2024 Small Grant Awardees

We are pleased to announce the Cornell Land Trust Grant awardees for 2024. With support from our generous sponsors, the program was able to award $230,000 to 14 land trusts throughout the country. Funds will be used for management and restoration of private protected lands, integration of bird conservation and tools into prioritization and planning, and development of partnerships within the birding community to amplify conservation efforts. The next request for proposals will open in January 2025.

Aiken Land Conservancy (South Carolina), $25,000

A small creek with reflections of light and trees
Shaws Creek Preserve. Photo credit: ALC

Sometimes, bird habitat has to be created from scratch. Such is the case on 50 acres within the Shaws Creek Preserve, a 2,700-acre recently protected property located just north of Aiken, South Carolina. Aiken Land Conservancy (ALC), an accredited land trust that holds the conservation easement on this City of Aiken owned property, will use grant funds to transform a 50-acre clearcut back into the longleaf pine forest that would have naturally occurred on the property. Funds will be used to site-prep the area to increase the chances of longleaf pine survival and will also cover the cost of the trees themselves and subsequent planting. Such restoration, it is hoped, will increase populations of State Wildlife Action Plan-listed bird species such as Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Towhee, and Northern Bobwhite on the property. Federally-endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers live nearby and even they could one day return to the property following these restoration activities. 

Pre- and post-restoration bird surveys will be conducted in partnership with local college students and Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society volunteers to document the response of birds to these activities. Additionally, a private landowner workshop will be held on the property in partnership with The Longleaf Alliance and South Carolina Women Owning Woodlands to provide education about forestry practices. Finally, an interpretive sign will be installed near the restoration area to educate visitors to this soon-to-be-public property about land management, longleaf pine ecosystems, and the birds that need both. 

Peter Kleinhenz, Executive Director of Aiken Land Conservancy, says, “Longleaf pine restoration is a complex process but, through this project, Aiken Land Conservancy and its partners wish to make restoration of this incredibly diverse ecosystem seem more attainable to others while benefiting declining bird species along the way. We are grateful for the support of the Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative in helping us meet these goals.”

Birds Georgia & Central Savannah River Land Trust (Georgia), $25,000

An aerial view of Laverlea Preserve in Georgia
Restoration field at Laverlea Preserve in Evans, Georgia. Photo credit: Hazel Cook

Birds Georgia and The Central Savannah River Land Trust (CSRLT) are partnering to restore fallow pasture fields to native grasslands on a donated preserve under conservation easement in Evans, Georgia. Laverlea Preserve is a 345-acre island of habitat in a rapidly urbanizing area surrounded by residential communities, which provides an opportune location for community engagement. Per the wishes of the preserve’s donor, who passed away in 2022, the goal is for Laverlea to become an ecological and educational site for the community. Birds Georgia and CSRLT will involve the community in volunteer workdays, prescribed fire demonstrations, and guided walks. Through outreach efforts, residents will learn about the benefits of habitat restoration and what they can do in their own yards to improve habitat for wildlife.  

Birds Georgia is a non-profit organization building places where people and birds thrive through conservation initiatives, education, and community engagement. The CSRLT is an accredited land trust that has protected over 10,000 acres of land throughout Georgia and South Carolina. The two organizations are also partnering with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and local conservation groups for technical assistance and pre- and post-treatment surveys of bird, butterfly, and plant species in the treatment area. eBird will be an important component in documenting effects of restoration activities, with a particular emphasis on Georgia State Wildlife Action Plan listed species such as Southeastern American Kestrel and Grasshopper Sparrow.  

During the first year, the Cornell grant will fund the initial surveys, herbicide treatments, a prescribed burn, and initial plantings of warm-season native grasses and wildflowers on 11 acres of fields that are covered in invasive species and offering little ecological value. After the one-year period, Birds Georgia and CSRLT will continue to partner to establish additional native plants, control for invasive plants, and manage the grassland with prescribed fire. The broader goal is to convert all 75 acres of pasture fields to native grasslands, while still connecting with the local community through workdays and guided walks. “With the support of the Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative, we will not only benefit habitat for declining grassland species but inspire the community to make changes in their own yards to benefit wildlife,” says Heather Levy, Stewardship Coordinator with Birds Georgia. 

