Texas children will have more opportunities to explore the state’s natural resources thanks to the 26 grants awarded this year through Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Community Outdoor Outreach Program. The grants help fund community-based youth and family outdoors-oriented programs and activities like camping, backpacking, kayaking and service projects.
The Community Outdoor Outreach Program was developed by TPWD in 1996 to help introduce underserved populations to environmental education, conservation and outdoor recreation programs. The program is authorized by the Texas State Legislature in the TPWD appropriation budget as a specialized component of the Texas Recreation and Parks Account Program. Grants range from $5,000 to $40,000 and may be used to pay for equipment, cost of leasing transportation, liability insurance and up to 40 percent for staffing costs.
“Research shows that 95 percent of science is learned outside the traditional classroom,” says CO-OP Program Director Darlene Lewis. “State parks, hatcheries, birding centers and wetlands around the state will become the new classroom for these participants.”
Projects in the following cities are receiving grant awards this year:
Keep Austin Beautiful Green Teens – This program allows 275 youth to participate in weekly after school activities that include field trips and service projects focusing on ecology, water quality and camping. ($14,210)
Austin Youth River Watch – 120 students participate in this after school program that focuses on drop-out prevention and environmental education programs. Projects will include monitoring water quality and outdoor recreational activities such as paddling, hiking and outdoor cooking. ($37,910)
City of Austin Parks & Recreation – This program hopes to develop leaders in natural resources to improve diversity in careers and participation in the outdoors. Activities include kayaking, archery, fishing, nature photography and more. ($37,031)
Expedition School Fund – This program will allow 250 middle and high school kids to experience kayaking and paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake. ($39,463)
Families in Nature – Connecting children and families to nature will allow 600 participants to explore the outdoors. Kayaking, nature photography, birding, caving and backpacking are just few of the activities planned. ($39,832)
Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center – Participants in the Natural Leaders Network of Austin will get involved in conservation service projects and outdoor recreational activities such as backpacking, camping, archery and bird watching. ($39,295)
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News Release – Austin, TX
TPWD Media Contact: Darlene Lewis 512-389-8745, firstname.lastname@example.org