John Wald Science Grants

This grant program is funded by an endowment created in memory of the late John Wald, an editor, writer, photographer, and outdoorsman. The objective of this program is to provide small grants in aid of research for projects addressing priorities of The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Natural History Survey. The results of research funded by this program advance knowledge of Rhode Island’s biota and are used to identify critical lands for conservation in Rhode Island and to provide information for the stewardship of existing protected lands.

Requests for proposals for Wald Grants are issued annually in late December or early January and include information on priorities for the year, approximate anticipated number of projects and funding level, and instructions for submission. Proposals are reviewed by a committee representing RINHS and TNC and grants are awarded in May.

Current RFP

<back to top>

John Wald Science Grants- Previous Projects



  • Lepidoptera in coastal grasslands
  • Mowing vs. burning: an assessment of management strategies for Liatris borealis
  • Effects of a gall-forming fly on the reed Phragmites australis
  • Survey of aquatic biodiversity from Block Island ponds
  • Using estimates of disturbance to facilitate acquisition of lands with high ecological value
  • Population studies of the Fowler’s Toad (Bufo woodhousii fowleri)
  • Breeding bird relationships to landscape composition in Rhode Island



  • Effects of landscape composition on vernal pool amphibian community structure
  • Fruiting and foliose lichens of The Nature Conservancy’s Rhode Island preserves
  • Predictors of hydroperiod in southern Rhode Island vernal pools
  • The role of preserved and restored salt marshes as foraging sites for colonialnesting wading birds
  • Survey of macrolepidoptera at Queen’s River and Pojac pine barrens in Rhode Island
  • Genetic diversity of Block Island Enallagma damselfly fauna



  • Genetic research on Northern Blazing Star (Liatris borealis)
  • Rapid assessment of hydroperiod in vernal pools of Pawcatuck River Watershed (year 2)
  • Survey of macrolepidoptera on Prudence Island, Rhode Island
    Brook Trout study in the Wood-Pawcatuck River Watershed



  • Amphibian distribution and habitat requirements in upland communities
  • Assessing Beaver River and Queen’s River habitats using benthic aquatic insects
  • Comparison of soil arthropods beneath native and introduced shrubs
  • A pilot study to assess presence, absence, and habitat use of the New England cottontail on seven islands in Narragansett Bay
  • Collection of field data in undersampled areas of Rhode Island including the Ponaganset River
  • Production of annotated checklist of the macrolepidoptera of Rhode Island


  • Diamondback Terrapin population study
  • Small dams and habitat quality on low order streams
  • Assessment and restoration of a regionally significant rare plant community at Beavertail State Park
  • Stream survey for invertebrates at Quanduck Brook, Rhode Island Borderlands
  • Invasive swallow-worts and associated herbivores in Rhode Island


  • Invasive Tunicates in Narragansett Bay, RI.
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrate communities in the Ponaganset River/Hopkins Mill Pond system, Foster, RI
  • Tracking of eastern box turtles using radio telemetry techniques
  • Assessment and Restoration of a Regionally Significant Rare Plant Community in Jamestown, RI
  • Benthic Aquatic Insects as indicators for habitat health and water quality


  • Virginia Brown “Habitat Utilization and Ecology of a Rare Robber Fly (Pogonosoma dorsatum) in Rhode Island”
  • Jay Cordeiro “Rhode Island’s Freshwater Mussel Fauna – Historical Perspectives from the H.D. Athearn Collection”
  • Paul Dolan “Where are the Champion Trees of Rhode Island?”
  • Lisa Tewksbury “The Impact of the Introduced Lily Leaf Beetle on Native Lilies in Rhode Island”


  • James R. Cordeiro “Rhode Island’s freshwater mussel fauna – recent surveys of historical sites from the H.D. Athearn collection”
  • Mike Narcisi “Influence of groundwater withdrawal on seasonal pond hydroperiod and habitat suitability for pond-breeding amphibians in Southern Rhode Island”
  • Anne Pfeiffer-Hebert “Influence of circulation patterns on hypoxia and larval transport in Narragansett Bay”
  • Courtney Schmidt “Potential impacts of advanced wastewater treatment on secondary production in Narragansett Bay”

<back to top>

The John Wald Science Grants: Remembering John Wald

Conservationist, Bicyclist, Photographer, Adventurer

The John Wald Ecological Research Endowment was established at year-end 1996. In his will, John Wald, a recently deceased friend of The Nature Conservancy, left the foundation money for this permanent endowment, as a lasting memorial to his commitment to the environment. John died in March 1996 when he was caught in an avalanche on the Gulf of Slides on the southern spur of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. At the time, John was pursuing one of his many passions, back country skiing with a friend.

An avid outdoorsman, John was an expert downhill and back country skier. He became a skilled rock-climber and mountaineer, climbing throughout New England, the Cascades, British Columbia, and the Alps. John had a strong commitment to environmental issues, especially public transportation. He chose not to own a car; riding a bicycle was his primary and preferred mode of transportation. As a volunteer, he edited and produced the newsletter for the Bicycle Coalition of Massachusetts, and was also active in the Cambridge Bicycle Committee.

The science questions facing conservation biologists and practitioners today are innumerable and very complicated. The complexity of ecosystems is so great that understanding them will require a much deeper understanding of the individual life histories and requirements of the species represented and the interactions between them. Through ongoing study we will increase the success rate of conservation work in Rhode Island and thereby ensure the ongoing existence of our natural communities. The establishment of the John Wald Ecological Research Endowment is a very important step in this ongoing effort. Funds generated by this endowment will support research relevant to goals of the The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Natural History Survey.

<back to top>