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SITKA® ECOSYSTEM GRANTS

WHAT IS ECOSYSTEM THINKING?

 

Humans are an integral part of the ecosystem, and living in consistent connection with the natural world is good and healthy.
Everything is connected. The decisions we make have upstream and downstream effects.

A healthy bull elk is part of a much larger story. His existence reflects an intricate food web supported by everything from soil and water to songbirds and predators.
This is Ecosystem Thinking.


WHAT ARE ECOSYSTEM GRANTS?


We believe extraordinary impacts can be made not only by large organizations but also by grassroots efforts led by passionate individuals.
SITKA Ecosystem Grants fund proposed projects that improve the state and function of an ecosystem.





Process & FAQs

GRANT ELIGIBILITY

Applicant must be 18 years or older.

At this time, funding is restricted to United States and Canadian citizens and projects.

Must have a record of prior experience in the fields of research, conservation or exploration, which should be submitted as it pertains to the proposed project.

Application must be submitted with all required documents, supporting materials and references.

Grants will not be limited to enrolled graduate students, scientific researchers or individuals with non-profit affiliations, but these groups will be favored. Individuals not associated with the aforementioned groups will be required to specifically outline in sufficient detail how their personal work has prepared them for, and will dovetail with, broader regional and local efforts surrounding their area of interest as it relates to the grant proposal.


GRANT AMOUNT

SITKA® Ecosystem Grants vary in amount depending on significance of the project, though most range between US $3,000 and $20,000. However, we do not have a cap on individual grant funding requests. Each grant request is reviewed on a case by case basis. SEG funds often serve as complimentary support, which is why we encourage applicants to seek additional, concurrent funding, and disclose supporting funds and partners within the SEGapplication.


WILL SITKA® ECOSYSTEM GRANTS SUPPORT GRANTS OVER A MULTI-YEAR PERIOD?

Typically, SITKA® Ecosystem Grants support projects for one year. However, in certain circumstances, we support grants on a multi-year basis.


GRANT RESTRICTIONS

SITKA® Ecosystem Grants may not be used for indirect cost expenditures, overhead, and other expenses not directly related to this project. Fringe benefits are also excluded, as are salaries.

Funds may not be used for travel to scientific / professional meetings or conferences, tuition, vacations, study abroad programs, volunteer activities, legal actions, land acquisition, endowments, or publication of research results.

Grantees are expected to provide SITKA with the rights of first refusal for popular publication and other media coverage of their project, efforts and findings.


CURIOUS IF YOUR PROJECT FITS?

As we review grants, we initially consider each through the lens of our Ecosystem Thinking framework. Does the proposed grant fit? Does the proposed grant touch on one or more of the nodes within the Ecosystem Thinking wheel? If so, you’re on the right track.


TIMING

SITKA® Ecosystem Grants are accepted and reviewed monthly on a rolling basis. Please note that we will reach out to you if and when your grant is awarded. This is a highly competitive grant, and therefore we must be thorough in our review and prioritization of grant applications.


WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS AND EFFORTS THAT HAVE BEEN FUNDED?

Supporting efforts to remove fencing that prohibits or threatens ungulate migrations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and efforts to install wildlife friendly fencing in key migratory areas.

Supporting research efforts to better understand mallard duck overwinter habitat use and population dynamics in the Mississippi River Flyway.

Supporting a scholarship fund for a Montana backcountry hunting course tailored to youth and first time hunters.

Supporting a local trail crew who, on their personal time, maintain and restore public trails.

Supporting efforts to restore the Mississippi River Delta by planting native trees to help capture downstream transported sediment, strengthen existing freshwater ecosystems and reduce the rate at which critical habitat and land is lost due to sea level rise, increase frequency and severity of storms, saltwater encroachment and a reduction of land building downstream sediment transport.

Supporting efforts by leading scientific groups and universities to research CWD with hopes of curbing its spread, and lobbying efforts to pass legislation that can increase CWD education, advocacy and awareness.
 

SITKA® ECOSYSTEM GRANTS HAVE SUPPORTED GROUPS INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO:

Individuals (not affiliated with a University, non-profit or formal organization)

University researchers and research groups

State and Federal Government

Non-Profits, both local and national


WILL WE REACH OUT TO YOU IF YOUR GRANT IS NOT AWARDED?

