It won’t be long now.

The New Year is coming soon, and now’s a good time to get ready.

What better way than purchasing the state Division of Natural Resources’ 2018 wildlife calendar?

It’s hot off the press, now available for sale, and offers beautiful artwork as well as lots of information, said Liz Akins, who oversees the project.

The popular publication features a full-color painting of a state animal or fish species each month and a brief description of each subject.

Before that can happen, a call goes out and artists are invited to submit their best work.

Lots of time is required to prepare this calendar and it usually takes the better part of a year, she said.

“We actually do two different rounds of judging, one with the electronic images and then another with the actual pieces of art. That’s how we choose, but it isn’t easy,” she said.

There are often as many as 250 submissions, but only 12 are chosen.

In addition to state artists, others from as far away as South Dakota and also neighboring states submit entries.

Acceptable topics include wildlife like deer, but also smaller species of snakes, frogs, turtles, bats, songbirds, small mammals and nongame fish.

Interesting daily facts are also included such as best fishing days and tips for enjoying the outdoors.

DNR projects are highlighted in article, including the popular elk reintroduction program.

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

There’s another reason to support this popular annual publication.

Sales of the calendar have generated funding for the DNR Wildlife Resources Section programs for 31 years.

It’s a win/win for all.

People appreciate the calendar’s quality and it’s fall release date means it can be used for a Christmas present or stocking stuffer.

“It really is a true work of art, the artists consider it an honor to be chosen,” she said.

It has won gold, silver and bronze national calendar awards in a variety of categories (including Most Informative, Most Educational and Best Subject) for the past nine years.

Cost is $10 per calendar plus applicable tax. Calendars can be shipped for an additional $6.50 each.

But they are also available locally.

For the first time, calendars can be purchased at all six DNR offices, as well as the Elkins and South Charleston DNR locations.

A list of Vendors selling it can be found online

Contact Liz Akins at 304-637-0245 for additional information.