Cardinal Land Conservancy (Ohio), $25,000

A landscape with green plants and blue sky
Todd’s Fork, one of two project sites. Photo credit: CLC

Cardinal Land Conservancy (CLC) will utilize funds from this grant to restore 60 acres of shrubland and grassland habitat at two of its properties in Clinton County, Ohio: Todd’s Fork and Caesar’s Creek Nature Preserve. When CLC acquired these properties, the sites were recovering from a history of agricultural use and were dominated by non-native species. Through this grant project, CLC will create habitat that is suitable for three priority species identified in regional conservation plans: American Woodcock, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Northern Bobwhite. The restoration will also return many uncommon native plants to the landscape and provide habitat for numerous other wildlife species.   

CLC’s long-term goal for this project area is to maintain the following vegetation composition that will support the target species: 50 percent thicket-forming native shrubs, 40 percent native grassy/herbaceous vegetation, and 10 percent native tree cover. By the end of the grant period, CLC will have cleared 60 acres of non-native woody plants, planted 2,000 bare root shrubs protected by deer exclusion fence, and sowed 150 pounds of native prairie seed.  

“Forests and grasslands get a lot of conservation attention in our region; however, the species that depend on intermediate successional stages are often overlooked and are experiencing rapid population declines. We are excited to return native thickets to the landscape and provide opportunities for others to learn from our restoration efforts,” said Jack Stenger, CLC’s Land Manager.  

CLC plans to engage the public by hosting field trips to the project area—including a spring Woodcock Walk—and providing opportunities for volunteers to help CLC staff with the restoration process and post-restoration bird population monitoring. CLC will maintain public trail access through the project area so the public can check in on the restoration and submit bird sightings through eBird. 

Jefferson Land Trust (Washington), $25,000

A group of people standing in the woods
Volunteer stewardship work party participants stand in front of one of several habitat piles constructed at Great Peninsula Conservancy’s Grovers Creek Preserve. Photo credit: GPC

Neighboring Jefferson Land Trust (JLT) and Great Peninsula Conservancy (GPC) will partner with Northwest Natural Resource Group and Bainbridge Island Land Trust for Listen Up 2024. The program is designed to improve the long-term survival of western Washington forest birds species by 1) implementing state-of-the-art habitat improvement practices on 1,457 acres across 37 preserves, 2) acoustic monitoring of bird responses to conservation practices on our preserves, and 3) publicly sharing our findings and replicable protocols through outreach and communications. 

The long-term conservation goal is to increase forest biodiversity and mitigate wildlife decline, particularly among bird populations, in two neighboring counties along Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. The Listen Up 2024 partnership will expand habitat management practices and bird monitoring across a region of permanently protected lowland forests and streams. This includes enhancing acres of various ecosystems by improving forest structure and diversity and increasing habitat availability for a wide range of bird species. Additionally, the project aims to implement a monitoring protocol on select properties and engage the public through outreach and communication efforts. 

“Thanks to the support from the Cornell Lab, this expanded partnership will continue to improve forest bird habitat through a variety of innovative, state-of-the-art conservation practices and monitoring techniques. And what is truly exciting is engaging a local ecological forestry group that will inspire landowners and other partners wishing to do similar work on their conservation lands,” notes Adrian Wolf, Great Peninsula Conservancy Stewardship Manager. 

The Listen Up 2024 project will benefit 58 bird species, including seven Species of Greatest Conservation Need, 13 Species of Continental Concern, and four Common Birds in Steep Decline, within two Ecological Systems of Concern: North Pacific Hardwood Conifer Swamp and North Pacific Lowland Riparian Forest. Partners look forward to sharing findings widely with fellow land trusts and other conservation organizations.  

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (Wisconsin), $25,000

The sun rising over a lake
Sun rising over Lake Michigan at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve. Photo credit: OWLT

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) and Mequon Nature Preserve (MNP) are partnering to connect avian habitat management practices to monitoring data, enhancing local biodiversity with a focus on regionally declining species in Southeastern Wisconsin. Partners will evaluate properties and conduct habitat management based on focal species assessments from monitoring data, while also forming a collaborative to enable area conservation partners to similarly improve avian conservation by data-driven planning and common standards.   

