Laramie Audubon Society Small Grants Program 

Our Mission: To promote the conservation and appreciation of birds and other wildlife through education, outreach and habitat stewardship.

General Information:
In keeping with our mission, Laramie Audubon Society (LAS) offers small grants for conservation and outreach. Conservation grants include conservation and restoration projects as well as scientific research. Outreach grants support projects that increase knowledge and appreciation for birds, other wildlife, and habitats. There are no geographic restrictions for projects, although we focus on funding projects in Wyoming.

Grants are awarded for $500 and are reviewed bi-annually. Deadlines are March 31 for summer/fall grants and October 31 for winter/spring grants. Notifications will be sent out within 4 to 6 weeks.

Guidelines for Applicants:
Applications should be no more than 3 pages (single-spaced and 12-point font, including references) and must include the following:
  1. Name and contact information for applicant(s)
  2. Project title
  3. Purpose of project
  4. Project description (including methods and expected outcomes or products)
  5. Timeline for completion
  6. Explanation of how the grant money will be spent
  7. Statement of project relevance to LAS
  8. If any permits or landowner permission are required, include a statement as to their status.
  9. Applicants under 18 years of age must have an adult sponsor and the sponsor must provide a statement of endorsement to LAS separately (either email or snail mail).
Grants are awarded with the following stipulations:
  • If the project is not completed due to unforeseen circumstances, the recipient will submit receipts for the portion of the grant spent and reimburse LAS for the unused portion of the grant. 
  • If the project is not carried out according to the proposed project description, the grantee may be required to reimburse the full grant amount. 
  • A two-to-three paragraph (non-scientific) report, suitable for publication in our quarterly newsletter, is to be submitted within six months of the termination date specified. 
  • A public seminar is to be presented at a monthly LAS meeting within 6 months of the termination date specified. 
  • LAS is to be acknowledged as a supporting organization in any publications resulting from the research, and copies of the publications are to be sent to us.

Checks will be written to the applicant unless specified otherwise.

Please submit proposals in MS Word or PDF format to:

Questions should be addressed to


Previously Funded Projects:

Spring 2020: Katrina Cook, University of Wyoming Master’s student is conducting research titled “Habitat selection and quality of an isolated amphibian population in Wyoming”. Cook will study the Wood Frog in the Medicine Bow National Forest to help determine which macro- and micro-habitat preferences are sought out by isolated frog populations and whether these environments have any relationship between its chytrid status and this habitat use. 

Emily Shertzer, University of Wyoming PhD student in the Department of Zoology and Physiology is conducting research titled “Carry-over effects of human-induced habitat change in migratory songbirds”. The research will study three sagebrush-obligate songbirds (Brewer’s sparrow, sagebrush sparrow, and sage thrasher and their habitats during their yearly life cycle. The two yearly stages are nestling to post-fledging, and post-fledging survival to the over-wintering period. The research will study how one life stage can effect a subsequent life stage and whether any declines in these stage can be mitigated. The research area located south of Pinedale will survey a gradient of lands modified by gas development to adjacent unmodified lands. 

Jacob D. Hennig, University of Wyoming PhD student in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management has conducted research titled “Response of greater sage-grouse habitat quality metrics to a gradient of feral horse use”. Hennig carried out research as to whether he “could detect variation in sage-grouse habitat quality across a gradient of feral horse use within the Red Desert of southcentral Wyoming”. The Laramie Audubon grant will help fund charges for publication in the scholarly journal Rangeland Ecology and Management. This Audubon grant request was to offset an unfunded, unexpected expense required by the Bureau of Land Management to place GPS collars on horses to complete monthly welfare checks on these horses depleting his publication funds.

Fall 2019: The Laramie Rivers Conservation District through Tony Hoch submitted a proposal for Laramie Audubon to aid in the reclamation of the Laramie owned lands surrounding Goforth Meadows Project south of town. Ducks Unlimited (DU) with the help of several funding partners such as NAWCA (US Fish and Wildlife Service), WY Natural Resource Trust, WY Water Development Office, The Nature Conservancy and LRCD are in the process of recreating the wetlands in and around the reconstructed Goforth reservoir. Previously sorghum was planted on the disturbed lands. Now our funding will assist with seeding the wetlands and uplands with a permanent native seed mixture.

