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For Release: Tuesday, May 6, 2014

National Archery in the Schools Program Growing in New York

38 Students to Represent New York in National Tournament May 8-10

Program Introduces Young People to Archery and Other Shooting Sports

School districts from across New York State are invited to enroll in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

"The National Archery in the Schools Program is growing rapidly in New York," said Commissioner Martens. "Under Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this cooperative effort between conservation agencies, school systems and private organizations is a great way to bring the sport of archery to thousands of students across the state. Archery is one of only a handful of sports that enables students of all ages and athletic abilities to compete at the same level for top honors, and is a sport dominated by precision and practice."

More than 600 students from 21 school districts participated in this competition during the first two weeks of March. The sixth annual school-based state tournament was a great success. A school-based tournament is where the students compete at their respective schools and send their scores to the NASP state coordinator. Each competitor could achieve a maximum score of 300 points. There are three divisions: High School, grades 9-12; Middle School, grades 6-8; and Elementary School, grades 4-5.

The overall top female archer in the tournament was Megan Hall with a score of 272 (out of 300); she attends Schroon Lake High School in Essex County. The top male archer in the tournament was Jaird Paninski with a score of 286; he attends Altmar-Parish-Williamstown High School in Oswego County. Each received a plaque, a trophy for display at the school, a Genesis bow, a Morrell target and a dozen arrows at the New York Bowhunters (NYB) annual banquet on April 5th. The New York chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and NYB partially sponsored the tournament and have been strong supporters of NY-NASP. Awards are also given out in each of the three divisions for first through fifth places.

Students that placed in the top ten in each of the three divisions qualify to compete and represent New York at the national NASP tournament held in Louisville, Kentucky on May 8th-10th. Last year, 14 students from New York participated in the national NASP tournament in Kentucky. This year New York State has 38 students from 11 schools attending nationals.

NASP is designed to engage more students in the educational process and improve participation in outdoor-type activities among students of all athletic abilities. DEC is involved in the program to introduce young people to archery and other shooting sports, a common way to become interested in hunting and the outdoors. NASP continues to grow at the national level with 2.3 million students participating in the program during the 2012-13 school year. More than 12,000 schools in 47 states, Washington D.C., Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia have adopted the program. In New York, schools from 131 school districts currently participate in the program and more than 30,000 students participated in the program during the 2012-2013 school year.

Jason Kernan, a physical education teacher at Canaseraga Central School, in Allegany County said, "I try to use archery to get the kids to focus on their choices. Not to focus on everyone around them and what they are doing (or how they are shooting). Just because the person next to you is doing better doesn't mean you should get down on yourself or give up. It means you need to reflect on what happened during the execution of the shot that might have caused you to miss your mark. The same goes with decisions in life."

Michael Sharp, a physical education teacher at Schroon Lake Central School, in Essex County said, "NASP is probably the best program that I have ever introduced into my curriculum; it inspires all types of students to participate. The kids absolutely love it!"

Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.

In support of this initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone largely untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.

For more information on NASP and to view the NASP photo gallery, visit DEC's website and contact Melissa Bailey, the state program coordinator for NY-NASP at 315-793-2515 or e-mail at mrb323@cornell.edu.

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