Life’s Better Outside for TPWD CO-OP Grantees

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AUSTIN –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:


Heroes on the Water – Kayak, backpacking and fishing outings for wounded warriors and their families. ($33,900)


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)

Keep Austin Beautiful 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)

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)

Corpus Christi

Coastal Bend and Bays Estuaries High school students will receive a coastal ecology experience with environmental science field trips to Goose Island State Park and aquatic science field trips to Mustang Island State Park. ($17,916)

Texas A & M Corpus Christi Children and families will learn how to kayak and take paddling trips at Mustang Island State Park. ($7,341)

Fort Worth

Opportunity Resource Services One hundred high school students from rural communities will be introduced to environmental education programs and technology in this one-year program that will include field trips to state parks. ($21,543)

Ft. Worth ISD – Middle school students will study the human impact on the watershed at Mineral Wells and Cedar Hill state parks. ($16,947)

KEEN Group, Inc. – Camping, hiking, fishing, horseback riding and archery are just some of the activities these participants will enjoy. ($18,779)


Center for African American Military History Inc. Monthly trips to explore historic sites in Texas where Buffalo Soldiers lived and fought are scheduled for 300 youth. Camping, hiking and fishing are part of the planned activities. ($36,051)

Houston Zoo, Inc.Students will be exposed to outdoor activities at the Texas City Prairie Preserve such as scat tracking, seining, water testing and birding. ($31,561)

Precinct2gether Summer campers will visit Battleship Texas, Varner-Hogg Plantation and San Jacinto Battleground state historic sites and Sheldon Lake State Park. ($33,529)

Willow Waterhole Conservancy – Monthly programs are offered to youth and families to help them connect with nature. Service projects include trail clearing, tree planting and wetlands cleanup. ($33,760)

Youth Outdoor Unity – Preserving western heritage is the theme of the day for 250 youth who will participate in a trail ride, camping, outdoor cooking, fishing and environmental education programs. ($37,588)


Texas Tech University Outdoor School – This funding will provide 250 San Antonio middle school students access to natural resource and environmental education and conservation programs and associated career opportunities. ($39,998)


Lancaster ISD – Fifty high school girls will participate in service projects that include trail cleaning and geocache maintenance at Cedar Hill State Park. ($11,807)


Woods & Water Kids Adventures, Inc. – Nearly 500 kids and families will participate in hunting, fishing, camping and learning the value of conservation. ($38,408)


North American Butterfly Association, Inc. – Elementary school kids will participate in weekly sessions to increase their appreciation for wildlife and their habitats, as well as careers and stewardship in the conservation field of studies. ($33,171)

San Antonio

San Antonio River Authority – This Birds, Bass and Boats program will introduce 250 participants to birding, wildlife viewing, paddling, fishing and environmental education programs. ($16,253)

San Augustine

City of San Augustine Archery, boating, fishing, birding and trips to the state fish hatcheries are on the agenda for these kids and families in this rural community. ($34,311)


Seguin ISD – Students and families will participate in camping and other activities at Palmetto State Park. Activities include kayaking, mountain biking, archery and geocaching. ($36,821)


Stephenville ISD Participants will improve their skills in campfire building, Dutch oven cooking, rock climbing, archery, fishing and boating. ($12,448)


City of Tyler Kids and families will participate in the following activities: kayaking, birding, geocaching, nature photography, a Texas Buffalo Soldiers presentation and more. ($33,603)

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