Funding for Citizen-based Monitoring

Some citizen-based monitoring projects can be conducted with minimal costs, but for other projects expenses for equipment, printing, staff wages, and travel can add up quickly! It can be difficult to find funding for citizen-based monitoring, but there are certainly options. If your project needs funding, you'll want to do a full search of foundation and government grants, as well as other types of funding.

As a starting point, consider the following opportunities (please note that many will require your project to be associated with a nonprofit organization):

Direct Funding Opportunities

CBM Partnership Program
WIDNR offers contracts totaling $100,000 each year to projects throughout the state, with a maximum of $5000 per project.

WIDNR Surface Water Grants
For projects dealing with early detection of aquatic invasive species.

James Dutton Foundation
Regularly funds citizen-based monitoring work.

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant Program funds up to $1000 per project.

Freshwater Future
Offers $500-$3500 grants to projects focused on aquatic and shoreline habitat protection in the Great Lakes region.

Wisconsin Society for Ornithology
Offers a variety of grants for bird-related research.

Creative Opportunities

0.5% of every purchase made through AmazonSmile (a part of goes to the nonprofit of the buyer's choice. Registering your nonprofit is easy!

From granola bar wrappers to empty toothpaste tubes, TerraCycle collects all sorts of waste to be recycled. When people send in items for recycling, they receive points that can be used to make donations to nonprofits, including yours.

Projects can receive support directly from interested individuals through a number of online funding sites.

In-kind donations
Many businesses in your area will be happy to donate materials and supplies or offer you a discount on purchases. Visit, email, or phone companies to request donations of things like food, building materials, and office supplies.

Local store fundraisers
Some local stores offer opportunities for organizations to receive a small percentage of their profits on a specific date.

Science supply companies and other businesses often offer discounts to school groups and nonprofits.

Places to Look for Funding Opportunities

Environmental Education in Wisconsin
Maintains a list of funding opportunities for environmental education activities.

EPA's Citizen Science Funding Resource Guide
Compiled in 2015, contains mostly funding related to air quality, but with many general opportunities as well.

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This site is produced in conjunction with the Wisconsin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Inventory and sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The information presented on this site is subject to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Legal Notices, Disclaimers, and Terms of Use.
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