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Danforth Conservation Grants

The Sophie Danforth Conservation Biology Fund (SDCBF), established by Roger Williams Park Zoo and the Rhode Island Zoological Society in 1989, supports conservation programs that protect threatened wildlife and habitats worldwide.

Funding is directed towards field studies and other projects that demonstrate a multi-disciplinary approach to biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. This includes development of techniques that can be used in a natural environment, environmental education programs, and breeding programs that stress an integrative approach to conservation. Projects that involve in-country collaborators or align with RWPZoo’s conservation portfolio receive the highest funding priority.

Grant applications are now closed for 2024.

Application Process:

Submission Guidelines
  • Applications for the 2024 grants are no longer being accepted. 
  • Grants will be awarded by September 15th, 2024. No funds will be provided before October 1st.
  • Awardees must provide a progress report including an update on the status of the project and detailing budgetary expenditures by September 15th, 2025.
  • Completed application must include the following:
    1. Completed application form including literature cited and a detailed budget for the project.
    2. Curriculum Vitae (two page maximum).
    3. Two letters of recommendation, each from a different individual familiar with the applicant and the proposal.
  • Only complete application submissions will be considered.
  • Electronic submissions are preferred. Send submissions to
Project Eligibility
  • Applicants must be associated with an organization (e.g. NGO, university, etc.) through which they can receive funding. Organizations, not individuals, receive funding check. There are no eligibility restrictions on the nationality of the applicant.
  • Roger Williams Park Zoo is not required to be a collaborator for a project to be eligible for funding.
  • Funds for elements of a project that will have already occurred before awards are granted are not eligible for grants.
  • We may consider partial funding of a project if a particular component of the project has support and can be completed independently, or if it is made clear that additional funding has been obtained or is being sought from other sources to cover remaining costs.
  • We will not consider funding highly invasive, terminal research projects, or projects that collect/voucher specimens.
  • Projects that have been funded by the SDCBF are eligible for a second year of funding. A second application must be submitted according to the application guidelines, along with a progress report from the first year of SDCBF funding.
  • Awardees must acknowledge the SDCBF and notify RWPZ in any publications produced as a result of the project.
Application Process

We will not consider proposals that do not follow the guidelines precisely.

No phone calls, please. All information needed to inform your application is included here. We suggest that you review current and past grantee project descriptions prior to preparing your application.

Send your completed applications to:

Send completed applications to Electronic submissions preferred.

If unable to send an electronic copy, applications can be sent to:
ATTN: Sophie Danforth Conservation Biology Fund
Roger Williams Park Zoo
1000 Elmwood Avenue
Providence, RI 02907

Questions? Contact us at or call (401) 785-3510 ext. 335.

PAST GRANTEES (Details on any project available upon request.)

2023 Sophie Danforth Grant Recipients

Project Title: Understanding the impacts of invasive plants and benefits of native planting on microbial diversity and soil nutrition

PI: Loswitha P. Murugani

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Project Title: The role of multimodal signalling in mate choice in Spheniscus penguins

PI: Kiyoko Gotanda

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Project Title: Mudzi Cooking Project

PI: Maria Kameta

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Project Title: Investigating the Movements and Habitat Selection of North American Wood Turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) in Rhode Island

PI: Chris Polinski

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Project Title: Health Assessment of Black Lion Tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysopygus) for Translocation Purposes

PI: Gabriela Cabral Rezende, PhD

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Project Title: Enhancing Canopy Ecosystems: Integrating Epiphytes into Habitat Restoration for the Conservation of Abronia cambelli

PI: Brad A Lock DVM

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Project Title: Bay Area Puma Project (BAPP): Identifying hotspots & barriers for mountain lions in Marin and Sonoma County & implications for human-wildlife conflict

PI: Zara McDonald and Alys Granados

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Project Title: Assessment of Adoption of Livestock Depredation Innovations in The Wildlife Dispersal Areas of Maasai Mara National Reserve – Kenye

PI: Elizabeth Wakoli

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Project Title: Advancing Wildlife Medicine and Care in Kenya through Training and Development of Veterinary and Animal Care Staff

PI: Dr. Katie Delk, DVM

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Project Title: A native tree nursery and snake awareness training as tools for conservation of reptiles, amphibians, and other small animals

