The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is looking to engage communities in the outdoors through the 2023 Virginia Wildlife Grant Program.
Individuals who know of an organization in the community promoting hunting, finding new participants, reaching the underserved, or even college or university programs could use the support.
The grant submission period is from now until Feb. 1. This year will be the ninth year of the Virginia Wildlife Grant Program to connect youth to the outdoors. Almost 230 projects have been supported at $565,000 and connecting nearly 69,000 youth.
In October 2010, the DWR and the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia (WFV) created a mutually-beneficial relationship for the purpose of developing new or enhanced fundraising projects and managing funds to implement projects which aligned with the missions of the DWR and the WFV. Funds to support the Virginia Wildlife Grant program include:
- The sale of merchandise at Go Outdoors Virginia (GOV)
- Fundraising events
- Direct contributions from corporations and individuals
- Round-Up of purchases at GOV
Through this grant, DWR and WFV are connecting participants to the outdoors through the recruitment and retention into outdoor activities from new audiences (urban, underinvested communities, etc.). “Recruitment” is creating awareness and interest in an outdoor activity and most importantly, providing a first-time or trial experience of that activity. “Retention” is defined as efforts or programs that will support and encourage participants to continue in an outdoor activity in which they are currently engaged.
Effective recruitment and retention efforts provide participants with learning experiences to increase their interest and participation in the outdoor activity. By providing support and opportunities to overcome barriers and learn new skills, participants will gain confidence to continue the activity even after the program is completed. The DWR Recruitment and Retentions Strategies can be found at https://dwr.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/media/DGIF-R3-Plan.pdf.
For more information about the DWR’s 2023 Virginia Wildlife Grant Program Application Guidance, please visit https://dwr.virginia.gov/virginia-wildlife-grant-program.
~ Virginia DWR/Fincastle Herald staff report