University Park, Pa. -- Penn State Cooperative Extension wildlife specialists have launched a new website that provides wildlife information for landowners, homeowners, natural resource professionals, teachers and students alike.
The Wildlife Outreach Web-center, or WOW, offers in-depth information on a variety of wildlife topics ranging from habitat enhancement to controlling nuisance and damage problems that occasionally occur between people and wildlife. Visitors also can find the names of agencies and individuals across the state that can help resolve issues ranging from the skunk under the deck to the injured bird in the backyard. Downloadable fact sheets are included for most topics.
"The website gathers together in one place information we have been providing through Extension over the years and makes it easier for people to find," said Margaret Brittingham, professor of wildlife resources who helped develop the Web-center. "The section on Frequently Asked Questions will enable individuals to find answers to many of the common questions we have received.
"As visitors navigate through the website, they will find numerous opportunities to enhance their knowledge," she said. "One of these ways is by watching or listening to the webinars, which are Web-based seminars created by different professionals."
Brittingham said that webinar topics range from identifying songbirds to rabbit-proofing gardens. "Listening to these webinars is like taking a minicourse in the comfort of your own home," she said.
A section of the website focusing on Penn State research provides a snapshot of scientific topics that underpin the wildlife extension program. This section features links to faculty and graduate student studies, allowing visitors to become immersed in the multitude of investigations and explorations going on in the Wildlife and Fisheries Science program.
"Whether managing for harvest, enhancing habitat for a rare species, or controlling a species that has become a problem, sound science provides the basic information needed to make informed management decisions," Brittingham said.
A page aimed at youth education is a resource for teachers, youth leaders or parents who are interested in teaching children more about the diverse wildlife of Pennsylvania, Brittingham noted. "Information is presented through the various programs, publications, and field days," she said. "Children may learn about a wide range of topics, such as the differences between amphibians and reptiles or tips for writing their own nature journals."
A wildlife news section highlights new and emerging issues and insights both within Pennsylvania and nationally.
Brittingham said the website shows the breadth of wildlife issues and questions Penn State specialists address on a daily basis in the extension wildlife program. She pointed out, however, that extension is a two-way street.
"By working with the public, we are able to discover new issues as they arise, and we hope to use this website as a way to get information out in a timely fashion," she said.