PI: Jonathan E. Twining

Amount Awarded: $1000.00

2022 Sophie Danforth Grant Recipients

Understanding and Reducing Roadkills resulting from Animal-Vehicle
Collisions on the Highway Traversing Nyungwe National Park in South-Western Rwanda

PI: Dr. Ange Imanishimwe

Award Amount: $1000.00


Habitat restoration generated, enhanced, and sustained by farms: Upscaling and improving biological corridors for the conservation of Abronia campbelli

PI: Brad A Lock DVM

Oklahoma City Zoo

Award Amount: $1000.00


An evaluation of functional genetic pathways associated with immunity in the Plethodon cinerus cutaneous microbiome

PI: Nina Naghshineh

Fordham University

Award Amount: $1000.00


Effect of seasonal humidity on the competition and disease transmission between wild ungulates and livestock in the rural areas of the Highland Atacam Desert

PI: Nicolas Fuentes-Allende

University Austral of Chile (UACh)

Award Amount: $1000.00


Conservation of Threatened Birds within Itu Wetland, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

PI: Ikponke Nkanta

Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRCC)

Award Amount: $1000.00


Kids for Compassionate Conservation: Inspiring youth conservationists in rural Zambia

PI: Kelly O’Meara

Pan African Sanctuary Alliance

Award Amount: $1000.00


Bay Area Puma Project (BAPP): Lack of Connectivity in Marin County and Trouble for Puma Persistence Zara McDonald
Alys Granados

Felidae Conservation Fund

Award Amount: $1000.00


Effectiveness of guarding donkeys for protecting livestock from depredation in Namibia, Africa

PI: Dallas Ruble

Award Amount: $1000.00


Local communities’ empowerment and conservation awareness to safeguard the critically endangered and endemic primate species populations of Lama Forest in South Benin

PI: Donald R. Yehouenou Tessi

SOS Biodiversity NGO

Award Amount: $1000.00


2021 Sophie Danforth Grant Recipients

Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative: One Species, One Country, Four Biomes

PI: Patricia Medici

Award Amount: $1000.00


Bay Area Puma Project (BAPP): Barriers to Movement in Marin County

PI: Zara McDonald

Award Amount: $1000.00


Kids For Compassionate Conservation: Educational Outreach to Protect Critically Endangered Chimpanzees (Pantroglodytes Verus) In Sierra Leone

PI: Gregg Tully (PASA)

Award Amount: $994.00


Through Research Of Tap Root Growth, And Microbial Diversity, Identify Indigenous Species That Are Better Adapted to Withstand Climate Change.

PI: Loswitha Murugani, Painted Dog Trust

Award Amount: $1000.00


Construction of an In-Situ Captive Breeding Facility for The Critically Endangered Guatemalan Beaded Lizard (Heloderma Charlesbogerti)

PI: Dr. Brad Lock, Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

Award Amount: $1000.00


Black in Nature: Evaluating and Addressing the Nature Gap in Dallas Texas

PI: Krystal Toney

Award Amount: $508.20


Nesting habitat Characterisation of Red Crowned Roofed Turtle (Batagur kachuga) in National Chambal Sanctuary, India

PI: Pawan SP Pareek

Award Amount: $1000.00

 Creating A Youth Environmental Leadership Program on Endangered Mammals in Malawi

PI: Steven Makumba

Award Amount:  $1000.00

 Community Based Himalayan Salamander (Tylototriton himalayanus) Conservation in Eastern Himalayas, Nepal

PI: Birek Gautam

Award Amount: $1000.00

Game Based Approach and Intrinsic Motivation for Raising Environmental Awareness

PI: Bhuwan Singh Bist

Award Amount: $1,000.00

2020 Sophie Danforth Grant Recipients

Conservation Center for Abronia graminea in Puebla, Mexico

PI: José Alfredo Hernández Díaz, MSc, Africam Safari Zoo, Mexico

Award Amount: $1000.00


Habitat Assessment to Select Potential Release Sites for the Critically Endangered Bali Starlings in Melinggih Kelod Village, Indonesia

PI: Seruni Putri Soewondo, Begawan Foundation (Yayasan Begawan)

Award Amount: $1000.00


Stealth Hunters and Gentle Giants: Keystone Species Conservation and Community Stewardship

