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Pennsylvania launches new round of grants to protect native biodiversity

HARRISBURG, PA – The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has announced a new round of Wild Resource Conservation Program funding aimed at increasing efforts to protect the state’s rich native biodiversity. Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn emphasized the importance of these grants in supporting important field research and conservation projects aimed at protecting some of Pennsylvania's most endangered non-wild animals, native plants and their habitats.

Starting May 6, the program will accept applications in three critical areas: species survey, conservation and management. This initiative is intended to play a critical role in preserving Pennsylvania's ecosystem for future generations, with an emphasis on studies and projects that improve the understanding and protection of diverse species and their environments.

This year's funding priorities include targeted surveys and conservation projects for mammals such as the northern flying squirrel, the Allegheny woodrat and the spotted skunk; bird species such as the marsh harrier; Shells including the club clam and hickory round nut; and fish species such as the Chesapeake wood bass. Additionally, there is a call for research to advance knowledge of Pennsylvania's rare plants through genetic studies and habitat modeling, as well as studies of their pollinating insects and documentation of the state's fungi.

Conservation Science and Ecological Resources Director Rebecca Bowen, who leads the Wild Resource Conservation Program for DCNR, noted the importance of this round of grants, which builds on previous research and supports the state's extensive wildlife and plant species. “This program is special because it allows Pennsylvanians to directly contribute to protecting wildlife and native plants,” Bowen said, emphasizing the community aspect of environmental protection.

The announcement also marks a return to a more regular schedule for the program following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and signals a step toward normalcy in the state's conservation efforts.

Since its founding in 1982, the Wild Resource Conservation Program has been committed to the study and protection of Pennsylvania's diverse native wildlife resources, covering a wide range from birds and mammals to amphibians, reptiles, insects and wild plants.

The application window opens on Monday, May 6th and runs until Monday, July 1st. Submissions will only be accepted electronically through DCNR's online grant application system. This move underscores Pennsylvania's commitment to using technology to protect the environment and ensures a streamlined and accessible process for applicants seeking to contribute to the state's environmental well-being.

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Anna Harden

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