DES MOINES, Iowa — With many Iowans financially impacted by the pandemic, the Department of Natural Resources is worried fewer people will donate to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Fund, also known as the Chickadee Checkoff.
The Chickadee Checkoff was the first point of donation on the Iowa tax form 1040 in the 1980s and is vital in preserving the state’s non-game species.
With no administrative fees or withdrawals from the Department of Revenue, 100% of donations go towards habitat development and restoration programs to save the state’s most vulnerable animals.
Those include bald eagles, the rusty patched bumblebee, and the monarch butterfly which was recently listed as an endangered species by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.
The fund also goes towards an inventory and monitoring project that discovers several new species in the state.
Last tax season, 7,200 hundred Iowans donated to the Chickadee Checkoff prior to the pandemic. There are three other options for donations on Iowa’s tax form that go towards the State Fair, helping Iowa veterans and firefighters and preventing child abuse in the state.
The Wildlife Diversity Biologists for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Stephanie Shepard, said if Iowans have the means, donating a little to each cause could go a long way.
“If you like all those causes on the check offline you can donate $1 to each of them you know it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket,” Shepard said. “There’s about 1.6 million taxpayers in Iowa so if each of them donated $1 on their tax form, it would it would really add up.”
The checkoff is on line 57 of the Iowa income tax form. Shepard said make sure you alert your tax preparer about the Chickadee Checkoff if you wish to donate.