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Co-Op Grants Fund Programs to Make Science Fun
AUSTIN, Texas — According to the 2003 statewide Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) summary reports, more Texas students are underperforming when it comes to science in schools. The latest round of 15 grants totaling $394,266 from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department may help address that issue and promote outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation.
Grants officials say they have noted a trend in the latest round of applications from groups seeking funding from TPWD’s Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP). And that is that many grant applicants plan to invest in students’ science knowledge as a way to preserve our state’s natural resources and environment.
“We have groups that come up with amazing programs to help target this population of students because they have concerns about what will happen to the state’s natural resources,” said CO-OP Program Director Darlene Lewis. “They are partnering with schools and after-school programs to help make science fun, while also addressing other community concerns, such as latch-key students, crime prevention programs as well as getting kids outdoors for a little exercise as well. It’s a win-win for Texas.”
The CO-OP program has funded 350 outdoor education programs since 1996 and has a current annual budget of $800,000. Applicants can request as much as $30,000 to help cover the cost of equipment, supplies, transportation and facility use fees.
To learn more about CO-OP grants, call Lewis at (512) 912-7124. The next grant application deadline is March 1.
The following organizations are receiving CO-OP grants:
- Austin—American Youth Works —Project SOL (Service/Outdoors/Leadership) will conduct a series of camping, backpacking, and canoeing trips for participants in the AYW/YouthBuild/AmeriCorps program, combining service, education and recreation in Texas State Parks. $20,496.
- Austin—Friends of the Colorado River Foundation – 250 female at-risk folks will be overnight camping, rafting and fishing while learning problem-solving, decision-making and confidence-building using the outdoors. $22,084.
- Austin—Camp Fire USA Balcones Council – This project will consist of a series of Outdoor Skills trainings for children and their parents. Families will participate in Explore Texas, Texas Junior Naturalists and other TPWD programs at several state parks. $14,453.
- Corpus Christi—Youth Odyssey – At-risk youth will participate in 12 wilderness adventure trips that include rock-climbing, canoeing, kayaking and more, to help promote the development of core life skills and outdoor skills. $30,000.
- Dallas—Freshwater Angler Association, Inc. – Children participating in this program will learn basic fishing skills, fish identification, habitat and ethics. $26,535.
- Del Valle—Popham Elementary School – Project Science is a series of activities correlated with the science-learning objectives for kids from preschool through sixth grade. The events will take place on the school campus, Texas state parks and other community locations. $30,000.
- Devine—City Kids Adventure – 450 inner-city kids from San Antonio will be exposed to camping in state parks, fishing, hunting, plant/wildlife identification, and canoeing. $30,000.
- Edinburg–University of Texas-Pan American - Both high school and university students will get hands-on exposure to diverse plants and wildlife and wildscaping activities. $30,000.
- Fort Davis—Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute – Funding will allow kids from Brewster, Jeff Davis, Pecos and Presidio counties to participate in outdoor education programs. $24,810.
- Houston—Frank M. Black Middle School PTA – Students will participate in “Wilderness Education,” focusing on science, math, language arts, social studies, art and physical education. Huntsville State Park staff will participate in the program as instructors. $29,960.
- Houston—Macedonia Outreach Center – After-school participants will assist biologists in conservation research projects, aquatic education programs, birding activities and camping. $30,000.
- Hurst—Education in Action – 500 outstanding students in Texas will get to participate in a 10-week long Lone Star Leadership Academy program which includes camping and rafting. $30,000.
- Rotan—Fisher County Healthcare Development Corp. – Program activities such as birding, camping, fishing, hunting and mountain biking will be offered to at-risk students. $29,256.
- San Antonio—Forever Foundation for Texas Wildlife – 250 disadvantaged kids will experience hunting for the first time. $30,000.
- Sherman—Austin College – Summer field trips will benefit children from the Boys & Girls Club and Girls, Inc. of Sherman. Activities will include visits to state parks, and opportunities for birding, wildlife viewing and nature hiking. $16,672.
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