Crowder-Messersmith Conservation Fund

Current RecipientsPast Recipients  |  Apply  |  Instructions      

To donate, click here, and choose "Crowder-Messersmith Conservation Fund"  under "Designation."

The Fund honors Orville Crowder and Don Messersmith, two leaders in nature tourism, as a means to further global nature conservation. The Crowder-Messersmith Conservation Fund, together with the International foray program allows ANS members to experience and promote other cultures and environments and to help promote conservation awareness and protection beyond the United States. The fund helps small, local conservation and/or education projects in developing countries. Its grants provide seed money to communities and individuals whose projects have not attracted major support from other sources.

Grants have provided more than 75 projects with start-up costs since 1974. The Audubon Naturalist Society has administered the Fund since 1999. In 2011, the Fund supported projects to help protect and preserve endangered species in Oceania, Africa, and Asia. Two of the species that benefited from the grants are listed by the IUCN as near-threatened; the third is critically endangered.

 CMCF Grantees 2014


Current Recipients

The ANS Crowder-Messersmith Fund Committee recently awarded two 2014 grants for conservation education. 

  • The grantee's project in Ethiopia supports the recovery and conservation of the Ethiopian Wolf, an Ethiopian endemic with a population of approximately 450. The project objectives are to generate new knowledge on the status and ecology of an unstudied wolf population; dvelop and implement innovative community based wildlife conservation; increase awareness of the wolf's conservation needs by the local people; and develop community based conservation education.
  • Our grant in Cameroon was our first in this country. The project's goal is to protect the critically endangered cross-river gorillas, mandrills (listed as a vulnerable species), and endangered African forest elephants through the education of communities around the Takamanda National Park. Environmental Governance Institute (EGI) will carry out conservation education targeting hunters, wildlife traders, and youth, and will focus on the rights and responsibilities of communities with regard to conservation. Throughout the project EGI will work closely with the government wildlife protection agencies to strengthen wildlife monitoring and enforcement of laws.



Examples of Past Recipients

  • A small group of dedicated Cape Verdians on Santiago received a grant for their project to rehabilitate, protect, and support eco-touristic use of beaches, lagoons, and the surrounding areas.  Many of the island beaches are used by the critically endangered Leatherback Turtle, and the lagoons are important refuges for migrating shorebirds of conservation concern.
  • Mr. S. P. Anandan of the Foundation for Research and Sustainable Development in Madurai Tamil Nadu, India. Anandan studied fruit-eating and insectivorous bats, particularly the Salim Ali Fruit Bat (Latidens salimali) in the Western Ghats Mountains. The work involves conservation education programs for school students, indigenous communities, farmers, mountain people, and estate owners. The purpose of these programs is to convince these targeted groups of the necessity and methods for protecting the bats’ natural habitats (caves, large trees, temples, etc.).
  • Ms. Lilly Ajarova of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Uganda. Ajarova developed a community awareness program for the children and fishing communities of the Koome Islands in the Mukono District. These are marginalized communities in Uganda with low school attendance. One way to reach the children and adults in these fishing communities is through the production of music, dance, and drama programs. Ajarova and her team planned an annual event that builds conservation awareness, trains teachers in methods for incorporating environmental education into the school curriculum, and exposes children and adults to nature conservation methods and nature centers.

  • Ms. Emily K. Lind of the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation, Ecuador. As part of a larger project to survey birds in Ecuador’s dry forest coast, the Crowder Messersmith Conservation Fund provided funds for printing and distributing laminated bird identification cards to local youth groups, particularily in Tabuga, Camarones, and Jama. The cards were distributed to schools and businesses in the area and will serve as a resource for local naturalist guides.

  • In Fiji, BirdLife International received funds from the Crowder-Messersmith Conservation Fund to train residents of the island of Gau to monitor and protect Collared Petrels.
  • In Kenya, a local endemic bird, the Taita thrush, is critically endangered. With a Crowder-Messersmith grant, Kenyans in the Taita Hills region trained forest guards and educated children about the bird, while working with local communities to promote sustainable land use in the Taita thrush's habitat.

To Apply
If you wish to apply, please click on the link for instructions
and an application form  (PDF version). 

Carol Hayes, Crowder-Messersmith Grant Administrator


Preference is given to projects that will benefit human, plant and animal communities of a particular habitat in an ecologically sustainable manner. Projects should have:
1. a benefit to the human, plant and animal populations of a particular habitat in an ecological sustainable manner
2. a lasting significance to local residents
3. protect threatened or endangered species or habitats
4. public education component.

The Project must:

1. be outside the United States or other developed country
2. involve the local population
3. if research, just be for conservation purposes rather than to obtain scientific data
4. funds must go for salaries, material and publication development, meeting and training costs, field trip costs and not international travel or overhead expenses, taxes, utilities or insurance.

Preference is given to applicants who have a record of prior conservation action relevant to the proposed project. Applicants from countries other than the United States are especially encouraged to apply. United States researchers planning work in foreign countries must have at least one local collaborator and consider how the project will benefit the local communities.

Application Time Frame

Applications are accepted beginning December 1. Deadline for receipt is February 1. Decisions are generally announced by March 1.

Maximum Grant Amount

The maximum grant for 1 year is $2000.

Grant Acceptance

Upon Notification of a grant award, the Grantee must provide bank information for an international bank transfer. The Grantee must also agree to provide a project status report half way through the project. Upon completion of the project, but no later than November 30 of the same year, a full project report is required. This report must include an accounting of funds, a description of activities and populations receiving education and/or training, copies of any materials or publications that have been developed, and photos of project activities.

Instructions for Preparing Grant Applications

Where to Send

Email your application as an attachment to:

or mail to:

Crowder-Messersmith Conservation Fund
Audubon Naturalist Society
8940 Jones Mill Road
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

On the subject line of the email transmitting your application use a title that is a concise version of your project title.  The transmittal email is a good place to describe your relationship with the organization requesting the funds.

Document Format and Length

The entire application must fit on four pages or less.  There are no limitations on the space devoted to individual sections.  The application should be in Times Roman 12 pt type.  The document may be in MS Word (*.doc or *.docx), pdf or rtf formats.

Name and Email of Requester

This should be the person responsible for preparing and transmitting the proposal, not the local field manager carrying out the work.  We will communicate only be email.  You may include a mailing address and phone number if you wish.


Grant funds will be transferred electronically so successful applicants will need to provide a bank account number of the organization where you work.  Checks will only be written and mailed in rare instances in which a bank transfer is not possible.


The title should include the specific activity being proposed "conservation", "training", etc. are too vague.  Please include the species or habitat that the effort is directed towards (use common name), also include the location – country and area.


It is not necessary to go into a lengthy discussion of the location and species.  The selection committee is primarily interested in the specific details of what you are proposing to do with the funds you are requesting.  Please state the school/education program, community and populations that will be served.  If you are trying to educate local communities, perhaps to stop hunting/poaching, how specifically are you going to do it?  If you are doing plant/animal surveys how are you involving the local community and how will they benefit from your activities?


The more detail you provide the better.  If you are also receiving funds from other sources for this work please state what they will be providing.

Relation to Previous Work

Our website states that "Preference is given to applicants who have a record of prior conservation action relevant to their proposed project."  This is the place to concisely discuss your record and how it relates to the proposed project.  Remember there is a four page limit on the total application length.  Some applicants have been submitting a resume or curriculum vitae as a separate attachment.  This is not necessary.


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