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SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. – Wanted: More projects that need a hand helping Georgians enjoy and better understand animals, plants and habitats emphasized in Georgia’s State Wildlife Action Plan.

The state Department of Natural Resources is again seeking proposals for its Wildlife Viewing Grants Program. Private, public and nonprofit organizations, including local governments, can apply. The deadline is Feb. 1, 2019.

Projects approved last year, the first time the grants had been offered since 2009, varied from bat boxes along the Oconee Rivers Greenway in Athens-Clarke County to an observation platform at Okefenokee Swamp Park and outreach encouraging responsible wildlife viewing on St. Simons Island beaches.

The grants are capped at $3,000 per project and made possible through the Georgia Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund, which is administered by DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section.

Wildlife Conservation Chief Dr. Jon Ambrose said the goal is to provide viewing opportunities that increase awareness and appreciation of native animals not fished for or hunted, rare native plants and natural habitats – particularly those that are conservation priorities in the State Wildlife Action Plan.

Georgia’s Wildlife Action Plan, developed by the Wildlife Resources Division with input from more than 100 organizations, is focused on conserving wildlife and their habitats before these animals, plants and places become rarer and costly to conserve or restore. The plan also stresses the importance of education and outreach in conserving the state’s natural heritage.

“These grants help connect people with wildlife and natural habitats in need of conservation,” Ambrose said. “That connection is critical not only for wildlife but also for the well-being of Georgians. Research shows that conservation of natural environments is an important factor in maintaining human health and quality of life.”

The plan and the grants suit a state where

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