Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards

photo by Vincent van Zalinge

An award program to fund innovative strategies for humane, nonlethal wildlife conflict management and improved methods of wildlife study.

The Animal Welfare Institute is now accepting applications for its 2023 Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards. This award program provides up to $15,000 to recipients to help spur innovative research on humane, nonlethal tools and techniques for wildlife conflict management and for studying wildlife. Applications are due March 27, 2023.

Apply Now


Habitat destruction and degradation, urban and suburban sprawl, and ongoing challenges posed by invasive species make conflicts between wildlife and humans inevitable. Homeowners, property managers, and biologists need humane, effective strategies to deal with conflicts—whether the encounter involves coyotes, deer, Canada geese, bears, exotic species, or a host of other animals. Though improved techniques to address some situations have been developed, more are needed. Similarly, methodologies used to study wildlife need to be humane.

The Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards—named in honor of the organization’s late founder and president for over 50 years—was created to stimulate and support efforts to (1) devise new, nonlethal techniques and strategies and test existing products for the purpose of humanely remedying wildlife conflicts and (2) improve methods of wildlife study. With this award program we aim to honor Mrs. Stevens’ legacy and inspire a new generation of compassionate wildlife scientists, managers, and advocates.

Application Information

  • To qualify for the award, the study must be conducted within the United States, Canada, and/or Mexico.
  • Studies using new methodologies or that involve the innovative use of existing technologies are particularly welcome.
  • Award recipients must agree to submit a 500-word summary of their study findings and at least two photographs related to their research approximately one year after receipt of funding for potential publication in the AWI Quarterly magazine.
  • Previous award winners do not qualify for a new award for the same study in consecutive years.
  • Where applicable, award recipients will be required to provide documentation of IACUC approval (or similar approvals for educational institutions in Canada or Mexico) for their study.
  • Award funds cannot be used to pay for any indirect costs.
  • Questions about this award program or the application should be directed to

Christine Stevens

Christine Stevens has long been called the “Mother of the Animal Protection Movement” in America. For over half a century, she dedicated her life to reducing animal suffering both here and abroad. In the words of Dr. Jane Goodall: “Christine Stevens was a giant voice for animal welfare. Passionate, yet always reasoned, she took up one cause after another and she never gave up. Millions of animals are better off because of Christine’s quiet and very effective advocacy.”

Christine Stevens

Christine founded the Animal Welfare Institute to end the cruel treatment of animals in experimental laboratories. Inevitably, her work expanded to take on other animal welfare causes, including preventing animal extinctions due to anthropogenic causes, reforming methods used to raise animals for food, banning steel-jaw leghold traps, ending commercial whaling, and much more. Christine supported wildlife management programs that were “win-win” situations—such as highway underpasses to facilitate wildlife movements, wildlife birth control, beaver bafflers to minimize or prevent beaver-caused flooding, and perching platforms that protect raptors from electrocution.

