BOSTON (WBSM) — In honor of Earth Month, the Healey-Driscoll Administration is providing grant funding to SouthCoast outdoor programs and activities.

The administration announced $167,000 in grants to support equitable access to outdoor recreation events through the Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation (MOOR).

Established in December 2022, MOOR collaborates with agencies and private partners to promote activities across the state, including hunting, fishing, horseback riding, paddling, swimming and more.

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Through this partnership, 21 organizations, including ones in Fall River, Fairhaven, New Bedford and Westport, have been awarded Inclusive and Accessible Event grants. The grants will improve access to outdoor recreational activities for low-income residents, communities of color, and people with disabilities.

"These grants support the essential work of organizations and municipalities striving to ensure everyone feels welcome and included in Massachusetts' outdoors," MOOR Director Paul Jahnige said.

"Outdoor recreation events in nature support our mental, physical, and social health and the state's economic health," Jahnige said. "Investing in the outdoor recreation economy is a step towards strengthening our connections with each other and the natural environment."

Fairhaven Recreation Department: $10,000
Fairhaven Adaptive and Inclusive Anglers Fishing Derby

The Fairhaven Recreation Department is partnering with M.O. L.I.F.E. and the Fairhaven Belonging Committee to host the first annual Inclusive Anglers Fishing Derby.

This family-friendly event aims to provide inclusive and adaptive access to anyone interested in fishing.

The department aims to offer an opportunity for individuals and members of the disability community who may have never experienced fishing before to join in outdoor fun.

City of Fall River: $8,612.50
Stepping Into Spring: Bird Watching, Kite Night, and Freshwater Fishing

The City of Fall River will promote equitable access to outdoor recreation activities and spaces through its Stepping Into Spring series of events.

Events include guided bird watching at the SE Massachusetts Bioreserve, fishing on the Taunton River with the Cops and Bobbers program, and Family Kite Night at the City Pier.

All events will be free and open to the public.

MA Division of Marine Fisheries: $7,800
New Bedford Saltwater Fishing Clinic

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MADMF) will partner with New Bedford Parks, Recreation, and Beaches (MBPRB) to host a saltwater in-person fishing clinic at the Fort Taber pier in New Bedford.

The clinic will offer stations to learn knot tying, casting, fish measuring, proper fish handling, fish identification, and responsible catch-and-release fishing techniques.

MOOR grant funds will be used to purchase 120 rods and tackle kits for all the participants to take home and build on their experience. Spanish-translated materials will engage and educate Spanish-speaking public members to make saltwater fishing more accessible for everyone at future events.

The MassachuseGnome Surf: $10,000
Happy Cam with Gnome Surf
Westport, MA

Happy Camp with Gnome Surf is a twice-weekly, free surf camp event for neurodivergent, physically diverse, and medically fragile youth and families. It is a fully inclusive family fun day at the beach that allows families to connect through outdoor activities and one-on-one surf therapy sessions.

This grant will support Gnome's first annual, two-day School's Out-for-Summer Happy Camp Extravaganza, which will take place at Horseneck Beach in Westport.

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