Land trusts are an increasingly popular mechanism to protect private lands and potentially conserve birds and their habitats. Through fee acquisitions, voluntary conservation easements, and stewardship, land trusts have become powerful agents of land conservation and their reach continues to expand. From 2005 to 2010, more than 1,700 state, local, and national land trusts in the U.S. have more than doubled their land holdings to 47 million acres – an area larger than all New England states combined and 90% of the land area protected by National Parks.
At the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Cornell Lab), we believe land trusts can help birds, and birds can benefit land trusts. To develop mutually beneficial collaborations between land trusts and the bird conservation community, the Cornell Lab’s Conservation Science program launched our Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative in 2013. This initiative provides bird-related resources, tools, partnership, and funding opportunities to advance the pace and impact of land trusts’ protection and stewardship efforts through birds. We aim to build the capacity of land trusts to meet their own goals and to achieve strategic bird conservation on private lands. We support land trusts in prioritizing lands for bird conservation, developing and implementing bird monitoring projects, managing habitats, developing successful funding proposals, and increasing their community support.
One objective of the Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative is to provide funding to facilitate high priority, bird-focused conservation projects. Partners are encouraged to use the awarded funds to leverage additional dollars from community groups and other funding agencies, as well as create capacity to accomplish conservation goals. To meet this objective, we launched a Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative Small Grants Program in 2017.
Mission: To support land trusts and their partners in accomplishing bird conservation on private lands through acquisition/easements, habitat planning, outreach, and research.
In May 2017, the Cornell Land Trust Small Grants Program awarded its first grants to support strategic bird conservation within the land trust community. Learn more about the four organizations who received funds to protect critical habitats, such as oak forests in Oregon and estuaries in Maine, as well as help declining bird species, such as the Golden-winged Warbler in Vermont and Lewis’s Woodpecker in Colorado.Small Grant Program
Learn more about the three organizations who are, providing ecosystem incentive payments to farmers to develop delayed mowing schedules around grassland birds in Maine; utilizing eBird to formalize data collection and inform best management practices and strategic land acquisition for riparian birds in California; and focusing on engagement by training landowners to manage habitats, as well as developing resources for improving bird habitat in suburban landscapes in New York and Connecticut.Small Grant Program
The Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative provides funding annually to facilitate high priority, bird-focused conservation projects. Find out more about how to apply for these $5,000 small grants for lands trusts.Small Grant Program