The Florida Legislature has appointed the Wildlife Foundation of Florida as administrator for the specialty automobile license plate commonly known as the “deer tag.”
The foundation already handles two other specialty tags — Conserve Wildlife (“bear tag”) and Protect Florida Springs — each of which is dedicated to the conservation of the state’s fish, wildlife and habitats.
The deer license plate, which features a whitetail buck standing among palmettos, was initiated in 2004 by the Florida Chapter of the Sportsmen’s National Land Trust as a way to help purchase land that would be managed forever to continue the state’s heritage of outdoor recreation.
With its recent appointment, the foundation will be responsible for developing and administering a grant program that uses the proceeds of the tag’s $25 annual fee to fund appropriate projects dedicated to preserving the state’s hunting heritage and outdoor recreation.
State statute specifically requires that 75 percent of the license tag funds from the “deer tag” be used to fund programs and projects within the state that “preserve open space and wildlife habitat, promote conservation, improve wildlife habitat, and establish open space for the perpetual use of the public. The remaining 25 percent may be used for promotion, marketing and administrative costs directly associated with operation of the trust.
“The Foundation is honored to be given the opportunity to help preserve Florida’s hunting heritage through this specialty license plate trust fund,” said Rodney Barreto, vice chairman of the non-profit Wildlife Foundation of Florida. “This is another tool we can use to ensure hunting remains alive and well in our state forever.”
To facilitate its charge, the foundation will develop a grant committee and provide ongoing support for its members. The grant committee will be comprised of volunteers from around Florida who want to preserve hunting and outdoor recreational opportunities in Florida. Their role as committee members will be to review and prioritize grant proposals, and recommend grant recipients to the foundation’s board of directors.
“This will be a completely transparent process; we want people to know that the money they entrust to us, as administrators, is used for its stated purposes,” said Brett Boston, the foundation’s executive director.
The foundation will look to various stakeholder groups and agencies that may have an interest in the goals of this grant program, to identify potential additional members for the grant committee.
“Such groups may include, but are not limited to, sportsmen’s groups, appropriate sections of federal, state and local governments, conservation groups, and similar organizations,” Boston said. “Anyone interested in serving on this committee should contact Brett Boston at (850)-922-1066) for details.”
For more information about the deer license plate or the grant process contact the foundation at Info@WildlifeFlorida.org or visit http://wildlifefoundationofflorida.com.
The foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit started in 1994 as the citizen support group whose mission is to partner with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to ensure the conservation and enhancement of Florida’s fish and wildlife resources so they survive and thrive for current and future generations of Florida residents and visitors.