LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Rural Services Division has provided grants totaling $ 502,838.41 to promote wildlife education and improve school conservation programs for 183 schools, school districts and conservation counties in 65 Arkansas counties. These grants are funded by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission through fines levied for hunting and fishing violations. Only money raised in the county where the violation occurred can be used as a grant for that county.
“Contrary to what some Arkansans may think, AGFC never sees a penny of quotes written by our officers,” AGFC Director Austin Booth said. “Instead, this money is being invested in the children of this county to help instill that love of nature that makes Arkansas unique.”
All state schools are eligible to participate in the program. Funding has helped schools create and maintain archery, fishing and archery programs. Schools also used the money to help improve wildlife education by purchasing teaching materials, materials for creating indoor and outdoor habitats, lab materials and field trips to AGFC’s natural and educational centers. Conservation areas have used the funding to help raise awareness of wildlife conservation in communities by holding environmental education days and fishing derbies for children of all ages.
“Arkansan is fortunate to live in a state rich in wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “We can learn a lot just by going outside and experiencing the wonders of nature around us. These grants not only contribute to broadening horizons and economic development, but they also provide opportunities for volunteering and public participation, making us a more attractive state for business and pleasure. ”
According to AGFC Education Director Tabi Quinion, outdoor education plays a vital role in understanding the need for conservation and participation in the open air.
“AGFC is pleased to work with rural services on this program,” Kinion said. “Thousands of Arkansas students will be outdoors or have hands-on experience in natural centers, learning and improving skills. These grants provide an opportunity to learn about habitat and wildlife conservation as part of the Arkansas school experience. ”
For more information, including a full list of award winners and program stories, visit https://www.arkansasedc.com/Rural-Services/division/grants/grant -recipients.