Call for Research Proposals (click for downloadable pdf)

 Purpose: The Washington Biologists’ Field Club (WBFC), organized in 1900, annually provides competitive grants to support field research on the natural history of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States. The WBFC welcomes proposals that consider aspects of natural history, systematics, biodiversity, ecology, or environmental issues. This year, studies focusing on organisms occurring on Plummers Island, Maryland, and within the Potomac River drainage will be given high priority for funding, but field-based research projects conducted throughout the Mid-Atlantic will also be considered for funding. The WBFC is particularly interested in studies increasing knowledge of the biodiversity, conservation, and natural history of poorly-known taxa. Awards that were funded in 2022 supported studies of small mammal population biology, bird movement, migration, and habitat use, microplastics in the food chain, rare plant conservation, plant-insect interactions, host-parasitoid interactions, and ant ecology. 

Eligibility: Applications are accepted from individuals qualified to perform the proposed research. Applicants who are not members of the WBFC are required to obtain a letter of sponsorship from a WBFC member. A list of sponsors is available at the club’s web site (https://wbfc.science/; click on the “Research” link). The sponsoring member need not be involved in the applicant’s research or the publication of results, but must be familiar with applicant’s scientific abilities, credentials, and proposed research. The sponsor will serve as liaison between the grant recipient and the WBFC Research Committee during the term of the award. 

Financial information: WBFC provides awards of up to $5,000 for selected studies. Proposals requesting smaller amounts ($50–$3,000) are strongly encouraged, because these permit WBFC to support a greater number and diversity of studies. Awardees are reimbursed for qualified expenses upon submission of receipts. Funds may be used for travel to study sites, actual field expenses, research assistance, and cost of specialized equipment and tests. Principal Investigator’s salary, publication costs, and overhead or administrative costs are not supported. Awards for projects that include funds for field or research assistants must have those funds or the entire award run through their institution’s sponsored research office. The WBFC does not directly reimburse stipends or salary. Equipment purchased with WBFC funds becomes the property of the institution with which the researcher is affiliated at the time the proposal is funded. 

Duration: Grants are officially awarded for one year, but applicants will have until January 1, 2025, to spend 2023 award funds. After that date, unspent funds revert to the WBFC. 

Application procedure: An application consists of (1) a description of the project, including title, name and affiliation of applicant, and a concise (≤ 1000 words) referenced explanation of the project that includes its scientific significance and relevance to the Mid-Atlantic Region; (2) a clear, itemized budget listing anticipated expenses and explanations of expenses; (3) a time table that includes the anticipated spending schedule and completion date; (4) a curriculum vitae of the applicant, including educational background and a list of publications; and (5) a letter of support from a sponsoring member. Items #1–4 should be sent as a single electronic file (pdf). The letter of support may be sent separately. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the letter of support arrives before the deadline. Items #4 & 5 are not required for applications from WBFC members. Incomplete proposals will not be considered. 

Responsibilities: A status report summarizing project activities is required by 1 February 2024, and a final report must be submitted to the WBFC Research Committee chair before 1 February 2025. Publications from studies supported by WBFC should acknowledge WBFC support, and PDFs of publications should be provided to the Chair of the Research Committee. It is the responsibility of the grantee to obtain Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees approvals and all appropriate research permits. Voucher specimens should be deposited in an appropriate institution. 

Submission: Applications and letters of support should be submitted by email to: 

John Lill, Chair, WBFC Research Committee 


The deadline for submissions is January 20, 2023. 

You should receive an e-mail acknowledging that your application has been received. The committee anticipates reviewing applications immediately following the deadline, and applicants should receive notification of the status of their proposals by the end of February 2023

Bat Survey On Plummer’s Island – September 16, 2022

Dr. Shannon Browne, Senior Lecturer at University of Maryland, is surveying along with students enrolled in ENST499 to see which bat species are active on Plummers Island and will report to WBFC and agencies involved with the island.  

Historically, there are 10 different bat taxa known to be on the Island. UMD microphone monitors are set at various location on the island including one at the cabin.

Spring Shad Bake April 30, 2022

We had a perfect day for the Shad Bake this year. Weather wasn’t too hot and the water wasn’t too high. We are almost back to normal after 2 years of COVID19 social restrictions. We had both Shad and Salmon for the grill and lots of our standard fair.

At the Shad Bake on Plummers Island on Saturday, April 30, 2022, Ralph Eckerlin and George Watson remembered the lives of Walt Bulmer and Bill Stern. Walt and Bill were long-time members of the Washington Biologists’ Field Club, and both passed away recently.

Guests for 2022 Shad Bake

Remembering Walter Bulmer (1942-2021)

Walt Bulmer passed away early on the morning of November 29, 2021. He was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1998 and served as Secretary and President of the Club. Walt regularly participated in work days and field outings on Plummers Island. We all enjoyed seeing him at WBFC outings and ASM meetings and catching up with him about mammal trapping and other field adventures. He will be remembered for the signature Schaefer beer he always brought with him to the WBFC events.  He will be sincerely missed.

Memorial Service

WBFC Biography