BRDC is very excited to be a recipient of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries eStore Grant! This grant will provide vital material support for the programs we offer. As you all well know, birding and fly fishing are two subjects that inspired BRDC from the very beginning. This generous grant is going to boost these two programs to another level!
The birding award has already helped us purchase 12 new binoculars in partnership with Vortex Optics and the Blue Ridge Birders. If you have ever been birding, you know how much "good glass" can mean to the experience. For years we have worked with the lowest level of binoculars on the market and the kids, even though they could kind of see the birds, couldn't get that wow moment looking through them. Thanks to the VDGIF eStore grant we are now working with excellent glass in the 8x32 Vortex Diamondback Binoculars. These are small (great for kid hands), lightweight, a broad field of view (makes it easy to find the target), close focus (awesome for butterflies), waterproof, and have a lifetime warranty. Vortex also included their harness strap system which is perfect for kids. It takes the weight off of their shoulders and keeps them from twirling the binos like a lasso :) These binoculars will prove invaluable to connecting our youth to wildlife, whether it is school field trips or summer camps. Immediately, however, we are taking them on a youth birding trip to OBX next week!
Over the years our fly fishing programs have proved to be an excellent way for BRDC to connect youth to the outdoors. We do this by studying aquatic ecology, mimicking prey through fly tying, and teaching the kids a potential lifelong hobby that gets them outdoors. Key to this program is proper equipment. The VDGIF eStore grant will provide BRDC with new waders so the kids can explore water habitats during the cold months (the school year) and complete our collection of snorkels and masks so that the kids can see the underwater world. The grant will also supply a much-needed library of fly tying materials that give the kids the opportunity to exercise their creativity and learn about life cycles. Perhaps most importantly, this grant will provide eight new fly rods that give participants the chance to fly fish one of the great water systems in the region: the New River. For many years we have utilized 5wt Orvis rods, which work great for mountain trout streams, but do not work with the larger flies and larger water of the New River. These new rods will be perfect for our trips down the New!
Many thanks to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Vortex Optics, and Blue Ridge Birders for making this possible!!
The Virginia Wildlife eStore Grant Program is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia. Support of the Grant Program is generated through the sale of gear and other merchandise from www.shopdgif.com. Shopping on their webpage is an excellent way to support programs like ours!