TPWD Funds Programs To Get Kids Outdoors

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AUSTIN, Texas — Reconnecting children and families with the outdoors seems to be the general theme of programs funded by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Community Outdoor Outreach Program grant. TPWD this month announced recipients of 17 grants totaling $470,000, as well as additional funding that will allow an additional grants round this summer.

“Many organizations feel that today’s children are losing touch with nature and the environment, said CO-OP Program Director Darlene Lewis, and they are designing programs that help them and their parents to touch, feel and experience the outdoors, TPWD-style.”

The CO-OP program has helped fund programs since 1996 and to date has assisted more than 400 organizations with money to help pay for equipment, transportation and materials to give children hands-on experiences.

As a result of actions following the recent legislative session, the CO-OP program budget is increasing by $780,000 per year to about $1.25 million per year in 2008 and 2009.

This means the program is putting out a special request for grant applications with a June 2 deadline and July 25 award date. After that, the next regular application deadlines will be Oct. 1 and Feb. 1.

A grant writing workshop is scheduled for Thursday, May 1 in Austin at the department’s Airport Commerce Park location. Visit the TPWD Grants website for information on additional workshops and to download an application.  Applicants can submit grant proposals ranging from $5,000 up to $50,000.

The following organizations are this year’s recipients of the grant:

(Austin) Camp Fire USA Balcones Council — This after-school program will target low-income participants from housing complexes to teach them fishing, outdoor cooking, camping, etc. ($29,950)

(Austin) Chautauqua Foundation, Inc. — 4th -6th graders will participate in the Foundation’s Texas River School which focuses on water safety and rescue techniques, and environmental and outdoor preparedness education. ($30,000)

(Austin) Texas Agricultural Extension Service — Using their “learn by doing” format, students will experience sportfishing, boater safety, archery and Master Gardener programs. ($28,700)

(Bellaire) Neighborhood Centers, Inc. — Houston area kids will participate in this Urban Trailblazers Program to learn more about wildlife, habitat and the environment. 23 field trips are planned to TPWD sites. ($25,866)

(Brownsville) Texas Southmost College — Students from the Lower Rio Grande Valley will be engaged with outdoor/environmental education activities which include visits to state parks, Project and Aquatic Wild, and wetland education and restoration. ($28,518)

(Channelview) Harris County Precinct 2 — 800 at-risk children will take field trips to several state parks. ($29,540)

(Copperas Cove) America’s Drug Free Productions, Inc. — This program provides monthly weekend outdoor activities to youths in this community such as nature hikes, camping, visits to state parks and hunter education and training. ($28,500)

(Corpus Christi) City of Corpus Christi — This adventure based program will allow urban at-risk teens the opportunity to learn about nature, the environment and cultural resources available in Texas and the Coastal Bend Region. ($30,000)

(Grand Prairie) City of Grand Prairie — 200 participants will experience biking, hiking, hunter education, wilderness survival skills, water safety programs and living history programs. ($24,000)

(Houston) Aldine ISD — The Urban Nature Camp will give 150 students from Johnson Elementary learn more about wildlife, participate in fishing and archery as well as canoeing, rock-wall climbing and environmental education programs. ($18,504)

(Kingsville) Kleberg County — Funds will be used to support Youth Outdoor and Coastal Camps as well as Senior Outdoor Adventure programs for those 65 and older. ($30,000)

(Laredo) Webb County — Students from this program will participate in a series of workshops which focus on birding, camping, visits to state parks, fishing, hiking and more. ($25,000)

(Longview) Longview ISD — 125 low-income minority students from McLure Elementary magnet school will participate in the Careers in Science initiative and attend an outdoor education camp at Sky Ranch. ($30,000)

(Prairie View) Prairie View A & M University — 200 youth from Bowie, Harris, Ft. Bend, Waller and Grimes counties will be able to participate in fishing, archery, outdoor cooking and camping programs. ($28,800)

(Round Rock) Round Rock ISD — This out of school time program will allow participates to design a geocaching project while on camping trips to Texas state parks. ($24,104)

(San Antonio) City Kids Adventures — 354 Students will get a chance to go camping, hunting, fishing, hiking and an opportunity to explore new career options in this program. ($30,000)

(Terrell) Turning P.O.I.N.T. — Physically challenged children and adults will participate in a week-long instructional clinic and workshop at Caddo Lake. ($28,518)

To find out more about the grants, visit the TPWD Web site or contact Recreation Grants at 512-389-8224 or at rec [dot] grants [at] tpwd [dot] state [dot] tx [dot] us