that will run from June until September.  Much of the art is related to the natural resources in Winston County.
  • Walker Shortnacy, an Auburn University Wildlife Sciences student, attended the Bat Blitz in Birmingham and gave a report on that event.  He has also been assisting with non-native invasive plant control on the Bankhead.
  • Allison is Acting Ranger on the Bankhead District.  The District Ranger position opening has just been announced and normally takes about 90 days to fill.
  • Johnna gave an update on the Alabama Forestry Commission.  The commission is in the process of reorganizing from five regions in the state to three regions.  Retirements are causing staffing shortages statewide.  Tony Avery is planning to retire on September 1st.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July Meeting

The July meeting of the WCNRC is at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 20, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  Agenda items include a review of the Winston County Commission’s Resource Allocation Committee application and the Winston County 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Team competition.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Kids “Get Hooked” at Fishing Derby and Parents Learn About Firewise Communities

The Bankhead National Forest held the 25th annual “Kids Fishing Derby” on Saturday, June 10 in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, National Fishing and Boating Week, and Alabama Free Fishing Day. The Forest Service, which hosts the yearly event to help interest young people in wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation, stocked a pond with about 400 catfish and invited area youngsters to try their luck.  This year’s event included a number of new educational programs.  The theme of this year’s Derby was “Firewise”.  Children were reminded to prevent wildfires by a visit from Smokey Bear.  Adults learned about the Firewise program which included an exhibit and flyers on how to improve your home and community in case of wildfire.  Additionally this year, participants learned about tick-borne illness and ongoing research in Bankhead National Forest.  They also learned outdoor ethics including the “Leave No Trace” concept and about ethical and safe fishing and boating.  This year children tried their hands at new outdoor skills including archery and shooting.  The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries set up an Archery Range and the National Wild Turkey Federation  staffed the “Jakes Take Aim” Shooting Booth.  All children received a free membership to the NWTF’s Jakes club and a fishing derby t-shirt complements of the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association.

Fifty-nine children (with accompanying adults) from surrounding counties came to the Black Warrior Work Center on the Bankhead National Forest to compete for trophies in three age categories. Contestants fished for approximately 1 ½ hours and the winners in each age group were decided by measuring the longest fish caught by each individual.

The largest fish overall was caught by Kane Hood of Double Springs.

In the 5-6 year old age group, Landon McDonald of Double Springs took the first place trophy.  Jack Culberson of Florence, AL captured second place.

DJ Melson of Moulton won the first place trophy in the 7 - 9 year old group.  Lily Kate Clark of Jasper won second place.

In the 10 – 12 year old category, Tanner Garcia of Double Springs took the first place trophy.  Brilyn Dover of Addison took second place.

In addition to the fishing competition, a casting contest was held in which Morgan Shamblin of Cleveland, TN won in the 5 – 6 year old division; DJ Melson of Moulton won in the 7 – 9 year old division; and Nena Garrison of Double Springs won the 10 – 12 year old division.  All three received a new rod and reel and tackle box as their prize.

The Derby concluded with drawing for door prizes, awarding of trophies to contest winners and a hotdog lunch.  This year’s event was funded by a grant to the Winston County Natural Resources Council from the Winston County Commission, a grant from the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the US Forest Service.  Sponsors of the 2017 Kids Fishing Derby include the Double Springs Lions Club, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Sipsey Strutters Moulton Chapter and Bankhead Beards and Spurs Winston County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association, Winston County Natural Resource Council, Moulton Walmart, and the Bankhead National Forest.

A big “THANK YOU” from Smokey Bear to everyone who continue to help make the Kids Fishing Derby a great success.