Every fourth grade teacher in Maine – and every public library – will soon receive a fabulous full-color poster featuring endangered and threatened species. Each teacher will also receive a wildlife lesson packet.
The poster will be unveiled today by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in a press conference at the Maine Wildlife Park. Maine’s very talented artist, writer, and wildlife biologist Mark McCollough created the poster, arranging the species in the shape of our state and in the locations where they are found. It really is an amazing poster. Wait ‘til you see that short-eared owl cruising across the rooftop of Maine!
You will spend a lot of time looking at this poster, for sure. I liked the northern long-eared bat, hibernating in a mineral mine in the mountains of western Maine, and the puffin feet dabbling in the cold Downeast waters.
Mark also created endangered and threatened species posters in 1990 and 2001. In 1990, we had 22 species on the list. When he created the second poster, in 2001, the list was up to 49 species. The new poster features 51 species. In 2015 new species were added to the list, while marine species were removed.
Mark will be at today’s press conference with his 3 original paintings on display, a real treat to see. DIF&W staff will also be there to answer questions about the state’s endangered and threatened species and the agency’s work to save those species.
I was particularly pleased to learn that a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund helped pay for the poster and project. MOHF was actually an idea I came up with when I worked at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. We reached out to partner with Maine Audubon on the project and collected signatures to put it on the ballot. But the legislature and Governor Angus King liked it so much that they enacted and signed it into law, so it didn’t have to go on the ballot.
It was my privilege to sit on the MOHF Board for its first 10 years, and the program has now given nearly $20 million to conservation and outdoor recreation programs and projects.