Photo: Courtesy AEDC.
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission Division of Rural Services has awarded 33 grants totaling over $45,000 to area schools to promote wildlife education and improve school conservation programs.
The grant program is funded by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission through fines collected from hunting and fishing violations. Only money collected in the county where the violation occurred may be used as grant funds for that county.
The local grant funding was part of over $531,000 awarded across the state.
Locally, Baxter County schools were awarded 16 grants totaling over $17,500. In Boone County, six grants were awarded for just over $3,200 in funds. In Fulton County, four grants were awarded totaling over $5,500. In Izard County, two grants were awarded for just under $1,700. In Marion, one grant was awarded for over $3,600. In Newton, one grant totaling just under $8,000 was awarded. In Searcy County, two grants were awarded for over $1,800, and Stone County schools received one grant for $3,000.
All schools in the state are eligible to participate in the program. The funding schools have received in previous years has helped create and maintain archery, fishing and competitive shooting sports programs. Schools also use the money to help improve wildlife education by purchasing educational materials, materials for the creation of indoor and outdoor habitats, lab supplies, and field trips to AGFC nature and education centers. Conservation districts use the funding to help promote wildlife conservation awareness in the communities by hosting environmental education days and fishing derbies for children of all ages.
AEDC Director Mike Preston says, "Now, more than ever, quality of life plays a larger role in where people look for jobs and raise their families. Preston says, This is a great opportunity for our state, as several of the programs funded through the Wildlife Education grant improve educational opportunities while promoting volunteerism and community involvement, all of which contribute to stronger communities.
For a complete list of the grants, go to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission website at wildlife grants
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