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PFBC SEEKING APPLICANTS FOR SECOND ROUND OF EDUCATION GRANTS

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/11/2006 (685 reads)
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is looking for fishing and aquatic education programs that could use some financial assistance. The PFBC is seeking grant applications from organizations and local agencies involved in offering sportfishing and aquatic resource education programming. The Commission is now accepting applications for its Sportfishing and Aquatic Resource Education Grants. The Commission awarded 14 grants in this program in 2006.

In this program, grants up to $5,000 will be given to providers of fishing and aquatic resource education programs. Programs must occur between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. This funding can be applied to the purchase of equipment, materials and costs associated with field trips. Applications, program rules and eligibility information are available at the Commission’s website at www.fishandboat.com or by calling 717-705-7835 and requesting an application. The deadline for applications is December 31, 2006. Successful applicants will be notified by April 1, 2007, and funding will be awarded after July 1, 2007.

Re-engaging youth in fishing and conservation is a major point of emphasis for the Commission. Statistics from the National Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Recreation show that in 1980, 26% of Pennsylvania kids aged 6-15 fished. In 1995, that number climbed to 41%, but dropped to 35% in 2000.

“Re-engaging youth in outdoor activities is critical to the future of sportfishing and building a more environmentally connected citizenry,” says PFBC Executive Director Doug Austen. “Research clearly shows that good, well-structured youth fishing programs lead to kids increasing their interest in fishing more, their skills, and helping them build a greater sense of aquatic stewardship and outdoor ethics. It’s not enough for us as an agency to talk about more and better programs to involve Pennsylvania’s youth in fishing and aquatic education. We want to put our money where our mouth is and this new grants program is one way to do that.”

The Sportfishing and Aquatic Resource Education Grants program expands on the Commission's long-standing commitment to youth education. The Commission spends about $450,000 annually on such efforts. Currently 45,000 children receive the Pennsylvania League of Angling Youth (PLAY) newsletter from the Commission four times a year; 5,000 Pennsylvania schoolteachers have been trained and use the PFBC’s aquatic education curriculum; 400+ PFBC fishing skills instructors teach thousands of children in angling basics annually; and the Commission provides equipment and support for 39 free tackle loaner sites statewide. And it is looking to add more sites this year, potentially through the grant program.

The PFBC has budgeted $50,000 for this second year of Sportfishing and Aquatic Resource Education Grants and is hopeful that figure can be increased in future years.
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