COVINGTON -- Do you know what a kouprey is? If not, you're not alone. The last documented siting of the beast, a forest-dwelling ox, was in 1957 in Cambodia.
It is possible to see that event for yourself, by participating in the Georgia Wildlife Federation's upcoming documentary screening and book signing focusing on the work of the late Dr. Charles Wharton.
Wharton was a conservationist and field biologist who dedicated much of his time to protecting headwaters of Georgia rivers and streams, and was appointed by former Gov. Zell Miller as chairman of the Preservation 2000 Council that led the protection of more than 103,000 acres of prime natural habitats, according to the Georgia Wildlife Federation.
At 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, there will be screenings of Wharton's documentary, "The Wild Cattle of Cambodia," in which he is accompanied by Cambodian troops and guides, and spotted the wild kouprey that is now believed to be extinct. The screening will take place at GWF's Alcovy Conservation Center at 11600 Hazelbrand Road.
"It's awesome Indiana Jones-type stuff," said Jon Tonge, membership and communications manager for the Georgia Wildlife Federation.
Following the screenings will be a discussion of Wharton's life and work.
There will also be an exhibit featuring Wharton's research materials, tools, samples, artwork and personal journals, which have never been opened to the public.
Authors and photographers who contributed to "The Natural Communities of Georgia," a new update on Wharton's book "Natural Environments of Georgia," and former GWF President and CEO Jerry McCollum, will also be on hand to sign copies of the book as a fundraiser for GWF's Special Collections, including the Dr. Charles Wharton Archives.
The event is free with the purchase of the book for $59.95 plus tax at the door or in advance on GWF's website at www.gwf.org. Admission without purchase of the book is $10 at the door.
The Georgia Wildlife Federation has several other events planned for March and April.
GWF will be hosting a work day on Saturday, March 23, to remove invasive plants in Newton County. The day will begin at 9 a.m. at the Alcovy Conservation Center. Participants should bring gloves and tools, if possible.
Two Adopt-A-Stream workshops are coming up at the Alcovy Conservation Center to certify water monitors. A chemical and introductory course will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. A training session focusing on requirements for biological certification with the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Each course costs $5 to attend. Spaces are still available. Pre-registration is required. To sign up, email Robert Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-787-7887.
Georgia Adopt-A-Stream is an effort to involve the public and local communities in water quality assessment and protection. The program promotes environmental stewardship through training workshops, outdoor field activities and by introducing participants to watershed action projects. Through Adopt-A-Stream training workshops, participants gain an in-depth study of watersheds as well as hands-on training in chemical and biological parameters important to a healthy stream.
On Tuesday, April 16, GWF will host an Alcovy River Greenway Landowner Workshop from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. This event will be focused primarily on landowners with property adjacent to rivers or wetlands, but is open to all. GWF will have experts discussing managing wildlife habitat, improving water quality, tax incentives and more. Participants may bring a lunch or purchase one for $5. To register, call 770-787-7887.
Finally, the 6th Annual Clay Shoot For Conservation takes place Friday, May 3 at Burge Plantation in Mansfield. There are opportunities for teams, and sponsors and volunteers to work the event are also needed. For more information, visit the GWF website or email or call Phillips at email@example.com or 770-787-7887.