BEND - The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is requesting grant proposals from organizations interested in conservation partnership opportunities. The foundation is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to building action-oriented partnerships that result in 0measurable improvements in the health, productivity and diversity of national forests and grasslands and the communities and landscapes that surround them.

The following grant opportunities are available:

2004 Matching Awards Program

This grant program focuses on community-based forest stewardship, watershed health and restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and recreation projects. Eligible applicants are nonprofits, local, state and tribal governments, and educational institutions. $1.85 million is available under this program, and grants are to be matched on a 1:1 basis by non-federal dollars. The application date for round one is Jan. 30, and round two application is due July 30.

2004 Community Assistance Program

This program offers "start-up" grants in the $5,000-$15,000 range with no matching money required. The purpose of the program is to enable communities to play a more active role in the sustainable management of nearby National Forests by supporting organizational and technical assistance needs of grassroots problem-solving groups. Newly-forming and recently-formed nonprofit organizations in need of capacity-building that intend to engage in national forest management and conservation issues are eligible to apply. Application due dates are March 5, June 4, and September 9.

Applications and more information are available at the National Forest Foundation Website: www.natlforests.org (click on "conservation partnerships") or contact Kyrie Murphy, Deschutes National Forest, (541) 383-5522.

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