CHECK THE CHICKADEE AT TAX TIME
Jan. 12, 2012
State income tax return Chickadee Checkoff box helps conserve all wildlife
PRATT — Tax time often brings additional darkness to the post-holiday blues, but the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) offers state taxpayers the opportunity to brighten the new year’s landscape by doing something good for wildlife. The Kansas State Income Tax form provides everyone with the chance to feel good about filing when they check the Chickadee Checkoff box. Checking this box gives a portion of returns or any additional contribution to all wildlife, not just birds.
Since 1981, the Chickadee Checkoff Program has helped with endangered species protection, habitat protection, and wildlife appreciation projects in Kansas. The program has sponsored many popular programs, such as the Nursing Home Bird Feeder Program and Outdoor Wildlife Learning Sites (OWLS) at Kansas schools. OWLS has allowed the development of outdoor laboratories at more than 200 schools across the state. Other programs sponsored by the Chickadee Checkoff include the Kansas Backyard Wildlife Habitat Improvement and Certification Program, the Bluebird Nest Box Project, the Songbird Bundle habitat planting, and surveying and protection of sensitive species. Additionally, the Checkoff has served to document bald eagle nesting success and winter roosts in Kansas.
More than $4.2 million has been contributed to Chickadee Checkoff since its inception. In recent years, about 10,000 taxpayers have donated to the program each year, but they have given more than twice what they gave when the program began — from an average of $5.24 per donation to more than $12. With the help of the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants (KSCPA), the mean annual donations total $143,590. It’s a relatively small amount that goes a long way, especially when used to match federal funds.