Presenter: Darlene Lewis

Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Community Outdoor Outreach Program Update
January 22, 2009

I. Executive Summary: Darlene Lewis, Program Manager of the Community Outdoor Outreach Program, will brief the Commission on this grant program which provides funding for tax-exempt organizations to introduce new users to outdoor recreation, environmental education and conservation programs.

II. Discussion: In 1996, the Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP) grant was developed as a way to address the lack of participation in TPWD programs by underserved populations. Those populations were described as ethnic minorities, low-income, females, inner city and rural communities, youth and the physically and mentally challenged. A focus group of various constituent groups in Texas met to discuss the barriers to participation, program needs of grass roots organizations and how to get them involved in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department programs. From that meeting, the scoring criteria for the CO-OP grant program was developed. The program stresses partnerships with TPWD staff and use of our sites, facilities and programs. Over the years the program has expanded to include the educational value as well as most recently adding the outdoor service component.