Note: This grant page has been archived and is very likely out of date.

NFWF: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

Grant amount: US $30,000 - US $150,000

Deadline: The deadline for this grant has passed

Applicant type: Nonprofit Indigenous Group Government Entity

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program, Education / Outreach

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States



The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in cooperation with its partners announce an innovative initiative to connect youth to the outdoors by providing financial support for conservation education and employment programs. An expansion from our 2012-2017 program, this Request for Proposals (RFP) brings together public and private partners to support organizations developing innovative educational opportunities and job experiences for youth and young adults. These opportunities encourage and support young people, particularly urban, tribal and minority youth, to engage with the natural world and discover career opportunities available in conservation.

The program invests in two focus areas to engage youth and young adults in conservation.

Category One: [Conservation Stewards] This category engages children from preschool age to high school students through approaches that integrate in-class and out-of-class experiences in conservation literacy and stewardship. Projects funded under this category will create and sustain partnerships combining grade level appropriate in-class learning, out-of-class experiences and hands-on conservation actions. The program will award grants to a consortium of organizations who work together to develop and execute interconnected strategies under a lead partner. The consortium will work collectively to implement a project that maximizes stewardship identity, conservation behaviors and a sense of place within the target audiences. NFWF expects to award 1-3 grants for this category.  

Category Two: [Conservation Corps] This category supports young adults aged 16-25 in paid conservation corps and conservation-focused internships to connect young adults to the outdoors through conservation employment programs. These experiences build on the conservation education that these young adults have received and introduce them to career opportunities and mentorship in conservation employment fields. Projects will bring together public and private partners to support organizations that develop innovative conservation job opportunities for youth on public and publicly accessible lands. NFWF expects to award 10-20 grants for this category.

In 2018, approximately $950,000 ($150,000 BLM [subject to appropriations], $340,000 USFS, $460,000 from private funders) will be available for matching grants nationwide. This funding provides meaningful educational and employment opportunities to young Americans to protect, restore and enhance our nation’s outdoors. Project work funded through this program should focus on habitat and species restoration projects directly benefitting agency facilities, lands, programs or mission and NFWF’s conservation business plans.

Geographic Focus

The geographic focus is national, with an emphasis on projects located on or directly benefiting the land, facilities, programs or mission of BLM, USFS, as well as projects that align with species and habitat priorities addressed in NFWF business plans located here.

Program Priorities

Category 1: Conservation Stewards

Projects should be between one and 30 months in duration and include necessary planning as well as execution of the plan. Successful applications will integrate formal education and informal conservation experiences through a program that includes measurement of planned outcomes. Applicants should identify immediate outcomes achieved over the duration of the grant and planned longer term conservation impacts. Priority for grants will be given to projects that successfully achieve the following objectives and engage multiple groups of students at different ages and highest priority will be given to a project working with a cohort of students over the life of the grant:
  • Mobilize a coalition of at least five community partners to support educational and conservation outcomes;
  • Develop and/or implement appropriate training modules, lesson plans and other engagement for preK-12th grade teachers focused on environmental literacy and stewardship of local resources;
  • Integrate Place-Based Learning into teacher training and student learning by focusing educational activities on local natural resources with community partners;
  • Promote opportunities for students to engage in age appropriate stewardship behaviors that reinforce environmental literacy efforts: 
    • Nature Discovery (K-2nd grade): In the early years, providing experiences for children to go outside to discover nature, engagement for these students should include investigation and discovery, unstructured outdoor play and age-appropriate in-class lessons on the natural world. 
    • Nature Exploration (3rd to 7th grade): During the elementary school years, exploring nature that offer hands-on experiences with topics such as water, wildlife, ecosystem connections and in-class lessons on the natural world including wildlife and their habitats.
    • Nature Service (8th to 12th grade): The middle and high school years offer young people stewardship activities and service learning with projects that monitor and test water quality, tracking wildlife migrations and exploring fields of study related to conservation and ecosystem management.
  • Incorporate repeated engagement opportunities for students to have multiple opportunities throughout their educational career to engage in environmental literacy and stewardship activities in and out of the classroom;
  • Partnership building with diverse entities including state and local agencies, urban organizations, tribes, non-profits, corporations and foundations that leverage federal dollars awarded with non-federal contributions to the project;
  • Tracking and measuring participant outcomes through teacher and student engagement and through follow up with participants to measure long term impacts.

Category 2: Conservation Corps

Projects should have a duration of up to 24 months and include on-the-ground restoration outcomes as well as outcomes for the number of young adults hired. Priority for grants will be given to projects that successfully achieve the following objectives:
  • Innovative full-time or part-time conservation job opportunities (minimum 80 hours per youth or young veterans*) that include conservation education opportunity, with particular emphasis on serving urban and minority youth;
  • Hands-on implementation of impactful, measurable, cost-effective on-the-ground restoration, stewardship and monitoring to benefit BLM or USFS lands and adjacent areas, facilities and programs directly benefiting the agency’s mission and/or NFWF business plan goals;
  • Partnership building with diverse entities including state and local agencies, urban organizations, tribes, non-profits, corporations and foundations that leverage federal dollars awarded with non-federal contributions to the project;
  • Partnership building that integrates project execution with ongoing conservation work in ways that enhance the depth and sustainability of both conservation impact and youth or veteran engagement and experience;
  • Mentorship and training opportunities for youth with natural resource professionals, particularly BLM and/or USFS;
  • Tracking and measuring conservation and participant outcomes through project site monitoring and through follow up with participants to measure long term engagement and employment impacts.

Projects may propose to include both Category 1 and Category 2 elements. Prospective applicants under this scenario should contact program staff before submitting an application.

* This program defines “youth” as a person aged 16-25 years old; veterans may be up to age 35.

Funding Availability and Match

In 2018, approximately $950,000 will be available for matching grants nationwide. The program expects to fund Category 1 projects between $100,000 and $150,000 with an average of $125,000. For Category 2 projects, awards will range from $30,000 to $100,000 with an average of $50,000. This program has one round of applications and awards approximately 10 – 20 grants per year. Additional funding may be available to grantees who connect and develop innovative opportunities for youth to engage between the two categories of grants such as student mentoring programs.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, educational institutions (eligible for BLM, and USFS funds only), BLM field units (eligible for BLM funds only).
  • Category 2 Grants Agency Support Requirement
    •  All applicants for Category 2 must coordinate with, and receive a letter of support from at least one of the following:
      • BLM Field Office, District Office, or State Office*
        • *BLM field units are not required to submit a letter of support
      • USFS Forest Supervisor, Line Officer or Regional Office
      • The letter of support must be submitted with the application prior to the RFP deadline in order for the application to be considered. 
  • A minimum 1:1 matching contributions of non-federal cash and/or in-kind contributions is required for projects (a 100% non-federal cost-share of the federal funds is required). 


  • Projects with higher match ratios and diversity of matching contributions will be given priority consideration.


  • Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, unincorporated individuals, international organizations.
  • Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds
    • NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
    •  NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements.
      • However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.

About this funder:

View past grantees & full 990 summary