Saturday, March 13, 2010

Zoo Atlanta Wins Two AMY Awards

Give So They Stay campaign awarded for excellence in marketing  and public relations

Zoo Atlanta has been honored with two Atlanta Marketer of the Year (AMY) Awards for the Give So They Stay campaign. Presented by the Atlanta Chapter of the American Marketing Association, the AMY Awards recognize excellence and outstanding performance in results-driven marketing programs.

Zoo Atlanta was a finalist in two categories, General Advertising and Integrated PR Campaign, and won both honors during an awards gala hosted on Thursday, March 11, at the Fox Theatre. Entries were judged on program strategy; tactical execution; creative artwork and video; audience impact and achievement of quantifiable results.

“Zoo Atlanta is delighted to have been recognized by the AMY Awards,” said Marcus E. Margerum, Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “Give So They Stay was a great example of a team effort between Zoo Atlanta’s Marketing and Public Relations and Communications divisions, and these awards exemplify the hard work and commitment that made the campaign so successful.”

Launched by Zoo Atlanta officials in June 2009, Give So They Stay ultimately raised over $400,000 in support of keeping giant pandas in Atlanta. The campaign, managed in part through creative collaborations with TG Madison and media partner WXIA-11Alive, generated an overwhelming amount of local, national and international interest in the Zoo’s giant panda program.

About Zoo Atlanta
An accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Zoo Atlanta inspires value and preservation of wildlife through a unique mix of education and outdoor family fun. From well-known native wildlife to critically endangered species on the brink of extinction, the Zoo offers memorable close encounters with more than 1,000 animals from around the world. An all-new carnivore complex, featuring the exciting debut of two new sun bears, is scheduled to open in summer 2010. Zoo Atlanta is also the proud home of Xi Lan, the only giant panda cub born in the U.S. in 2008, and the popular Boundless Budgies: A Parakeet Adventure, the largest interactive experience of its kind in the Southeast. Other highlights include the nation’s largest collection of great apes and a global center of excellence for the care and reproduction of vanishing amphibians and reptiles. Zoo Atlanta is open daily with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper talks, interactive wildlife shows, education programs and special events run year-round. For more information, call 404.624.WILD or visit

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Public Meetings Scheduled Regarding Lake Chatuge Sport Fishery

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (GAWRD) and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) will hold two public meetings in March to discuss the Lake Chatuge sport fishery.  Fisheries biologists from both agencies will provide management updates and will also give the public an opportunity to comment on proposed hybrid striped bass stocking in Lake Chatuge.  Those interested are encouraged to bring these meetings to the attention of others that also may be interested in participating.

Lake Chatuge is located in north Georgia and the fishery is managed cooperatively by GAWRD and NCWRC.  Lake Chatuge was stocked with hybrid bass from 1981 to 1996.  In 1995, the state and former world record hybrid striped bass (25 lbs. 8 oz.) was caught in Lake Chatuge.  GAWRD and NCWRC are proposing to re-establish the hybrid striped bass recreational fishery by stocking in spring 2010.  Stocking rates and hybrid striped bass population growth will be evaluated annually.

The meetings will take place on the following dates and at the following locations:
March 22, 2010 at 7 p.m. at Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville, North Carolina
March 23, 2010 at 7 p.m. at Hiawassee Court House Grand Jury Room in Hiawassee, GA

Public comment is welcome.  Statements should be concise to allow all interested attendees an opportunity to speak.  Those unable to attend a meeting are welcome to submit written comments by March 26, 2010 to:
Georgia Wildlife Resources Division
Attn: Nick Jamison
2150 Dawsonville Hwy.
Gainesville, Georgia 30501

These meeting sites are accessible to people with physical disabilities.  Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Nick Jamison at the above address or at (770) 535-5498 no later than March 12, 2010.

