Friday, February 25, 2011

Entries now accpeted for Ogden Nature Center Birdhouse Contest

Bird Yurt Submission from 2010
Photo Courtesy Ogden Nature Center

Ogden, UT -- It’s time to build birdhouses! Stoke your creativity and bring in your finest, hand-built birdhouse creation to The Ogden Nature Center’s 18th Annual Birdhouse Competition and Exhibit. All types of birdhouses are encouraged: whimsical, beautiful, practical, functional, artistic or magical! Entries must be received by Saturday, April 2 at the Ogden Nature Center. All ages are welcome to enter up to two creations, and there is no entry fee. Several cash prizes will be awarded for various categories.

Birdhouses chosen for the exhibit will be on display along Birdhouse Trail April 16 through August 31, 2011 so visitors to the Nature Center can enjoy and be inspired by these backyard habitats for birds.

• All birdhouses must be original works created by the exhibitor. Commercially produced birdhouses or assembled kits will not be accepted.

• Size limitations: The base of the birdhouse may not exceed 24" square. The height of the birdhouse may not exceed 36" tall.

• No propane tanks this year.

• All birdhouses must be freestanding and ready for installation outdoors. Birdhouses that are not freestanding will not be accepted for the exhibit. You must perch your birdhouse on the end of a sturdy post or attach a strong hanger. Posts will be installed at a depth of 1-2 feet.

• The Nature Center encourages the use of natural, reclaimed and recycled materials. Please consider the environment when choosing your materials and finishes.

• Please be sure your birdhouse can last through the summer weather outdoors.

• The event judges will select which birdhouses are accepted into the 2011 exhibit. A limited number of entries will be accepted for the exhibit.

• The Ogden Nature Center reserves the right to refuse submissions.

Winners in both adult and child categories will receive cash awards at a reception and awards presentation on Wednesday, April 13 at 5:30 pm.

This exhibit would not be possible without its main sponsors: the Utah Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Registration forms and full details are available online at  or at the Ogden Nature Center’s Visitor Center guest services desk, 966 W. 12th Street, Ogden, UT 84404. For more information, please call the Ogden Nature Center at 801-621-7595.

Friday, February 18, 2011

See as many as 20,000 snow geese

Photo by Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Delta -- It’s a sight you have to see to believe: thousands of pure white snow and Ross’ geese lifting off Gunnison Bend Reservoir amid honks and the beating of wings.

You can see this spectacle yourself on Feb. 25, 26 and 27 at the annual Utah Snow Goose Festival. The festival will be held at and near Gunnison Bend Reservoir, just west of Delta. Admission is free.

As many as 20,000 snow geese have been at the reservoir during past festivals. Except for the black tips on their wings, snow geese are pure white. “We’ll provide spotting scopes so you can get a close look at the geese,” says Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “We’ll also be available to answer any questions you have.”

In addition to seeing the geese, you can learn more about wildlife at free seminars offered by the DWR. The seminars will be held on Friday, Feb. 25.

The best times to see the geese
The areas where you’ll see the geese vary according to the time of the day. Walters says if you arrive early in the morning, you can watch the geese feeding in fields that surround the reservoir. Then, at about 10:30 a.m., the geese take off and fly back to the reservoir. “That’s an exciting time to see and hear the geese,” he says.

After landing on the reservoir, the geese usually spend the next few hours there. “Then, anywhere from 4 to 6 p.m., they take off again and fly back to the fields,” Walters says. “It’s thrilling to be there when the geese do this.”

DWR biologists will watch which fields the geese fly to. If you arrive after the geese have left the reservoir, the biologists will direct you to the fields where the geese are feeding.

Viewing tips
Use binoculars or a spotting scope to view the geese. If you get too close to the geese, you could scare them away.

If you pull off the road to view the geese, pull as far off the road as you can. And watch for cars.

The weather could be cold and wet. Bring the proper clothes so you can stay warm and dry.