OWLT and MNP will continue adaptive management and monitoring across three nature preserves: Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, Mequon Nature Preserve, and Turtle Park. As a former golf course, Forest Beach Migratory Preserve has undergone significant restoration and enhancement to create migratory bird and bat stopover habitat by providing diverse habitats with shelter and food resources along coastal Lake Michigan. Mequon Nature Preserve is 510 acres of restored wetlands, thriving woodlands and prairies, and robust biodiversity program. The third location, Turtle Park, is a 4-acre restored riparian preserve in downtown Milwaukee that is the gateway to the Milwaukee River Greenway. Grant funding will support the extensive restoration and avian monitoring activities occurring at each location, furthering partners’ shared goals to expand bird habitat in Southeastern Wisconsin.  

Partners will explore leveraging an existing wildlife monitoring network into a formal collaborative for the Western Great Lakes Region. The collaborative will seek to promote consensus on monitoring protocols, data analyses, metrics, and habitat preservation and restoration. In this pilot year, partners will draft collaborative goals and objectives, conduct one-on-one outreach to potential partners, and convene a workshop to define collaborative goals and objectives with an emphasis on regional monitoring and habitat connectivity prioritization.   

Tom Stolp, OWLT Executive Director, says, “Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and Mequon Nature Preserve have enjoyed a fruitful and overlapping history dating to the land trust’s partnership with the City of Mequon and Greater Milwaukee Foundation in establishing Mequon Nature Preserve. As partners, we are excited to advance our avian biodiversity initiatives to ensure the work we are doing across Southeast Wisconsin is positively addressing declining species populations.” 

Santa Fe Conservation Trust (New Mexico), $25,000

A group gathered around a speaker in the desert
Kirk Gadzia leading a volunteer Bullseye Workshop in June of 2024. Photo credit: SFCT

Santa Fe Conservation Trust (SFCT) will utilize funding from this grant to support efforts to create a Rangeland Restoration Implementation Plan with Ecotone Landscape Planning and Resource Management Services by May 2025. The goal of the Rangeland Restoration Implementation Plan is to address the health of the grasslands on SFCT’s 300-acre property in the Galisteo Basin, located 19 miles south of Santa Fe. With the decline of rangeland habitats across the Southwest comes the decline of grassland and aridland birds, which have suffered steep, consistent population loss over the last 40 years—more than any other group of birds. “We are excited to bring a new focus to birds and Southwest rangelands through this project and we thank the Cornell Lab for their support,” says SFCT’s Land Program Manager, Melissa Houser. 

The purpose of SFCT’s implementation plan is to restore the rangelands to their highest potential of ecological functions, including their constituent ecological communities of soil, plants and animals.  In addition, SFCT aims to restore the rangelands to support wildlife, including grassland and aridland birds on the Galisteo property, to research the impact of climate change on the rangelands’ vegetation and wildlife and how they are adapting to climate change. Part of SFCT’s work in creating the plan is to conduct Bullseye Monitoring surveys with volunteers to capture current conditions on the ground. Bullseye Monitoring combines quantitative monitoring with qualitative assessment for a complete picture of rangeland health, providing a means of tracking changes on the land using 14 indicators of ecosystem process for Rangeland Health, including measures of bare ground and erosion, nutrient cycling, and plant composition and health. As SFCT implements the plan, these monitoring sites will be revisited annually to track the changes to the grasslands.  

SFCT will also use the grant funding to plant native shrubs, such as three-leaf sumac and winterfat, to bring more berries and seed varieties into the landscape to feed the birds and wildlife. The biggest challenge to successfully planting bird friendly bushes is the unpredictable precipitation that the area receives. SFCT is planning on using Oya™ Watering Pot (underground slow watering clay pot) to help establish the shrubs. SFCT will work with volunteers to plant the local native shrubs in the spring of 2025, and three eBird and Merlin training workshop events will be held for staff and volunteers before and after the planting in early 2025. 

