Terry Savaloja was a well-known, respected Minnesota birder and T.S. Roberts Award recipient who died in 1992. Each year, the MOU considers funding requests for bird-related projects from the Savaloja Memorial Fund. In 2016, six projects received a total of nearly $10,000 in Savaloja Grants:
- Edgerton Elementary School in Maplewood received $4405 to bring a program that uses birds as an integrating theme between different disciplines to their school. Previously developed at Harambee Elementary School, this is a well-developed plan for incorporating bird study into a primary school curriculum with a proven record of success. And like Harambee, this program will serve many students who are under-represented in the birding community. One reason this project is so exciting is the potential for this approach to be replicated in schools across the state.
- Friends of Mississippi River received $2000 to help underwrite the cost of a natural resources management plan for the new 400-acre Hampton Woods Wildlife Management Area in Dakota County. The plan will ensure this site will be managed to provide habitat for forest-dwelling birds in an area sorely lacking in this type of natural community.
- Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield will receive $400 towards the costs of a live owl show and bird banding demonstration at their Third Annual Big Day Birdathon. These programs help spark interest in birds among participating families from a diversity of communities.
- Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory of Duluth was granted $1000 to create an online registration system for enrolling participants in the Western Great Lakes Owl Monitoring Survey. This means a more user-friendly experience for surveyors, less time spent on administration, and more time spent on learning about the uncommon owl species that are now the subject of the survey.
- University of Minnesota graduate student Annie Bracey received $1376 for a study of colony productivity and survival in Western Great Lakes Region Common Terns. A species in decline, this well-designed study should help identify factors that are negatively influencing the population’s productivity.
- Project Minnesota/León received $640 to hire an interpreter for eight Spanish/English bird presentations given at churches, schools and wildlife refuges in the Twin Cities area by Francisco Jose Muñoz, author of the new bi-lingual field guide Birds of Nicaragua. The programs should reach local Spanish speakers, and increase appreciation for the linkages between some of our migrants and a small country in Central America.
MOU members -- through their memberships and donations – are responsible for our ability to support these projects. Please consider joining MOU, increasing your membership level when the time comes to renew, or simply send a contribution earmarked for Savaloja grants to MOU at any time.
2017 Savaloja Grants: Individuals or organizations undertaking projects in Minnesota that increase our understanding of birds, promote preservation of birds and their natural habitats, or increase public interest in birds, especially in minorities currently underrepresented in Minnesota's birding community, may submit grant applications to MOU. Application information can be found here, or by emailing email@example.com.
The deadline for receipt of grant applications is January 31, 2017. Grant recipients will be notified during April 2017.