In October, Ferrum College’s Norton Outdoor Adventures (NOA) was the first college- or university-based outdoor recreation program in the state to be awarded a Virginia Wildlife Grant from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. The grant is $3,000 and has traditionally been given to organizations or agencies that provide programming to students who are high school age and younger.
In September, NOA Director Aaron Conover was contacted by Department officials. They had seen information on fly fishing courses being offered by NOA and they were branching out to higher education institutions.
Launched in 2014, the Virginia Wildlife Grant Program’s mission is to be a funding resource for schools, nonprofits, and government agencies with an emphasis on connecting youth and diverse populations to the outdoors. The grant is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia. The program is supported by the sale of merchandise and gear from ShopDWR, the One Shot Turkey Hunt Fundraiser, and private donations.
The Ferrum College Hunters and Anglers Group will specifically benefit from the additional funding. This group is designed to bring together students from different backgrounds that are interested in being outdoors. A Bass Fishing Club, Fly Fishing Club, and a Clay Shooting Club will be formed as part of this organization.
Conover stated, “We are very honored and excited to be awarded this grant. It will be a great help in launching the Ferrum College Hunters and Anglers group which focuses on introducing students to these life long outdoor pursuits, providing leadership opportunities and promoting conversation of the resources we use.”