Vermont Land Trust (Vermont), $25,000

An aerial view of a colorful forest
An aerial view of Pratt Forest. Photo credit: Kyle Gray

The Vermont Land Trust (VLT), in partnership with Audubon Vermont and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, will enhance habitat for priority bird species, including Wood Thrush and Black-throated Blue Warbler, at the 471-acre Pratt Refuge, a well-known birding site and eBird hotspot. The Refuge is part of the 355,623-acre Battell Priority Forest Bird Block Important Bird Area as delineated by the National Audubon Society and is part of a 54,972-acre unfragmented forest block that is considered a high priority for interior forest and connectivity by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

With support from this grant, VLT will create high-quality breeding habitat for bird species associated with hardwood/mixed wood forests by implementing an Audubon Silviculture with Birds in Mind management practice. VLT will also create a two-acre opening of young forest/early successional habitat to increase the vertical diversity on the property and provide breeding habitat for key bird species. This work will contribute towards state targets for young forest. “Vermont Land Trust and Audubon have partnered on several Forestry for the Birds management projects since the program’s inception in 2011,” says Caitlin Cusack, VLT’s Forester who will coordinate the project. “We look forward to applying what we’ve learned over the years to this project as well as working with the next generation of forest workers to implement the project.”

The management work will be implemented using a hybrid approach between a Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) sawyer crew and a local contractor. Audubon VT will update the 2007 bird habitat assessment and conduct pre- and post-management bird monitoring to better understand how the forest and the birds respond to Silviculture with Birds in Mind management practices and to inform future management. VLT will also host at least two events to showcase the work and engage landowners, partners, and community members in bird conservation efforts.

Willistown Conservation Trust (Pennsylvania), $25,000

A gate opened to allow entrance to a grassland
A property that is part of the Grassland Bird Collaboration. Photo credit: GBC

The Grassland Bird Collaboration (GBC), a program of Willistown Conservation Trust, has established a “working conservation landscape” to conserve and augment grassland bird populations in Pennsylvania, among Chester County’s working landscapes and nature preserves. The GBC is expanding the connectivity of grasslands within this focal conservation area by identifying landowners and farmers who will modify land management practices to provide breeding habitat for grassland bird species.  

To achieve this, the GBC is partnering with landowners, farmers, conservation organizations, and agriculture support organizations to implement conservation land management practices, conduct research, provide education, and engage the community through outreach events. In partnership with Brandywine Conservancy, the GBC is identifying landowners who have preserved large land holdings and working with them to make stewardship changes. Additionally, with the American Mushroom Institute, the GBC is promoting the mutual benefits of an avian-agricultural system in which mushroom farmers and compost facilities can shape the agricultural landscape through hay procurement to support grassland bird breeding.  

Within the program area, the GBC continues long-term monitoring and research on habitat use, breeding cycles, and breeding productivity to develop adaptive landscape management practices in which individual fields are managed as part of a landscape mosaic to support individual habitat needs of species associated with agricultural fields. “Our work in Chester County is changing the perception of the landscape,” says Zoë Warner, project manager for the GBC. “The landscape is not simply viewed as open space or farmland; it is a working conservation landscape that supports agriculture and essential breeding grounds for grassland birds. The individual goals and actions of the local constituents are much like the interconnected fields—each has an important role to play in the overall success of the GBC program.” The GBC’s goal is to further the development of a community-based conservation land ethic and determine opportunities for conservation co-production. 

Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries (Alabama), $5,000

A rainbow over a small creek
A rainbow over recently protected land on Dauphin Island. Photo credit: DIBS

Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, Inc. (DIBS) works to acquire and maintain a network of quality stopover bird habitats, educate landowners and stakeholders about stewardship practices that strengthen the barrier island’s unique ecosystem, and ensure a successful conservation future for the island by partnering and planning with other conservation groups. DIBS plays a unique role in protecting critical bird habitat on one of the few barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico with wetland habitats and maritime and pine forest.  

The DIBS Habitat Management Plan and Outreach will allow the land trust to utilize a newly acquired tract (12+ acres) to create a demonstration site for general education and create interest in donor stewardship for adjacent landholders and other interested parties. Distribution of publications will engage and provide guidance to property owners on options for land conservation. Additional activities will include informative signage, a spring bird-banding event with the Banding Coalition of the Americas, eBird monitoring, as well as workshops on the Merlin Bird ID app, eBird, invasive plants, and bird-friendly backyard habitat. The plan will also formalize management actions into a DIBS Properties Long-term Habitat Management and Resilience Plan, allowing for stewardship in a more cohesive manner for all DIBS properties and improved integration into larger Dauphin Island conservation planning. Continued and expanded partnerships with conservation groups, governmental entities, and community at all levels to promote whole barrier island ecosystem management and conservation acquisition will be essential to the success of this outreach.  

