05 Sep AGFC offers education grants
More than $768,000 collected from wildlife fines is available for Arkansas educators to apply for grants through the AGFC’s Conservation Education Grants Program by Thursday, Oct. 4.
The program enables teachers, principals and other educators to pay for many conservation-oriented education programs and supplies they may need throughout the year by submitting grant requests administered by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Division of Rural Services.
AGFC Chief of Education Tabbi Kinion said the grants can really enhance learning opportunities for youth, especially in some of the rural areas of Arkansas, where education dollars are at a premium.
“Many of the special programs our Education Division promotes, such as Archery in the Schools, Project WILD and Fishing in the Natural State, can be funded through these grants,” Kinion said. “But they can also be used to purchase equipment unique to conservation education and even help offset the costs of field trips to AGFC nature centers, education centers and other outdoors learning opportunities.”
Kinion says all AGFC nature and education centers are free to the public, and through these education grants, educators can even find funds to help offset some travel expenses to get the kids to their learning destination.
Despite preconceived notions, the AGFC does not spend any money collected through wildlife fines. Instead, that fine money stays in the county where it was collected to be used for these education grants.
“The fine money we get goes back into the schools in the county where the fine originated,” said Commission Chairman Ford Overton. “We don’t just put that in the general fund and use it to buy boats; it goes right back into the school system. I encourage putting that money toward getting hunter education back into the school system.”
Specific 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 also may be used by educators to take students on field trips to AGFC nature centers, conservation education centers and wildlife management areas.
More information on the program, a link to the application site and a county-by-county list of grant money is available at agfc.com/conservationgrants.