Coyote in snow. Photo Credit: URI Wildlife Genetics and Ecology


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:

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

Virtual Session

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

Virtual Session

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:

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:

For more information on Rhode Island’s wildlife, visit us on Facebook at and, on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), and Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem and @RI.FishandWildlife) for timely updates.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.