Mianus River Gorge
Research Assistantship Program (RAP)
The Mianus River Gorge (MRG), a land trust and conservation organization in Bedford, NY, awards a Research Assistantship Program (RAP) grant to fund a graduate-level study that investigates environmental challenges in urban and suburban ecosystems. RAP students are awarded a grant of $5,000/yr for two (Master’s) or three (Doctoral) years.
The purpose of this grant is to answer ecological questions related both to conservation in urban and suburban landscapes generally, and to specific issues affecting the MRG Preserve and/or the Mianus Watershed. Thus, while we are happy to consider proposals from students from any location, our local-scale interest combined with the high school mentorship requirements (see below) means that we tend to award the grant to students located in and/or focused on the northeast US.
• Mentor potential – Does the project provide research opportunities for a high school student? Does the applicant and their study design seem to facilitate involvement and cooperation with a high school mentee?
• Research implications - How can the proposed research contribute to improved management, restoration, or conservation of natural resources in suburban and urban landscapes? How will the proposed research inform management of the Mianus River Gorge and/or the Mianus Watershed specifically?
• Project duration - Can the proposed project provide meaningful results during the student’s tenure?
• Funding - Can the research be completed with existing resources?
• Innovative – Does the research utilize new methodologies, theories, or management strategies?
• Impact on existing resource – We are interested in studies that employ methods that minimize disturbance or impact upon the population or resource being studied, particularly regarding the MRG Preserve itself, whenever possible. If invasive or destructive sampling is proposed, there should be a strong justification for its need and a lack of alternatives.
Students interested in all aspects of applied ecology and conservation are encouraged to submit a proposal to RAP. We have funded projects examining a wide spectrum of topics such as songbird nutrition, vernal pool ecology, population genetics, water quality, invasive species management, and wildlife diseases.
Applications are reviewed in two stages. To attract a broad array of ideas, we ask candidates to describe their project in two to four pages. Those candidates whose application successfully meets the above evaluation criteria will be interviewed and asked to provide a more detailed proposal before a final decision is made. We encourage prospective applications to contact us if they have any questions about the grant program.
We prefer to receive applications from and interview the student that will be conducting the research directly, but professors who are recruiting students for a given proposal may also apply. In such cases we ask that the professor contact us directly to discuss their project before submitting an application.
Please apply at:
For examples of previous RAP and WTP projects, see:
Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 914.234.3455
• Applicant must be willing to mentor a high school student for 2.5 years in our authentic research program, the Wildlife Technician Program (WTP).
• Proposed research must directly contribute to a better understanding of urban and suburban ecosystems from a management perspective. We are interested in applied research that will inform land management and develop conservation strategies for natural areas in urbanized landscape, and provide management recommendations to our staff on stewarding the MRG Preserve and the Mianus Watershed.
• Proposed projects can be multi-disciplinary and cover a range of topics, e.g., wildlife biology, human dimensions, watershed or forest management, and ecosystem processes.
• Candidates must be enrolled in a U.S. accredited college (Master’s or PhD program).
• All proposed studies should include the Gorge or its watershed as one of the study sites although other sites may be used (and is encouraged to provide regional relevance to your findings).