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Help wildlife soar, crawl, swim – check the wildlife checkoff

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga.  ­– Do you enjoy Georgia’s wildlife and wild places?

This tax season, don’t forget that you can help them survive and even thrive by contributing to the Georgia Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund checkoff when filing your state income taxes.

Every donation counts, and giving is easy. Simply fill in any amount more than $1 on line 30 of Form 500 (the long form) or line 10 of form 500-EZ.

(Already filed? Give online anytime at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, by clicking “Licenses & Permits” and creating a customer account, or donating directly. Details at www.georgiawildlife.com/donations.)

What’s often called the Give Wildlife a Chance checkoff helps native species as varied as bald eagles and gopher tortoises, and eastern hellbenders and Georgia aster wildflowers. Here’s how.

Conservation of Georgia’s nongame wildlife ­­­– native animals not legally hunted or fished for – as well as rare native plants and natural habitats is supported largely by the Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund. The lifeblood of this conservation fund, created by state law to support nongame work, is fundraising.

The checkoff has been key in conservation successes, including the recovery of bald eagles and a growing effort to keep gopher tortoises, Georgia’s state reptile, off the Endangered Species list.

But checkoff contributions to the Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund are declining. They hit a new low of only $113,600 in fiscal year 2017. Reversing this decline is critical to Georgia’s nongame and habitats.

One reason why is that contributions boost the potential for the Nongame Conservation Section to obtain and match grants. DNR receives up to $3 in grants for every $1 spent from the fund.

This leveraging ability makes every contribution valuable, said Nongame Conservation Chief Jon Ambrose. “Donations to the tax checkoff are critical for getting additional funding from other sources,” he said. “Even by giving just a little, Georgians can provide critical support and make a big impact.”

Georgia’s State Wildlife Action identifies about 640 plant and animal species of conservation concern in the state. The Nongame Conservation Section, which is charged with conserving nongame wildlife statewide, depends primarily on public support. Much of that support comes through the sale and renewal of DNR’s eagle and hummingbird license plates, and through the wildlife income tax checkoff.

Help Georgia’s nongame wildlife soar, crawl, swim and grow! Check the checkoff.

Learn more