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Kids encouraged to 'Plug into Nature'

Kids encouraged to 'Plug into Nature'

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has brought back its Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest for 2014.

This year's theme is Plug into Nature, emphasizing the importance of experiencing wildlife and plants firsthand.

All Georgia students in grades kindergarten through 5 are invited to enter the contest. The top 12 winners' posters will be displayed on the DNR's Flickr site and at the Go Fish Education Center in Perry during the first two weeks in May.

Contest entries are due Apr. 16. Three winners will be picked in four categories (kindergarten, grades 1-2, grades 3-4, grade 5).

Visit georgiawildlife.com for more information about the contest.

Learn how to attract birds to your backyard

Learn how to attract birds to your backyard

ATLANTA -- Pike Nurseries is holding a free class to help homeowners learn ways to draw birds to their backyards.

According to Pike Nurseries, roughly 350 species of birds live in Georgia. The birding class will teach participants the types of seed that are best for attracting birds, the three essentials needed to draw birds and how to provide for birds during the cold winter months.

The Attracting Birds to Your Backyard class will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at all metro Atlanta Pike Nurseries locations. Visit pikenursery.com to find your closest location.

Pike Nurseries will also offer 20 percent off all birding accessories from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Rabid raccoon found in Suwanee

Rabid raccoon found in Suwanee

SUWANEE, Ga. -- A raccoon found in Gwinnett County last week has tested positive for rabies.

Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement said the raccoon was found on Pendleton Place in Suwanee on Dec. 19.

Signs of rabies in animals include aggressive behavior, foaming at the mouth, and avoiding food and water.

Animal control officials say pet owners should keep their animals up to date on their shots to help protect them from rabies. Anyone who is scratched or bitten by a stray animal should call the Animal Welfare and Enforcement Bite Office at 770-339-3200 ext. 5576.

State officials advise motorists to watch for deer on roadways

State officials advise motorists to watch for deer on roadways

(WXIA) - Motorists are advised to exercise caution on the state's roadways during the fall season, with an increased number of deer sightings across the state.

"Deer are on the move during this time of year," said Commissioner Mark Williams, Department of Natural Resources. "While motorists in rural areas may expect to see deer, Georgia's suburban and urban areas can be prime spots as well."

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety says more than 300 people were hurt in vehicle collisions with deer during 2011. Nationally, federal officials said 1,000 people died in similar accidents between 2006 and 2010.

"Automobile claims caused by contact with a deer generally rise dramatically in the fall," said Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. "I encourage all Georgia drivers to check their automobile policy to determine if they have adequate coverage. This optional protection is commonly found in the comprehensive coverage of an automobile policy."

Bears might soon raise families in Atlanta suburbs

Bears might soon raise families in Atlanta suburbs

ATLANTA -- Wildlife biologists say black bears like the one that rambled through backyards in Atlanta's northern suburbs in August could soon be permanent residents in north Fulton, Gwinnett and Cherokee counties, having cubs and raising families.

State officials say bears could be reproducing well inside the Atlanta metro area within the next decade, which would mean a new way of life for suburban residents not accustomed to living in bear country.

Deer on the loose in Suwanee Publix

Deer on the loose in Suwanee Publix

SUWANEE, Ga. -- A day at the grocery store became unexpectedly eventful when two deer decided that they wanted to shop too.

The fawns wandered into a Publix in Suwanee last week, much to the amusement of customers and employees.

The deer were eventually lured into the meat department, where deli workers managed to catch them and take them outside.

Suwanee resident JC captured the fawns' adventure on video.

RAW VIDEO: Lawrenceville Brush Fire

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – Early Monday afternoon, Gwinnett County firefighters responded to a brush fire on Interstate 85 Southbound, just north of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road in Suwannee.

Emergency crews discovered and contained about two-acres of brush on fire in an area between the interstate and Saw Mill Road.

Authorities say there were no immediate exposure hazards and that no vehicles or structures were damaged.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.