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Dec. 8, 2019
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Georgia DNR offering wildlife viewing grants

The state Department of Natural Resources is seeking proposals for its Wildlife Viewing Grants Program. Deadline to apply is Jan. 15, 2020. The DNR is targeting projects that help Georgians enjoy and better understand animals, plants and habitats emphasized in Georgia’s State Wildlife Action Plan.  
 
The six projects approved last year varied from a viewing scope and platform at 4-H Tidelands Nature Center on Jekyll Island to a chimney swift tower and information kiosks at Talking Rock Nature Preserve in Pickens County and monarch and other pollinator habitats and outreach at Gwinnett County parks. 
 
The grants are capped at $3,000 per project and made possible through the Georgia Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund, which is administered by DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section.
 
Section Chief Dr. Jon Ambrose said the goal is to provide viewing opportunities that increase awareness and appreciation of native animals not fished for or hunted, rare native plants and natural habitats – particularly those that are conservation priorities in the State Wildlife Action Plan. 
 
Developed by DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division with input from more than 100 organizations, the plan is focused on conserving Georgia wildlife and their habitats before these animals, plants and places become rarer and more costly to conserve or restore. The plan also stresses the importance of education and outreach in conserving the state’s natural heritage. 
 
“These grants help connect people with wildlife and natural habitats in need of conservation,” Ambrose said. “That connection is critical not only for wildlife but also for the well-being of Georgians. Research shows that conservation of natural environments is an important factor in maintaining human health and quality of life.”
 
 Although the grants are small, the interest they tap is big. According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey, about 2.4 million people took part in wildlife-viewing activities in Georgia in 2011. The survey estimated related spending at $1.8 billion. Nationwide, the number of people involved in wildlife viewing surged from about 72 million in 2011 to 86 million in 2016, the Fish and Wildlife Service reports.
 
Grant proposals can include facilities, improvements and other initiatives that provide opportunities for the public to observe nongame animals, plants and natural habitats. Notification of awards will be made by Feb. 21. Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/WildlifeViewingGrants for details, including how to apply.

Posted online 11.25.19
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