For more information about the 2011 Snow Goose Festival, call the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce at (435) 864-4316.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Domes for the World: A Call to Action

Many of you have supported Domes for the World (DFTW) over the years, and followed our progress as we have worked to improve the lives of people in desperate need of safe and affordable housing. Now you have the opportunity to let the world know what you think about our efforts.

DFTW has entered an international competition for sustainable urban housing. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Changemakers competition is aimed at finding innovative solutions for live-able and inclusive cities. The most competitive submissions will be showcased in June at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., where they will be viewed by public and private partners including prospective funders.

Winners will be selected based on their ability to engage communities, entrepreneurs and key institutions in collaborating to integrate and develop affordable inclusive, and sustainable urban housing that respects the environment, local cultures, and practices.

One of the goals of the competition is to encourage feedback from the online community. We invite you to share your views on Monolithic EcoShells and the work that DFTW has been doing around the world. It only takes a moment to sign up.

Beginning next week, a panel of independent judges will select 15 finalists from all of the entries submitted in the competition. The Changemakers online community will then vote for three winners. We will keep you updated on our progress and encourage you to vote once finalists are announced on March 23.

In the meantime, you can follow competition news on Twitter and Facebook .

Complete Free Online Course before gathering Shed Antlers in Utah

Photo of a shed elk antler by Phil Douglass, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Late winter and early spring is the worst time of the year for elk, moose and especially deer in Utah.

Deep snow makes it harder for deer to move and find food in the winter. And cold temperatures sap the deers’ strength. By the time winter ends, deer are usually the weakest they’ll be all year.

Winter is also the time of year when male deer, elk and moose shed their antlers. The animals will be without antlers until this spring, when they’ll start to grow a new set.

Gathering shed antlers
Gathering antlers that drop off the heads of deer, elk and moose is an activity that’s grown in popularity across the country, including here in Utah. The challenge with shed-antler gathering is that it happens during the worst time of the year for the animals and the habitat they rely on in the winter.

“By the time winter ends, the animals are stressed,” says Mike Fowlks, Law Enforcement Section chief for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

“The habitat they rely on in the winter is also wet,” he says. “It’s easily damaged. Once the habitat is damaged, it can take years for it to recover.”

Fortunately, Fowlks says you can have fun gathering shed antlers without stressing the animals and damaging their habitat.

“A free course that’s available at our website will show you how,” he says. Fowlks says you must complete the DWR’s Antler Gathering Ethics course if you want to gather shed antlers in Utah between Feb. 1 and April 15.

Free course
The free course is available at . After you finish the course, make sure you print a certificate that shows you’ve completed the course. “And make sure you carry your certificate with you,” Fowlks says. “By law, you must have your certificate with you while you’re gathering shed antlers.”

If you have young children, and you’ve completed the course, your children don’t need to complete it. As long as you’ve completed the course, your certificate will cover your kids too.

Fowlks says if you complete the course, you can gather antlers across Utah. “Please remember, though, that many of the state’s wildlife management areas are closed in the spring and the winter to protect wildlife,” he says.

You must complete the course if you want to gather shed antlers between Feb. 1 and April 15. If you wait until April 15 or later to gather antlers, you don’t need to complete the course.

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

Variety of Fish at Utah Ice Fishing Waters

You have warm clothes and waterproof boots. Your ice fishing equipment is ready to go. And you have a basic idea of how to locate fish and catch them through the ice.

So what’s standing between you and a great ice fishing experience this winter?

Maybe only one thing: knowing which waters in Utah to fish.

Fortunately, dozens of waters across Utah provide good ice fishing year after year. “In my opinion, Utah has some of the best ice fishing in the country,” says Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. Cushing has fished through the ice in states across the country.

“Utah provides a wider variety of fish to catch than any place I know of,” he says. “And many of these opportunities are probably close to your home.”

Cushing gave Utah County as an example. If you live in the county, you can fish for white bass at Utah Lake in the morning, and then turn around and head to Strawberry Reservoir to catch trophy-sized cutthroat trout in the afternoon; all in the same day!

