LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (August 30, 2021) – The Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Division of Rural Services today announced that it will award more than $769,000 to Arkansas schools and educators to support conservation education programs in the 2021-22 school year. Funds for these grants come from wildlife fines collected by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC).
AEDC awards conservation education grants to schools in the same counties where the fines are collected. Any school or conservation district in Arkansas may apply through Oct. 26.
“Each year, AEDC is excited to be part of this opportunity to expand educational support for our schools while also enhancing conservation efforts in the Natural State,” Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said. “This ongoing partnership with the AGFC serves our communities, our students, and our economy.”
AGFC Chief of Education Tabbi Kinion says the grants can significantly enhance learning opportunities for youth, especially in rural areas of Arkansas.
“Many of the special programs our Education Division 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, education centers, and other outdoors learning opportunities.”
Kinion says all AGFC nature and education centers are free to the public, and through these education grants, educators can even utilize funds to help offset some travel expenses to get the kids to their learning destination.
“We have even seen a school in Mountain Home work with an eagle scout candidate to create an outdoor classroom for their Kindergarten,” Kinion said. “It was a really creative way to make use of the money and benefit the kids in that school.” (Click here for story.)
More information on the program, a link to the application site, and a county-by-county list of grant money is available at https://www.arkansasedc.com/Rural-Services/division/grants/wildlife-education-grant