The Arkansas Economic Development Commission Division of Rural Services has announced the Wildlife Conservation Education Grants Program application period is open now through Oct. 4. More than $678,000 is available for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. Funds for these grants come from fines collected by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

“Strong communities are the foundation for economic development, and education plays an important part in those efforts,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “These grants provide needed funds to help us preserve wildlife for future generations as well as support educational opportunities for children. School districts across the state should apply and use the funds to broaden the experiences of our students.”

AGFC Chief of Education Tabbi Kinion says the grants can really enhance learning opportunities for youth, especially in rural areas of Arkansas, where education dollars are at a premium.

“Many schools participating in our shooting sports, archery and conservation education programs are able to keep the programs going thanks to this partnership,” Kinion said. “We also hear from many teachers who are able to make conservation-oriented field trips possible thanks to the money we collect from wildlife fines.”

Programs eligible for funding include, but are not limited to, the study of general fish and wildlife conservation issues, Project WILD Workshops, Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program, Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program, Fishing in the Natural State, Arkansas Stream Team, School Yard Habitat Site Development, and specialized AGFC conservation education/educator training workshops focused on the programs above. Funds may also be used for field trips to AGFC Nature Centers, Conservation Education Centers and Wildlife Management Areas.

For a county-by-county listing of available funds and an application, visit www.arkansasedc.com/Rural-Services/division/grants/wildlife-education-grant.

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