Fishing reports
Visiting the DWR’s fishing report is one way to learn which type of fish are in which waters and where fishing is the best.

DWR biologists, officers and outreach personnel update the report every one to two weeks. You can read the report at .

Other Internet sources—such as and—are also good places to visit. And don’t forget your local fishing tackle shop or sporting goods store—people who work at these stores are often the first ones to know about good fishing in their areas.

Cushing says the following waters are producing great fishing for the following fish:

Larger Yellow Perch
Fish Lake, and Rockport Reservoir

Smaller, but more abundant Yellow Perch
Pineview, Echo, and Starvation reservoirs --“Catching perch at Pineview can be fairly easy,” Cushing says. “Just locate the spot on the bottom where the perch are, and then put your bait in front of the fish.”

Larger Bluegill
Pelican Lake

Smaller, but more abundant Bluegill
Mantua Reservoir

Largemouth Bass
Pelican Lake, and Mantua Reservoir

Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brown or Tiger Trout
Deer Creek Reservoir

Strawberry Reservoir--“Strawberry provides fantastic fishing for big trout, and lots of them,” Cushing says.

Birch Creek Reservoir--“This water provides good fishing for big tiger trout,” Cushing says.

Lake Trout
Flaming Gorge Reservoir and Fish Lake--“You have a good chance to catch some big fish at these waters,” he says.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Pineview Reservoir--Cushing says crappie can be tricky to catch. “They suspend at various depths,” he says, “so they can be tough to find. “But if you catch a crappie at a certain depth, keep fishing that depth,” he says, “and you should do well. Pineview has a good population of crappie.”

Kokanee Salmon
Causey Reservoir, and Porcupine Reservoir--Cushing says the best ice fishing for kokanee salmon happens at the two waters at the start of the ice fishing season. “When ice first forms on these waters,” he says, “salmon fishing can be fantastic for about two to three weeks.”

White Bass
Utah Lake--This is another water where the best fishing happens early in the ice fishing season. “Fishing for white bass is usually best from the time the ice forms until about mid January,” Cushing says. “The harbors at the lake are the best places to catch them through the ice.”

Some of the best fishing of the year
Cushing says the arrival of winter doesn’t mean fishing is over until the spring. “Winter can be the most fun, the most productive and the least expensive time of the year to fish,” he says. “New lakes, new opportunities and new species of fish are out there for you to enjoy. Get out there, and take advantage of it.”

See Bald Eagles Feb. 12

Photo by Ron Stewart, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

If you’ve ever seen a bald eagle in the wild, you know it’s an experience that can take your breath away.

On Feb. 12, you’ll have a chance not only to see bald eagles, but to learn more about them. The Division of Wildlife Resources will hold its annual Utah Bald Eagle Day that day.

Bald Eagle Day is free. You can see eagles at five locations across the state. Viewing times vary depending on the viewing site you visit:

Northern Utah
Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area (Compton’s Knoll), located about 10 miles northwest of Corinne Viewing will take place at Salt Creek from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to seeing the eagles at Salt Creek, you can also see a captive bald eagle that volunteers from the Ogden Nature Center will bring to the event. The captive eagle will be at the event from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Make sure you bring your camera with you—this will be a great chance to take a picture of your kids standing next to a real bald eagle!

To reach the WMA, take Exit 365 off of Interstate 15 and travel west on state Route 83 through Corinne. Stay on Route 83 until you get to 6800 West (Iowa String). Travel north to 6800 N. Travel west on 6800 N. until you reach the Salt Creek WMA/Compton’s Knoll Watchable Wildlife site.

Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, located on the west side of Farmington at 1325 W. Glover Lane (925 South) Viewing will take place at Farmington Bay from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you’re traveling north on Interstate 15, coming from Salt Lake City and other areas south of Farmington:

To reach the WMA, travel north on I-15, and exit the freeway at Exit 325. Turn left on Park Lane and travel west. The road will angle to the south, and you’ll come to Clark Lane at the first traffic light. Turn right. Travel west to the first stop sign, which is at 1525 West, and turn left. Travel south to Glover Lane, and turn right. Travel west on Glover Lane for about one block until you come to 1325 W. Turn left on 1325 W. and travel south into the WMA.

If you’re traveling south on Interstate 15, coming from Ogden and other areas north of Farmington:

To reach the WMA, travel south on I-15 and exit the freeway at Exit 325. Go to the stoplight and turn right on Park Lane. Travel south to the next light, which is at Clark Lane, and turn right. Travel west to the first stop sign, which is at 1525 West, and turn left. Travel south to Glover Lane, and turn right. Travel west on Glover Lane for about one block until you come to 1325 W. Turn left on 1325 W. and travel south into the WMA.

Central Utah
Fountain Green State Fish Hatchery, located east of Nephi. Viewing will take place at Fountain Green from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you’re coming from the north, you can reach the hatchery by taking Interstate 15 and exiting the freeway at the second Nephi exit (Exit 225). After exiting the freeway, turn east on state Route 132 and travel about 10 miles. About 1 mile before the city of Fountain Green, a Bald Eagle Day sign will point you to an access road that leads to the hatchery.

Once you reach the hatchery, you’ll be given a driving map of the Sanpete Valley that highlights the best areas in the valley to view eagles. Literature, displays and bathroom facilities will also be available at the hatchery. Spotting scopes will be set-up at a viewing location about one mile from the hatchery where eagles often gather in a large tree.

Northeastern Utah
Split Mountain/Green River, located north of Jensen and below the Dinosaur Quarry in Dinosaur National Monument (DNM). Viewing will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To reach the site, drive north from U.S. Highway 40 in Jensen on the road (state Route 149) to the Dinosaur Quarry.

Your first stop should be at the staging area located just inside the DNM boundary. Displays and spotting scopes will be available at the staging area, and you might be able to see bald eagles and other raptors in the distance.

You can also see live birds close up! At least two live birds of prey—and maybe as many as four—will be on display at the staging area.

From the staging area, biologists will direct you to other sites where you may have better views of eagles and other wildlife of interest. In past years, visitors have seen bald and golden eagles hunting and feeding, as well as prairie falcons, hawks, mule deer, river otters, pheasants, turkeys, sandhill cranes, porcupines, mergansers, Canada geese and other wildlife.

During your trip, you may also want to stop and visit the Dinosaur National Monument. The monument’s dinosaur quarry is closed, but you can see a few dinosaur bones at a temporary visitor center near the quarry. The visitor center also includes a small bookstore.

Southern Utah
Cedar Valley, about four miles northwest of Cedar City Viewing will take place in Cedar Valley from 3 p.m. until dusk.

To reach the site, exit Interstate 15 at Exit 59, and travel west on state Route 56 to 3900 W. Turn right on 3900 W., and travel north to 2800 N. The viewing site is at 3900 W. and 2800 N.

Get a close look
Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR, says spotting scopes will be set up at each viewing site so you can get a good look at the eagles. “Biologists and volunteers will also be on hand to help you spot the eagles and to answer your questions,” he says.

You can also pick up information about bald eagles, and wildlife watching and birding opportunities in Utah, at each location. The materials will be available for free, or for a small cost.

The best time to attend
The best time to see eagles on Feb. 12 depends on whether you want to sacrifice staying a little warmer for a chance to see more eagles!
If you want to attend during the warmest time of the day, attend late in the morning or early in the afternoon. Walters says the warmer temperatures are especially important if you bring young children with you.

Late morning and early afternoon are also usually the clearest times of the day to see eagles. If you want to see the greatest number of eagles with fairly good light conditions and reasonably warm temperatures, attend between 2 and 4 p.m. Walters says in late afternoon, eagles at most of the locations start flying to trees to roost for the night.

