Small Grants Program

January 18, 2017

2016 Land Trust bookmark_REV-1_frontLand 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 are launching a Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative Small Grants Program.

Mission: To support land trusts and their partners in accomplishing bird conservation on private lands through acquisition/easements, habitat planning, outreach, and research.

Funding Details

-Applicants can apply for up to $5,000 in funds to be used over a 1-year grant cycle

-Annual grant cycle with applications due March 1, 2017 and funds dispersed April 30, 2017

-Matching funds are not required, however, it will be advantageous for an applicant to show that these funds will be supplemented by partner dollars or leveraged for future funding

-Awarded funds can cover no more than 10% of indirect costs and can be used for administrative and legal fees associated with land acquisitions

-Priority will be given to the formation of new regional or state based land trust collaboratives with multiple partners – for an example of a collaborative, see the St. Lawrence Valley Partnership

-Recipients must be able to justify and demonstrate conservation objectives, outcomes, and clear measures of success stemming directly from the awarded funds

-All bird data collected with awarded funds must be entered in eBird

-Periodic progress reports must be provided over the course of the agreement

-A final report must be submitted with objectives, methods, and results documenting the conservation outcomes and measures of success at the completion of the award

-The Cornell Lab requests permission to feature the funded projects on the Lab’s website, in Land Trust Initiative materials, and on social media

-Cornell may have the ability to provide a student intern in addition to awarded funds. If interested, state this in your application and write a short paragraph about the potential role this intern would play in your project.

Application Instructions and Requirements

Please provide the following information:

-Proposal title

-Information for all applicants and project staff (name, title, organization, address, phone, email, website, etc) as well as qualifications.

-Anticipated project start and end dates

-Geographic area where work will take place (state and county) and where will funds be used

-If using matching funds, what is the amount and source

-List of potential partners

-Clearly stated objectives and long-term conservation outcomes

-Bird species that will benefit from your proposed work

-Land area (acres/hectares) and habitats that will be affected. Give examples of how these habitats will interact with the afore mentioned bird species.

-A brief description (3-page maximum) of your strategy for achieving your objectives and conservation outcomes. What are your measures of success? Please address any threats and/or obstacles that you might need to navigate to achieve the objectives and conservation outcomes.

-Additional information that is important for us to consider (e.g. if you are interested in a student intern and what role the intern would play in your project)

-A simple budget and budget justification for your project

Email application materials or questions to: Sara Barker, Land Trust Initiative Project Leader,