Oct. 14, 2020
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Department of Rural Services have extended the deadline for educators to apply for free money to help teach conservation education in Arkansas. Interested schools and educators can apply for more than $735,000 in education grants by Oct. 22, 2020.
More information on the program, a link to the application site and a county-by-county list of grant money are available at www.agfc.com/conservationgrants.
“Many schools were wrapped up with introducing students, teacher and staff with new practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19 this year,” Hollie Sanders, assistant chief of the AGFC’s Education Division, said. “Things were a bit uncertain about how normal operations would be altered within the schools as well as within our nature centers to keep conservation education going. Now that our centers have been open and we’ve made adaptations to how we can work with the schools, we want to give them every opportunity to apply for this money to offset any costs from introducing the outdoors to their students.”
The money for the grants comes from fines collected for wildlife violations in each Arkansas county. The money collected by courts is sent to the AEDC, earmarked for conservation education programs. Qualifying grant programs include Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program, Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program, Fishing in the Natural State, the Schoolyard Habitat Program, Stream Teams and other educational programs that introduce youth to natural resources. Reimbursement for field trip expenses to AGFC nature and education centers, hatcheries and other field experiences also may qualify for grants.
During spring, Arkansas and other states saw a resurgence of people getting outdoors to fish, turkey hunt, hike or paddle a canoe or kayak. Many were likely finding a new passion in the absence of organized sports and less structured schedules brought on by school closings and shutdowns of restaurants and shopping centers. There is still a place for the outdoors as those schedules begin to resume, and the AGFC has many opportunities for students to stay engaged with hunting, fishing and conservation. Visit www.agfc.com/education to view a variety of programs available to get people engaged with the outdoors. For more information on nature centers, education centers and destinations for field trip experiences, visit www.agfc.com/en/explore-outdoors.