Small Grant Program

2016 Land Trust bookmark_REV-1_front

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 activities such as strategic planning, outreach, habitat management, stewardship, and capacity building.

  • Meet the 2019 Small Grant Awardees

    The Cornell Land Trust Small Grants Program is pleased to announce its third year of annual grants to support strategic bird conservation within the land trust community. Learn more about the six awardees who received funds at the $20,000 and $5,000 levels.

    Small Grant Program
  • 2019 Request for Proposals

    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 and $20,000 small grants for lands trusts.

    Small Grant Program
  • Small Grant Example Activities

    The $20,000 awards will support projects that actively manage, restore, and/or steward land in a way that enhances habitat and promotes bird conservation, with special emphasis on priority species or those identified in State Wildlife Action Plans.

    Small Grant Program
  • meadow management workshop

    Meet the 2018 Small Grant Awardees

    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
  • Meet the 2017 Small Grant Awardees

    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