“If you want to see the greatest number of eagles,” he says, “mid to late afternoon is usually the best time to attend.”

Items to bring
If you attend Bald Eagle Day, dress in warm clothes and bring waterproof boots. Also, if you want to get pictures of the eagles, bring a telephoto lens.

“The eagles will be some distance from the viewing areas,” Walters says. “In the past, we’ve had photographers try to get close to the eagles. They ended up scaring the eagles away.”

Utah’s most popular viewing event
Walters started Bald Eagle Day in 1990 as a way to introduce people to Utah’s wildlife.

“I started Bald Eagle Day because I wanted to make people aware of the wildlife around them,” Walters says. “I wanted to whet their appetite to see more.”  Since it began, Bald Eagle Day has become Utah’s most well attended, and one of its most enjoyed, wildlife-viewing events. “I think the event is still accomplishing its intended purpose,” he says.

For more information about Bald Eagle Day, call Walters at (801) 538- 4771, or Division of Wildlife Resources offices in Ogden, Springville, Vernal or Cedar City.

Officials ask--"Don’t Feed the Deer"

Photo by Ron Stewart, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Utah’s mule deer herds seem to be doing well as winter winds down.

As they do every winter, biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources have been monitoring the deer closely. In addition to determining the condition of the deer as they entered the winter, the biologists have been watching for four additional things:

-The amount of food available to the deer
-How deep the snow is
-How cold the temperature is
-The amount of body fat they find on deer that have been killed along roads

If three or more of the five factors reach a critical point, biologists will consider feeding deer specially designed pellets. The pellets are formulated to fit the complex digestive system mule deer have.

Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR, says biologists came close to feeding deer in Rich County this winter.

“In December,” he says, “the snow was piling up. Then the cold temperatures froze the top of the snow. That made it difficult for the deer to paw through the snow to find their food.”

Then, in January, the conditions improved. “It didn’t snow as much,” Aoude says, “and the temperatures warmed up and started to melt the snow. We didn’t need to feed the deer after all.”

Aoude and other biologists were relieved that the deer didn’t need to be fed. While feeding deer can help the animals when winter conditions are severe, feeding can also put deer in circumstances that aren’t good for the deer or the plants the deer rely on.

Aoude says biologists will continue to monitor the winter conditions and the deer herds. If the deer need to be fed, the biologists will make sure the feeding is done in the right way, at the right time and with food that is best for the deer.

Don’t feed the deer
Aoude strongly advises you not to feed deer on your own. “You may not realize it,” he says, “but feeding deer actually harms the deer a lot more than it helps them.”

Aoude gives several reasons why feeding deer is a bad idea:
Deer have complex and delicate digestive systems. If you feed the wrong foods to them, the deer can actually die with stomachs that are full of food.

Feeding deer congregates them in a smaller area. And that can lead to all kinds of problems for the deer:

Congregating deer in a small area increases the chance that the deer will pass diseases to each other.

When deer congregate to feed, it’s “every deer for itself.” The larger deer push the smaller deer—the fawns—aside. Fawns often end up receiving less food than they would have received if you had left the deer alone and not fed them.

Feeding deer near a road increases the chance that deer will be killed by cars.

In addition to eating what you’re feeding them—which may or may not be good for them to eat—deer will also eat other vegetation in and near the feeding area. This can lead to deer over-browsing the area. That over-browsing can damage the plants in the area for years to come.

Even after winter is over, deer will often stay close to the area where you fed them.

Learn more
More information about why deer shouldn’t be fed is available at .

Winter Safety Reminders from National Forests

Salt Lake City, Utah, February 2, 2010 – Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest officials would like to remind all winter recreationists to have a safe, fun-filled season and to be extra careful while out in the woods. Snowmobilers, skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and dog sleds all share the same trails at some point in time, so it is extremely important that all users respect each others rights to enjoy their recreation activity of choice.

