Watchable Wildlife Grant Program

The 2023 grant application period has closed. This grant will reopen in spring of 2025.

In 2021, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) created the Washington Watchable Wildlife Grant Program to support wildlife viewing opportunities and foster appreciation and stewardship of wildlife. Funds to support the Washington Watchable Wildlife Grant come from the Wild on Washington: Eagle license plate – one of WDFW’s specialized license plates.

Flyer for the Watchable Wildlife Grant program
Download the Watchable Wildlife Grant flyer (PDF)

Watchable wildlife or wildlife viewing is a recreational activity of observing animals or signs of animals in their habitats (e.g. tracks, nests, scat). This includes exploring habitat in person or online to better understand wildlife.

WDFW’s Watchable Wildlife Program as defined by RCW 77.32.560 includes but is not limited to: Initiating partnerships with communities to jointly develop watchable wildlife projects, building infrastructure to serve wildlife viewers, assisting and training communities in conducting wildlife watching events, developing destination wildlife viewing corridors and trails, tours, maps, brochures, and travel aides, and offering grants to assist rural communities in identifying key wildlife attractions and ways to protect and promote them.

WDFW will accept grant applications for projects that create, improve, increase, and/or promote opportunities for communities to view or experience wildlife.

WDFW prioritizes initiatives that are brought forward by or are co-developed with underserved and marginalized communities to address stated community needs that are imbued with equity and justice values. Ideal proposals will benefit or address barriers for underrepresented communities and/or apply diversity, equity, and inclusivity in their projects.

2023 Grant application schedule

  • April 17: Application open
  • June 11: Application due 11:59pm PST
  • June 12 - July 21: Application review
  • July 24 - July 28: Award notification
  • July 31 - Sept 8: Grant contracts issued
  • Sept 11: Project initiation
  • June 23, 2025: All costs must be incurred and project deliverables due.


  • Total available to disperse amongst selected applicant(s): $30,000
  • Grant award minimum: $5,000

Funding from WDFW will be provided in the form of reimbursement for allowed expenditures.


Grant is intended to:

  • Create, improve, increase, and/or promote opportunities to view wildlife.
  • Benefit Washington wildlife and residents.
  • Increase awareness of wildlife conservation and/or increase biodiversity efforts in communities.
  • Increase community involvement in wildlife conservation.

Grant is NOT intended to:

  • Fund citizen/community science with data collection as the primary goal.
  • Fund projects outside of Washington.
  • Cover overhead costs related to administration, such as staff salaries or benefits, facility rent, etc.

Project examples

  • Developing a pollinator garden in a schoolyard or community space.
  • Taking students from a Title I school on a trip to a local WDFW wildlife area.
  • Create signage for wildlife identification in a park or along a trail.
  • Building bird or bat boxes with a scout troop.
  • Install wildlife viewing platforms or viewing binoculars/telescopes.
  • Hosting a community event to ride bikes and go birding together.
  • Incorporating ADA-accessible features and materials into a nature viewing space.

Who can apply

  • Individuals
  • Non-profits
  • Schools
  • Local and county governments
  • Federally-recognized tribes

WDFW employees are NOT eligible to apply for the Watchable Wildlife Grant.

Matching funds and efforts

A project match of 25% or more will be ranked higher in the scoring process. Match must be listed in project proposal. Matching costs may be cash (a proportion of each dollar spent on project activities being paid for by WDFW funds) or in-kind (non-cash contributions towards the project)

A match may include:

  • Funds
  • Labor (this grant will NOT reimburse grantee salaries or benefits for grantee staff working on these projects)
  • Equipment
  • Materials
  • Federal, state, local, or private grants

Application Requirements

Introduction (150 words or less)

Please tell us about yourself or the organization you’re representing and the project or effort you are proposing.

Project Description (250 words or less)

  1. Explain how project relates to watchable wildlife/wildlife viewing.
  2. Explain how project creates, increases, and/or promotes opportunities to view wildlife.
  3. Clearly define project details, goals, and partners.

Outreach and education (150 words or less)

  1. Describe your target audience you are trying to engage.
  2. Describe how project will engage with target audience.

Diversity, equity, & inclusion (250 words or less)

  1. Explain if your project plans to address ways to be more diverse, equitable, or inclusive to underserved audiences or is imbued with equity and justice values.
  2. Explain if your project plans to connect with an underrepresented audience and if so, who that audience is.
  3. Describe if your project plans to meet a stated community need or address a barrier to participation.
  4. Is your project being brought forward by/co-developed with the audience/underserved communities it intends to serve? Please explain why or why not.

Methods (150 words or less)

  1. Describe how you plan to measure success of effort.
  2. Describe how data will be collected from participants, public, and/or project.

Operations (150 words or less)

Note: overhead costs are not eligible for funding.

  1. Clearly define requested grant dollar amount and detailed budget justification.
    • Clearly describe use and costs of budget in line-item form (word limit does not apply).
    • Describe matching funds, in-kind hours, or other types of match.
  2. Clearly describe the deliverable(s) for your project.

Contact (required)

  • Name
  • Job title (if applicable)
  • Email
  • Phone number

Attachments (optional)


Please direct questions to:

Kelsey Hansen (she/her)
Watchable Wildlife Coordinator