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TPWD News Release — June 5, 2009

Great Texas Birding Classic Teams Award Conservation Grants

AUSTIN, Texas — Winning teams in the 2009 Great Texas Birding Classic have awarded their conservation prize money to fund six habitat projects totaling $35,000 along the Texas coast. Touted as the world’s longest birding competition, the event has funded a total of $686,000 for avian habitat conservation since it began 13 years ago.

Each year, winning teams allocate prize money to fund wildlife habitat conservation and restoration projects approved by the Birding Classic staff. This year’s event ran April 26-May 3. The competition is jointly hosted by Gulf Coast Bird Observatory and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Conservation prize money comes from corporate sponsors, team entry fees, community and individual donations, a Wildlife Diversity Conservation Grant from Horned Lizard Conservation License Plate funds and a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program.

"Conservation education and wildlife habitat restoration are the hallmarks of this year’s grant awards," said Carol Jones, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory education program manager. "Many of these projects will restore the native ecology by planting trees and shrubs or otherwise restoring and enlarging wetlands and coastal prairie areas that provide critical habitat for birds and other wildlife."

This year, the $20,000 top prize was partially funded by revenue from the sale of specialty vehicle license plates bearing the Texas horned lizard image. Money from horned lizard license plate sales supports nongame and endangered animals and their habitats statewide, as outlined in the recently completed Texas Wildlife Action Plan.

Projects funded with prize money from the 2009 Great Texas Birding Classic include the following:

Weeklong Tournament

Adult One Day Upper Coast

Adult One Day Lower Coast

Energy Saver

Big Sit! Lone Star Bird Award

Big Sit! Lone Star Bird Award

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