Big donation will help back California game wardens

11/22/2012 12:00 AM

11/22/2012 12:32 PM

The California Game Warden Foundation aims to match a $1.8 million gift by the end of the year to support education, health care and K-9 enforcement programs for state wildlife officers.

The foundation was formed in 2007 to assist game wardens, who work for the California Department of Fish and Game and protect wildlife, habitat and water quality.

Wardens patrol more land than peers in other states, and earn less than other state law enforcement officers.

The challenge grant came from an anonymous Bay Area supporter, said Judd Hanna, chairman of the foundation's board. It seeks matching gifts for a total of $3.6 million.

"If there is sufficient momentum and activity, he (the donor) is willing to extend," Hanna said. "We might carry it into February or March, if necessary."

The foundation hopes to boost its endowment to $5 million, which would allow donations to grow from $50,000 a year to $200,000. The foundation grants money to wardens for medical needs and educational scholarships.

It also aims to boost the number of K-9 wardens at the department. The dogs are trained to search for wildlife poachers, invasive species, weapons and other evidence. The foundation pays for training, medical needs and food.

For information, go to www.calgwf.org/Challenge or write to 2180 Sand Hill Road, Suite 100, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

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