Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists 2018 Request for Proposals

Applicant Webinar:  April 17, 2018 at 3 PM Eastern Time
Full Proposal Due Date:   June 21, 2018 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time


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.


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:
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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.


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency among the monitoring data provided by multiple grant projects, the Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists grant program has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to select for reporting. We ask that you select the 1-4 most relevant metrics from this list for your project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below).  If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Danny Bowater at or 202-595-2434 to discuss acceptable alternatives.
Project Activity​ Recommended Metric ​ Additional Guidance
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance  ​# Students reached  ​Enter the number of students in pre-school-grade 12 engaged, provide # and identify grade level for all students reached
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance  ​# Students with behavioral change  ​Enter the number of students demonstrating changed behavior because of project activities
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance  ​# Students with improved knowledge  ​Enter the number of students demonstrating improved knowledge through project activities
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance  ​# Teachers reached   ​Provide # of teachers reached through teacher training activities
​Building institutional capacity  ​# of organizations contributing to project goals  ​Enter the number of partner organizations contributing to project outcomes
​Instream restoration  ​Miles restored  ​Enter the number of miles restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # miles and list each individual type.
​Land, wetland restoration  ​Acres restored  ​Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # acres and list each individual type.
​Removal of invasives  ​Acres restored  ​Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # acres restored and type of invasives removed
​Removal of invasives  ​Miles restored  ​Enter the number of miles restored - Provide # miles restored and type of invasives removed
​Riparian restoration  ​Acres restored  ​Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # acres and list each individual type.
​Riparian restoration  ​Miles restored  ​Enter the number of miles restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # miles and list each individual type.
​Best Management  Practices (BMP) implementation for fencing improvements  ​Miles of corridor reconnected  ​Enter the number of miles of migration corridor reconnected - This can include existing fencing repaired or improved to wildlife friendly standards and/or new fencing constructed and/or installed
​BMP implementation for prescribed burns  ​Acres ​Enter the number of acres - Provide # acres of landscape to be implemented with prescribed burns.
​Reforestation and Restoration of Forest Vegetation  ​Habitat Restoration
– Land restoration
– Acres restored 
​Enter acres restored through practices such as revegetation, thinning or mortality removal
​Fuel Break Management ​Habitat Management – Improved management practices – Acres of public land under improved management ​Enter the number of fuel break acres under improved management. This may include new fuel break development or maintenance of existing fuel breaks.
​Green Infrastructure  ​Miles trails developed/improved  ​Enter the number of miles of trails developed or improved - This metric refers to trail maintenance and improvement (e.g., vegetation management, signage, erosion control, trail construction / expansion). Projects conducting trail maintenance should also address habitat and conservation issues.
​Economic benefits  ​# jobs created  ​Enter the number of youth (ages 16-25) hired - This metric refers to total number of youth hired (who work at least 80 hours) during the project period as reflected in your budget
​Economic benefits  ​# veterans hired ​Enter the number of veterans hired - This metric refers to the total number of corps members or interns hired (full or part-time) who are veterans
​Incentives ​$ spent on direct compensation  ​Enter the dollar value spent on direct compensation - Please enter the total dollars in budget allocated for compensation exclusive of organization program staff salaries/benefits; include only actual dollars paid for  youth crew and intern stipends, salaries/benefits
​Volunteer participation  ​# volunteers participating  ​Enter the number of  volunteers participating in projects - For this metric, broad volunteer participation includes outreach and education and support services, as well as hands-on restoration activities
​Predator removal/ Fencing nests from predators  ​# sites with goals met  ​Enter the number of sites with predation reduction goals met - Examples of predation control methods include predator removal, trapping, or shooting; fencing; and targeted disturbance methods.


  • Eligible and Ineligible Entities
    • 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).
    • 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.
  • 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*
      • 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. 
*BLM field units are not required to submit a letter of support


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.

Project Period
Anticipated completion time for funded projects will typically be six to thirty months following finalization of a grant agreement.
Project start and end dates should define the period during which all proposed work is accomplished, all requested funds are spent and all matching funds are spent or applied.

Matching Contributions

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.

To be eligible, matching contributions must be:

  • Verifiable from the grantee’s records
  • Not included as contributions for any other award
  • Necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project or program objectives
  • Are allowable costs based on the program and funding source guidelines
  • Committed directly to the project and must be used within the period of performance


All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Proposals will then be evaluated based on the extent to which they meet the following criteria.