PI: Dr. Marisa Tellez, Crocodile Research Coalition

Award Amount: $1000.00


Community-Based Conservation Initiatives for Fishing Cat in Lumbini Wetlands, Rupandehi District, Nepal

PI: Prativa Kaspal, Women for Conservation

Award Amount: $1000.00


Community Based Conservation of African Forest Elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotus) in OmoForest Reserve ,Southwestern Nigeria

PI: Ikponke Nkanta, Tropical Research and Conservation Centre

Award Amount: $1000.00


Genetic Analysis of Diamondback Terrapin Populations of the Northeastern United States

PI: Amanda Lyons, Brown University

Award Amount: $1000.00


Engaging Landowners, Farmers And Communities In Vulture Conservation Education

PI: Charne Wilhelmi, Vul Pro NPC

Award Amount: $1000.00


Anecdotal Data for Landscape-Scale Conservation Planning for the Newly-Discovered Conservation Zone for the Critically Endangered Guatemalan Beaded Lizard

PI: Brad Lock, DVM; Dipl ACZM, Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Award Amount: $1000.00


Prevention of Illegal Hunting through Environmental Education Workshops to Mayan Indigenous Children in the State of Campeche, Mexico

PI: Matias Ayuilar Ceresedo, Pro Mazahua Foundation

Award Amount: $1000.00


Conservation Education of Scimitar Horned Oryx, Extinct in the Wild: Be a Citizen Scientist

PI: Kathaleen Trost, Columbus County Schools

Award Amount: $1000.00

2019 Sophie Danforth Grant Recipients

Elephants, Vultures, and Honeybees

PI: Mr. Robin Cook

Award Amount: $1000.00


Identifying Key Habitat Features of an Isolated Black Rat Snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) Population in Massachusetts

PI: Sara A. Horowitz, The children’s Museum

Award Amount: $1000.00


Ecological Assessment and Conservation Initiatives of Hog Deer (Axis porcinus) in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

PI: Kiran Thapa Magar, Biodiversity Conservation and Research Society

Award Amount: $1000.00


Creation of Biological Corridors on Family Plots, for the Conservation of Abronia campbelli

PI: Dr. Brad Lock, DVM; Dipl ACZM, Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

Award Amount: $1000.00


Sea Turtle Conservation and Public Engagement with Science

PI: Felicia M. Page

Award Amount: $1000.00


Advanced Primate Conservation in the Face of Global Change

PI: Brandon Semel, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Cheatham Hall, Virginia Tech

Award Amount: $1000.00


Patrol and Fire-Fighting teams to Protect and Conserve the Sabangau Forest, Indonesia

PI: Mrs. Susan Sheward MBE, Orangutan Appeal UK, New Forest Estate Offices

Award Amount: $1000.00


The Impact of Introduced Trout on Andean Amphibians

PI: Emma Steigerwald, University of California, Berkeley Department of Integrative Biology

Award Amount: $1000.00


Primate Care Training Program

PI: Gregg Tully

Award Amount: $1000.00


Pilot Project to Establish Home Ranges of Rehabilitated Sunda Pangolins (Manis javancia) in the Cat Ten National Park

PI: Tiffany Yi-Lin Chen

Award Amount: $1000.00

2018 Sophie Danforth Grant Recipients

Can the federally endangered American burying beetle be successfully reintroduced in New York? Habitat suitability assessments based upon community composition of Burying beetles (Nicrophorus spp.) within targeted protected areas in New York State

PI: Dr. Carmen Greenwood, Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Science, SUNY Cobleskill

Award Amount: $1000.00


Habitat Assessment and Awareness Activities on Conservation of Himalayan Musk Deer (Moschus chrysogaster) in Langtang National Park, Nepal

PI: Tilak Thapamager, Himalayan Biodiversity Network-Nepal

Award Amount: $1000.00


Characterizing primate pet trade ad use in the Yucatan Peninsula and implementing conservation education to preserve endangered Geoffroy’s spider monkeys

PI: Luisa Rebecchini

Award Amount: $1000.00


Moving amphibian probiotics from the lab to wild populations under threat from disease

PI: Timothy Korpita

Award Amount: $1000.00


Conservation of the Slow Loris through Community Participation and Coffee-growing Agroforestry in Western Java

