Through a generous bequest from the estate of Roberta “Polly” Holden, a long-time resident of the Hopewell Valley and supporter of environmental causes, Washington Crossing Audubon Society has been able to establish a small grants program to assist individuals and organizations in advancing conservation, environmental education and research through initiatives broadly related to birdlife.
Holden Grants are for conservation and conservation education. The grants emphasize, but are not limited to, three main areas: habitat protection and restoration, avian monitoring and conservation, and public awareness and education. Twenty-five percent of the bird species found in the United States are of conservation concern, with many of these species declining at an unsustainable rate. Habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation are the major factors in this decline. Since the majority of species that are declining unsustainably are Nearctic-neotropical migrants, projects related to both the breeding grounds and wintering grounds are considered. Areas with robust bird numbers and diversity of species are indicators of a healthy, dynamic ecosystem. Thus monitoring bird populations is a time and cost effective way of assessing over-all environmental health, justifying our emphasis on bird conservation. However, the program also encourages grants that address conservation concerns related to other threatened taxa or preserving overall biodiversity. The grants also recognize the importance of education in reconnecting people with the natural world and thereby building a stronger base of advocates for conservation.
Edited by Melanie Colón