Wildlife and taxes

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minnesota department of natural resources

Let's Get Wild!

A colorful banner depicting various wildlife with the text Choose to support Minnesota Nongame Wildlife when completing your tax forms, thank you

February, 2023

Minnesota’s wildlife and state taxes have more in common than you may think!

a black and white drawing of a loon

Wildlife and taxes

On Minnesota state tax forms, you may notice an illustrated loon next to Line 18 asking if you’d like to donate a portion of your tax return to nongame wildlife. This is the nongame tax checkoff and your chance to help Minnesota’s wildlife and the Nongame Wildlife Program!

When you donate a part of your tax return to the nongame tax checkoff, you help Minnesota’s wildlife in a BIG way. Your donation is double-matched by funds from the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) critical habitat license plate fund. So a $30 donation becomes $90 for Minnesota’s wildlife and natural areas!

We use your donations to fund many of our projects, like researching rare and vulnerable wildlife species and running the EagleCam. We also use your donations to meet funding requirements for federal wildlife grants, which lets us fund additional projects like implementing the Minnesota Wildlife Action Plan.

Simply put, we can’t do our work without your support! So please consider donating to the nongame tax checkoff this year and help us continue protecting and sustaining Minnesota’s wildlife.

a white man in the middle of the woods

Nongame Wildlife Specialist Mike Worland out in the field.

How we use donations

Thanks to your support, our program accomplished a lot in 2022!


-Installed two more Motus towers to help us track American kestrels

-Conducted bird surveys in the southeast 

-Tracked wood turtles

-Searched for four-toed salamanders

-Monitored Northern goshawks

-And so much more!

Visit our website to learn more about our projects and follow us on Facebook for stories from the field. 

three white women smiling with a large metal antenna behind them

Nongame staff installing a Motus tower

Our staff

Donations don’t just fund our work, they also fund our staff!

Some of our staff’s salaries come from federal wildlife grants we were able to secure thanks to your donations. These are the faces behind the program, working every day to ensure that Minnesota’s diversity of wildlife continues on for future generations.

Meet our staff over on our website: mndnr.gov/eco/nongame/nongame-staff.html

an older photo of a group of people smiling at the camera

The early years! A Nongame Wildlife Program staff photo from the 1980s.

History of the tax checkoff

The nongame tax checkoff was implemented shortly after the Nongame Wildlife Program was established in 1980.

When the program was created in 1977, its annual budget was $25,000, which included then-Nongame Wildlife Program Supervisor Carrol Henderson’s salary. As we began our crucial conservation work, we realized the program needed more funding in order to accomplish its many goals.

In 1980, state Sen. Collin Peterson saw that Colorado had enacted a voluntary tax checkoff law and was using the funds to help wildlife that is not hunted (nongame). He introduced similar legislation in Minnesota and the Nongame Wildlife Tax Checkoff law MS 290.431 was passed. Minnesotans could now donate to the Nongame Wildlife Program with a tax checkoff located on Minnesota income tax forms!

Minnesotans donated over $500,000 in 1981 via the tax checkoff. This generosity meant the visions of a diverse and protected wildlife population in Minnesota were about to be turned into reality.

Thanks to your support, Minnesota has one of the most successful tax checkoffs in the country! We have used your donations to fund research, restore iconic wildlife species like the bald eagle, and so much more.

We can’t do the work we do without your support. Thank you!

Thank you for your support

a cartoon loon

The Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program helps protect and preserve thousands of Minnesota wildlife species. But we couldn’t do it without your support!

 Community support in the form of tax form donations, monetary gifts, purchase of Critical Habitat License Plates and volunteering is foundational to the program and wildlife diversity in Minnesota. Thanks to you, we are able to restore habitats, conduct crucial surveys and monitoring, engage in outreach and education (like our Eagle and Falcon cams), and complete other important projects.

Please visit mndnr.gov/nongame to learn more or mndnr.gov/donate to donate to our program. Donations are tax deductible and are double-matched by the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) license plate fund. So, a $10 donation becomes $30 for Minnesota’s wildlife and natural areas! Thank you.


Photos are by MN DNR unless otherwise stated