Tax season is upon us, meaning now is a great time to think about how you can help keep Massachusetts wild! One easy way to help endangered wildlife and plants in the Commonwealth is by donating on your state tax return. Simply fill in the amount you would like to donate on Line 33A for Endangered Wildlife Conservation. All money donated go to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Fund, a separate fund used solely for the conservation of species listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern in Massachusetts.

Good news!  Contributions and # of contributors rose between 2014 and 2015!  Total contributions rose from $ 201,084 in 2014 to $209,886 in 2015, a modest gain of 4.4 %.  The number of contributors via the tax check off rose by 3.5 % to from 18,705 in 2014 to 19,364 contributors in 2015.Over the past 2 years, contributions are up $31,945 and 1,266 more filers contributed.

Your help is making a difference!

The Fund provides critical funding to MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP), which helps restore populations of rare, native species to the state. For example, NHESP has worked for the past 30 years to restore the state’s peregrine falcon population to healthy numbers. The most recent count of nesting pairs numbered over 30; this is a great accomplishment considering Massachusetts had no nesting pairs in 1986. Over 500 wild-born chicks are known to have fledged since the beginning of conservation efforts in Massachusetts. Since 1984, the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program and its partners have run a headstarting program for Northern Red-bellied Cooter, a federally endangered turtle. Over 4,000 turtles have been headstarted, with over 95% of them surviving past their first year after being re-released back into the wild.

While Massachusetts has made considerable progress, more than 425 plants and animals are still recognized as rare in the Commonwealth. “The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program is the first line of defense for Massachusetts’ most vulnerable plants and animals,” said DFG Commissioner George Peterson. “I strongly encourage taxpayers to support the fund, as it will help us protect these valuable and endangered resources.”

Already filed your taxes, but still want to donate? Contributions can be made directly by sending a check made payable to “Commonwealth of MA: NHESP” to MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Fund, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.