WCC Conservation Grants are intended to be used to maintain and conserve cave and/or karst features or to provide support for related scientific research efforts related to cave conservation in the western USA.
Funds will be allocated annually by the Board of Directors. Individual grants should not exceed $1000. Upon approval of a grant funds will be dispersed when proof of matching funds is provided. The number of grants awarded will be contingent on allocated funds and qualified applications.
Grants will be evaluated on at least a quarterly basis and a response provided within 30 days.
- Projects must further cave conservation or scientific research (see Evaluation Criteria). Objectives should be clear and attainable within the timeline of the project.
- Grants generally require a minimum of 50% funding match from external sources. (This requirement may be waived in exceptional cases, at the discretion of the committee.)
- Project directors are expected to have experience related to the project/research.
- Grants are available to all applicants that meet the rubric (listed below), but projects supported by local (West Coast) caving groups or universities will generally be given priority.
- WCC Conservation Grants are not intended to be used to provide funding for general-purpose caving gear (e.g. helmets, lights, vertical gear). If durable equipment is purchased (ex. tools with a life beyond the project duration), the proposal must speak to the disposition of the equipment at the conclusion of the project.
- Project should generally be completed within one year of funding. (Exceptions will be granted at the committee’s discretion.) All proposals should include estimates of a completion time frame.
- A final report is expected within 60 days of project completion. These reports should generally include:
- A description of the project
- The techniques or methods used
- Who was involved
- Where the work was done (with care to avoid disclosing sensitive locations)
- A description of the results
- Illustrations (photos, graphs, maps) as appropriate
- Acknowledgement of all matching donors to the project
The report may be used to educate WCC members about the work they are helping fund, and should generally be targeted to an audience of laypeople.
The following rubric will be used by the WCC to evaluate the grant, with each criterion evaluated on a “Yes/No” basis:
- Is the project beneficial to conservation goals (e.g. cave restoration, habitat preservation) or does it have a valid scientific purpose (e.g. expansion of scientific knowledge)?
- Is the amount requested appropriate for the project or research (attach expense detail or budget if needed)?
- Do the applicants/researchers have appropriate qualifications for the work?
- Are the objective(s) clear and attainable?
- Are the methods that will be used to meet the project objectives clearly stated?
- Is the grant likely to meet the stated purpose?