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Wild On The Web

What kind of duck whistles instead of quacks?

What is Kentucky’s only venomous mammal?

What popular fish has a scientific name that means small-finned trout?

Does Kentucky have jellyfish?

You’re correct if you answered wood duck, short-tailed shrew, and largemouth bass. And yes, Kentucky does have freshwater jellyfish.

That’s just some of what you can discover about the environment by visiting on the Internet, the site of Kentucky’s first virtual encyclopedia of the outdoors. The Web site is called AWAKE, or All Wild About Kentucky’s Environment.

The site evolved from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Tom Bennett’s goal to provide all schoolchildren in the state access to environmental education.

“We were already doing a lot of work with fifth- and sixth-graders in the state,” Bennett says. “We figured that if we created an Internet site, not only would this information be available to those students, but we could also reach home-schoolers and citizens of all ages.”

The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, the Tracy Farmer Center for the Environment, and the Kentucky Department of Education joined together to build the site.

University of Kentucky agencies are instrumental in providing technical support and developing curricula, while the state Department of Education acts as consultant. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife provides species descriptions.

Descriptions include the life history of a species, where it lives, what it eats, fun facts, and links for more information. AWAKE features plants, animals, fish, and more. Many listings include an image of the species while some include audio and video clips so visitors can see and hear an animal.

Education is an important part of the site. Online lesson plans about the environment are being developed so teachers will have ready-made courses for the classroom. Students can post their artwork and creative writing about nature on the site.

AWAKE appeals to anyone interested in nature, regardless of age. You’ll discover that white-tailed deer can run 40 miles an hour, jump eight feet high, and leap 25 feet in a single bound. Or that a wood frog can be partially frozen and survive, thanks to the glucose in its cells.

As for Kentucky’s jellyfish, don’t let them keep you out of the water. They can’t hurt humans.

Call (800) 858-1549 or visit online at for your free copy of Kentucky’s 2004 Fishing Forecast.

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