Due to the growing interest in the SITKA® Ecosystem Grants program, we will no longer be reaching out to grant applicants whose grants will not be supported at this time. That being said, we encourage interested individuals and groups to re-apply down the road. Our goal is to support as many grants as possible each year. While your grant may not have been awarded this time around, that does not preclude your grant from being awarded in the future.


IF YOUR SITKA® ECOSYSTEM GRANT IS FUNDED, WILL SITKA® PROMOTE YOUR PROJECT THROUGH DIGITAL AND PRINT STORYTELLING EFFORTS?

SITKA® will, for certain grants, work with grantees to create content and storytelling assets to showcase a particular project and the important efforts underway. In this case, members from our creative team will reach out to you to explore these opportunities.


HAVE QUESTIONS?

Please reach out to grants@sitkagear.com.

Apply Now

GRANT CRITERIA

 

All SITKA® Ecosystem Grant (SEG) projects should be of the highest quality and have the potential to advance and transform the confluence of the environmental + social landscape as it relates to wildlife, stewardship and conservation.

SEG projects should contribute to achieving environmental goals principally, where by doing so, society at large and the ecosystems we are inextricably bound to benefit. This includes wild, suburban and/or urban ecosystems alike.

Potential impacts and success metrics must be qualified and quantified through research and data, grassroots and community efforts, management efforts and outcomes, media and content, and activities that are supported by and or complimentary to the SEG supported project.

Assessment and evaluation of proposals will lean on a desired balance between the effect of broader impacts and resources provided to implement the project.

Application must be submitted with all required documents, supporting materials and references.

Grantees are expected to be accountable for carrying out the activities and methods described in the funded project. To accomplish this, grant applicants should include clear and defined goals, descriptions of activities, timelines, benchmarks and an established plan in place to document (e.g., photo or video) the process and results of those activities. Applicant must have documentation of 501c3, 501c4 or tax deductible academic institution affiliation, if applicable.

Apply Now

Projects We Support

MSU Ecosystem Grants

When we launched the Sitka Ecosystem Grants program, we intended to establish a bridge of support for individuals and organizations spearheading critical efforts that ultimately protect the wild.

As COVID hit and became our reality, traditional funding opportunities for research and conservation grants became scarce and unpredictable. We realized that we had an opportunity to look closer to home to create a substantial impact. This summer marked the launch of our Montana State University Ecosystem Grant Program, which came about to ensure our local community of graduate students could complete their research projects.

Learn More

Middle Cottonwood Preservation

Hunting in the American West is dependent on land access, and as our population increases and human development continues to encroach into wild places, preservation and access becomes increasingly vital to our way of life. With a recent SITKA Ecosystem Grant, we were able to preserve access to an extremely important piece of land, ensuring that it remains open to the public without threat of development, forever. Perhaps most importantly for us, this vital piece of land is in our front yard.

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Bozeman Trail Crew

We’ve all been on a trail in need of repair, whether damaged by erosion or blocked by fallen trees. Many of us don’t think twice about the people who work hard to make those repairs, people who are usually volunteers. A recent SITKA Ecosystem grant has gone to help one group of these volunteers, the Bozeman Trail Crew, purchase the equipment they need to properly and efficiently maintain a complex and well-trodden trail system around our home in Bozeman, Montana.

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Fighting Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease is perhaps the greatest threat that wildlife populations in North America face, and it is the most significant threat posed to our way of life as hunters. This neurological disease currently has no treatment or vaccine, is fatal in cervids, and is spreading across deer populations in North America.“It’s a disease that we have no cure for and no way of stopping it, and there’s a lot of research that needs to be done to figure out how we’re going to deal with it,” says Dr. Karl Miller, the world’s preeminent deer biologist of the University of Georgia Deer Lab. “It may not be the end of deer hunting as we know it, but it will be the end of a lot of the ways we deer hunt.

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Mule Deer Migration Crisis

Once the snow starts flying, ancient rituals unfold as some of the planet’s greatest animal migrations take place. Animals embark on these seasonal journeys to survive, taking advantage of the rolling availability of resources that vary over space and time. A need for food, breeding grounds or overwinter habitat is what drives these wildlife to different locations and elevations. Decades of conservation work have revealed that once migratory corridors are severed, impeded or encroached upon, many migrating species have difficulty adapting. While some species are more adaptable than others, some, like the mule deer, struggle to cope.

