THE BRONX - State officials announced $8 million in grants to support the future of zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums.

The grants were awarded under the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Program. State officials say the new funding will be valuable in raising awareness of the importance of identifying, protecting and preserving historical preservation sites in the city and surrounding boroughs.

The funding is available to public or not-for-profit organizations which own, care for and maintain for the public preserved collections of biological specimens.

Recipients of the largest grants include the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium and the New York Botanical Gardens. This year?s grants represent the most money the state has devoted to zoos, gardens and aquariums in several years.