These 41 grant partnerships, totaling $2,048,678, will support community-based conservation and outdoor recreation activities throughout the state and build on $22 million already awarded by TPWD over the past 25 years.
CO-OP grant recipients include churches, conservation groups, nature centers, nonprofit organizations, school districts and municipalities.
The following organizations in Central Texas will receive funding:
Austin Peace Academy: $60,000
The Science Oriented Camping & Fishing for Middle and High School program will create the first campus fishing club for this East Austin Title One school, with day trips for hands-on practice to fishing spots at local and state parks. Science classes will also hit the road, transporting 110 students to six Texas State Parks for overnight campouts with geology lessons, caving, astronomy sky parties and native plant hikes.
Camp Fire of Central Texas: $60,000
Citizen Science and Stewardship Program: Youth in Nature is an extension of the Camp Fire afterschool and backpacking clubs, integrating Project WILD and the Texas Nature Tracker programs to deeply engage 150 elementary and middle school students in environmental science. Two long-term service-learning projects at McKinney Falls State Park contribute monarch butterfly and pollinator data to the iNaturalist program. Students and their families can also attend overnight camping trips and participate in backpacking adventures at state parks.
Partners in Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability (PEAS): $59,996
The Connecting with Nature on Campus program supports four Title One schools with robust environmental education lessons. Students spend more than 2,800 hours in outdoor learning. The project includes adapting Project WILD and Growing Up WILD curriculum and support for 20 teachers. Summer programs also utilize the Archery in Schools program, with staff attending TPWD Archery Instructor training.
National Audubon Society-- Audubon Texas: $60,000
Audubon’s Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women engages 36 high school students from diverse and socio-economically disadvantaged urban areas in mentorship and conservation leadership experiences. The 12-month program includes recreation and field experiences at state parks, water quality sampling, conservation action projects, and a career panel. A five-day capstone experience offers an introduction to the Texas Nature Trackers program and a citizen science project partnering with a TPWD biologist to gather dragonfly data.
Nature and Eclectic Outdoors: $60,000
Wilderness Kids partners with historically marginalized inner-city Houston neighborhoods to create connections to state and regional parks, teach outdoor skills, inspire stewardship and encourage outdoor lifestyles. It provides field trips, day camps and opportunities for family camping workshops to more than 500 students, as well as an intensive Student Outdoor Leaders program that explores conservation careers, stewardship and service projects.
Williamson County Juvenile Services Division: $29,000
The GO! Program provides opportunities for 150 youth within the Williamson County juvenile justice system to visit local, state and city parks, and learn new outdoor skills such as fishing, biking, paddle boarding, rock climbing, and outdoor cooking. A visit from a TPWD Game Warden will provide insight into careers in conservation, and youth also participate in a service project at Mother Neff State Park.
The Forever Foundation for Texas Wildlife: $59,270
Getting Texans Outside offers greater access for urban populations and people of color by increasing outdoor opportunities with private landowners. Two Huntmaster programs will train experienced hunters to volunteer as mentors on 10 amentored adult hunts and four mentored youth hunts. A new pilot program, Texas Nature Expeditions, will partner with community youth groups to engage families in ornithology and bird watching, water ecology, and wildlife photography.
Texas State University: $59,920
The Spring Lake Outdoor Education Project offers outdoor experiences led by university recreation students trained in TPWD’s Aquatic Science, Project WILD, archery and outdoor leadership curriculums. Activities include after-school and summer programs, outdoor sessions with the Discipline Alternative Education Program, opportunities for overnight campouts at Texas State Parks and backpacking trips at Lost Maples and Enchanted Rock State Natural Areas.