Snowmobile users should always proper trail etiquette such as: Obey all trail signs. Slow down when meeting other users and oncoming snowmobile traffic. Pull to the right ride or just off the trail if you meet oncoming dog sleds. Stop before crossing highways. Stay to the right on curves and slow down. Make sure your snowmobile is legally registered. Never snowmobile in wilderness areas. Make sure you are riding on trails, roads or areas that are open to snowmobiles. Maps are available to identify routes open to motorized and non-motorized uses. These routes do not include adjacent, surrounding lands or private property. Please leave gates open or closed, as you found them. Respect private property. You can pick up Winter Travel Maps at local Forest Service offices that will show you what trails, roads and areas are open for snowmobile use.

Skiers and snowshoers should always move to the side of the trail or just off the trail when you hear snowmobilers approaching. Please do not insist on the right-of-way, you are no match for a snowmobile. Remember you are responsible for your own safety.

Be informed about avalanche dangers. Carry safety equipment such as avalanche beacons, shovels and probes. Take an avalanche awareness class. Call the Avalanche Forecast Center for the most current and update information at 801-524-5304 or http://www.utahavalanchecenter/ . Here are a few safety tips to practice this winter:

 Call ahead for current conditions

 Make sure your vehicle is in good operating condition and contains an adequate level of fuel and have properly fitting tire chains and know how to install them

 Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member

 Never travel alone and take along your cell phone and a map
 Wear appropriate clothing and footwear

 Always carry extra clothing, food, water, flashlight, first aid kit, matches, and a small shovel

 If you become injured or lost, stay calm and seek shelter from the elements, but do not stray from your planned route

BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING! Always stay alert on trails, know your limits for whatever form of winter recreation you choose to enjoy. Respect the rights of other users and the National Forest you are recreating on.

View Elk This Saturday In Springville

Photo Courtesy Scott Root, DWR

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is holding an elk viewing event this Saturday, February 5th at the DWR central region office located at 1115 North Main Street in Springville. The DWR will have spotting scopes and binoculars on hand to allow the public to view elk that are wintering above the valley floor on the mountains above Provo and Springville. The event will run from 9:00 a.m. until Noon.

DWR Conservation Outreach Manager Scott Root states “I have been watching over 100 elk and many deer east of Springville and Provo for the past month. Elk and deer utilize these critical winter range areas above the valley floor because the sun burns off the snow and exposes much needed vegetation. Many people have no idea that herds of these magnificent big game animals can often be viewed right from their homes. Within a month or so as the temperatures rise and the snow melts, the elk will climb up and over the mountain and be out of view again.”

Elk are the second largest member of the deer family and are easy to identify in the field. Mature males, called bulls, may weigh up to 700 pounds, stand five feet at the shoulder and measure eight feet from nose to rump. Their antlers can weigh approximately 50 pounds. Mature females, called cows, may weigh up to 500 pounds, stand four and a half feet at the shoulder and measure six and a half feet from nose to rump. For questions about the event, contact Root at (801) 491-5656.

The DWR also offers a closer view of elk at Hardware Ranch near the town of Hyrum in northern Utah. For more information on seeing elk at Hardware Ranch visit the DWR’s website at:  or call (435) 753-6206.

Johnston's Army Adventure Camp Registration Now Open

Fairfield – Register now for the Johnston’s Army Adventure Camp at Camp Floyd State Park and Museum in Fairfield. This authentic and unique hands-on adventure camp is geared toward boy scouts, and fulfills requirements for the American Heritage Merit Badge and National Historic Trails Award.

Offered from April through October, adventure camp is based on the history of Johnston’s Army at Camp Floyd in the Utah Territory. This two-day program includes an overnight stay with sleeping accommodations in recreated military tents. Scouts provide their own sleeping gear.

Camp size is limited to 30 scouts and leaders. Camp fees are $20 per person and include all camp materials and breakfast.

Camp Floyd State Park is located in the town of Fairfield, 22 miles southwest of Lehi on State Highway 73. For more information or to register, please call 801-768-8932.