2022-2023 PLO Grant Recipients and Projects

The Public Land Owner Stewardship Fund (supported by the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation) offers five $500 grants each semester for clubs to complete stewardship projects on their local public lands and waters. This year, we had 5 clubs apply and all 5 were accepted. You can read the details of their projects below!

Washington State University: Kestrel Nest Box Building and Installation in a Prairie Ecosystem and Palouse Public Land Pack-outs

WSU will complete two projects with support from the PLO grant. American Kestrels are native to the Palouse Prairie (a mix of prairie grasses, sagebrush, and low shrubs) and Sagebrush Steppe ecosystems that surround Washington State University, but agriculture has taken over much of the area, leaving few places for kestrels to nest. These small birds of prey are cavity nesters, typically looking for snags or cliffsides. Human development and agriculture has cleared much of these away. In partnership with the Phoenix Conservancy, project will include building and installing American Kestrel nest boxes in the area surrounding Pullman and Washington State University. These will all be in agriculture, native prairie, or restored prairie areas, with the hope to maintain and increase American Kestrel populations. The second two projects will be public land clean-ups, one focused on the Snake River and the other on public hunting land in southeastern Washington in the sagebrush steppe ecosystem.

University of Wisconsin Stevens Point: Crex Meadows Grassland Restoration 

Located in northwest Wisconsin, Crex Meadows Wildlife Area has 30,000 acres of restored wetland and brush prairie and is intensively managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-Bureau of Wildlife Management. With more than 280 species of birds, 720 species of plants and over 96 species of butterfly as well as a wide variety of reptiles, amphibians, and insects, it’s no wonder why more than 100,000 people visit Crex Meadows Wildlife Area every year. This project will be to assist the WDNR in the cutting of oak trees and various woody species on 10 acres of islands and wetland fringe within the Phantom and North Fork Flowages at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area is to promote pine barren growth in order to improve habitat for native species. The acreage is currently dominated by oak trees and brush. After completion of the project, it will provide an ideal circumstance for the growth of prairie grasses and jack pines within the 10-acre parcel. This project will provide habitat and nesting cover for upland species, specifically sharp-tailed grouse – a focal upland bird found in grassland communities. Additionally, the outlined project is seeking to support the eastern whip-poor-will, American bumble bee, Blanding's turtle, northern flying squirrel. 

North Carolina State University: Alligator National Wildlife Refuge Camping and Conservation

Club will host a weekend camping trip and conservation project on the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge or Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge in collaboration with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. These refuges are home to one of the densest black bear regions in the country, thousands of migrating waterfowl from the eastern flyway, and one of the most endangered mammals on earth. The refuges are some of the wildest locations you can find east of the Mississippi and in the early months of the year, the fields act as wildlife hotspots in the swampy region. This project will allow students to give back to public lands in North Carolina, learn about habitat management and overall refuge management, and provides another community-building opportunity to students who have common goals. The whole project will be documented through film and photos with interviews with participants and collaborating agencies to help show what was done and how more can be done in the future.

University of Minnesota: Fishing R3 and Conservation Awareness

Club will host a learn-to-fish/stewardship event along the Mississippi River in collaboration with the Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation Biology club and the Minnesota Conservation Federation. Event will serve to acquire new club members, create new anglers, and foster stewardship. The Minnesota Conservation Federation will provide instruction and fishing supplies for new anglers and BHA club members will serve as mentors. Participants will also be encouraged to pack out trash along the river during the fishing event emphasizing the importance of stewardship for our public lands and waters.

Murray State University (Kentucky): Construction of Wood Duck Boxes

In collaboration with Ducks Unlimited, project will include the creation of wood duck nesting boxes on public land on the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. These boxes allow hens to nest safely away from predators increasing nesting success and help support a robust duck population at LBL.