Drew Haffenden, DIBS VP for Land Acquisition, says, “We are a small all-volunteer land trust working to protect migratory bird habitat on Dauphin Island, a World IBA and one of the most important trans-gulf migratory bird hotspots along the Gulf Coast. The support of the Cornell Land Trust small grant is important in enabling us to create a long-term management plan for our 86 properties. This will allow DIBS to better support habitat for migrating birds and bring in other landowners and stakeholders for an island-wide joint management vision at this important first stop for birds crossing the Gulf.” 

Eastern Sierra Land Trust (California), $5,000

People looking through a spotting scope
Local community members visit Black Lake Preserve, an important migration stop for many birds and a saline oasis for shorebirds and ducks.  Photo credit: ESLT

Through this grant project, Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) will create more opportunities to connect with the community through birds and binoculars. Community members will be introduced to bird conservation during field trips to ESLT preserves and conservation easements, where they will be introduced to eBird and the Merlin Bird ID app and learn how they can personally contribute to conservation through participatory science and get to know birds through these apps.  

This grant will fund binoculars and a spotting scope to make bird watching more accessible and enjoyable for participants. The funds will also cover part of one staff’s time to host these field trips and travel to the sites. These field trips will take participants to areas designated as Important Bird Areas, and leaders will work closely with nonprofit partners, including the Eastern Sierra Bird Alliance (formerly Audubon Society).  

“We are so excited to be able to provide these opportunities to our community to connect directly with conservation and birds” says Gena Wood, ESLT Community Connections Program Manager. “Seeing children’s faces light up when they see the beauty of American Avocets for the first time through a spotting scope is something that will stay with them for a long time, and we feel honored to provide that opportunity.” 

Kansas Land Trust (Kansas), $5,000

Close-up portrait of a hawk
Up close with a hawk. Photo credit: Bruce Hogle

Since 1990, the Kansas Land Trust (KLT) has worked with willing landowners to protect lands of ecological, agricultural, recreational, cultural and scenic significance across the state of Kansas. Conservation easement selection criteria has been intentionally broad, allowing KLT to work to protect a variety of landscapes. With increasing sprawl from urban cores, as well as the impacts of a globalized food system, open spaces and local farms that once provided a haven for wildlife in Kansas are shrinking and face an ongoing threat of destruction. To ensure lands with the greatest ecological impact are protected, KLT will develop its first Conservation Plan, informed by existing state and national data on wildlife habitat, that will strategically guide future conservation priorities and intentional and sustained growth. Simultaneously, KLT will update baseline documentation and monitoring processes to incorporate eBird tools. 

The Kansas Land Trust will work to access existing bird habitat geospatial data in eBird to inform priority geographic areas for the Conservation Plan. This will transform the way that KLT approaches the selection process for future easements, helping KLT make the greatest impact by increasing biodiversity and healthy bird habitat on properties that will be protected in perpetuity. 

To ensure that KLT staff, board, and volunteer monitors are consistent in their use of eBird—a powerful yet low-barrier tool—the Lawrence Bird Alliance (local Audubon chapter) president will provide two trainings, one with a Zoom recording and digital instructions. As KLT works to integrate this citizen-science tool into its stewardship activities, the recorded training will be referenced as more volunteer monitors engage in the land trust’s work in the future. Information gathered from eBird will increase the quality of the land trust’s metrics multifold and allow KLT to communicate findings to landowners with ease. Ultimately, landowners will be equipped with a more wholistic understanding of their contribution to biodiversity conservation and will be inspired to enact effective land stewardship that not only retains but increases biodiversity and rich habitat.  

Lyme Land Conservation Trust (Connecticut), $5,000

A group gathered in a woodland
An event at Slawson Preserve in November of 2023 with current and retired CT State Foresters, New England Cottontail biologists, and the logger who did the timber harvest. Photo credit: Jim Arrigoni, LLT

The Lyme Land Trust (LLT) works with many partners in the Connecticut town of Lyme to conserve natural, scenic, and historic resources. Over half of the town’s land is protected in one form or another. However, early successional or young forest is an uncommon habitat type in a landscape otherwise dominated by maturing forest. Ten years ago, LLT embarked on a partnership with private and public neighbors of Slawson Preserve to cooperatively manage three large (20-40 acres) adjacent parcels for this habitat type on an ongoing basis. In 2014, a 22-acre clearcut was created on a privately held parcel, and a similarly-sized area was cleared at Slawson Preserve in 2018. In 2022, a nearby 40-acre portion of Nehantic State Forest received a heavy shelterwood cut. LLT anticipates continuing to manage these parcels in a coordinated way on a rolling basis so that different seral stages of young forest are always available within close proximity to each other.  

