Fifteen Community Outdoors Outreach Program grants from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department totaling more than $629,000 will be helping thousands of Texas children explore and learn about the states’ cultural and natural resources.
“At a time when children are more plugged into electronics, these projects connect them to the outdoors,” says Darlene Lewis, TPWD CO-OP program director.
The grants are being awarded to various cities, non-profits, school districts and other communities that have come together to focus on natural and cultural resource education for children. Participants in programs funded by these grants will have the opportunity to attend nature day camps or participate in outdoor recreation programs as well as service projects.
Currently, $1.25 million is available to eligible tax exempt organizations to help fund these types of programs in Texas. Grants can range from $5,000 to $50,000. Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted through Feb. 1.
The following grants have been awarded:
* (Athens) Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center – Inner-city youth from Dallas will participate in hands-on activities which include fishing, hiking, environmental education and a native plant re-establishment service project. ($36,100)
* (Austin) Ascend Outdoor Adventures – Participants from several non-profit organizations will get to experience nature first hand on eight planned weekend adventures which will include backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing and environmental education. ($50,000)
* (Austin) Chautauqua Foundation – 5th and 6th graders from Sanchez and Zavala Elementary schools will participate in a canoe camping club. Other activities will include nature photography and Project WILD. ($49,000)
* (Austin) City of Austin – This afterschool program for teens from 20 Austin recreational centers gets them “Into the Wild” through kayaking, mountain biking, archery, rock climbing and more. ($47,395)
* (Boerne) Friends of Cibolo Wilderness – 4,200 kids will participate in a hands-on summer camp exploring a variety of nearby ecosystems which will allow them to experience four accessible ecosystems. ($49,993)
* (El Paso) Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe – Through a partnership with the Serna Ranch Youth Leadership Program, participants will visit state parks and learn about the Buffalo Soldiers and cowboys. ($41,130)
* (Fort Davis) Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute – 250 students will attend weeklong nature day camps to learn more about wildlife identification, plant life, fishing, birding and outdoor photography. There will also be families participating in the Texas Outdoor Family program. ($16,445)
* (Hawley) Hawley ISD — 552 students will visit state parks and learn about geo-caching, archery, birding, environmental education and outdoor cooking. ($47,666)
* (Houston) Junior Anglers & Hunters of America – Students will learn about conservation programs while participating in hunting, shooting sports and fishing. ($48,462)
* (Houston) North Forest ISD – 275 participants will get to experience the outdoors through hiking, fishing, mountain biking, kayaking and more. ($50,000)
* (Laredo) Webb County – 650 youths will participate in a series of state park visits and activities including fishing and hiking. ($30,000)
* (Mabank) Mabank ISD – Innovative outdoor learning experiences are planned for 200 secondary students. Activities include camping, fishing, and environmental education and conservation programs. ($20,696)
* (Menard) Menard ISD – 326 students will participate in fishing, kayaking, archery, outdoor cooking and camping. ($43,992)
* (New Waverly) Sunshine Network Corporation – Rural students and families in this community will experience natural science and environmental education programs. Other activities include camping, fishing, hiking and trips to state parks. ($48,300)
* (Rogers)- KIDFISH Foundation – 3,000 kids will learn about the sport of fishing, fishing laws and ethics. ($50,000)
For more information about this grant program visit the web link http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/grants/trpa/#coop or contact the grant office at 512-389-8224.