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Nongame wildlife: 40 years, 40 reasons, $40

Trumpeter swan, courtesy MnDNR

Minnesotans are a generous lot. For the past 40 years, they’ve made it possible for the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program to help thousands of native species survive and thrive – including animals that are threatened, endangered and rare.

The program is now wrapping up its 40th anniversary with hopes that supporters will wrap up an end-of-year donation to put under the holiday tree in celebration of the many wildlife success stories it’s helped create, like the comeback of bald eagles and trumpeter swans.

Success comes with a price tag, and rare species don’t collect a paycheck. They rely on our help. Unlike other DNR programs, the Nongame Wildlife Program doesn’t get general tax money; it receives no fees from hunting or fishing licenses. It’s funded almost entirely by voluntary donations made by people who want to ensure that Minnesota continues to have healthy natural systems that support a wide diversity of wildlife.

Many of those donations are made when Minnesotans file their state income taxes, designating an amount on the line with the loon to go to the Nongame Wildlife Program. But people can donate anytime, online or by mail. Donations fund critical habitat restoration work, research projects, surveys to assess the status of threatened and endangered species, and outreach and education such as the popular eaglecam that reaches into millions of homes and classrooms in all 50 states and at least 160 countries around the world.

Donations are tax deductible and matched dollar for dollar by the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) license plate fund. Donations also are used as match to federal grants and other outside funding sources, leveraging additional money to support nongame species conservation, research and habitat protection projects

Looking for other reasons to donate? Here’s forty – one for each year of the program’s efforts:

Monarch butterfly, bald eagle, forcipate emerald dragonfly, northern barrens tiger beetle, moneyface native mussel, Roger’s snaggletooth snail, tiger salamander, timber rattlesnake, jumping spider, common loon, red-tailed prairie leafhopper, wood frog, great plains toad, Blanding’s turtle, skipjack herring, tricolored bat, trumpeter swan, eastern bluebird, osprey, mudpuppy, golden-winged warbler, eastern hog-nose snake, pileated woodpecker, smoky shrew, wood turtle, American white pelican, piping plover, headwaters caddisfly, black tern, peregrine falcon, northern goshawk, slender madtom fish, boreal owl, rusty-patched bumble bee, red-shouldered hawk, yellow rail, plains pocket mouse, Juanita sphinx moth, northern bog lemming. And many more.

During this season of giving, consider giving $40 for forty years to help Minnesota’s Nongame Wildlife Program continue its critical work to conserve wildlife species that aren’t hunted, from songbirds to salamanders, from butterflies to bats. Learn more at mndnr.gov/nongame.

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