PHOENIX - Whether you won or lost when you bought
a lottery ticket last year, some of your money is likely
going to benefit something you would approve of —
helping Arizona's schools and universities.
because the bulk of this year's grants from the Arizona
Game and Fish Department Heritage Fund are going to
education and research. Heritage Fund money comes from
Arizona Lottery ticket sales.
This year, the Arizona Game and Fish Department is
taking its Heritage Fund money and awarding more than
$645,000 to 22 grant projects across Arizona. When
combined with matching money from other sources, the
projects being funded total more than $1.2 million
invested in Arizona.
"We enjoy seeing deserving projects get this money
every year," says Arizona Game and Fish Department
Heritage Fund Administrator Ashley Ross. "We like to see
Heritage funding go to great projects that benefit both
people and wildlife across the state."
Arizona voters created the Heritage Fund back in
1990. The money from lottery ticket sales goes to
conservation efforts like protecting endangered species,
educating our children about wildlife, helping urban
residents to better coexist with wildlife, and creating
new opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of dollars are set
aside to award grants to important projects that
otherwise might not receive funding.
"We have an application process to make sure that
worthy projects can move forward," says Robyn Beck, the
department's Heritage grant coordinator. "We want to
help students, researchers, outdoor enthusiasts, and
ultimately, all Arizonans to enjoy this money."
Among the projects that won Heritage grants this year
1. creation and distribution of a color brochure with a
map by Pima County Natural Resources to help the public
better enjoy Tucson Mountain Park, the largest natural
resource park in Pima County,
2. construction of an aluminum pier at Betty's Kitchen
Wildlife and Interpretive Area by the Bureau of Land
Management to improve public access to wildlife viewing
and fishing in the recreational area,
3. design of various wildlife movement corridors by
Northern Arizona University to help better ensure the
safety of both humans and six to 12 animal species that
live within five miles of incorporated cities in
4. completion of a portable version of the digital
information about birds available on the "Ask a
Biologist" Web site, which will allow students, teachers
and parents to download information about hundreds of
birds to MP3 players. This project is being completed
through Arizona State University's School of Life
5. creation of a lesson plan, activities, and teacher
training that educators at all grade levels can apply at
Frances Short Pond, through the efforts of the City of
6. work on the first phase of a University of Arizona
study about bobcats living and moving around on the
urban edges of the Tucson area,
7. creation of a student-made schoolyard pond habitat
that will be used as an outdoor classroom for teaching
wildlife-related lessons at Skyline Elementary School in
8. development of an outreach program to involve Native
American communities and schools in wildlife observation
and education, in conjunction with an existing
environmental education program run by Northern Arizona
9. study by the University of Arizona of the status and
distribution of Mexican fox squirrels, a species that
lives in a single mountain range in Arizona, and the
impacts of fire on the population.
Over the years, the Arizona Game and Fish Department
has awarded a total of more than $10 million in grants
to communities across the state. More than two dozen
schools in Maricopa County alone have benefited from
Heritage money since the fund was created.
Arizonans can help raise money for the Heritage Fund
every year, simply by buying Arizona Lottery tickets.
The department will hold workshops in August for
groups interested in applying for next year's Heritage
grants. Contact Robyn Beck at (602) 789-3530 for more
information about the application process and to find
out whether your group would qualify for a Heritage