This is a guest post by my good friend DJ Zor. This guy has tirelessly worked with Trout Unlimited and Arizona Game and Fish Department to get the Trout in the Classroom Program up and running here in Phoenix. DJ has also spearheaded several Pig Farm Ink Fly Tying Nights here in the Valley. Follow him on instagram and like the Arizona Pig Farm Ink Facebook Page
Thanks to the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation – by DJ Zor
It’s that dreadful time of year in my house. License plate renewal time. Both of our cars are due in October so I get to bite the bullet just once a year. This year I’m doing things slightly different. I’m getting one of those fancy plates with a picture on it. Why? You might ask. Well, let me tell you. Recently the state council of Trout Unlimited received a generous grant from the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation to help us get Trout in the Classroom off the ground in 12 new schools this fall. The grant that was received funded a large portion of the equipment costs for starting these new schools in the program. So this year, and from now on, both my wife and I will be sporting AZSFWC plates on our vehicles.
The Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation is a group of conservationists, whose mission is to educate and inform sportsmen, wildlife conservation organizations throughout the state, and the public at large on important issues related to wildlife and wildlife habitat, and to provide, via grants or other sources, funding to conserve Arizona’s wildlife populations through habitat enhancement initiatives. The funding provided by AZSFWC largely comes from the license plate fund, and is provided to organizations for work in one of three categories: habitat, education or hunter/angler recruitment projects, and any 501(c)(3) organization in the state can apply for a grant to help with their project. So for me, now knowing exactly where this money is going, getting a conservation plate is a no brainer. It couldn’t be simpler either, just go to servicearizona.com to renew your vehicle and when given the option to select a plate, choose the one for conservation.
Trout in the Classroom would not be able to expand at the rate we are trying to without the help from the grant from the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation. We went from exposing about 300 Arizona students to cold water conservation and the Apache and Gila trout, to reaching close to 1,800 kids this year with plans to continue to expand for at least the next four years. What TIC does, is install an aquarium in a classroom where the kids get to raise rainbow trout from eggs to fry. TIC is a science- based, hands-on learning opportunity for kids to learn the trout life cycle, while learning about our native cold water species in Arizona, and their effects on the ecosystem. It’s also a great opportunity for students to be responsible for data gathering and recording, tank and water chemistry maintenance, and can be tied into any subject from science to art. Our goal is that this exposure will help encourage a lifelong respect for conservation of natural resources.
All that said, I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere gratitude to anyone with a conservation license plate currently hanging off the back of their car or truck and to inform you of exactly where part of your donation is going.
** The fine print, the plate will cost you an extra $25 and the Az Motor Vehicle Division is going to skim $8 off the top, so each plate will net $17 to AZSFWC.