For more information on these scheduled public meetings, call (770) 535-5498.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Return Tags from Toccoa Trout by April 9th Deadline for Chance at FREE Lifetime License

The deadline to turn in trout tags is approaching – so anglers fishing the 15-mile stretch of the Toccoa River (between Blue Ridge Dam and the Tennessee state line) should get busy and make sure all tags removed from tagged trout are sent in by April 9, 2010. Why? Because thanks to the Blue Ridge Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited, one lucky person will win a lifetime license at the drawing to be held on Sat. April 10!

The Fisheries Section of the Division tagged almost 4,000 trout, including hatchery-raised rainbow, captured resident rainbow and even a few brown trout, in the Toccoa River (effort began in March 2009) as part of a study of trout population dynamics. By reporting these tags, anglers will help biologists learn more about survival, growth and movement of stocked trout in the Toccoa River.

These small, green tags, each with a unique number, were attached to the fish just below the dorsal fin. Each tag reported and returned will be eligible for a drawing to win a lifetime sportsman’s license. One angler will be chosen at random on April 10, 2010 (entries must be received by close of business April 9, 2010). Anglers may report and return multiple tags, increasing their odds of winning.

What anglers should do if they catch a tagged trout while fishing the Toccoa River:

Remove the tag by cutting it with a knife, scissors, nippers, etc. as close as possible to the fish's body (if you plan to release the fish do not pull the tag out, as this is likely to injure the fish).
Keep or release the fish as normal in accordance with the 2010 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations.
Call the Calhoun Fisheries office at (706) 624-1161 to report the tag number.
Mail the tag to the specified address. (Only tags physically received by the office will be eligible for the drawing for the lifetime sportsman’s license.)
If the winner of the drawing is not eligible for a lifetime license (i.e. not a Georgia resident or otherwise not eligible), they will be allowed to give the license to someone else that is eligible (family member, friend or other drawing entry).

Anglers who catch a tagged trout after the drawing deadline are encouraged to continue to report these tags, as the data will still be useful in the study.

For additional information regarding the Toccoa River trout study, contact Fisheries Biologist John Damer at or (706) 624-1161.

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Not too Late to Register for Youth Birding Competition!

The registration cutoff for the 2010 Youth Birding Competition is near! Teams have only until March 31 to sign up for the statewide conservation event, set for April 23-24.

Competition coordinator Tim Keyes urged would-be participants to turn their interest into action.

“It’s not too late but the deadline is rapidly approaching,” said Keyes, a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section.

The Youth Birding Competition is free, and open to teams from kindergarteners to high school seniors. Everyone from experienced birders to first-timers is welcomed.

This fifth annual bird-a-thon starts at 5 p.m. Friday, April 23, and ends at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 24. Teams, competing against others their age, can use as much or as little of that time to count as many birds as possible throughout Georgia. But all must arrive at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield by 5 p.m. Saturday. A banquet and awards ceremony packed with prizes is held that evening at the wildlife center.

The competition is sponsored by DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division and The Environmental Resources Network Inc., or T.E.R.N., the friends group of the Nongame Conservation Section.

Goals include focusing children on birds and cultivating a deep interest in wildlife and conservation.

About 140 birders ages 4-18 took part last year. The event has grown each year. As part of the competition, teams can raise money to support organizations. There is also a bird journal option and a T-shirt Art Contest (the submission deadline for the art contest has passed).

For registration details, check out the event links at or contact Lacy Mitchell at the Charlie Elliott Conference Center, (770) 784-3152 or Tim Keyes, at (912) 262-3191 or, can answer questions about the competition.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Study Shows How Sea Turtle Hatchlings Move Quickly on Sand

Life can be scary for endangered loggerhead sea turtles immediately after they hatch. After climbing out of their underground nest, the baby turtles must quickly traverse a variety of terrains for several hundred feet to reach the ocean.

While these turtles’ limbs are adapted for a life at sea, their flippers enable excellent mobility over dune grass, rigid obstacles and sand of varying compaction and moisture content. A new field study conducted by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology is the first to show how these hatchlings use their limbs to move quickly on loose sand and hard ground to reach the ocean. This research may help engineers build robots that can travel across complex environments.

