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Outdoor Service Projects Funded in Latest Round of CO-OP Grants
AUSTIN, Texas — State and local parks will be the beneficiaries of outdoor service projects thanks to grants recently awarded to organizations around the state. The Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP) grant awards up to $50,000 to groups that are introducing participants to environmental education programs while allowing them to get outside and have a little fun camping, fishing, kayaking and more.
Ten of the 21 recipients in the current round of funding include service projects in their programs. [Corrected]
"The service project was a new component added to the grant program as a result of public hearings conducted in 2007," said Darlene Lewis, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department program director for the grants. "I’m really excited about the number and types of projects we are seeing in the applications and I think this will benefit many state and local sites."
The funded programs include:
- (Austin) Knights of Columbus — 6th grade students from East Austin will experience camping, fishing, archery, orienteering and environmental education programs to help them become more aware of the ecological needs of Texas. ($49,000)
- (Austin) Life Support Counseling & Research — 60 foster families and children will learn to fish, hunt and study Project WILD. ($30,316)
- (Corpus Christi) Youth Odyssey, Inc. — This Adventure Challenge Program seeks to create behavior change by blending outdoor experiences with life skills. These 275 youth will also restore and beautify Blucher Park in Corpus Christi to increase bird watching. ($29,167)*
- (Dallas) Freshwater Anglers Association, Inc. — 2000 kids from inner-city Dallas will travel to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens to fish, hike, study environmental education and participate in a native plant re-establishment service project. ($33,872)*
- (Ft. Worth) Lena Pope Home Inc. — The 239 children attending this summer camp will get to go fishing, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, horseback riding and study environmental education. ($32,990)
- (Ft. Worth) Near Southeast Community Development Corp. — 500 minority participants will learn nature photography, fish, and plant trees in their urban community as part of their outdoor service project. ($36,775)*
- (Galveston) Artist Boat — This entire project is an outdoor service project involving students from area middle schools who will participate in the restoration of 10 acres of coastal prairie habitat affected by Hurricane Ike at Galveston Island State Park. ($49,820)*
- (Georgetown) Williamson County Juvenile Services — 325 youth will get a chance to go kayaking, fishing, mountain biking and camping in this Adventure-based counseling program. They will partner with Lost Maples State Natural Area to build and distribute bird houses as part of their service project to provide safe birding habitat. ($22,525)*
- (Houston) Legacy Land Trust — 1,000 middle and high school students in the Houston area will participate in the "No Child Left Inside" project nature expeditions. Participants will learn more about environmental education careers as well. ($20,224)
- (Houston) Optimum Lifestyle Community Development Center — 250 inner city kids will visit state parks and learn outdoor skills such as rock climbing, camping, fishing and outdoor cooking. ($22,988)*
- (Houston) Youth Educational Support Services (YESS) — 1,000 inner city kids will participate in these water-borne field trips up the Houston Ship Channel where they will learn how pollution travels from their neighborhood into Galveston Bay and how they can prevent it. ($43,500)
- (Humble) Fair Care Center Inc. — 250 latchkey kids will participate in the Jr. Master Naturalist and Jr. Angler program as well as Project WILD. Activities include kayaking, camping and hiking. ($48,333)
- (Laredo) Webb County Sheriff’s PAL Program — 23 trips are planned to various state parks and camps to teach fishing, hunting and archery. Four park clean-ups are scheduled as part of the outdoor service project as well as planting native vegetation at selected sites. ($49,610) *
- (McAllen) Los Caminos del Rio — 235 participants will be introduced to kayaking, rafting and biking along the Rio Grande, Delta Lake and irrigation canals. This program hopes to create a new culture of active outdoor living by mixing the natural resources with nature-based sports. ($43,300)
- (Nacogdoches) Stephen F. Austin University — Participants from 34 after school programs in East Texas will get to visit state parks, kayak, experience Texas Outdoor Family camping as well as volunteer in 5 outdoor service projects. Those services projects include constructing artificial fish habitats and tagging bluebird boxes at Tyler State Park. ($35,021)*
- (New Braunfels) RavenStar Outdoor Education — 820 kids in this program will learn about water resources in Texas while participating in activities along the Comal River. Their "Water for All" Service project will design and build a rainwater harvesting system in a New Braunfels city park. ($39,342)*
- (Pflugerville) Dessau Middle School PTO — More than 1,000 middle school participants will learn camping and hiking skills. Kids and parents will also be able to participant in the Texas Outdoor Family workshop. ($31,633)
- (Port Arthur) Museum of the Gulf Coast — The EnviroKids Summer camp is an opportunity to introduce participants to Texas State Parks and wildlife management areas and promote stewardship of our natural resources. ($12,217)
- (Sonora) Sonora ISD — 617 Students from elementary to high school will get a chance to learn how to fish, camp, cook outdoors and take field trips to various state parks. ($34,908)
- (Tyler) Azleway, Inc. — Foster children in group homes, residential facilities and foster homes will get a chance to develop outdoor skills such as camping, fishing, mountain biking and more. ($47,534)
- (Wharton) Boys & Girls Club of Wharton — 150 youth will experience camping, orienteering, bird/wildlife watching and more. Two wildlife management areas will benefit from a service project which will include wildlife monitoring, putting up duck nest boxes and signage. ($20,635)*
Funding for CO-OP grants comes from a portion of sales tax collected on sporting goods sales. There is $1.25 million available in the CO-OP program and the next available deadline is Oct. 1, 2009. To download an application and receive notification of upcoming grant writing workshops, please visit the TPWD website at or contact the TPWD Recreation Grants office at 512-389-8224.
*Program includes service project.
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