New license plates to feature Georgia’s nongame wildlife

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New license plates to feature Georgia’s nongame wildlife

New license plates sporting colorful portraits of several native Georgia creatures will be available soon to help finance conservation efforts for the state’s nongame wildlife.

Most of Georgia’s thousands of native wildlife species are categorized as “nongame,” such as songbirds, frogs, turtles and the like.

Only a few creatures are classified as “game species,” such as black bear, deer, wild turkey, mourning dove, gray squirrel, bobwhite quail, rabbit, gray fox and trout. They are the species that can be legally hunted, trapped or fished. Most of the state and federal funds spent for wildlife management in Georgia are primarily for the benefit of game animals.

For programs that specifically benefit nongame wildlife, however, Georgia’s Nongame Conservation Section receives no state general funds. Instead, it depends on direct contributions and fundraisers such as nongame license tags.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has come up with seven new designs — similar to the hummingbird plate that now adorns thousands of registered vehicles in the state — for new nongame tags.

The seven choices are: a great blue heron standing along a river; a green tree frog (the official state amphibian); hummingbirds sipping nectar from a trumpet creeper; a North Atlantic right whale (official state marine mammal); a painted bunting; a bald eagle soaring above pines; and an eagle with an American flag.

You can vote for your favorite of these. The two creatures garnering the most votes will grace the state’s new wildlife license plates that will become available by the end of this year or early next year in local tag offices and in online renewals.

You have through Sept. 15 to vote. Go to www.georgiawildlife.com to see the designs. Click on the “Make Your Vote Count” link, fill out a short survey and vote. (While there, you also can choose your favorite of other new tags designed specifically for bobwhite quail and trout conservation programs.)

A nongame wildlife tag initially costs $60 (plus ad valorem taxes and other fees that apply). There is an annual specialty tag renewal fee of $35.

The DNR will receive $10 from the initial purchase and an additional $10 from each annual renewal to support its nongame conservation efforts.

IN THE SKY: The moon is last quarter today, rising about midnight and setting around midday, said David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer. Venus rises out of the east about three hours before sunrise and will appear near the moon on Wednesday. Mars is low in the west just after dark and sets in the west a few hours later. Jupiter rises out of the east about midnight and will appear near the moon tonight.

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