The David S. Lee Fund for the Conservation of Caribbean Birds

The 2021 David S. Lee Fund for the Conservation of Caribbean Birds awards are now open for submissions. The Fund offers grants up to $1,000 each. The application deadline is February 19, 2021 at 5:00pm EST. [Applicants must be paid or sponsored members of BirdsCaribbean at the time of application.] See more information below:

David S. Lee (1943-2014) was a pioneering naturalist and conservation biologist who helped get BirdsCaribbean started nearly 30 years ago. He inspired many naturalists with his work and his writing. He was a man of many interests, and with respect to the Caribbean, published numerous papers and articles in the popular press on seabirds, Bahamian fish, turtles, snakes, bats, and orchids.

Donations from Dave’s wife, Mary Kay Clark and his mother, June Bash, allowed the establishment of the David S. Lee Fund for the Conservation of Caribbean Birds that will award money to conservation projects in his honor. The money is being held in a trust and will be used to award annual grants for innovative projects that protect Caribbean birds and their habitats.

Goal of the Fund: The David S. Lee Fund for Conservation seeks to continue David’s passion for protecting wildlife. The fund will support direct, innovative conservation work in the Caribbean Region for birds and their habitats. The fund will be managed by BirdsCaribbean and used for annual small grants.  Applicants should demonstrate how their project will work with conservation groups and local communities in the Caribbean.

Eligibility: Scientists/naturalists working in the Caribbean, in conservation organizations or academic programs, may apply. Applicants should be students or early career ornithologists, conservationists, or wildlife professionals (i.e., not established faculty or senior staff of a conservation organization, less than 10 years post-graduation). A student must be enrolled in accredited Masters or PhD program in ecology, biology, conservation, or related field to be eligible. Applicants must be paid or sponsored members of BirdsCaribbean at the time of application.

Use of Funds: The funds can cover travel to field sites, living expenses in the field, or costs for equipment and supplies to conduct conservation projects. Examples of equipment and supplies include traps, cameras, automated recording units, nest boxes, etc. Ineligible costs include salary or other wages, overhead fees, etc. Projects that foster collaboration between scientists/naturalists in different island groups of the Caribbean, such as joint projects to test conservation techniques for similar species, will be favored.

Application Guidelines:

  • Proposals may be submitted in English, French, or Spanish. All should have an English version of the abstract.
  • Applications should be emailed as a Microsoft Word document.
  • The application should include a cover page, proposal (download guidelines below), and a curriculum vitae for the applicant.
  • Separately, by email, three individuals who can attest to your effectiveness in previous work should submit letters of recommendation. For students, this would include your academic advisor.


A committee appointed by BirdsCaribbean will review the proposals and award the grants.

The awardee will be required to submit a report one year from the day of the award explaining how the award money was spent and the results of the project to that point. The awardee is also asked to write an article for BirdsCaribbean’s blog about their work (informal article for a lay audience).

Awardees are encouraged to present the results of their work at the biennial International Conference of BirdsCaribbean and publish in The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology.

Eligible applicants can download the application here.

Address Questions and Send Application to: Will Mackin, BirdsCaribbean, with copy to

Donations to the Fund: Tax-deductible (U.S.) at this link.

For more information, see

{Photo above: White-tailed Tropicbird by Frantz Delcroix.]

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