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Trendy sports like rollerblading and wind surfing have come and gone, but wildlife-related recreation remains among the most constant activities in the country, with more than 80 million Americans participating, according to a new report. In addition, more than $108 billion was spent on fishing, hunting and wildlife watching in 2001—about 1.1 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product—according to a new study released recently by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Highlights from the survey reveal the following:

More than 31 percent of the U.S. population fed, photographed and observed wildlife, and they spent $40 billion on their activities.

Equipment-related expenditures in the U.S. for fishing, hunting and wildlife watching outweighed by far other related expenditures (license fees, lodging, etc.), with $41 billion spent in 2001 by those purchasing such items as boats, camping equipment, binoculars, and tackle boxes.

The average amount of money spent on wildlife-related activities per person was approximately $1,851. People are taking short trips to enjoy wildlife-related activities, with $20 billion spent on food, motels, lodges, cabins or campgrounds. State-specific information is outlined in the report. Among those findings: Texas, Pennsylvania and Michigan have more hunters than any other states. Florida, California and Texas have the most anglers. California, New York and Pennsylvania have the most wildlife watchers. Montana has the highest percentage of hunters among its residents (24 percent). Forty-one percent of Alaskans identify themselves as anglers. Sixty percent of Vermont residents are wildlife watchers.

The survey results highlight the importance of state conservation efforts for our economy. The best thing you or anyone can do to help the wildlife in your state is to buy a Hunting/Fishing license even though you might not like to hunt OR fish. The money goes to help maintain our parks, wildlife stocking programs, etc.

 

FROM FOX ISLAND

SEASON PASSES NOW AVAILABLE FOR 2003

Get your annual passes now and receive 13 months for the price of 12. The passes get you into the Allen County Parks (Fox Island, Metea, Payton, and Cook's Landing. Enjoy swimming, hiking, nature programs, park updates, and discounts on special events and gift shop items. Cost and benefits vary from $15 to $30 depending on the type of pass you purchase. Call 449-3180 for more information.

"WOODPECKERS"- Breakfast With The Birds at Fox Island

Come join a Fox Island Naturalist to learn about the colorful woodpeckers of northeastern Indiana. Learn from an expert on the exciting world of birds on January 15, 2003. The program will start out in a classroom and then we will go on a short bird watching hike (weather permitting). The cost is $3 per person. Call ahead for reservations. The program will be presented from 8am to 10am. A continental breakfast will be provided. Call 449-3180.

FOX ISLAND AND LITTLE RIVER WETLANDS PROJECT

"THE ENVIRONMENT, WHY BOTHER?"

The Allen County Parks Department and Little River Wetlands Project presents Larry Yoder, Goshen College. He will be giving an amazing discussion on this exciting relevant topic. This will be an entertaining and informative talk. The program is from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday, January 16, 2003 and is free. This is the fourth talk of a six part lecture series provided by Allen County Parks and Little River Wetlands Project. Call 449-3180 for more information.

NATURAL HISTORY OF ALLEN COUNTY

Learn about Native Americans, our three rivers, and local wildlife. Be transported to the past to experience what Indiana looked like 200 years ago. We will explore the past conditions of wetlands and other natural resources and what we can do to preserve what we still have as well as restore some areas. Lecture with photos will be held in the large classroom at the Nature Center of Fox Island County Park. The cost is $2 per person. For more information contact the park at 260-449-3180.

PRESCHOOL PROGRAM

What: 'REACH FOR THE STARS'

When: Thursday, January 16, 2003 from 10am to 2pm

Where: Fox Island Nature Center, 7324 Yohne Road

Children 3 to 5 years old (with an adult companion) are invited to Fox Island County Park to learn more about stars and planets. We'll explore the solar system, read a story about space, make a craft related to astronomy and have a snack during this hour-long program. Join Bob Dispenza of Allen County Parks. Class fee is $3 per child. Call 449-3180 to reserve your space.

What: "Winter Astronomy'

When: Fridays, January 17,24,31 and February 7, 2003 from 7:30pm to 9pm

Where: Fox Island County Park, 7324 Yohne Road

Boldly go where you have never gone before-to classes about astronomy! Take four nights out of January and February and expand your horizons to infinity with Education Director Bob Dispenza. The first night will be about observing and stars, the second about constellations, the third about the solar system, and the last about galaxies, nebulae and other distant objects.

This series for adults begins on Friday, January 17 and ends Friday, February 7. Class fee is $20 for the series, and includes all handout materials. Call to reserve your space. Meet at the Fox Island Nature Center, 7324 Yohne Road. We will be observing with telescopes after each class (weather permitting). Bring binoculars or telescopes and warm clothing.

4-H SHOOTING SPORTS - .22 Rifle Program

.22 Rifle begins Wednesday, January 8 at Concordia Lutheran High School Shooting Range. It will meet for 10 consecutive Wednesday evenings from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. This program is limited to 30 participants and will be on a first paid basis. It is open to all youth in Grades 5-12. Cost for the program is $20. All equipment is provided. If you want to enroll in this program, please call the Extension Office to request the necessary paperwork.

4-H SHOOTING SPORTS - Air Rifle Program

Beginning Tuesday, January 14, at the Hoagland Pavilion, Hoagland from 6:30pm to 8pm for 9 weeks. Dates for the program are: January 14,21,28, February 11,18,25 March 11,18,25. Program is limited to 12 participants and will be on a first paid basis. It is open to all youth in Grades 3-12. Cost for the program is $20. All equipment is provided. If you want to enroll in this program, please call the Extension Office to request the necessary paper work. This class will fill up fast.

4-H HUNTER SAFETY EDUCATION CLASS

Allen County 4-H will be hosting a Hunter Safety Education Class on two Saturdays – February 15 and 22, 2003. Participants must attend both days. This class is limited to 40 participants. This FREE class is co-sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources. The class will be from 8am to 3:30pm both days. It is open to adults and youth. Persons age 12 or younger must be accompanied by their parent or guardian. Participants must pre-register, call 481-6826. This class usually fills up very fast.

4-H WILDLIFE AND HUNTING SERIES

NEW in 2003, the Allen County 4-H will be working with Fox Island Nature Center to offer a Wildlife and Hunting Series. This eight-week series is for youth in Grades 3-12. Parents are welcome and invited to attend with their child. The series will meet at the Fox Island Nature Center beginning on January 11 - March 1, 2003. They will meet from 3-5pm on Saturday afternoons. Cost for this program will be $20, which will cover entrance to Fox Island Nature Center and all supplies for the participants.

Topics to be covered will include: Introductions and Habitats; What do animals eat; Adaptations and Observations; Animal ID, Tracks, and Observations; Wildlife Populations and Controls; Field Trip; Management and Careers; Wild Foods, Rap-Up. Flyers will be available late November- call the Extension Office to receive one – 260-481-6826. Registration will be on a first come first paid basis. There is a minimum number of 5, maximum number of 25 for this series.


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