SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. – Georgia is offering a helping hand to projects that help people experience the animals, plants and natural habitats emphasized in Georgia’s State Wildlife Action Plan.
The opportunity comes by way of the state Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Viewing Grants Program. The agency is now accepting proposals for 2023. The deadline to apply – online at georgiawildlife.com/WildlifeViewingGrants – is Feb. 7, 2023.
The grants are capped at $3,000 per project and supported through the Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund, which is managed by DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section.
Wildlife Conservation Section Chief Dr. Jon Ambrose said the goal is to provide viewing opportunities that raise awareness of native animals not fished for or hunted, rare native plants and natural habitats – particularly those considered conservation priorities in the Wildlife Action Plan. This comprehensive strategy (georgiawildlife.com/WildlifeActionPlan) is focused on conserving Georgia wildlife and their habitats before these plants, animals and places become rarer and costly to conserve or restore.
“Offering opportunities for people to get outdoors and see and better appreciate wildlife in need of conservation is not only important for these species, it’s vital for Georgians,” Ambrose said. “Research shows that conservation of natural environments is a significant factor in maintaining human health and quality of life.”
The six projects approved last year varied from creating shorebird guides to inform the public about priority species on Georgia’s beaches to observation platforms built along a nature trail at Hard Labor Creek State Park near Rutledge and adding trees and plants to expand a pollinator-focused and publicly accessible viewing site at Lavonia Elementary School.
Although the grants are small, the interest they tap is big. About 1-in-4 Georgians, or 2.4 million people, took part in wildlife-viewing activities in 2011, spending an estimated $1.8 billion, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey. Nationwide, the number of Americans involved in wildlife viewing surged from about 72 million in 2011 to 86 million in 2016, more than a third of nation’s adult population, the Fish and Wildlife Service reports.
Grant proposals can include facilities, improvements and other initiatives that provide opportunities for the public – including underserved groups – to observe nongame animals, plants and natural habitats. Notification of awards will be made by March 24, 2023. Visit georgiawildlife.com/WildlifeViewingGrants to learn more and submit proposals.
DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section is charged with restoring and conserving rare and other native species not hunted, fished for or collected and natural habitats through research, management and public education. The section relies largely on fundraisers, grants and contributions. Sales and renewals of DNR’s eagle, hummingbird and monarch/pollinator license plates are the top fundraiser annually.
Grants at a Glance
Project proposals should provide public opportunities to observe native wildlife and natural habitats, with an emphasis on species considered conservation priorities in Georgia’s State Wildlife Action Plan (georgiawildlife.com/WildlifeActionPlan).
File proposals at georgiawildlife.com/WildlifeViewingGrants. The website includes details.
Deadline to apply: Feb. 7, 2023
Grants are limited to $3,000 each. Funding is provided through Georgia’s Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund.