Public Information and Education
The Division of Public Information and Education is established within the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and is responsible for the administration of programs to increase the public’s knowledge and understanding of inland fisheries and wildlife resources and the management of these resources, including the administration of education programs for hunter safety and for the safe operation of snowmobiles, watercraft and all-terrain vehicles. The division’s responsibilities include public education, promotion of inland fisheries and wildlife resources and the dissemination of information.
The major function of the Public Information and Education Division is to create and maintain public understanding and support for Departmental objectives and programs.
The Division was created in 1952, as the Information and Education Division, under authorization granted by the 96th Legislature in 1951. It was reorganized into the Public Information Division, effective July 1980; it was again reorganized, as the Division of Public Information and Education under the Office of the Commissioner, effective April 24, 1984. Another reorganization effective July 1, 1993, established the Division of Public Information and Education as it's own unit.
In addition, the Gray Game Farm and Visitors Center now the Maine Wildlife Park was removed from the Division of Wildlife, Bureau of Resource Management, and placed within the Division of Public Information and Education.
The major programs of the Public Information and Education Division are:
- The Information Center, serving as the Augusta headquarters call center, provides a knowledgeable staff responding to telephone inquiries and directing calls to appropriate Department Divisions from 8-5, Monday through Friday. The Information Center also mails and distributes printed materials, develops and maintains the Department's web site.
- Media relations provides press releases about the Department and it's programs to newspapers, radio and television in both written and electronic formats. The photography and video production facility produces a variety of slides, prints and video documenting current Department projects and to supplement stories released to the media.
- Education efforts include the Maine Wildlife Park, which hosted over 100,000 visitors last year. A variety of wildlife and conservation school programs and tours are offered here, reaching well over 5,000 of Maine's school children annually. Teacher workshops are offered statewide using Project WILD, an award-winning national wildlife and conservation education program, to assist classroom teachers and other educators to become more informed about Maine wildlife and conservation.
- Anyone who received a mandatory license revocation after June 10, 1997 must successfully complete the 8-hour outdoor ethics course before the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife can reissue the revoked license. Completion of this course with a passing grade does not reduce the length of the license revocation. The course fee is $100.00 and must be paid in advance.
- The Division provides scholarships for the popular Maine Conservation School and the 'Becoming an Outdoors-Woman' workshops.
- Public relations and promotion included nine outdoor shows last year and a variety of advertising intended to promote outdoor recreation in the state, safety, and our landowner relations program. The Division also organizes the Maine Migratory Waterfowl Stamp Art Contest and many other events such as Fur Fin and Feather Day at the Legislature.
Public Information and Education also provides support to other divisions for video, photography, displays, presentations, and the design, development, and distribution of a great deal of printed material about the department and its programs.