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Teachers: Wild School Grant Deadline May 31st

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COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio teachers who have successfully used Project WILD in their classrooms can now provide students additional hands-on learning about wildlife and habitat through grants available from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

Grants of $500 each will be awarded on a competitive basis to 40 schools currently participating in Project WILD, a supplemental environmental education curriculum for grades K-12.  Project WILD uses wildlife and wildlife management techniques to teach traditional school subjects, such as math, science and language arts. Through this grant program, now in its fourth year, teachers can use the funds for materials, equipment and activities to develop “WILD School Sites” on their campuses.

“A WILD School Site project allows teachers to take lesson plans outdoors, bringing environmental education concepts to life in a real way for students,” said Jen Dennison, wildlife education coordinator for the ODNR Division of Wildlife. “An added benefit is the improvement of schoolyard habitat for wildlife and people, making for better outdoor learning experiences.”

Grants will be awarded to applicants that best meet the WILD School Site criteria. Criteria includes project feasibility, benefit to students in understanding the needs of wildlife in Ohio, and participation of students, teachers, staff and the local community in developing and maintaining the site.

Funding for the WILD School Site grant program comes from state income tax check-off donations to the Wildlife Diversity Fund and fees generated from the sale of cardinal license plates.

Interested educators should submit an application between now and May 31 to the ODNR Division of Wildlife, 2045 Morse Road, Bldg. G, Columbus, OH 43229. Complete details of the grant program and an application packet can be found at wildohio.com. To learn more about Project WILD or to find an area workshop, please call 1-800-WILDLIFE.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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National Safe Boating Week: Ohio Events

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COLUMBUS, OH – As Ohioans prepare for the summer boating season, which traditionally begins Memorial Day weekend, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is reminding all recreational boaters of the importance in properly wearing an approved life jacket or vest while boating.

“Four people died this year in boating-related accidents—none of them were wearing a life jacket,” said Pamela Dillon, chief, ODNR Division of Watercraft. “We believe that a good boating experience is a safe one and boating safety begins with the choices boaters make before leaving the dock, such as wearing an approved life jacket.”

In observance of National Safe Boating Week, which runs May 22-28, the Division of Watercraft kicks off its third “ Wear It Ohio!” summer life jacket awareness campaign at Alum Creek, East Fork, Caesar Creek Lake and Portage Lakes state parks. The campaign includes special promotional events at each of the four lakes, from May 22 through July 25, focusing on a life jacket loaner program. Eligible participants may qualify to receive, on loan, free use of a new U.S. Coast Guard approved inflatable life vest during the 2010 boating season.

In addition, state and local marine patrol officers will conduct free vessel safety inspections this weekend at various public boat launch ramps statewide. The free courtesy inspections are offered  to ensure that boaters have the required safety equipment on board their boats and that it is in good working condition.

As National Safe Boating Week concludes during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Division of Watercraft will launch its statewide boating safety awareness public service message campaign to remind boaters of the importance of wearing a life jacket and staying sober while boating. Boating safety messages will be broadcast each weekend during the summer on more than 40 radio stations and several cable TV systems.

“We have seen a 33 percent decline in boating-related fatalities on Ohio waterways over the past decade as more boaters become aware of the importance of boating safety,” said Chief Dillon.

A complete listing of “Wear It Ohio!” events, as well as information on boating safety programs, tips and where to enjoy boating, may be found atwww.ohiodnr.com/watercraft.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com

(Editor’s Note – A complete listing of Wear It Ohio! events follows below.)

Alum Creek Lake State ParkDelaware County

  • May 22, Hollenback Ramp, 11am-3pm
  • May 30, New Galena Ramp, 11am-3pm
  • June 20, Cheshire Ramp, 11am-3pm
  • June 26, Hollenback Ramp, 11am-3pm
  • July 10, New Galena Ramp, 11am-3pm
  • July 24, Cheshire Ramp, 11am-3pm

Caesar Creek State ParkWarren County

  • May 22, Wellman Meadow Ramp, 9am–1pm
  • May 30, North Pool Ramp, 9am–1pm
  • June 6, Furnas Shores Ramp, Noon-4pm
  • June 19, “Beach/Lake Fest” at the Beach, Noon–4pm
  • July 17, Wellman Meadow Ramp, 10am-2pm
  • July 25, North Pool Ramp, 10am-2pm

East Fork LakeClermont County

  • May 22, Tate Ramp,11am-3pm
  • May 23, Tate Ramp, 11am-3pm
  • June 12, Tate Ramp, 11am-3pm
  • June 13, Tate Ramp, 11am-3pm
  • July 10, Tate Ramp, 11am-3pm
  • July 11, Tate Ramp, 11am-3pm

Portage Lakes State ParkSummit County

  • May 22, Manchester Road Ramp, 10am-2pm
  • June 5, State Park Drive Ramp, 10am-2pm
  • June 13, State Park Drive Ramp, 10am-2pm
  • June 27, Manchester Road Ramp, 10am-2pm
  • July 10, On the water from a pontoon boat, 1-5pm
  • July 11, Demo Day on the Beach, Noon-4pm– Try out different types of powerboats, PWC, canoes and kayaks. Pontoon boat rides also available.
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Poland North Elem. Newest 'Wild School" Site

Mahoning County school 104th in the state; fifth in the county

POLAND, OH –  Poland North Elementary School was dedicated on May 6, 2010 as an official WILD School Site according to ODNR Division of Wildlife. The school is the 104th site dedicated in Ohio. The school celebrated during a small ceremony for the students and staff.

Only the fifth school to be dedicated in Mahoning County, Poland North has performed many projects to learn about and benefit from wildlife and the environment while enhancing habitat for wildlife in the school’s enclosed courtyard. Projects include: erecting bird feeding stations and working in their on-site greenhouse to produce flowers for the school property. A beautiful pond structure with a small waterfall was recently installed by PondScape of Youngstown. Students who attended ceremony helped release fish into the water feature. Wildlife that benefits includes countless migratory birds and a variety of reptiles and amphibians, just to name a few.

Poland North is also a 2010 WILD School Sites grant recipient. Only 40 grants of $500 each are distributed by the Ohio Division of Wildlife each year. The grant funding will help Poland North to further enhance the pond feature as well as provide additional habitat enhancement for wildlife on the school grounds. Follow Principal Masucci’s school blog by visiting www.poland.k12.oh.us/North

The WILD School Sites program is considered an action extension of the national Project WILD program. Any school property used by students, teachers, and the school community as a place to learn about and benefit from wildlife and the environment can be certified. The sites function within the premise that every school, regardless of size and location, can provide outdoor educational opportunities that can and should be part of an integrated environmental education program. WILD School Sites that demonstrate program development and site enhancement consistent with the premises outlined in this program are eligible for certification as an official Ohio WILD School Site.

For information on WILD School Sites, Project WILD, and grants click here or call 1-800-WILDLIFE to be connected with your District Office.

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