Georgia’s rare animals and plants need your help. And one of the easiest, most effective ways to provide it is when filing your state income taxes.
Here’s how it works. From sea turtles to swallow-tailed kites, the conservation of nongame wildlife, rare plants and natural habitats in Georgia is supported largely by the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund.
In turn, the fund depends on public support. About 10 percent of that support comes from the Give Wildlife a Chance tax checkoff, created in 1989 to conserve Georgia animals not fished for or hunted.
Yet, contributions to the checkoff slumped to near an all-time low last year. Reversing that downturn is vital for conserving the wild creatures and places that Georgians enjoy, now and for future generations.
The checkoff and the Wildlife Conservation Fund have played a role in Georgia’s wildest success stories, such as the rebound of bald eagles – see Berry College’s cam, www.berry.edu/eaglecam – and the acquisition of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat along the Altamaha River.
Wildlife Conservation Fund revenues are also used to attract and match grants. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section gains about $2 for every $1 spent from the fund.
More than 1,000 Georgia plant and animal species are species of conservation concern. This tax season, make your mark to help them: Fill in any amount more than $1 on line 26 of the state’s long tax form (Form 500) or line 10 of the short form (Form 500EZ).
All donations help, benefiting the work of the Nongame Conservation Section, which does not receive state appropriations for its mission to conserve nongame wildlife – native animals not legally hunted, fished for or trapped – native plants and habitats. Sales and renewals of bald eagle and hummingbird license plates also help the agency and the Wildlife Conservation Fund.
- Visit georgiawildlife.com/conservation/support or call Nongame Conservation Section offices in Social Circle (770-761-3035), Forsyth (478-994-1438) or Brunswick (912-264-7218).
- State tax forms and e-filing details at http://dor.georgia.gov/taxes.
- Nongame Conservation Section report: www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/AnnualReport