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The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Division of Fish & Wildlife will host a series of four Seasonal Wildlife Solution Sessions beginning next month. Rhode Islanders are invited to join DEM’s Wildlife Outreach Team to discover effective strategies for coexisting with our native wildlife. Sessions are designed to address common seasonal conflicts between humans and wildlife and provide the public with guidance. Each session will cover the life history of the focal species, rules and regulations, solutions, and research being done in our state, and will include a dedicated time for questions. The winter and spring sessions will be presented virtually.
“Rhode Island is a small state and as the population grows, wildlife habitat will overlap with our backyards, and we will gain new wild neighbors. These sessions will arm homeowners with the knowledge they need to feel safe and comfortable solving wildlife issues that commonly arise,” said DEM Technical Outreach Assistant Gabby De Meillon. “Understanding why animals behave in a certain way, or why we only see them during certain seasons, will help build confidence and provide background information that we hope participants will share to assist neighbors and friends.”
All sessions are free to the public thanks to support from the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program. Registration information can be found at: www.dem.ri.gov/wildlifeoutreach
The programs will be held as follows:
WHAT: Session 1 (Winter): Nocturnal Nuisances – Coyotes, Foxes and Fishers
WHEN: Wednesday, February 3 | 6 PM to 7:30 PM
Nocturnal mammals are greatly misunderstood, and most of their fear-instilling actions are simply a part of their life history and strategy for survival. Still, these critters can certainly become a nuisance, especially when they begin to den under decks and dine out of chicken coops. Learning why these creatures behave the way they do is the key to finding resolution. This session will help you identify what is attracting these animals to your yard and how to make your property less hospitable. Learn about the discoveries made by the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study and get a first look at the new Fisher Project. This VIRTUAL program is being presented in partnership with the Lincoln Public Library.
WHAT: Session 2 (Spring): Black Bear Basics
WHEN: Wednesday, April 7 | 6 PM to 7:30 PM
American black bears disappeared from Rhode Island and much of New England following colonization, but with populations in surrounding states growing, Rhode Island will soon see their return. Already, black bear sightings are becoming more frequent and concerns about encounters are common. If communities can come together and integrate bear-conscience strategies, we can avoid problems with bears in advance of their establishment. This session will address what to do when encountering a bear, how to avoid drawing bears to your yard, and present the results of the DEM American Black Bear Study. This VIRTUAL program is being presented in partnership with the Greenville Public Library.
WHAT: Session 3 (Summer): Vegetable Vandals – Rabbits, Groundhogs and Deer
WHEN: July 2021 | Dates and Times TBD
The bane of many gardeners’ existence are these three critters. Half-eaten tomatoes and munched-on magnolias are enough to drive anyone to their wits’ end. While these creatures may seem impossible to manage, there are measures you can take to defend your garden. As frustrating as these fuzzy felons may be, they are important to Rhode Island’s ecosystem, acting as valuable natural resources in our state. This session will give you tools to protect your crops and cover the rules and regulations for hunting, trapping on private property, and highlight the New England Cottontail Project and Deer Program. For updates this session, email: Gabrielle.Demeillon@dem.ri.gov
WHAT: Session 4 (Fall): Noisy Neighbors – Bats and Squirrels
WHEN: October 2021 | Dates and Times TBD
The pitter-patter of small feet is not so adorable when it’s coming from your attic. These small mammals may just be trying to find a warm home, but yours is taken. These tiny mammals are tricky to remove effectively and if exclusion is done improperly, it can lead to ineffective and unfortunate results. It is imperative that these animals are safely and properly excluded from homes. This session will cover the appropriate time and measures for removal of your noisy neighbors, how to prevent them from returning, and the research underway on bats in Rhode Island. For updates this session, email: Gabrielle.Demeillon@dem.ri.gov
For more information on Rhode Island’s wildlife, visit www.dem.ri.gov/wildlifeoutreach.Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM and www.facebook.com/RIfishandwildlife, on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), and Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem and @RI.FishandWildlife) for timely updates.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov.