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 1,400 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 Grant Program.
Mission: To advise and support land trusts and their partners with capacity building and accomplishing bird conservation on private lands through acquisition and easements prioritization, habitat management and restoration, stewardship, and community outreach.
- Request for Proposals
The Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative provides funding annually to facilitate high priority, bird-focused conservation projects for lands trusts. Find out how to apply and read the evaluation criteria for these $5,000 capacity and partnership grants and $25,000 management and restoration grants.
- Grant Awards and Expectations
Read about the award expectations for the land trust grant programs, including timing, reporting requirements, and payment structure.
- Small Grant Example Activities
This page highlights examples of activities that could be funded at the $5,000 capacity and partnership and $25,000 management and restoration grant levels. Funds will not be limited to this specific type of work as we are eager to receive and consider all applications that meet the RFP and evaluation criteria.
- Past Small Grant Awardees
Learn more about past projects funded by the Cornell Land Trust Small Grant Program. With support from generous sponsors the program funds management and restoration of private protected lands, the integration of bird conservation and tools into land prioritization and planning, and development of partnerships with the birding community to help amplify land trust conservation efforts.