Promoting the enjoyment, study, and conservation of Wisconsin's birds.

The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology sponsors three research grants:

The Steenbock Award, which is intended for beginners, amateurs, and independent researchers, has been used to fund a wide variety of independent bird-related projects. Graduate students and professionals in ornithology may apply for personal projects only. Applicants need not include recommendations or references.

The Charles and Mary Nelson Award, established through a 1993 bequest from the Nelson family, is reserved for ornithological research involving wetlands.

The WSO Grant is usually awarded to provide additional support for research that is being carried out and funded through, for instance, a university graduate program, or in conjunction with another organization, partner, or sponsor (government, museum, etc.).


  • All applicants should send their name, address, phone number, occupation, and a short proposal along with an itemized budget (including amount requested and how it will be used), and list of expected amounts and sources of other funding.
  • Applicants for the Nelson Award and WSO Grant should include names and addresses of two references. Application may be made for a specific grant, or applicants may let the Grants Committee decide which grant would be most appropriate.
  • In general, only projects conducted in Wisconsin will be considered for funding. Amounts awarded will range up to a maximum of $500 per grant per year. Grant money may be used for such things as travel expenses, usable supplies, minor equipment, etc.; more costly equipment will be funded if ultimate ownership resides with an organization or institution (museum, university, etc.).
  • Winners will be notified by mail and announced at the annual WSO convention. We request that winners of the Nelson Award and the WSO Grant (and some Steenbock awardees) have their research findings published at some point in The Passenger Pigeon. Grants recipients may also wish to present a paper at a WSO convention.
  • All award recipients must submit a short project report by October 1st summarizing the work accomplished and identifying how the funds were spent.
  • Applications can be sent either electronically or via snail mail by January 31, 2020.

For more information visit the WSO grants website:

Aaron Greene
WSO Small Grants Program Chair
3901 Rockwell Drive
Madison, WI 53714