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DNR: Remember to help wildlife during tax season

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News Alexandria, 56308
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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Nongame Wildlife Program is urging Minnesotans to remember to help wildlife by donating to the Wildlife Checkoff Fund on their tax forms. Every dollar donated helps ensure the future of wildlife in Minnesota.

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"The tough economy has affected our budget, and donations are down by more than 10 percent," said Carrol Henderson, DNR Nongame Wildlife Program supervisor. "It is critical to the survival of the Nongame Program that donations maintain or increase."

Eighty percent of funding for the Nongame Wildlife Program comes from donations to the Wildlife Checkoff Fund. It is unlike other government programs that depend primarily on general tax dollars or license fees for funding.

"Every year, the number of people donating to the checkoff decreases, with fewer than one person in 35 households remembering wildlife at tax time," Henderson said. "While we appreciate those who currently donate to our program, we need help from more Minnesotans."

The tax deductible, voluntary donations fund more than 80 conservation projects, including monitoring of loon populations; surveys of wood turtles, ospreys, timber rattlesnakes and dragonflies; frog and toad research, habitat restoration and protection; monitoring of heron rookeries; and protection and management of important wildlife habitat for bald eagles, piping plovers, peregrine falcons and other wildlife at risk.

Recoveries of the bald eagle, trumpeter swan, peregrine falcon and other species were made possible in part by the donations to the Nongame Wildlife Checkoff Fund on state income and property tax forms.

The opportunity to donate to help wildlife first appeared on state tax forms in 1981 to provide funding for the protection of nongame wildlife in Minnesota.

Henderson suggested that people tell their tax preparer they would like to personally help Minnesota's wildlife by donating to the Nongame Wildlife Checkoff fund on their tax forms. Donations can also be made online any time of the year at www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/checkoff.html .

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