Return a Gift to Wildlife
Return A Gift To Wildlife (RAGTW) was established by the legislature in 1982 to help provide additional funds to enhance DEC's fish and wildlife program. This law established a voluntary contribution line on the state income tax form to provide every taxpayer with an easy, simple way to support fish and wildlife conservation. Any whole dollar amount may be contributed whether taxes are owed or a refund is due, and all contributions are tax-deductible on the following year's return. Direct contributions may also be made to RAGTW, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4751.
More than 250 projects have been totally or partially funded through RAGTW since inception, and many of these projects would not have been possible without the generous contributions of our citizens. RAGTW has helped the loons of the Adirondacks; whales, seals and sea turtles on Long Island; endangered species such as bald eagles and peregrine falcons throughout the state; and has helped implement comprehensive surveys and inventories of many species and their habitats. Major publications from these surveys, also funded by RAGTW, include Bull's Birds of New York State, Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State, and The Inland Fishes of New York State, in addition to hundreds of research reports and educational pamphlets.
RAGTW receives approximately $450,000 annually from tax return contributions which are currently being used to fund the following projects:
- New York Natural Heritage Program, a network of information on the location of rare and endangered fish, wildlife and plant species and ecological communities throughout the state.
- Project Wild, a program providing instruction to elementary and secondary school teachers about incorporating wildlife education in school curricula.
New Yorkers can continue to support these important fish and wildlife programs by filling in a whole dollar amount to contribute to RAGTW on their New York State tax return.
Look for the contribution line on your New York State Income Tax Form, or tell your tax preparer that you wish to make a contribution.