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  • The Betty Petersen Conservation Fund to Help Caribbean Birds

    Fern Davies

    2018-2019 Awards Now Open!

    Size of Award: One grant up to $135,000 or 2-3 grants up to $65,000 each

    Deadline for Pre-proposals: September 23rd, 2018 at 5 p.m. EDT.

    Address Questions and Send Application to: Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director, BirdsCaribbean, Lisa.Sorenson@BirdsCaribbean.org; copy to  info@birdscaribbean.org

    Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent by October 7th, 2018, and those proposals are due by October 30th, 2018.

    Announcement of Awards: November 15th, 2018

    Donations to the Fund: Tax-deductible (U.S.) at this link.


    Betty Petersen helped many aspiring conservationists; we honor her legacy with this conservation fund.

    Inspiration: Betty Petersen (1943-2013), a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, U.S.A. was, in her own way, a wizard. With nothing more than donated birding equipment, books, and a bit of cash, she turned local communities and school kids into committed conservationists, struggling NGOs into recognized players on the inter-American scene, and “paper parks” into real protected areas. And in the process she reminded us how rewarding it is to lend a hand when none is expected.

    The Goal of the Betty Petersen Conservation Fund is to advance the conservation status of birds and habitats in the Caribbean region. The Fund provides competitive grants to groups or individuals to engage and empower communities and stakeholders to protect and benefit sustainably from their birds. The Fund and its grants will be administered by a designated advisory group within BirdsCaribbean.

    Eligibility: Applications are invited from conservation organizations, academic programs or government working in the Caribbean. Successful proposals will benefit the conservation of birds and their habitats in the greater Caribbean region, including Bermuda, the Bahamas, and all islands within the Caribbean basin. Innovative projects that engage local communities and decision makers to alleviate threats and/or encourage sustainable use of threatened natural resources will receive priority for funding, as will projects that benefit high priority areas—such as Important Bird Areas or Key Biodiversity Areas—that are under serious threat.

    Matching Funds: Applicants are encouraged to provide at least 1:1 matching funds toward the project cost.  In-kind match qualifies. Proposals providing a higher match ratio may receive preference.

    Application Guidelines

    Applicants shall initially provide a pre-proposal in English, French, or Spanish. All require an English language version of the abstract.

    Applications need to be emailed as a Microsoft Word document, with “Betty Petersen Conservation Fund Pre-Proposal” in subject line.

    The application comprises a cover page, proposal (see guidelines below), and a curriculum vitae for the applicant that includes the names, affiliations, telephone and e-mail address for three individuals who can attest to the applicant’s effectiveness in previous bird conservation work.


    A committee appointed by BirdsCaribbean will review the pre-proposals and may invite full proposals from applicants whose projects seem best aligned with the goals and most likely to affect positive change.

    The committee may select one or more projects each year for funding.

    Awardees are required to submit a report 13 months from the day of the award explaining the results of the project to that point and also an accounting of how funds were used. For single-year projects this will be considered the final report. Multi-year projects must report annually, with continued funding dependent on adequate progress and use of grant funds. In all cases, unexpected challenges as well as progress beyond initial expectations require notation.

    Awardees are encouraged to present the results of their work at the biennial International Meeting of BirdsCaribbean and publish in The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology.

    Download the application form (PDF) here.

    Read more about Betty and the fund here.

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