Required Criteria:
Program Goals and Priorities – Project contributes to the Program’s overall habitat and species conservation goals, and has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses two or more of the program priorities outlined in the Request for Proposal.
Technical Merit – Project is technically sound and feasible, and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical and achievable work plan and timeline. Project engages appropriate technical experts throughout project planning, design and implementation to ensure activities are technically-sound and feasible.
Budget – Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget Instructions cost categories.  Federally-funded projects must be in compliance with OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable.
Conservation Plan and Context – The project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy.
Other Criteria:
Partnership – An appropriate partnership exists to implement the project and the project is supported by a strong local partnership that leverages additional funds and will sustain it after the life of the grant. Identify proposed partners, if known (including potential or contemplated subawards to third party subrecipients of the applicant), the roles they will play in implementing the project, and how this project will build new or enhance existing partnerships. (Note: a project partner is any local community, non-profit organization, tribe, and/or local, state, and federal government agency that contributes to the project in a substantial way and is closely involved in the completion of the project.)
Transferability – Project has potential and plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities and/or to be integrated into government programs and policies.
Communication – Project includes a detailed plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences.
Funding Need – Project establishes a clear need for the funds being requested, and demonstrates that activities would not move forward absent funding.
Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise.
Long-term Sustainability – Project will be maintained to ensure benefits are achieved and sustained over time. This should include how future funding will be secured to implement necessary long-term monitoring and maintenance activities.
Past Success – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results.


Budget – Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget Instructions cost categories.  Federally-funded projects must be in compliance with OMB Uniform Gu​idance as applicable.
Matching Contributions – Matching Contributions consist of cash, contributed goods and services, volunteer hours, and/or property raised and spent for the Project during the Period of Performance. Larger match ratios and matching fund contributions from a diversity of partners are encouraged and will be more competitive during application review.
Procurement – If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, an award by NFWF to the applicant does not constitute NFWF’s express written authorization for the applicant to procure such specific services noncompetitively.  When procuring goods and services, NFWF recipients must follow documented procurement procedures which reflect applicable laws and regulations. 
Publicity and Acknowledgement of Support – Award recipients will be required to grant NFWF the right and authority to publicize the project and NFWF’s financial support for the grant in press releases, publications and other public communications.  Recipients may also be asked by NFWF to provide high-resolution (minimum 300 dpi) photographs depicting the project.
Receiving Award Funds – Award payments are primarily reimbursable.  Projects may request funds for reimbursement at any time after completing a signed agreement with NFWF.  A request of an advance of funds must be due to an imminent need of expenditure and must detail how the funds will be used and provide justification and a timeline for expected disbursement of these funds.
Compliance Requirements –As may be applicable, successful applicants may be required to comply with additional Federal, state or local requirements and obtain all necessary permits and clearances.
Permits – Successful applicants will be required to provide sufficient documentation that the project expects to receive or has received all necessary permits and clearances to comply with any Federal, state or local requirements. Where projects involve work in the waters of the United States, NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct a permit pre-application meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers prior to submitting their proposal. In some cases, if a permit pre-application meeting has not been completed, NFWF may require successful applicants to complete such a meeting prior to grant award.
Federal Funding – The availability of federal funds estimated in this solicitation is contingent upon the federal appropriations process. Funding decisions will be made based on level of funding and timing of when it is received by NFWF.


Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists​ page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.
​Full Proposals Open in Easygrants 
​April 6, 2018
​Applicant Webinar [Register Here]
​April 17, 2018 at 3 pm Eastern Time
Full Proposal Due Date 
​June 21, 2018 by 11:59pm  Eastern Time
​ Review Period
​August-October, 2018
Awards Announced
​November 2018


All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system.
  1.  ​Go to to register in our Easygrants online system. New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting the application (if you already are a registered user, use your existing login). Enter your applicant information. 
  2. Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options.
  3. Follow the instructions in Easygrants to complete your application. Once an application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission.


A PDF version of this RFP can be downloaded here.
A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded here

Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on NFWF's Applicant Information​ webpage.
For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:
Danny Bowater
Coordinator, Community-Based Conservation
Carrie Clingan
Program Director, Community Stewardship and Youth
For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:
Easygrants Helpdesk
Voicemail:  202-595-2497
Hours:  9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Monday-Friday.
Include:  your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program you are applying to, and a description of the issue.