With the support of this grant, and working with partners at The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, LLT will assess breeding bird use of the area by conducting point count surveys in each of the different parcels. In addition to providing information about the biodiversity outcomes of forest management efforts, survey results will be communicated to members of the public through a combination of in-person presentations and bird walks led among the parcels. Also, LLT will highlight the use of tools like eBird and the Merlin Bird ID app to support stewardship activities, in addition to making birdwatching an easier and more enjoyable experience for all. 

“It is a common misconception that forest management must be at odds with conservation of biodiversity,” said Jim Arrigoni, LLT’s Environmental Director. “This research and education initiative will add nuance to this idea by showing with hard data and through the experience of field trips that a unique component of our biota depends on forest management if it is to continue to persist in Lyme.”  

Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (Arkansas), $5,000

People looking through binoculars
A bird hike hosted by NWALT. Photo credit: NWALT

Founded in 2003, the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (NWALT) has protected more than 7,500 acres in the region, which is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the Central Time Zone, with the population expected to double to more than 1 million by 2040. NWALT, with support from this grant, will expand its educational reach through trainings and events which teach new birders, train birders on the use of eBird, and connect people to birds through Restorative Birding workshops for all ages. The program will teach birding practices that encourage connection with nature, guided observation, building community, and mindfulness. The overall goal of the program is to introduce the connectivity between mental wellbeing and wildlife, as a greater understanding of one’s anxieties is gained by paying attention to the positive emotions experienced while birdwatching.   

Partnering with NWA Master Naturalist volunteers, NWA Audubon, and a local middle school, NWALT aims to raise awareness of bird conservation and inspire the next generation of community scientists. Program participants will take their newfound appreciation of birds, the habitats that sustain them, and tools such as eBird, and contribute to the larger body of knowledge in the region. Participants will also learn about land stewardship for bird conservation and proactive steps they can take to conserve birds in their own yards. NWALT and NWA Master Naturalists will carry on this work far beyond the grant award period.  

NWALT will create a training program for Master Naturalists so they can assist with Restorative Birding workshops. Along with NWALT, Master Naturalist volunteers will host an additional two public Restorative Birding workshops and three Restorative Birding field trips for a local Middle School. All workshops and field trips will be held on NWALT public preserves in Fayetteville and Springtown, Arkansas, with a goal of creating a replicable program that continues long after the grant period that can be expanded to other communities and schools. 

Southern Plains Land Trust & Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (Colorado), $5,000

A group of children gathered around a child holding a banded bird
A group of students assist in the release of a bird at a banding station. Photo credit: BCR

Southern Plains Land Trust (SPLT) and Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (BCR), both Colorado-based conservation organizations, are partnering to host a workshop on using science-based tools and methods in bird monitoring to inform land conservation and management decisions for partner land trusts. This workshop will take place on SPLT properties in southeastern Colorado at Heartland Ranch and the Purgatoire River Preserve and will be attended by collaborators from the Northeast Wilderness Trust and Kentucky Natural Lands Trust. 

The mission at Southern Plains Land Trust is to create and protect shortgrass prairie reserves that enables plant and animal communities to thrive with minimal human intervention. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies’ mission is to conserve birds and their habitats through and integrated approach of science, education, and land stewardship. This field workshop will include hands-on training and discussion of monitoring techniques such as point-counts, spot-mapping, and bird-banding, as well as newer tools such as Motus tracking technology, BirdCast, and using eBird to collect and explore data.  

This workshop will also serve as a pilot effort for establishing a bird-banding station and environmental education hub on the SPLT Purgatoire River Preserve. In addition to learning monitoring techniques, partners will emphasize how birds can provide impactful educational experiences to students of all ages, particularly at banding stations where birds can be seen up close. Shelby Perry, Wildlands Ecologist with Northeast Land Trust, says, “Because of the combination of outreach potential, avian monitoring, and capacity building, we strongly support the partnership between BCR and SPLT, and look forward to collaborating with them to make this vision a reality.” 

Small Grant Awardees