“Locomotion on sand is challenging because sand surfaces can flow during limb interaction and slipping can result, causing both instability and decreased locomotor performance, but these turtles are able to adapt,” said Daniel Goldman, an assistant professor in the Georgia Tech School of Physics. “On hard-packed sand at the water’s edge, these turtles push forward by digging a claw on their flipper into the ground so that they don’t slip, and on loose sand they advance by pushing off against a solid region of sand that forms behind their flippers.”

Details of the study were published online on February 10, 2010 in the journal Biology Letters. This research was supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, National Science Foundation, and the Army Research Laboratory.

Click here to watch a video of a loggerhead sea turtle on the beach running from its nest to the water.

In collaboration with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, biology graduate student Nicole Mazouchova studied the movement of sea turtle hatchlings of the species Caretta caretta at Jekyll Island on the coast of Georgia. She and research technician Andrei Savu worked from a mobile laboratory that contained a nearly three-foot-long trackway filled with dry Jekyll Island sand.

The trackway contained tiny holes in the bottom through which air could be blown. The air pulses elevated the granules and caused them to settle into a loosely packed solid state, allowing the researchers to closely control the density of the sand.

In addition to challenging hatchlings to traverse loosely packed sand in the trackway, the researchers also studied the turtles’ movement on hard surfaces -- a sandpaper-covered board placed on top of the sand. Two high-speed cameras recorded the movements of the hatchlings along the trackway, and showed how the turtles altered their locomotion to move on different surfaces.

“We assumed that the turtles would perform best on rigid ground because it would not give way under their flippers, but our experiments showed that while the turtles’ average speed on sand was reduced by 28 percent relative to hard ground, their maximal speeds were the same for both surfaces,” noted Goldman.

Click here to watch a video showing how a loggerhead sea turtle hatchling moves on granular media.

The researchers’ investigations showed that on the rigid sandpaper surface, the turtles anchored a claw located on their wrists into the sandpaper and propelled themselves forward. During the thrusting process, one of the turtle’s shoulders rotated toward its body and its wrist did not bend, keeping the limb fully extended.

In contrast, on loosely packed sand, pressure from the thin edge of one of the turtle’s flippers caused the limb to penetrate into the sand. The turtle’s shoulder then rotated as the flipper penetrated until the flipper was perpendicular to the surface and the turtle’s body lifted from the surface.

“The turtles dug into the loosely packed sand, lifted their bellies off the ground, lurched forward, stopped, and did it again,” explained Goldman.

To extend their biological observations, Goldman and physics graduate student Nick Gravish designed an artificial flipper system in the laboratory. The flipper consisted of a thin aluminum plate that was inserted into and dragged along the trackway filled with Jekyll Island sand. Calibrated strain gauges mounted on the flipper provided force measurements during the dragging procedure.

“Our model revealed that a major challenge for rapid locomotion of hatchling sea turtles on sand is the balance between high speed, which requires large inertial forces, and the potential for failure through fluidization of the sand,” explained Goldman. “We believe that the turtles modulate the amount of force they use to push into the sand so that it remains below the force required for the ground to break apart and become fluidlike.”

Goldman and his team plan to conduct further field studies and laboratory experiments to determine if and how the turtles control their limb movements on granular media to avoid sand fluidization. They are also developing robots that move along granular media like the sea turtle hatchings.

“These research results are valuable for roboticists who want to know the minimum number of appendage features necessary to move effectively on land and whether they can just design a robot with a flat mitt and a claw like these turtles have,” noted Goldman.

This material is based on work supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface. Work related to physics was supported by the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) MAST CTA under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-08-2-0004 and the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Award Number CMMI-0825480. Any opinions, views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the researcher and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of ARL, NSF, or the U.S. Government.

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