Grants Program

The J. Larry Landers Student Research Award

Student research award The J. Larry Landers Student Research Award is a Gopher Tortoise Council competitive grant program for undergraduate and graduate college students. Proposals can address research concerning gopher tortoise biology or any other relevant aspect of upland habitat conservation and management. The amount of the award is variable, but has averaged $1,000.00 over the last few years. The proposal should be limited to four pages in length and should include a description of the project, a concise budget, and a brief resume of the student. This is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to access funding for their projects. The deadline for grant proposals each year is the 15th of September.

Please send electronic submissions to:

Dave Steen, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor
Auburn University

Please contact Dave Steen for further information.

Past Winners:

Rhett Rautsaw, University of Central Florida
Examining corridor use and the feasibility of inland retreat by gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus).

Jeffrey Goessling, Auburn University
Analysis of pathogen load across populations of gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus)

Daniel P. Quinn, University of Georgia
Effect of captive diet on nutrition and analyzing nutrition as a predictor of post-release performance in head-started gopher tortoises.

K. Nicole White, University of Georgia
Social network in female gopher tortoises in a long-term study population at Archbold Biological Station.

Alex Wright, University of Georgia
Identifying the spatial extent of a gopher tortoise population and genetic connectivity of populations across a landscape.

Brad O’Hanlon, Marshall University
Ecology and behavior of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake in anthropogenic landscapes.

Michelina Dziadzio, University of Georgia
Predation on gopher tortoise nests using chicken eggs.

Mark Margres, Florida State University
Conservation genetics of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake.

Beth Schlimm, University of Georgia
Investigating linkages between habitat condition and snake species richness in the Coastal Plain of Georgia.

Michael L. Yuan, Cornell University
Characterization of cryptic kin structure in female gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) at Archbold Biological Station.

Daniel Gaillard, University of Southern Mississippi
Relationships of gopher tortoise gut-microbial communities and nutrients.

Nicole Hodges, Mississippi State University
Metabolic bone disease in gopher tortoises at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center and on Public Forest lands of South Mississippi.

Joanne Makin, University of Birmingham (United Kingdom)
Recolonization of scrub and sandhill by gopher tortoises following the reintroduction of fire at Archbold Biological Station.

Leigh Colley, Georgia Southern University
FSH challenge in Gopherus polyphemus and sex hormone differentiation in response to greater carapace length.

Pam Pannozzo, University of Central Florida
Evaluation of translocation as a conservation tool.

Jessica Gonynor-McGuire, University of Georgia
Gopher tortoise population health and disease ecology in Georgia.

Chris Catano, University of Central Florida
Goper tortoise influence on sandhill vertebrate diversity.

Kristine Amatuli, University of North Florida
Ongoing study of gopher tortoise population on University of North Florida campus.

Joshua Scholl, Florida Atlantic University
Gopher tortoise habitat use in a southeastern Florida population.

Rachel Smith, University of North Florida
Gopher tortoise demography and reproduction at White Oak Plantation, Florida.

Thomas W. Hentges, University of South Florida
Is the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) compatible with cows?

Aaron Holbrook, University of Southern Mississippi
Stress levels in female gopher tortoises and their eggs from low & high impact areas.

Jessica Gonynor, University of Georgia
Gopher Tortoise Population Health and Disease Ecology in Georgia.

Anthony Lau, University of Florida, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Gainesville, FL
Home range and movement patterns of Gopher Tortoises in Coastal Sand Dune Habitat.

Danna Baxley, University of Southern Mississippi
Conservation biology and ecology of the black pine snake in Mississippi.

Roger Birkhead, Auburn University

Natalie Hyslop, University of Georgia
Spatial ecology and habitat use of the threatened eastern indigo snake in southeast Georgia.

Jamie Colson, University of South Florida
Determination of paternity patterns in gopher tortoises using DNA microsatellites .

Jayme Waldron, Clemson University
Ecology of the canebrake rattlesnake in areas of sympatry with the eastern diamondback rattlesnake.

Erin Clark, University of Georgia
Research and development of conservation plans for the establishment of a reproductively self-sustaining population of gopher tortoises on the Aiken gopher tortoise reserve.

James Tucker, Auburn University
Influence of season and frequency of fire on reproductive success of Bachman’s sparrow in longleaf pine forests of the Gulf coastal plain.

Noah Anderson, Southeastern Louisiana University
Thermal ecology of gopher tortoises.

William Blihovde, University of Central Florida
Movements and site fidelity in gopher frogs.

Ghislaine Guyot,
Upper Respiratory Tract Disease and tortoise relocation.

Steve Johnson, University of Florida
Conservation genetics of the striped newt.

William Blihovde, University of Central Florida
The life history of the gopher frog in Central Florida.

Tracey Tuberville, University of Georgia
Movement and activity patterns of the southern hognose snake in South Carolina.

Jeannine Ott, Auburn
The relationship between movement and the reproductive cycle in a natural population of gopher tortoises: applications to conservation and management.

Kathryn Buchanan, University of Central Florida
Lake Louisa Sandhill restoration experiment: restoring grasses and forbs.

Elenor Mobley, University of Central Florida
A baseline population study of the southern fence lizard in Central Florida.

Melissa Dills, Auburn
Coloniality in the gopher tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus.

