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 2015, eight diverse projects were awarded a total $12,800 in funds for:
- Scholarships to Flying Wild workshops for educators working in urban low-income and minority areas. The intent is to encourage the integration of bird education and conservation activities into the school curriculum in an engaging, successful, and academically purposeful manner (Audubon MN; $1960).
- Northern Saw-whet and Long-eared owl banding. (Carpenter Nature Center; $575).
- Using birds as an integrating theme in teaching disparate disciplines. The grant will allow students to remain in the program for two consecutive grades (2nd and 3rd), rather than just the second grade, which was funded by a Savaloja grant last year (Harambee Elementary School; $2580).
- Hiring a count trainee for this fall's migration (Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory; $625).
- A pilot program that will encourage seniors in a low-income neighborhood to become involved in birding activities. The program, which will provide binoculars and develop bird habitat near feeders and observation benches, is expected to reach up to 50 older adults (Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners; $2690)
- Long-term research on Tree Swallow and Eastern Bluebird behavioral and immune system defenses against nest parasites, and creation of a bird-parasite education toolbox for use with local schools (Sarah Knutie: $1600).
- 28 pairs of binoculars to facilitate birding activities for children and adults at two education centers: Kroening Interpretive Center in North Mississippi Regional Park in North Minneapolis, and West Coon Rapids Dam Visitor Center in Brooklyn Park (Three Rivers Park District; $2100).
- The second annual Friends of Wood Lake Big Day Birdathon. As part of this fun, entertaining and educational family event, the grant will pay for a Raptor Center demonstration (Wood Lake Nature Center; $400).
2016 Savaloja Grants: For 2016 a record $15,000 is available to 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. Grant applications should be submitted to MOU using the application information found here, or by emailing email@example.com.
The deadline for receipt of grant applications is January 31, 2016. Grant recipients will be notified during April 2016.