Conserve Wildlife by Donating on Line 31 of Tax Form

RALEIGH, NC Jan. 11, 2013 — Help keep North Carolina wild when completing a N.C. State Income tax form this tax season by donating on line 31.

Your donation will go to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund, which helps the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission conduct research, conservation and monitoring work that benefits animals not hunted or fished —animals such as songbirds, sea turtles, eagles, salamanders,frogs, turtles and bats.

Pine Barrens treefrog

Donations to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund support projects that benefit animals not hunted or fished, such as this Pine Barrens treefrog. Photo courtesy of Jeff Hall.

More than 1,000 nongame species call the Tar Heel state home. Many species, such as box turtles, gray treefrogs and cardinals, are common and can be found in your backyard. Others, such as sea turtles, Carolina northern flying squirrels and red-cockaded woodpeckers, are endangered and need conservation to prevent them from disappearing entirely from our state’s landscape.

Over the years, projects conducted by wildlife diversity biologists have led to restoration of animals that were once considered critically endangered, such as the bald eagle and peregrine falcon. Conversely, biologists have worked with animals that aren’t yet endangered, such as the box turtle, freshwater mussels and many species of songbirds, to ensure that their populations remain viable and sustainable.

In fact, much of the work biologists do today helps maintain viable, self-sustaining populations of all native wildlife, with an emphasis on priority species and habitats identified in North Carolina’s Wildlife Action Plan. They have conducted numerous surveys to determine the abundance and distribution of many species across the state — from bog turtles in western North Carolina to Pine Barrens treefrogs in the Sandhills, to piping plovers along the coast. Through surveys, biologists collect data that help them determine the most effective ways to managewildlife and their habitats, ensuring that species not only survive but thrivein a state where habitat continues to disappear at an alarming rate.

Other projects funded through tax check-off dollars, such as the Green Growth Toolbox, have made habitat more suitable for wildlife. Through the Green Growth Toolbox, wildlife diversity biologists last year provided technical guidance to more than 190 local government officials, instructing them on ways to design communities and maintain high-quality wildlife habitat while building new homes, workplaces and shopping centers.

The Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund’s tax check-off donations made through line 31 of the state income tax form provide the largest and most significant source of non-federal funding for all of these projects. Every dollar of tax check-off donations the Commission receives goes to the fund, where it matches federal and other grants, or is used to pay for educational activities and wildlife-watching projects like the North Carolina Birding Trail. Because donations can be matched with federal and other grants, the Wildlife Commission can double donated dollars. For example, if you make a $50 donation, nongame and endangered wildlife in North Carolina could benefit from $100 of support.

Online tax preparation software, such as TurboTax, does not have numbered lines, so e-filers will be asked if they would like to make a donation to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund. Other tax filers can also tell their tax preparer they would like to donate.

Tax season isn’t the only time or way to contribute to wildlife conservation. Other ways to help North Carolina’s wildlife and their habitats year-round are:

More information about the Wildlife Diversity Program, including projects and quarterly reports, is available on the Commission’s Conserving page.

The Pine Barrens treefrog photo, available as a high resolution file, was taken by Jeff Hall, a Commission herpetologist and coordinator of the N.C. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.

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