It wasn’t easy coming up with a Halloween topic for this blog. Grants for ghost seemed like an obvious choice, but as it turns out, financial assistance for paranormal activity has dwindled in the past few years. It seems that money for monsters and funding for Frankenstein just isn’t what it used to be. As good as our database is, queries for vampires and werewolves also left us howling in vain. Bats to the rescue! Literally! Far more valuable than just a tongue-in-cheek Halloween topic, bats are a vital force for good in the greater scheme of things. Mother Nature is the spirit we will be channeling today as we bring funding opportunities to help save the bats and more.
The Benefits of Bats
- Many species are voracious consumers of insects. Scientists estimate that they save us more than $3.7 billion a year in reduced crop damage and pesticide use. Expectant moms nosh their body weight in bugs every night. (Considering that proportionately, an unborn bat pup weighs the equivalent of a 40-pound human baby--no wonder she is hungry!)
- Bat are allies in battle against Zika, West Nile and other mosquito-born viruses. Towns like North Hempstead, NY, are building bat hangouts in parks precisely because of their ability to chow down on thousands of mosquitoes daily.
- Move over birds and bees because bats are pollinators too. Bananas, peaches, cloves, carob, balsa wood and agave are all at least partially dependent on bats for pollination.
- So effective are bats at seed dispersal that they are considered a keystone species that can keep ecosystems from collapsing by perpetuating the food chain.
Funding for Bats, Wildlife and Animal Welfare
In honor of these unsung, misunderstood Chiroptera champions, we bring you several animal welfare-related funding opportunities. The first two are specifically related to bats, the rest are for wildlife preservation and animal protection in general.
- White Nose Syndrome is a fatal bat disease that can have up to a 100% fatality rate. Last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sponsored a program to help state agencies stop the spread of WNS through research, the monitoring of bat populations and outreach. The deadline was May 31, 2016. It was the seventh year in a row that the program provided funding, so state agencies can check back in late winter to find out about its status for 2017.
- Bat Conservation International is your go-to resource for everything you always wanted to know about bats but were afraid to ask. One of their many functions is to provide research grants and scholarships for bat conservation. In 2016 the funding period closed on the 30th of April. While exploring to site, don’t miss their bat-themed Halloween section for e-cards, coloring book and mask downloads, recipes using foods aided by bats and more. (Bless their little 900 beats-per-minute hearts: they even help bring us tequila and chocolate.)
- The Disney Conservation Fund provides awards to nonprofits (and those who partner with them) for conservation projects for education and community engagement, sustainable development, and scientific studies on species and habitats. A letter of inquiry is due by November 11, 2016, with the final deadline being March 2, 2017. There are also Conservation Hero Applications and Rapid Response Fund Applications for critical situations that are received year round. Refer to the frequently asked question page for more information.
- The Summerlee Foundation has a grant to promote animal protection including wildlife. (Incidentally, sterilization and vaccination of cats in rural and underserved communities is also one of its funding priorities.) Proposals are reviewed three or four times a year with no set deadlines. Before submitting a proposal applicants should contact the Animal Protection Program Director by phone or email to discuss the proposal project. Refer to their grant guidelines for more information.
- The Albert Schweitzer Animal Welfare Fund is another grant that promotes animal welfare and helps protect wildlife. (Like the above grant, reducing domestic pet overpopulation happens to be another one of its goals.) Nonprofits are eligible to apply and applications must be received by February 1 or August 1 of each year.
Pulling for Bats Week
By happy coincidence October 24 - 31 is Pulling for Bats Week. Events include community weeding projects to make sure the native plants bats favor have healthy habitats. (We warned you about the dangers of invasive species). It is probably too late to organize a pull for 2016 bat week, but the Bat Squad over at Bat Conservation International has many other ways to be involved throughout the year.
A Treat for You!
If it was hard coming up with a Halloween-themed topic for the post, it was even harder to figure out how to disperse treats via the internet. We had to settle for something printable like a seek and find puzzle. While it can’t substitute for warm spiced cider or crisp caramel apples, we venture to say this is the world’s ONLY Halloween-themed word search containing all 26 of the U.S. federal grant making agencies. (If you are reading after Halloween it can be accessed anytime.) Just click the box below.