  • Cody Aylward of University of California, Davis for developing and implementing a novel, noninvasive genetic survey of the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.
  • Dr. Zoe Hanley of Defenders of Wildlife for testing and evaluating advanced radio-activated guard box technology to deter gray wolves from killing livestock in grazing areas in select western states, thereby further developing an important tool for reducing predator-livestock conflicts.
  • Dr. Karen Herman of Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary for evaluating refined PZP-22 fertility control vaccines for wild horses in the Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico, and monitoring the results to develop long-term, minimally invasive, and sustainable herd management.
  • Dr. Aerin Jacob of Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative for measuring winter recreation and how it may affect at-risk species, including wolverines and grizzly bears, in the Canadian Rockies.
  • Dr. Susan McRae of East Carolina University for developing noninvasive monitoring techniques, including the use of infrared trail cameras and collecting and analyzing environmental DNA from soil and water samples, to improve the conservation of threatened eastern black rails in North Carolina.
  • Dr. Maureen Murray of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University for investigating rodenticide exposure among red-tailed hawks, with broader implications for other birds of prey.
  • Dr. Beth Brady of Mote Marine Laboratory for using novel technologies, including aerial drones and acoustic recordings, to investigate how Antillean manatees are affected by tour boats in Mexico’s Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
  • Dr. Tracey Tuberville of University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory for evaluating the suitability of repatriating confiscated and rehabilitated Eastern box turtles—recovered from the illegal wildlife trade—back into the wild.
  • Dr. Jessica Castillo Vardaro of San Jose State University for assessing the American pika population’s vulnerability to various threats, including climate change and livestock grazing, through genetic analysis of their fecal pellets.
  • Tali Caspi of the University of California, Davis for linking the diet of coyotes to human-coyote interactions in an urban environment.
  • Samantha Kreling of the University of Washington for investigating urban coyote diet using noninvasive metagenomics.
  • Kristy Ferraro of Yale University Forestry & Environmental Studies for using isotopic signatures to track migratory wildlife food acquisition and nutrient deposition.
  • Dr. Anik Boileau of the Sept-Iles Research & Education Centre for validating infrared thermography as a noninvasive tool to measure stress in free-ranging whales.
  • Kiah Williams of Tulane University for assessing the causes of nest failure in three beach-nesting bird species using camera surveillance.
  • Samuel Hervey of Michigan Technological University for developing a noninvasive genetic sampling tool to conserve emblematic American wolf populations.
  • Rob Walton of The Beaver Coalition for empowering nonlethal solutions to human/beaver conflicts.
  • Dr. Melanie Murphy of the University of Wyoming for assessing amphibian population trends in southeast Wyoming using a community science approach.
  • Timothy Boycott of the College of William & Mary for projecting acoustic signals to reduce bird collisions with human-made structures in open airspace.
  • Dr. Angela Dassow of Carthage College for passively tracking the locations of packs of wild gray wolves in central Wisconsin through acoustic monitoring of their howls in order to reduce human-wolf conflicts.
  • Dr. Karen Herman of Mt. Taylor Mustangs for using population surveys and science-based fertility control to develop a humane, sustainable herd management plan for the free-roaming herd of horses in Placitas, New Mexico.
  • Dr. William Holben of the University of Montana for conducting noninvasive analysis of scat samples of North American elk to identify microbial biomarkers for wildlife disease management.
  • Naomi Louchouarn of the University of Wisconsin-Madison for investigating the effects of using range riders trained in low-stress handling to return herding instincts to livestock, making them less vulnerable to attacks by large carnivores in southwestern Alberta.
  • Paige Singer of Rocky Mountain Wild for collecting valuable wildlife data to inform the design of the Vail Pass Wildlife Byway in Colorado, which would improve landscape connectivity for multiple species.
  • Dr. James Anderson of West Virginia University for developing noninvasive genetic and environmental DNA methods for monitoring salamander distribution to aid in conservation efforts.
  • Stacy Cotey of Michigan Tech University for analyzing the snow tracks left by northern river otters to create individual genetic profiles to better monitor the animals’ behaviors, population numbers and genetic diversity.
  • Dr. Maureen Murray of the Tufts University Wildlife Clinic for determining accurate methods of screening red-tailed hawks to document exposure to dangerous anticoagulant rodenticides.
  • Dr. Susan Parks of Syracuse University for using noninvasive digital acoustic tags to quantify how often Florida manatees are involved in close encounters with oceangoing vessels and to assess their behavioral responses.
  • Christine Proctor of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology for using thermal imaging captured via drones to evaluate the population status of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, a threatened species.
  • Dr. Tracey Tuberville of the University of Georgia for studying the dispersal, health and survival of “waif” gopher tortoises (gopher tortoises who have been injured, collected illegally or have unknown origins), to determine whether these formerly captive tortoises are suitable for release into the wild.