The second Laramie Audubon’s Small Grant was awarded to Chelsea Duball, University of Wy- oming Ph.D. student in the Dept. Ecosystem Science and Management. For this grant work will continue on ways of identifying Hydric Soils located at semi-arid land wetlands. Duball indicates “wetlands in the semi-arid western US are especially valuable for providing ecosystem services including critical habitat for rare and endangered species, water filtration and storage, and flood abatement. Drainage or disturbance of these areas and climate warming could dramatically alter these wetland locations”. The grant application states research this season will occur along “Laramie River at Paradise Farm (part of the UWYO system), and four floodplain soil study sites in New Mexico (NM), Colorado (CO), Utah (UT) and California (CA), in coordination with the USDA-NRCS”.

Spring 2019

Project title: Resource availability as a driver of behaviorally- mediated trophic cascades:
experimental tests of puma-guanaco interactions in Patagonia
Recipient: Francisco Molina, Ph.D student in Zoology and Physiology and the Program in Ecology at UW 
Description: Research grant. Francisco's research seeks to understand the ecological conditions under which predation risk by pumas alters the behavior of guanacos in a way that positively impacts vegetation. This research will take place on the Patagonian slope of western Argentina, but may shed light on how predation risk by pumas may alter herbivore behavior and thus influence vegetation right here in Wyoming.

Fall 2018

Project title: Of mice and birds: Disentangling species interac- tions within Wyoming’s natural gas fields
Recipient: Ashleigh Rhea, M.S. student in Zoology and Physiology at UW
Description: Research grant. Ashleigh's research seeks to understand the impacts of competition with and predation by deer mouse on sagebrush songbird repro- ductive success. This research will take place near the Pinedale Anticline Project Area in western Wyoming.

Project title: Near, far, wherever you are: Comparing species niche, connectivity, and disease on rarity type
Recipient: Melanie Torres, PhD student in Ecosystem Science and Management at UW
Description: Melanie's research will test if the rarity of various amphibian species predicts their ecological niche and the connectivity among populations. This work will also examine the impact of a fungal pathogen on the ecological niche and population connectivity of these species. Fieldwork will take place in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado.

Spring 2018

Project title: Locust: The Opera (a story of extinction and a lesson in conservation)
Recipients: Jeffrey Lockwood, Anne Guzzo, and Ashley Carlisle (all University of Wyoming professors)
Description: Outreach grant. The opera is set up as an "environmental murder mystery" wherein an entomologist seeks to understand the natural history and ultimate extinction of the once abundant Rocky Mountain locust.

Project title: South Laramie Youth Garden
Recipients: Claire Ratcliffe, Founding Director of GROWyoming, LLC (Growing Real Opportunities for Wyoming) 
Description: Outreach grant. Teaming up with High Plains Biochar to build a youth garden in a mobile home community in south Laramie (on Howe Rd.). In addition to teaching kids basic gardening skills, they will also hold weekly educational and art projects in the garden (from June - October) that all children in the community are invited to free of charge.

Project title: Linking soil ecology with vegetation management to optimize restoration efforts of ponderosa pine after wild- fires
Recipients: Stephanie Winters, M.S. student in soil science at UW
Description: Research grant. Research will focus on determining what management practices are best for improving soil microbiology and ultimately ponderosa pine restoration after severe wildfire. Research will be conducted in the Laramie Mountains in the area of the 2012 Arapaho Fire.

Fall 2017: Brian Maitland, a graduate student at the University of Wyoming, will use LAS funding to investigate mechanisms governing fish diversity in Rocky Mountain streams. Fish diversity usually increases downstream, but the cause of this pattern is unknown. More fish species could coexist downstream by sharing the same food sources or by exploiting a growing variety of food sources. Brian aims to answer this question by characterizing the diets of fishes sampled throughout Wyoming with analyses of carbon and nitrogen isotopes. His research is especially important due to the potential of non-native fish species to invade habitats upstream of the reservoirs in which they are stocked. He plans to use the LAS grant to support two undergraduate lab assistants, who will learn valuable techniques for careers in fisheries science by processing samples for Brian’s research.

