| December 2, 2016
FRANKFORT, Ky. – One by one, the photographs appear on the display screen in the darkened Commission Room at Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources headquarters, and the people gathered around the conference table discuss the merits of each image before the group reaches a consensus.
This process repeats itself hundreds of times over the course of a fall day until a pool of about 300 photos is pared to 13. These will be the images - as chosen by Kentucky Afield magazine staff and other Kentucky Fish and Wildlife employees - featured in the always popular Kentucky Afield Outdoor Calendar.
The calendar makes a great gift for the outdoors enthusiast on your holiday shopping list, and the 2017 version is for sale now on the department's website at fw.ky.gov for $7.50 each while supplies last. Orders placed by Dec. 16 should arrive in time for Christmas.
A picture of a ruby-throated hummingbird hovering in front of a jewelweed flower, taken by Brian Shults, adorns the cover. Beyond the stunning photography, the calendar lists hunting season dates, monthly stocking schedules for Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program lakes, helpful outdoors tips and other interesting tidbits.
The calendar is one gift idea. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's website offers several more, including Kentucky Afield merchandise such as hats, shirts, DVDs of past episodes of the television show and instructional DVDs.
A Kentucky Fish and Wildlife gift certificate, also available online, can be used to buy licenses and permits, subscriptions to the award-winning Kentucky Afield magazine and to pay registration fees to send a child to summer conservation camp. The gift certificates are valid for up to five years from the date of purchase.
"It takes the hassle out of shopping for the sportsman or sportswoman in your life," said Brian Blank, marketing division director for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. "No matter their age, whether they like to hunt or fish, a gift certificate gives them what they want and helps conserve our natural resources in the Commonwealth."
Each year, the department's summer camps draw about 5,000 children from across Kentucky who have completed fourth through sixth grades. Campers are provided opportunities to learn fishing, boating, archery, swimming, firearms safety and other skills.
Online registration for summer camp starts in early January. The $225 registration fee covers lodging, meals, camper insurance, transportation, as well as a Junior Sportsman's license. The license is a $30 value and includes a youth hunting license, two youth deer permits and two youth turkey permits.
The resident Sportsman's license for adults represents another exceptional value. It bundles a resident hunting and fishing license, spring and fall turkey permits, trout permit, state migratory game bird and waterfowl permit and deer permit for $95 – a savings of $55 if you were to buy each on their own. Those buying a license as a gift must know the birth date and Social Security number of the intended recipient, or simply buy a gift certificate for the amount.
Licenses and permits for the 2017-18 license year starting March 1, 2017 are on sale now on the department's website.
Another way to share the gift of the outdoors is to sponsor a camper through the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation. More than 240 children attended camp thanks to foundation scholarships this past summer. Letters from children wishing to attend conservation camp but who need financial assistance are posted on the foundation's website at kentuckywildlife.com. Donors may sponsor a camper for any amount.
The foundation soon will offer greeting cards featuring the work of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife artist Rick Hill. The collection includes five scenes. Each card is blank on the inside, allowing the cards to be used for various occasions. The cards will be sold in quantities of 10 for $9.99, 50 for $44.99 or 100 for $89.99. Proceeds from the sale of the cards will benefit conservation education programs in Kentucky.
The foundation also works with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to support the efforts of the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort. The center is closed for the season but will reopen March 1. Annual memberships are available. Inquire by calling the Center at 1-502-564-7863 and leaving a message or emailing Salato@ky.gov. A member of the Center's staff will get back with you.
Shopping for an outdoors enthusiast who seemingly has every gadget known to man can be a challenging endeavor. With any of these options, you can be assured the recipient will appreciate the thoughtfulness and put them to good use.
Author Kevin Kelly is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Get the latest from Kevin and the entire Kentucky Afield staff by following them on Twitter: @kyafield.
(Editors: Please email Lee.McClellan@ky.gov for photos.)