By John McCoy
The 2018 edition of the West Virginia Wildlife Calendar is more timely than most.
The calendar’s cover sports the image of an elk — appropriate, now that the state is in the process of reestablishing an elk population.
“And not only do we have an elk on the cover, we also have a big article in the back of the calendar about our elk restoration program,” said Liz Akins, the Division of Natural Resources employee in charge of the annual calendar project.
In addition to the elk, the 2018 edition features original paintings of the red fox, blue jay, barred owl, peregrine falcon, ruffed grouse, Eastern bluebird, great horned owl, raccoon, bobcat, rainbow trout and northern cardinal.
Akins said artists from as far away as South Dakota submitted paintings for this year’s calendar. Those whose works were chosen received $100 for each painting used, with an additional $500 going to the artist whose image made the cover.
This marks the 31st year for the Wildlife Calendar. Profits from its sales go to fund DNR programs that support non-game fish and wildlife. According to Akins, last year’s calendar generated $67,000 for the agency.
The calendar has become quite popular with state residents, both for its imagery and for the information packed into its pages.
“This year we took out one of the full articles we usually run in there and put in a special-events calendar,” Akins said. “It contains the dates of things going on at our state parks such as our Becoming an Outdoors-Woman events, our bird-banding weekend and all kinds of other cool stuff.
“It also contains an overview of our state wildlife action plan. It’s something neat to check out, because people can see what [the DNR is] up to, and how you can get involved to help.”
The calendar also has attracted plenty of attention outside the state. It has won either gold, silver or bronze national calendar awards in the categories of “Most Informative,” “Most Educational” or “Best Subject” each of the past nine years.
The calendars cost $10 each, and can be purchased at any of the six DNR district offices or at more than 90 vendors located throughout the state. A complete list of vendors is available on the DNR’s website, www.wvdnr.gov/Wildlife/WildlifeCalendar_Retailers.shtm.
Reach John McCoy at [email protected], 304-348-1231, or follow @GazMailOutdoors on Twitter.