Paul Dougherty is another graduate student at the University of Wyoming and is interested in avian hybrid zones. He wants to investigate factors that may allow for the maintenance of distinct species identities when hybridization occurs. For his dissertation research, Paul has proposed studying how hybrids may be disadvantaged when parental species differ with respect to molt schedules and migratory routes. He will use LAS funding to construct Emlen funnels, temporary holding structures that allow for the identification of an individual bird’s migratory orientation. Paul currently plans on using Emlen funnels to compare the orientations of Baltimore Orioles, Bullock’s Orioles, and their hybrids. He hopes to demonstrate how differences in traits not directly related to reproduction within a given breeding season can play a role in maintaining divergence between hybridizing species by reducing hybrid fitness.

Larry Hicks of the Little Snake River Conservation District was awarded an LAS small grant in support for the Muddy Creek Wetland project. This effort is aimed at combating the loss of wetland and riparian habitat across the west and is responsible for the largest man-made wetland in Wyoming. Located just north of Baggs, Muddy Creek provides vital habitat for breeding birds, migrants from both the Pacific and Central Flyways, and resident species in a landscape otherwise devoid of year-round water sources. Larry boasts an impressive list of funding partners, including Ducks Unlimited and the Bureau of Land Management. He will incorporate LAS support to enhance and expand wetland habitat at Muddy Creek. We look forward to learning more about Larry’s work at Muddy Creek thanks to the area’s potential for birding, research, and outreach.

Banding Mountain Plovers in Thunder
Basin NG. Photo from C. Duchardt

Spring 2017: Support for Courtney Duchardt, a graduate student at the University of Wyoming studying habitat use and movement patterns of Mountain Plover both in Thunder Basin National Grassland and range-wide.

Support for Rebecca Upjohn, a graduate student at the University of Wyoming studying the effects of Russian-olive removal on native shrub species.

Gabe Barille removing a radio
transmitter from a  boreal toad.
Photo by L. Sanders

Fall 2016: Support for Gabe Barille, a graduate student at the University of Wyoming studying the effects of disease and livestock grazing on boreal toads in western Wyoming.

Support for Jesse Alston, a graduate student developing a podcast to communicate research at the University of Wyoming to the broader listening public.  Check out his podcast, Field Notes, here on Soundcloud or wherever you download your podcasts!

Rachel Fannelli and Sarah Daniels
tabling for the UW Racoon Project.
Photo from R. Fanelli.

Spring 2016: Support for Joanna Harter, a graduate student at the University of Wyoming studying the effects of wetland ephemerality on avian diversity in the Prairie Potholes Region (Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas).

Support for Rachel Fanelli, an undergraduate student at the University of Wyoming who is working with the UW Raccoon Project to develop outreach programs, engage the Laramie community in raccoon research, and to promote public interest in local wildlife.

Andy Gygli, swabbing a frog in the field.
Photo from A. Gygli

Fall 2015: support for Andy Gygli, a graduate student at the University of Wyoming studying the incorporation of eDNA data into amphibian occupancy models.

Kurt Smith collaring a sage-grouse.
Photo from K. Smith

Fall 2014: support for Kurt Smith, a graduate student at the University of Wyoming working to identify lek sites and determine the population status of the Columbia Sharp-tailed Grouse in south-central Wyoming.

Brewer's sparrow nestlings, ready to
fledge.  Photo by L. Sanders

Spring 2014: support for Jason Carlisle, a graduate student at the University of Wyoming studying the non-targeted effects of Sage-grouse management on fledgling songbirds. The funds will go to help purchase radio transmitters for tracking fledglings.

Greater sage-grouse.
Photo by Phil Douglass

Fall 2013: Support for Beth Fitzpatrick, a graduate student at the   University of Wyoming studying the effects of landscape change   on Greater Sage-Grouse in the Bighorn and Powder River basins.
Support for Charlotte Gabrielsen, a graduate student at the       University of Wyoming studying the effects of climate change on amphibians persistence in the Plains and Prairie Pothole Region (Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, and the Dakotas)

Wildlife observation blind at Hutton
NWR. Photo from LAS

Spring 2013: support to Heath Haggerty and his Eagle Scout Troop for the construction of a bird-watching and photography blind at Hutton Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (completed Oct 2013)

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