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Project Wild and check-off for wildlife

February 27, 2002

Project Wild Workshop Offered

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled another "Project Wild" workshop for teachers and youth leaders. The workshop is scheduled for April 12-13 in the Bonners Ferry area. (Exact location to be announced.) The workshop includes a Friday evening and Saturday. Space is limited, pre-registration and a $5 deposit are required. Call the IDFG regional office at 208-769-1414 for registration information.

Project Wild is a wildlife oriented, multidisciplinary set of activities for use primarily with students. The activities develop awareness, knowledge and skills concerning the relationships between humans, wildlife and the natural world. Wildlife concepts are related to social studies, mathematics, language arts and other subjects and do not take time away from established curricula.

Each workshop involves participants in the activities and demonstrates techniques for integrating the supplementary materials into classrooms and informal learning settings. Workshops are free. Participants receive a K-12 activity guide and an aquatic guide free of charge.

Project Wild is used in 50 states and seven countries. The goal of the program is to assist learners in developing a commitment to responsible and constructive actions concerning wildlife and the environment upon which all life depends. Wildlife is an indicator of environmental health, and is important to most people's quality of life. Where there is abundant wildlife there is likely to be clean air, clean water diverse vegetation and healthy soil.

Young people are fascinated by the study of wildlife, opening windows of learning into all subject areas. Project Wild is based on the premise that young people and their teachers have a vital interest in learning about the earth as home for people and wildlife.

 As if you need another reason to participate, the basic Project Wild class is a pre-requisite for advanced, three credit hour classes offered in the summer months. The advanced classes are held in July in such beautiful locations as McCall, Clark Fork, and Harriman State Park near Island Park.

Over 70% of Idaho teachers are currently incorporating "Wild" activities in their classrooms. If you are a teacher or youth group leader not familiar with Project Wild, ask around. Discover how other professional educators feel about the program. Then give us a call to reserve a spot for you in this or a future workshop.

Check off for wildlife on your Idaho Income Tax form

The time is fast approaching for all wage earners to begin the task of annual income tax preparation. While paying taxes is a burden both in time and money, most of us concede that it is a necessary part of life. We would all probably feel better about the whole process if we felt we had more influence over how our tax dollars are spent after we sign on the bottom line on (or before) April 15th.

It comes as a surprise to most people that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is not supported by income tax dollars. The agency is funded through license and tag sales to hunters and fishermen, and excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment. Only those who choose to use wildlife in these ways must contribute to the management of wildlife.

There are, however, people who contribute to wildlife programs through voluntary contributions on their Idaho state income tax forms. These contributions are spent to manage "non-game" wildlife; those species which are not hunted, hooked or trapped.

Although non-game wildlife makes up 80 percent of all Idaho wildlife species, the Fish and Game Department spends most of its income on game species because hunters and anglers provide nearly all of the funds available to manage wildlife. Contributing to the non-game wildlife check-off is a way for all Idahoans, whether they are hunters, anglers or wildlife watchers (or a combination of all three) to help provide for the wildlife they enjoy.

Voluntary contributions through the non-game tax check-off are used to fund a variety of projects including research on non-game species, nursing home bird feeding projects, wildlife viewing site development, "watchable wildlife" educational programs, etc.. In general, the contributions help manage non-game species through gaining a better understanding of their habitats and life cycles, or through education which expands public appreciation of and knowledge about the non-game wildlife resources in the state.

Idaho's expanding population increases strains on non-game wildlife and their habitats. In 1985, there were 30 species of special concern in the state. This classification means these animals need special attention to ensure they do not slip into threatened or endangered status. By 1990, there were 48 species on the special concern list. Contributing to the tax check-off is a way for all Idahoans to help biologists understand the particular needs of non-game species, and hopefully prevent the need to list additional species as endangered. Other ways to help the non-game and watchable wildlife programs in Idaho include voluntary donations to the Non-game Wildlife Trust Fund, P.O. Box 25, Boise, Id. 83707, and by purchasing the special Wildlife License Plates for motor vehicles. So this year when you "prepare" your state income tax form, consider giving a donation to benefit non-game wildlife. That way you can contribute to the well-being of Idaho's wildlife and have a direct say in how some of your money will be used!


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Phil Cooper

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