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Watch the Full Film Here

Mississippi River Delta Project

Albertine Kimble is a duck hunter in Plaquemines Parish. Having worked for the parish, she knows the local wetlands better than almost anyone. In her own words, she explains how leveeing has prevented the Mississippi River from flowing its natural course and has deprived the wetlands of essential nutrients and sediment. As Albertine takes us to her favorite hunting spots, she shares how the dying marsh is disrupting the bird migration route, the Mississippi Flyway, and could eventually put New Orleans at risk.

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West Texas Desert Big Horn Sheep

Desert bighorn sheep numbers have dwindled over the past century but are making strong rebounds across their range thanks to dedicated conservation efforts. Texas Parks and Wildlife is one agency leading an abundance of successful efforts across the state often in conjunction with private landowners and stewards. SITKA Gear has supported a significant conservation project taking place in the rugged mountains of West Texas where one of the states most productive bighorn herds lives. Many of the sheep from this population are used to seed populations across the region.

Backcountry Skills for the Aspiring Hunter

This 10-day adventure teaches youth to be effective and safe backcountry hunters. We provided gear and funding for 10 scholarships to help engage the next generation and inspire stewardship of wild places.

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UNI's Prairie on Farms Project

There is increasing interest in planting prairie on farms. By helping farmers plant strips of native prairie, the ecosystem can benefit significantly by stopping erosion, storing water, reducing nutrient loss and improving soil quality. Through support from a SITKA Gear Ecosystem Grant, new prairie is being planted across the region, which will also support resident wildlife and the scores of birds, mammals and insects, like the monarch butterfly, who pass through these lands on their migratory journeys.

GRANTS ADVISORY BOARD

Jonathan Hart

Jonathan Hart has spent a lifetime in nature seeking out wild and remote ecosystems. After spending his early years working at tech start-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hart went on to pursue his true passion. In 2006, Hart founded SITKA® Gear, now a pillar of the W.L. Gore and Associates enterprise, and globally recognized perennial leader in the outdoor and hunting space. Hart's ecosystem thinking approach continues to shape and inform SITKA's mission.

Randy Newberg

Randy Newberg has spent the last eleven years hosting his popular hunting TV shows, podcasts, and other digital media platforms, all focused on self-guided public land hunting in the Western United States. Randy currently distributes video content on YouTube channel Randy Newberg, Hunter and via Amazon Prime Video Direct on his channel, Leupold’s Fresh Tracks with Randy Newberg.

Dr. Laura Jackson

Laura Jackson is Director of the Tallgrass Prairie Center and Professor of Biology at the University of Northern Iowa. She received her bachelor's degree in Biology from Grinnell College, and a Ph.D. in Ecology (minor in Agronomy) from Cornell University. She has taught courses in ecology, conservation biology, restoration ecology and environmental studies. Her research has focused on the restoration of biological diversity in agriculture landscapes, and seedling establishment in tallgrass prairie restoration.

Elise Loggers

Elise was raised in Northeastern Washington state where her curiosity for the outdoors grew under ponderosa pines and in alpine meadows. She completed a degree in wildlife biology at the University of Washington and moved to Yellowstone National Park shortly after graduating. There, she worked on multiple projects studying bears, wolves, and cougars. Her graduate research focuses on assessing the efficacy of Bear Management Areas in Yellowstone National Park.

Dr. Bob Garrott

Bob Garrott is a Professor of wildlife ecology and Director of the Fish and Wildlife Ecology and Management Program in the Ecology Department of Montana State University-Bozeman. He has been at MSU for 25 and works closely with regional natural resource management agencies to conduct research to enhance our ecological knowledge of important wildlife species, aid in the development of more effective policies, and provide training for students pursuing careers in natural resource conservation and management.

Whit Fosburgh

Whit Fosburgh is the president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), a national conservation non-profit working to guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish. Fosburgh joined the TRCP in 2010 and has grown the organization to include more than 100,000 sportsmen and women, 60 partner organizations, and more than 100 corporate partners.

Mark Healey

Mark was born and raised in Hawaii, giving him a love for wild places from an early age and ultimately leading to his career as a professional big wave surfer. Mark is a life long spear fisherman, a skill he utilizes to put food on the table as well as work with scientists to carry out two first of it’s kind shark tagging projects that have helped shed light on shark behavior. Ten years ago he wanted to close the loop and start sourcing red meat on his own which led to an obsession with bow hunting.