Anza-Borrego Foundation Research Grants


Last updated 2/15/2024 at 11:12am

Anza-Borrego Foundation administers scholarships that encourage research in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the Colorado Desert for students and professionals. We award the following competitive research scholarships annually.

Anza-Borrego Foundation administers two conservation research scholarships in memoriam of two desert research pioneers, Howie Wier and Paul Jorgensen. Scholarship applications are grouped together due to the similar subject matter, but keep in mind that two conservation scholarships will be awarded annually, one from each memorial fund. Each awardee can receive up to $2,500 annually for field research in ecology, systematics, evolutionary biology, and conservation biology. Grants are designed to assist with travel, supplies, equipment and other costs associated with field work (refer to guidelines below for allowable costs).

Proposals will be evaluated for scholarly merit, project design and feasibility, and contribution to the future of conservation in the region. Researchers must obtain all necessary permits prior to conducting field research.

Proposals are due December 31st, 2023. If you have questions, please contact Samantha Young at or call 619-816-2683.

Howie Wier Memorial Conservation Grant

The Wier Grant assists graduate students conducting field studies in the Colorado Desert and Peninsular Range region of southern California.

Harold A. “Howie” Wier (1952 – 2001) was a native San Diegan and a lifelong naturalist. He worked as a biological consultant and conservation biologist throughout Southern California. He was active in the California Native Plant Society, a past President of San Diego Audubon and a long-time member of the Anza-Borrego Foundation. This grant program was established by Anza-Borrego Foundation with the help of Howie’s family, friends and colleagues as a fitting tribute to Howie’s passion.

Paul Jorgensen Research Grant

The Jorgensen Grant assists graduate students, post-graduate researchers or professionals conducting field studies within the Colorado Desert and Peninsular Ranges of southern California. Research within State Parks of the region may receive special consideration in the award process.

Paul D. Jorgensen (1946 – 2012) was born in San Diego and spent his life enjoying the diverse ecosystems of the region. He surfed the coast, studied wildlife on the Channel Islands, managed the Tijuana National Estuarine Sanctuary and worked as a State Park Resource Ecologist in the Colorado Desert District of California State Parks. Paul was passionate about bird research and restoring local ecosystems. He studied the light footed clapper rail for his Master’s Degree in Ecology, made many discoveries of bird species in the region, managed nesting surveys for the endangered least Bell’s vireo, coordinated the San Diego County Bird Atlas for the east county, conducted post-burn studies in Cuyamaca Rancho after wildfires and led many birding tours throughout the region. Paul was always grateful for a grant he received while in college to carry out his field work on the clapper rail. This grant is given in his memory as a fitting way to carry on his passion and legacy.

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