Boreal Forest Takes Center Stage During Wetlands America Trust Meeting

Monday, July 1, 2013

North America’s Boreal Forest is the world’s largest remaining intact, productive ecosystem encompassing more than 1.5 billion acres of forest, wetlands, lakes and streams that remain largely pristine but potentially threatened. To see firsthand the ongoing efforts to conserve this vital ecosystem that accounts for 25 percent of the world’s remaining intact forest and more than a fourth of the world’s wetlands, members of Ducks Unlimited’s Wetlands America Trust (WAT) board chose the location for their annual spring meeting. Discussions during the three-day gathering centered on the Boreal Forest’s importance to North America’s wildlife and people.

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, board members had the opportunity to view the landscape the same way ducks and geese do: from the air. Daily excursions included surveying the breeding habitats of North American wigeon, green-winged teal, ring-necked ducks and many other species.

“We chose the Boreal Forest as our gathering point because of its importance to the viability of waterfowl and Neotropical songbirds worldwide,” said WAT COO Dan Thiel. “The vast Boreal Forest is the best place on earth to secure large-scale conservation and sustainable development through the proactive application of conservation science.”

Encompassing more than 1.5 billion acres, the Boreal is a DU conservation priority, and the organization has undertaken the world’s most ambitious conservation campaign to protect the forest. The Boreal provides habitat for 5 billion birds that migrate throughout the continent. The Pew Charitable Trusts created a partnership ultimately known as the International Boreal Conservation Campaign (IBCC), of which DU and Ducks Unlimited Canada are central partners. Early on, the IBCC was successful in conserving 500 million acres. Now, the goal is to permanently conserve an additional 500 million acres while allowing sustainable development on another 500 million acres.

Threats facing the Boreal include agricultural expansion at the southern boundary, petroleum exploration and development, forestry, hydroelectric development and mining expansion throughout the forest. By 1999, a consortium of aboriginal, federal, provincial, and territorial governments, non-governmental conservation organizations and visionary industries began working toward the common goal of conserving a substantial portion of Canada's boreal region.

“The Boreal and Prairie Pothole Region are the two most important breeding habitats for North American waterfowl, with as much as 40 percent of the continental duck population and the majority of Neotropical songbirds utilizing the boreal,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt. “Through DU’s Boreal Forest Initiative and the coordinated efforts of the IBCC, the vast and often-remote breeding grounds of Alaska and Canada will be conserved for future generations of waterfowl, wildlife and people.”

For more information about the Boreal and DU’s work in the region, visit

Tellico Hatchery Announces Winter Hours

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced winter hours for the Tellico Hatchery in Tellico Plains. Holidays along with hours of daylight and alterations in operations are the primary reasons for changes. Fish eat less during colder months. This reason, along with a reduction of seasonal responsibilities such as mowing grass and hatchery upkeep, means fewer people on staff. ... (click for more)

Wildlife Officer Pete Geesling Honored In Veterans Day Observance Ceremony

Brandon “Pete” Geesling, a wildlife officer for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in Warren County, was one of five veteran state employees recognized during a Veterans Day observance event held at the Tennessee Tower Plaza.     Previously, Mr. Geesling served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a combat engineer which included a deployment ... (click for more)

Hutcheson Medical Center Trustee Asks Use Of Funds From Clinic Sale To Obtain DISH Funds

The trustee for Hutcheson Medical Center is asking to use proceeds from the sale of the Chickamauga Clinic in order to help obtain Disproportionate Share (DISH) funds from the state of Georgia. Trustee Ronald Glass said, in order to get $1,138,159 in DISH funds, the hospital must transfer $369,333 through the Hospital Authority of Catoosa, Walker and Dade Counties. He noted ... (click for more)

Man, 56, Stabbed At The Corner Of North Market, Frazier Avenue

A 56-year-old man was stabbed at the corner of North Market Street and Frazier Avenue on Wednesday night. Chattanooga Police were advised of the altercation at 7 p.m. Police located a single victim, Danny Henderson, suffering from a stab wound to the abdomen.  T he victim was transported to a local hospital where he received treatment for his injuries. ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Why I Am Thankful, 2015

I can’t really remember when I first started this – sometime in the 1970s – but my favorite column every year comes during Thanksgiving when I literally pause and use my fingers to thank God for all His richest blessings. The year 2015 has been bountiful so here are just a few of the things I will carry in my heart as I take my place at today’s table: I AM THANKFUL that tomorrow, ... (click for more)