SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (April 5, 2019) – Do you enjoy Georgia’s wildlife and wild places?
During tax season, help these animals, plants and habitats survive and even thrive by contributing to the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund checkoff when you file your state income taxes.
Donations small and large count, and giving is easy. Simply fill in any amount of a $1 or more on line 30 of Form 500 or line 10 of form 500-EZ. (Already filed? No problem. Give 24/7 at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com by clicking “Licenses & Permits.” Details at georgiawildlife.com/donations.)
What’s often called the Give Wildlife a Chance income tax checkoff helps native species varying from tri-colored bats to bald eagles and gopher tortoises to endangered Canby’s dropwort. Here’s how.
Conservation of Georgia’s nongame wildlife – native animals not legally fished for or hunted – plus rare native plants and natural habitats is supported largely by the state’s Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund. The lifeblood of this fund, created by law to conserve nongame, is fundraising. The income tax checkoff has provided significant support since its creation 30 years ago.
However, checkoff contributions to the Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund hit consecutive lows in 2016 and 2017. Thankfully, giving ticked upward last year, totaling $129,813. Continuing that recovery is critical to Georgia nongame and habitats.
One reason why is that checkoff donations boost the ability of DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section to obtain and match grants. The agency receives up to $3 in grants for every $1 spent from the Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund.
The matching funds are essential for research, survey and management projects that help conserve the state’s native wildlife species, said Wildlife Conservation Section Chief Dr. Jon Ambrose. “By contributing to the fund through the income tax checkoff, you can ensure that these conservation efforts continue.”
The checkoff has been key to many 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.
About 640 plant and animal species are listed as high priorities for conservation in Georgia’s State Wildlife Action, a strategy to conserve native wildlife and their habitats before they become rarer and more costly to preserve. The Wildlife Conservation Section, which is charged with conserving nongame statewide, depends primarily on public support. Much of that support comes from the sale and renewal of DNR eagle and hummingbird license plates, and from the wildlife income tax checkoff.
How can you help Georgia wildlife soar, crawl, swim and grow this tax season? Check the checkoff.
§ Online: georgiawildlife.com/donations
§ Phone: Wildlife Conservation Section offices – Social Circle (770-761-3035), Forsyth (478-994-1438), Brunswick (912-264-7218)
§ State tax forms and e-filing details: dor.georgia.gov/taxes
§ Already filed? Give online anytime at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com (click “Licenses & Permits”) or make a direct donation (details at georgiawildlife.com/donations).