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Funding available for Katrina repair, nature programs
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Grants are available to Mississippi youth wanting to repair environmental damage caused by Hurricane Katrina or for other nature projects that will promote pride in their communities.
Community Pride is a grants and awards program sponsored by the ChevronTexaco Companies and administered by Mississippi State University's Extension Service. The environmental improvement program has been in existence for more than 30 years.
"We expect interest to be even higher this year because of all the damage caused by Katrina," said Betty Rawlings, Extension associate with the state 4-H Department. "Just about every community in the state experienced some damage, and this is one way for youth to get involved in the recovery efforts."
Rawlings said the program helps provide youth with incentives to improve their local environment. The grants are intended to stimulate additional investments by the local community.
"By investing in environmental education projects for youth in grades kindergarten to 12, the program helps youth learn cooperative skills that will bring success and prepare them as future leaders," Rawlings said.
The Community Pride program empowers youth-serving organizations to plan and conduct community improvement projects with emphasis on improving the environment.
Groups submit applications on Nov. 1 and again March 1 for projects to be completed within a year's time. Grants of up to $400 are awarded to quality projects that provide environmental awareness and improve the natural environment within a community. Projects range from soil conservation and gardening to recycling programs and community beautification.
The best Community Pride programs receive awards and recognition at congressional district and statewide levels each spring. In 2005, awards were presented to groups from Adams, Alcorn, Bolivar, Pontotoc, Smith, Stone and Tate counties.
"Dreams become reality when the Community Pride participants acquire that sense of community and pride in working together to improve the community and enhance the environment," Rawlings said.
For more information on the Community Pride program, contact the local county Extension office.