  • Dr. Andrew Von Duyke of the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management for monitoring polar bears of the Alaska-Chukotka subpopulation by sampling environmental DNA from snow tracks to genetically “fingerprint” individual animals and estimate the size of the subpopulation.
  • Dr. Stewart Breck of the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center and Colorado State University for improving fladry, a nonlethal tool to deter coyotes and thereby reduce predation pressure on the endangered black-footed ferret.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Burgess of the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium for developing noninvasive biomarkers to better monitor threats to the health of Florida manatees.
  • Beth A. Fitzpatrick of the University of Wyoming for studying the effectiveness of noninvasive methods to monitor greater sage-grouse populations.
  • Dr. Rachel Graham of MarAlliance for a noninvasive study to document and conserve ray species along Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
  • Jason Holmberg of Wild Me for modernizing the study of Hawaiian hawksbill sea turtles using noninvasive photo-identification tools and computer technology.
  • Dr. Andrea Morehouse of Waterton Biosphere Reserve for assessing the effectiveness of nonlethal mitigation strategies to reduce conflicts involving grizzly bears and livestock.
  • Dr. Karen Herman and Dr. Allen Rutberg of Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary for developing more humane methods to assess wild horse population size and distribution in order to guide the use of immunocontraception for population management.
  • Dr. Brooke Maslo of Rutgers University for evaluating artificial roost structures to minimize the impact on bats evicted from human-occupied dwellings, and for determining which factors contribute to structure use.
  • Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife for testing the E-shepherd collar as a nonlethal deterrent to predators in order to protect sheep in the northwestern United States.
  • Dr. Deborah Woollett and Dr. Ngaio Richards of Working Dogs for Conservation for using scent detection dogs to detect the presence of anticoagulant rodenticides and develop mitigation measures to protect the endangered San Joaquin kit fox in California.
  • Dr. Brian Darby of the University of North Dakota: New research on non-invasive methods to monitor polar bears
  • Pieter Folkens of the Alaska Whale Foundation: Developing a new and less invasive method to free entangled whales
  • <Kristine Inman of the Wildlife Conservation Society: Research to create and test wildlife-friendly fencing
  • Dr. Mary Beth Manjerovic of the Lincoln Park Zoo: New research on non-invasive methods to monitor amphibian health and stress
  • Dr. Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy: Developing a new method to test glass samples to reduce bird collisions
  • Dr. Duff Kennedy of Santa Barbara Zoo: California condor nest-guarding program
  • Professor Janet Mann of Georgetown University: Noninvasive hormone monitoring in captive and wild cetaceans: collection and analysis of blow as a novel stress test
  • Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife: Assessing the efficacy of foxlights in reducing wolf-livestock conflict
  • Dr. Ron Sutherland of Wildlands Network: Ecological impacts of the red wolf in eastern North Carolina
  • Dr. Rob Williams of Oceans Initiative: Compassionate conservation: assessing sustainability and welfare aspects of marine mammal deaths in British Columbia salmon farms
  • Dr. David Bird of McGill University: Use of a remotely piloted aerial system to census raptor nests
  • Dr. Anthony Clevenger of the Western Transportation Institute: Developing a noninvasive method of locating wolverine maternal areas at a landscape scale
  • Dr. Peter Coppolillo of Working Dogs for Conservation: Safeguarding Montana’s wildlife from aquatic contaminants noninvasively, using conservation canines
  • Jennifer Mae-White Day of the University of Washington: Preventing human-wildlife conflicts through noninvasive landscape-level analysis of habitat requirements and connectivity
  • Dr. Kerry Foresman of the University of Montana: Hair traps: A noninvasive methodology for shrews and other small mammals in Montana
  • Dr. Michael Sawaya of Sinopah Wildlife Research Associates: Coupling noninvasive genetic sampling methods with cellular-enabled remote cameras to improve detection rates
  • Michael Callahan of Beaver Solutions LLC: Enable salmon passage at beaver water control devices
  • Dr. Joshua Miller of the Florida Museum of Natural History: Antlers of the arctic refuge: revealing historical caribou calving grounds from bones on the tundra
  • Dr. Maureen Murray of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University: Rodenticides in four species of birds of prey: assessing results of recent EPA action
  • Dr. Jooke Robbins of Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies: Humpback whale entanglement rates in relation to management initiatives
  • Laurel Klein Serieys of the University of California, Los Angeles: The sublethal consequences of anticoagulant exposure in bobcats
  • Antonia Rodrigues of Simon Fraser University: Developing techniques to recover and analyze DNA from processed pangolin products for combating illegal wildlife trade
  • David Ausband of the University of Montana: Biofence: A non-lethal tool for deterring wolf/livestock conflicts
  • Dr. Thomas Gehring and Robert Truax of Central Michigan University: Developing a noninvasive technique for estimating bobcat populations: implications for imperiled felids

Share This!