Karl Studenroth and Adrianne Bosarge, University of Mobile
A survey of the occurrence of Gopherus polyphemus on the campus of the University of Mobile, Mobile Co. Alabama.

Michael Belson, University of Central Florida
Habitat selection by red-headed woodpeckers in the Wekiva River Basin, Florida.

Jeffrey P. Demuth, Southeastern Louisiana University
A test of the effects of incubation temperature on sex determination and performance of hatchling gopher tortoises.

Gerald Johnson, University of Miami
Thermal ecology of the gopher tortoise in south-central Florida: seasonal and ontogenetic aspects.

Pamela Kwiatkowski, University of South Florida
Paternity determination and behavioral interaction in male gopher tortoises.

Parks Small, University of Central Florida
Florida scrub jays in the Wekiva River Basin and an evaluation of a habitat management technique.

Judith Hicklin, Florida Atlantic University
Gopher tortoise habitat utilization in relation to invading exotic woody plants.

Matt Osentoski, East Carolina University
Mitochondrial DNA variation in the gopher tortoise, gopher tick and gopher cricket.

Lora Smith, University of Florida
Nesting ecology, female home range and activity, and survivorship in gopher tortoises.

Donna J. Heinrich Environmental Education Grant

The GTC Environmental Education Grant was established to support educators and organizations committed to developing educational projects about the gopher tortoise and the fascinating world in which it lives. The grant also honors Donna June Heinrich, an environmental educator, whose life was dedicated to conserving wildlife and their associated habitats.

Deadline for submission of each year’s proposals is August 31st.

Grant proposal forms may be emailed to you or you may download forms here 

GTC Grant Proposal Form
GTC Grant Proposal Form
GTC Grant Proposal Form.docx
20.0 KiB

All proposals must be submitted digitally. Proposals submitted in a format other than the provided form or that are incomplete will not be accepted. Proposals which contain the following will be given preference:

  • Projects that reach diverse and new audiences.
  • Projects that focus on the importance of the conservation of intact upland ecosystems.
  • Projects that encourage community involvement.
  • Projects that have matching funds.

GTC’s maximum annual environmental education grant budget is $4,000, with a maximum request of $2,000 per project. Actual amounts awarded vary from year to year, depending on donations received.

A project summary for “The Tortoise Burrow” newsletter and either a presentation or poster at the following year’s GTC annual meeting will be required.

To Apply
Please submit the provided form (attached below) along with the following required information:

  • Cover Sheet
  • Detailed budget that includes expenses and matching funds
  • A maximum two page summary that includes a description of:
  • The goals and objectives.
  • Details on the project.
  • How the project will educate about the importance of gopher tortoises and/or upland ecosystems
  • The target audience

Past Winners:

Zoo Miami
To create a visitor engagement cart to be manned by Teen Conservation Scientists (high school volunteers) to interact with zoo visitors concerning gopher tortoises and upland conservation.

Chinsegut Nature Center
Purchase of burrow scope with DVR capability to reach school age children through their nature programs.

Madeleine Dunphy
Children’s book entitled “At Home with the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species”.

Water Works Environmental Education Center
Interpretive panels for gopher tortoise enclosure.

Sawgrass Nature Center & Wildlife Hospital
Keystone Species Interpretation Signage.

Pasco County Environmental Lands
Gopher Tortoises – Heart of the Sandhills.

Chinsegut Conservation Center
Gopher Tortoise Burrow.

The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center at Nokuse Plantation
Habitat Restoration of the Gopher Tortoise Habitat Display.

Chehaw Wild Animal Park in Albany, Georgia
Gopher Tortoise Population Survey and Community Programming.

Joshua School, SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education Sustainability and Diversity)
Creation of the Tortuga Trail: A “living Classroom” Approach to Achieving Gopher Tortoise and Upland Habitat Conservation.

Zander Strodes
Reprinting 5,000 copies of the Gopher Tortoise Activity book to be distributed for free. You can download a copy from the Education page on this site.

Alabama Coastal Foundation
Gulf Coast Bay Buddie Program: Development and printing of activity books for K-3 students that are given to students after attending an outreach program.

Fort White Middle School/High School
Providing materials for their educational program: Restore the long leaf pine forest and preserve the upland sandhill ecosystem at Ichetucknee Springs State Park.

Friends of the Enchanted Forest
Providing materials for 3 educational programs: Gopher Tortoise Investigation, Gopher Tortoise Outreach and Gopher Tortoise Cart.

The Jekyll Island Foundation
Materials for two educational programs: Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins, Oh My! and Turtles for Tomorrow that teaches conservation of gopher tortoises considering habitat loss, modification and fragmentation, the illegal pet trade, URTD and the importance of tortoises as a keystone species.

Kristin Wood, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Center
Chinsegut Nature Center Tortoise Trail.

Abbe Gleicher, Carver Middle School
Carver Middle’s Gopher Tortoise Preserve.

Sheryl Terepka, J. Collin English Elementary School
The Junior Creek Explorers Investigate Gopher Tortoises at Powell Creek Preserve.

Daniel A DeSousa
Scrub Habitat Instructional Research Program.

Paula H. Chambers, Ph.D. West Bainbridge Elementary School
Look! Do You Think Something Lives in This Hole? Elementary students learn about the gopher tortoise and the characteristic animals that live in gopher tortoise burrows. Students examine the importance of conservation of the longleaf pine ecosystem.

Be Sociable, Share!