Award Winner Comments

We appreciate the feedback from award winners to further refine our programs.

It is with gratitude that I write this card to thank you for your support. Support from your Small Grants Program will allow me to conduct rigorous research this summer. I am excited to begin my field season in just a few short weeks, where I will be examining plant-soil relationships so that we can improve our restoration and management techniques of endangered tallgrass prairie systems. Your support is also allowing me to share my love of plants with two undergraduate students from under-represented groups. I hope that my mentorship of these two students will inspire them to become ecologists or botanists, excited about our ever changing world. Thanks very much!

Theo Michaels (KS)
Conservation of tallgrass prairie: monoliths as catalysts for restoration (2017)
The application process for PBR small grants was excellent. It is very refreshing to have an application that is structured in such a way that the applicant knows exactly what questions the reviewers want answered. It makes the application very short and concise. The only criticism I would have is to make the submission of applications possible online, but this was a minor inconvenience.

Jason Vizelka (WI)
How do changes in bumble bee abundance affect pollination success? (2014)
The goals of Prairie Biotic Research were well-stated and I found the application process straightforward and concise. One aspect I found difficult relative to other grant programs is a paper application as opposed to online submission. This was a minor inconvenience. Notification of results and disbursement of funds was also a simple process. I am grateful for the funding and, too, for the opportunity to offer you feedback.

Amanda Williams (CO)
Do agricultural systems help or hinder bat populations? (2014)
I think the application process and the solicitation is straight forward. I was able to use the information I found on the PBR website to complete the application easily.

Eugene Young (KS)
Algae of Slate Creek Wetlands in Kansas (2014)
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Prairie Biotic Research and its donors for the research award I received in 2012. The funds allowed me to expand the scope of my research on long term changes in prairie remnants in the state of Wisconsin. To date the field work that was supported by the PBR grant has produced two talks (at the Ecological Society of America's 2013 conference and at a student research symposium in 2013 in Milwaukee) as well as two poster presentations at three additional conferences (the 2013 Iowa Prairie Conference in Decorah, IA, the 2013 Prescribed Fire Conference in Dubuque, IA, and the 2013 Society for Ecological Restoration Conference in Madison, WI). In addition, two manuscripts are currently in prep. Thanks again for your valuable support of my research! Amy Alstad Oct 30, 2013

Amy Alstad (WI)
Sixty-year changes in prairie plant species composition (2012)
We were very grateful for the funding provided by your organization. In addition to allowing us to do the background research necessary for an NSF grant proposal submission, it allowed us to involve more than a dozen undergraduates in field and lab research. Although our initial field work was frustrating and not as fruitful as we wished, the baseline information we collected with the funds provided has set the stage for additional work, including new collaborations and REU students. At least 3 students have presented at conferences, I have given 2 invited seminars at different universities, and we are using this as a model system in an undergraduate elective course on Plant-Insect interactions.

Rebecca Forkner (VA/AL)
Insect and rhizobia communities associated with three wild indigo species (2012)
I am grateful to Prairie Biotic Research, Inc. for funding our field study on the funnel web spider genus Agelenopsis. For five years now, my fellow Zoology Department volunteer at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and I have been working on a general taxonomic revision of this group of thirteen species. The funding that we have received from your organization now allows us to narrow our focus, specifically to conduct an ecological and behavioral prairie biome study in both eastern New Mexico-western Oklahoma and Colorado on three of the species in this genus. Most of the research that we have conducted so far has been both broad and statistically based, so we are extremely excited to have the opportunity to do practical fieldwork where we can observe these funnel web spiders in their unique prairie habitat. I recognize that funding for field research is very difficult to obtain so we are very thankful to PBR for this grant.

Julie Whitman-Zai (CO)
Field study of prairie funnel web spiders, Agelenopsis spp. (2009)
First, I would like to thank you for funding the Mississippi River Bluffs invertebrate survey. I appreciate Prairie Biotic Research, Inc., for funding projects outside the boundary of large institutions and their research money. For me, Lepidoptera research is generally a self-funded venture in all aspects -- from field work to supplies and literature. This opportunity will boaden our knowledge in an area of Illinois that is lacking even the most basic survey research data. Without this type of funding this would not be possible as the expenses involved often determine my priorities. These grant funds will certainly help defray the costs incurred in this project. The only improvement I would recommend in this program would be funding of additional research projects of this type. Again, I must stress how grateful researchers like me are at having this type of grant opportunity. As you are well aware, there are many capable scientists that have vast knowledge of their particular regions. Without institutional affiliations their work is greatly limited, and funding options few, on what would be very worthwhile projects

James Wiker (IL)
Lepidoptera survey on hill prairies & glades of Mississippi River bluffs (2009)
The small grant awarded by Prairie Biotic is an extremely useful contribution for my project investigating "The Importance of Savanna to Butterfly Communities". A small grant cannot fulfill all necessary expenditures for a research project. However, a small grant, such as this is invaluable for helping to pay for field items (e.g., butterfly nets, insect identification books) and to secure help in the form of undergraduate interns. Without these funds from small grants, it would be much more difficult to pursue research. Furthermore, the research grant awarded by Prairie Biotic is a great way for a graduate student like myself to pursue an avenue of research (e.g., butterfly and savanna conservation) that is of high personal interest, yet not the main focus of my dissertation. Hopefully this work will provide important data and insights into butterfly community responses to savanna restoration, and potential management guidelines for the conservation of butterflies. The help provided by this grant will allow me to pursue this project. Thank you very much for your support.

Eric Wood (WI)
Importance of savanna to butterfly communities (2009)

Process and Values

We support basic field biological research on all taxa in U.S. prairies and savannas, but we are especially eager to support research on taxa for which funding is scarce, such as insects, fungi, reptiles, spiders, etc. We don't fund many bird projects, in part because there are generally more funds available for the study of birds.

How Can I Help?

Prairie Biotic Research, Inc. has benefitted from generous gifts of various foundations, and both non-profit and for-profit businesses. These are augmented by gifts from individuals concerned with our prairies. Indeed, we can only offer small grants with continued financial support. Please consider joining these enterprises as a donor to Prairie Biotic Research.