Game and Fish’s Heritage grants return in 2011 with new simplified processes

[Source: AZGFD.gov, 8-11-2011] – Thanks to continued support from Arizona Lottery sales, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s popular Heritage grants program returns after a one-year hiatus with new, simplified processes. The department undertook and completed a comprehensive revision to the Heritage Fund grants program, including the application, eligibility, scoring, award notification and close-out processes.

“In response to public feedback that we had received over the years, Game and Fish completely revamped the Heritage Fund grants program to make it easier to apply for a grant, and to get more school children, teachers, administrators and parents involved in Heritage-related wildlife activities through Arizona,” says Marty Herrera, the department’s Heritage Fund administrator.

Started in 1990, the Heritage Fund was established by Arizona voters to further conservation efforts in the state, including protecting endangered species, educating our children about wildlife, helping urban residents to better coexist with wildlife, and creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation. Over the years, Game and Fish has awarded more than $12 million in grants to communities across the state. Arizonans can help raise money for the Heritage Fund every year simply by buying Arizona Lottery tickets.

The department will hold informational workshops for interested applicants at the following times and locations:

  • Monday, Aug. 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Flagstaff regional Game and Fish office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road, Flagstaff.
  • Friday, Aug. 19 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pinetop regional Game and Fish office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd., Pinetop.
  • Monday, Aug. 22 at Game and Fish’s Phoenix headquarters, 5000 W. Carefree Hwy., Phoenix. (Choice of two sessions: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 24 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Yuma regional Game and Fish office, 9140 E. 28th St., Yuma.
  • Monday, Aug. 29 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tucson regional Game and Fish office, 555 N. Greasewood Road, Tucson

Workshops must have a minimum of three preregistered attendees per location to be held. The deadline for applications is Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 at 5 p.m. MST.Potential grant recipients must have a project that is either located in Arizona or involves research in which the wildlife or its habitat is located in Arizona.  To R.S.V.P. for a workshop, call Heritage Grants Coordinator Robyn Beck at (623) 236-7530. More information on the grants and application forms can be found at www.azgfd.gov/heritage.

Learn bird viewing skills at migratory bird workshop

[Source: WMIcentral.com] – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering a unique opportunity for people to learn more about the fascinating variety of birds found in the White Mountains area. On Friday evening, May 20, wildlife biologists will conduct a birding natural history program in conjunction with International Migratory Bird Day that is free and open to the public at the department’s Pinetop regional office. The two-hour classroom program begins at6 p.m., and will be followed by a hands-on, field application session the next morning starting at7 a.m.

“This is a great opportunity for people to develop an appreciation for migratory birds that are found here seasonally, as well as learn bird identification skills using your senses of sight and sound,” says Dan Groebner, nongame biologist.

International Migratory Bird Day was created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in 1993 as a way to focus attention on one of the most important and spectacular events in the life of a migratory bird – its journey between its summer and winter homes. Participants will be able to hear recorded calls, learn about birding websites, software and field guides, and learn how to get involved in department or other local birding programs. They will also be able to view dozens of bird mounts up close and learn distinguishing characteristics.

“There will be a birding hike around the office property Saturday morning with several hands-on activities to enhance learning,” says Groebner. “It’s a good idea to bring binoculars.” Funding for this special educational program is made available through the Game and Fish Heritage Fund, which comes from lottery ticket sales and is used for conservation purposes, including educating our children about wildlife, protecting endangered species and creating more opportunities for outdoor recreation. For more information, contact Dan Groebner at the Pinetop Game and Fish office at (928) 367-4281.

State seeks help finding vandals who broke Upper Verde Wildlife Area gate lock

[Source: Prescott Daily Courier] – The Arizona Game and Fish Department and Yavapai Silent Witness are seeking information about vandals who broke the lock on a road gate at the Upper Verde River Wildlife Area east of Paulden.

The locking mechanism for the gate was broken sometime during the week of April 18, which then allowed for illegal vehicle access. Previous repeated problems with vandalism, littering and illegal off-highway vehicle use led the Game and Fish Department to close the property to vehicle access on April 22, 2010. This marks the second time the lock tab has been broken to allow vehicle access onto the property. The first incident took place sometime between March 11-13.

Yavapai Silent Witness is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the individual(s) responsible. Those with information should call (800) 932-3232. Caller identities will remain confidential.

“This is the same type of behavior that led to closure of vehicle access in the first place,” said Zen Mocarski, public information officer for the Game and Fish Region 3 office in Kingman. “The property had been open to vehicle access, but it became clear the situation was not going to improve without this closure.”  Game and Fish bought the Upper Verde River Wildlife Area, located at the headwaters of the Verde River near Paulden, in 1996 with money from the Heritage Fund.

The property consists of 1,089 acres of prime riparian habitat, which includes three miles of the Verde River and one mile of Granite Creek. Human use of the property must be appropriate to the primary goals of managing the wildlife area for the benefit of sensitive species, Mocarski said.

In 2009, the wildlife area was included in the Audubon Society’s Important Bird Area program. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also has designated the Upper Verde River as critical habitat for the endangered spikedace fish.Mocarski said he has heard many of the arguments about motorized access, and most center on taxes. “I hear the argument a bunch: ‘Game and Fish bought this land with my taxes,'” Mocarski related. “This simply isn’t true. It was purchased with Heritage Funds, which come from the Arizona lottery. Game and Fish does not receive general fund tax dollars.”

To report acts of vandalism or other illegal activities, call (800) VANDALS. Callers should provide as much information as possible without contacting offending individuals.

Free trail map will help you find wildlife in the Pinetop-Lakeside area

[Source: WMIcentral.com] – With the weather getting warmer, it may be a good time to plan a family outing to hike and enjoy wildlife viewing in the ponderosa pine country of the White Mountains.

The Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, with assistance from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, recently developed a new trail guide called the “Pinetop-Lakeside Wildlife Viewing Guide” to help you map out a fun trip to enjoy nature and wildlife in eastern Arizona. It comes complete with a local hiking trail map and descriptions of several prime areas in and around the town where you can see a variety of animals.

“The guide will help people to streamline wildlife-viewing trips in the Pinetop-Lakeside area,” says Bruce Sitko, spokesman at the department’s Pinetop office. “Families and friends will be able to plan out which types of wildlife and which areas they want to see and how to most quickly and effectively get from one to another.”[to read the full article click here].