Wildlife-viewing projects from Athens to Colquitt and Atlanta to Brunswick will receive grants to improve public opportunities to see and learn about animals, plants and natural habitats considered conservation priorities in Georgia’s State Wildlife Action Plan.
The Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, part of the Department of Natural Resources, announced today that six projects have been selected as 2018 recipients in the agency’s Wildlife Viewing Grants Program.
Funded by the Georgia Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund and the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation, the grants are aimed at helping develop and enhance viewing options that increase awareness of wildlife, with an emphasis on Wildlife Action Plan species and habitats. Georgia’s Wildlife Action Plan is a comprehensive strategy to conserve these creatures and places before they become rarer and costlier to conserve or restore.
This year’s recipients, chosen from more than 20 applicants, are:
- Athens-Clarke County: $2,823 for bat boxes and signage on the Oconee Rivers Greenway as part of larger bat-awareness project.
- One Hundred Miles: $2,865 for extensive outreach encouraging responsible wildlife viewing on St. Simons-area beaches.
- Golden Triangle Resource Conservation and Development Council: $2,750 for kiosks featuring rare species information along a Spring Creek boardwalk in Colquitt.
- The Amphibian Foundation: $2,628 for signs interpreting rare salamander propagation at an Atlanta park, the foundation’s home base.
- Okefenokee Swamp Park: $2,163 to build a wildlife viewing platform at the Waycross park.
- Coastal Georgia Audubon: $1,773 to design and add interpretive signs highlighting shorebird habitat at key viewing sites along the state’s coast.
Jon Ambrose, chief of the Wildlife Resources Division’s Nongame Conservation Section, said the projects reflect the rich diversity of Georgia’s wildlife and the range of animals, plants and habitats identified as conservation priorities in the State Wildlife Action Plan.
“From the focus on bats along Athens-area greenways to rare species and habitats at Spring Creek in Colquitt, these projects will help Georgians learn about and experience some of the species and natural habitats we and others are working to restore and protect,” Ambrose said.
The projects also dovetail with the Natural Resources Foundation’s mission, according to foundation Executive Director Mark Walker. “We support DNR efforts to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve natural resources. This work is not only geared toward those goals, it connects with other conservation organizations, which can provide even stronger benefits for our natural resources and the public.”
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.
The Nongame Conservation Section is charged with restoring and conserving nongame wildlife, rare native plant species and natural habitats through research, management and public education. The section depends largely on fundraisers, grants and contributions to the Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund. Sales and renewals of DNR’s eagle and hummingbird license plates are the leading fundraiser.
The Georgia Natural Resources Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the preservation of Georgia’s natural and cultural resources through DNR projects, activities and programs. Established in 2010, the foundation relies on donations and partnerships with individuals, corporations and similarly aligned foundations to support its initiatives.