On Aug. 15, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Division of Rural Services announced that it will award $808,146.04 to Arkansas schools and educators to support conservation education programs in the 2022-2023 school year. Applications are open to any school or conservation district in the state through Oct. 27.
Funds for these grants come from wildlife fines collected by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), and AEDC awards the grants to schools in the same counties where the fines are collected.
“Each year, we look forward to partnering with AGFC and together supporting the students of our state by enhancing access to conservation education,” Secretary of Commerce & AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston said. “Our communities, our students and our economy benefit when children have abundant opportunities to experience just how much the Natural State has to offer.”
AGFC Chief of Education Tabbi Kinion says the grants can significantly enhance learning opportunities for youth, especially in rural areas of Arkansas.
“Many programs the AGFC 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, hatcheries and other outdoors learning opportunities.”
All AGFC nature centers are free to the public.
More information on the program, a link to the application site, and a county-by-county list of grant money is available online.