PI: Prof. Anna Nekaris, Oxford Brookes University

Award Amount: $1000.00


VulPro/ Roots and Shoots after school programme

PI: Charne Wilhelmi

Award Amount: $1000.00


The transition to nutritional independence and associated conservation risks in an insectivorous bat

PI: Jessica M. Dreyer, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Award Amount: $1000.00


Conservation genetics of a Kinixys homeana (Testudines: Testudinidae) population in Central Ghana and microsatellite development within Kinixys

PI: Jaimie Kittle

Award Amount: $1000.00


Community based habitat restoration for the critically endangered Guatemalam beaded lizard (Heloderma charlesbogerti)

PI: Brad Lock, DVM; Dipl. ACZM, Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

Award Amount: $1000.00

2017 Sophie Danforth Grant Recipients

Anecdotal Data for Landscape-Scale Conservation Planning for the Newly-Discovered Conservation Zone for the Critically Endangered Guatemalan Beaded Lizard

PI: Brad Lock, DVM; Dipl ACZM, Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Award Amount: $1000.00


Evaluation of the Prey Base and Feeding Relationships of the American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)

PI: Brandon Quimby

Award Amount: $1000.00


Can Isotopes in Feces Track the Mobility Of Difficult to Observe Mammals

PI: Brooke Erin Crowley

Award Amount: $1000.00


Conservation and Empowerment in Uganda

PI: Rebecca Goldstone

Award Amount: $1000.00


Lowland Tapir Health, Risk Assessment and Long-Term Conservation in Brazil

PI: Renata Carolina Fernandes Santos

Award Amount: $1000.00


Determining Life History and Population Size of Juvenile and Adult Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) in Rhode Island

PI: Sarah Helmbrecht

Award Amount: $1000.00


Conservation of the Critically Endangered Alligator Lizard (Ambronia campbelli) in Eastern Guatemala Through Habitat Restoration and Community

PI: Brad Lock

Award Amount: $1000.00


Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) Nesting Ecology, Mating Behavior and Genetic Diversity in Disturbed and Undisturbed Nesting Sites

PI: Alexandra T Vik

Award Amount: $946.37


The Effect of Visual, and Auditory Deterrents, and Hive Protections on Honey Badger Depredation of Beehive Fences

PI: Abigail Johnson

Award Amount: $1000.00


Preserving the Endangered African Manatee Population from Human Activities in Lake Ossa Wildlife Reserve

PI: Ngafack Paul Rodrique

Award Amount: $990.00


Ecological Community Response to the Abatement of Oil and Gas Development — Implications for Restoration Planning

PI: Rachel Buxton

Award Amount: $996.80

2016 Sophie Danforth Grant Recipients

Human Dimensions of Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) Conservation: An Evaluation of Landowner Attitudes in Connecticut (USA)

PI: Lindsay S. Keener-Eck, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Connecticut

Award amount: $1000.00


Sustainable Innovations and Conservation Education with Wildlife-Neighboring Communities in Uganda

PI: New Nature Foundation (Kibale Fuel Wood Project)

Award Amount: $1000.00


Investigating Feeding Platforms as a Means for Dispersing and Propagating Native Tree Seeds Via Frugivorous Birds in the Dominican Republic

PI: Spencer Schubert, Old Dominion University

Award Amount: $1000.00


Biodiversity Conservation of the Tubah Upland Forests Through Community Edu-engagement Using Conservation Radio, Posters, Conservation Champions League, Agroforestry, and Tree Nursery Design, Construction and Management trainings, School Conservation Clubs and the Tubah Local Community Conservation Team.

PI: Ngalim Franklin Njaiwo, The Greens, Bamenda, NWR- Cameroon

Award Amount: $1000.00


Demography of a Recovery: Little Brown Bats Rebounding From White-Nose Syndrome in the North East

PI: Katherine Gillman, PhD Student, University of New Hampshire

Award Amount: $1000.00


Conserving South Africa’s Free-ranging Cheetah Through Farmers: Predator Conflict Mitigation

PI: Deon Cilliers, Field Officer, Cheetah Outreach Trust

Award Amount: $1000.00


The Effects Of Suburbanization on the Reproductive Behavior and Physiology of Wood Frogs (Lithobates Sylvaticus)

PI: Dr. Lindsey Swierk, Yale University

Award Amount: $1000.00


Can Isotopes In Feces Track The Mobility of Difficult To Observe Mammals?

