Montana Audubon works at the local, state and national policy levels to protect our natural heritage.
Each year Montana Audubon awards grants from the Audubon Wildlife Fund of Montana, a permanent endowment. Audubon Wildlife Fund grants support education and research projects that benefit wildlife in Montana. Preference is given to projects benefiting nongame wildlife and their habitats. If you are considering applying for an Audubon Wildlife grant for 2019, the application, along with the Grant Guidelines can be found here:
For more information about the Wildlife Grant Program please contact Norane Freistadt: [email protected] or call 406.443.3949.
Past project Montana Audubon has supported via our grant program are below.
This project is a combination of efforts between Bitterroot Audubon, Raptor View Research Institute (RVRI), and the MPG Ranch. RVRI has been studying overwintering Bitterroot eagles since 2011 in the north end of the valley. RVRI researchers would like to expand to other parts of the valley, both to find new capture sites, and to increase the potential of re-sighting marked eagles. Bitterroot Audubon volunteers and project leaders have over 20 landowners committed to the program, and have outreached with such various organizations in the valley. The collected data will provide information on the spatial and temporal distribution of eagles in the valley, age-class structure, behavioral observations, and re-sighting of marked eagles.
Under this program, a team of experts will create a training program for middle school students and educators. The program will begin with an intensive summer training institute for educators who will deliver the curriculum in their classrooms. In the first pilot year of the program, there will be 5 schools involved, including 2 teachers from rural school districts, 2 from tribal districts, and one from an urban district. Classrooms will be visited in person twice during the school year to introduce science role models and lead field trips to local Osprey nests. The relationship with teachers will continue throughout the school year, with curricular support and regular meetings.
For this project, funds will be used to expand a Bitterroot-initiated acoustic monitoring program to document night migration of bird populations. The expansion will reach Seeley Lake High School and Salish Kootenai College. Students attending these schools will collect sound data from spring and fall bird migrations. Open-source computer software programs are then used to identify the migrating birds from the collected sounds collected. The project will be used to expand our knowledge of nocturnal bird migrations in western Montana. In addition to the two schools added to this project this year, two high schools in the Bitterroot Valley are also collecting data (and they have been involved in this project for several years).
The University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab (UMBEL) will use schoolyard bird feeders to engage third grade students at Lewis and Clark Elementary in Missoula in a wintering bird population study. Bird feeders will be placed in the school’s Outdoor Discovery Core Habitat Area. Students will maintain the feeders and conduct regular observations of birds visiting feeders through Project Feederwatch. Once birds are coming to the feeders regularly, UMBEL biologists will capture and band birds. Banding will allow students to experience close observation of birds in the hand, an introduction to field methods in bird research, and an overview of population concepts through comparisons of banded versus un-banded birds. UMBEL will also provide teachers with scientific expertise and curriculum material. Students will learn to identify resident bird species, collect data, and communicate results.