PI: Brooke Erin Crowley, Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati

Award Amount: $1000.00


Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) Nesting Ecology, Mating Behavior, and Genetic Diversity in Disturbed and Undisturbed Nesting Sites

PI: Alexandra T. Vlk, SUNY College at Oneonta

Award Amount: $1000.00


Conservation of the Critically Endangered Alligator Lizard (Abronia Campbelli) in Eastern Guatemala Through Habitat Restoration and Community Forest Management – Phase II

PI: Brad Lock, Zoo Atlanta

Award Amount: $1000.00

2015 Sophie Danforth Grant Recipients

Conservation Genetics of Threatened Endemic Reptiles in Guatemala

PI: Brad Lock, Zoo Atlanta

Award Amount: $1000.00

Reintroduction and Genetic Monitoring of the Endangered Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit

PI: Stephanie DeMay, University of Idaho

Amount Awarded:  $1000.00


Torpor in a Critically Endangered Primate: Climate Effects on Behavior, Microhabitat Use and Reintroduction of the Javan Slow Loris (Nycticebus javanicus)

PI: Kathleen Reinhardt; Dendi Rustandi

Amount Awarded: $950.00


Serengeti Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation Program

PI: Stevens Ng’walali, Community Poverty Reduction and Environment Conservation Trust

Amount Awarded:  $1000.00


Conservation Radio: Conserving Species of the Bamenda Highlands for Posterity

PI: Ngalim Franklin Njaiwo, Conservation Radio

Amount Awarded:  $1,000.00


Pan African Sanctuary Alliance’s (PASA) Emergency Healthcare and Rehabilitation Program for Injured African Primates

PI: Julie Sherman; Steve Unwin

Amount Awarded:  $1,000.00


RNA Viruses: Prevalence, Transmission, and Effect on Native Bumble Bees in Vermont

Principal Investigator: Samantha Alger, University of Vermont

Amount Awarded:  $1,000.00


Development and Utilization of a Quantitative PCR for Diagnosis of Steinhausia Microsporidia in Captive Polynesian Tree Snails, (Partula nodosa)

PI: Jim Wellehan, University of Florida

Amount Awarded:  $1,276.00


Conservation Of The African Large Carnivore Guild: Experimental Investigation of Interspecific Competition Involving Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta)

PI: Jessica Vitale, Wild Entrust International

Amount Awarded:  $1,000.00


Outdoor Teaching on Natural History to Promote the Conservation of Taita Hills Forests, Kenya

PI: Lawrence Wagura, National Museums of Kenya

Amount Awarded: $993.50

2014 Sophie Danforth Grant Recipients

Understanding Seasonal Diet and Habitat Overlap of Musk Deer With Livestock and Assessment of Habitat Selection

PI: Kapil K. Khada

Amount Awarded: $955.00


Investigating Chelonid Fibropapilloma-Associated Herpesvirus in Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Infected Green Sea Turtles

PI: Annie Page-Karjian

Amount Awarded: $885.00


Conservation of the African Large Carnivore Guild: Experimental Investigation of Interspecific Competition Involving Spotted Hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta)

PI: Jessica Vitale

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Development of Assisted Reproductive Techniques in the African Wild Dog

PI: Femke Van den Berghe

Amount Awarded: $1000.00

Dogs Saving Cats: The Livestock Guarding Dog Program

PI: Dr. Laurie Marker

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Frog-Biting Mosquitoes, Culex Territans And Uranotaenia Sapphirina as Vectors of Multiple Amphibian Pathogens

PI: Mandy Gaudreau

Amount Awarded: $946.00


Raising Awareness of Endangered Abronia Species in Guatemala Through Education and the PEFCA Center

PI: Brad Lock, DVM

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Primate Protection in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Supporting Local Leaders in Conservation Education Efforts

PI: Dr. Carmen Vidal

Amount Awarded: $868.28


Soil Properties and Vegetation Carbohydrate Content on Jackrabbit Inhabited Prairie Grass Areas in South Dakota

PI: Kelsey Gilcrease

Amount Awarded: $1000.00


Empowering Communities to Protect Declining Ecosystems: The Kibale Fuel Wood Project and Kibale Eco-Char Initiative

PI: Mrs. Rebecca Goldstone & Mr. Michael Stern

Amount Awarded: $1000.00

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