NYSWRC Scholarships and Grants

The New York State Wildlife Rehabilitators Council offers its members financial awards to support their work as licensed wildlife rehabilitators. These fall into two general categories: (1) Scholarships to help defray the cost of attending our Annual Conference, and (2) Grants to support the field work of wildlife rehabilitators.

  1. Applications for Conference Scholarships are accepted September 1st through October 15th of each year.
  2. Applications must be submitted online at the NYSWRC website.
  3. An applicant must be a current member in good standing of NYSWRC and either be currently licensed as a NY State Wildlife Rehabilitator or working as an assistant to a Class ll Licensed NYS Wildlife Rehabilitator.
  4. Only one award is given per person per year and preference is given to applicants who have not received an award in the previous 24 months.
  5. Conference Scholarships:
    • In addition to the application, applicants are required to submit a statement explaining how  the conference will help with their rehabilitation work.
    • The scholarship funds will be disbursed during the conference and may be in the form of a refund or credit.
    • Recipients are expected to attend three days of the on-site Conference, or at least half of the sessions for the Conference if virtual. NYSWRC reserves the right to withhold the disbursement if the attendance requirement is not fulfilled.
    • Scholarship and grant winners may be asked to write 1-2 paragraphs describing the benefit to them of receiving the award and attending the conference. This may be used in NYSWRC announcements, and will be due by March 15th of the year following the award.


The Joanne Dreeben Memorial Scholarship
Joanne Dreeben of Yonkers, NY was a long-time licensed wildlife rehabilitator and member of NYSWRC. She specialized in the care of small mammals and songbirds. Over the years Joanne helped numerous new rehabbers find their way and also provided emotional support and advice for the more advanced rehabber based on her own wealth of experience. In addition, she was very engaged in educating the public about wildlife rehabilitation in the hope of recruiting more rehabbers into the fold. The Joanne Dreeben Memorial Scholarship is given to enhance the training and education of new wildlife rehabilitators.

The Connie Feissner Memorial Scholarship
Connie Feissner was a NYS licensed wildlife rehabber who worked from her home in Cortland, NY for many years. She specialized in squirrels, rabbits and opossums with particular attention paid to raising newborns until they could be released. She got involved with NYSWRC shortly after beginning her rehab career and attended seminars and Conferences religiously as she expanded her knowledge and skills – including becoming a licensed euthanasia technician. Her dedication even led her to serve on the NYSWRC Board as its Treasurer, to work for the local SPCA, and even to form such a close working relationship with the nearby Cornell University’s Wild Animal Clinic that they would occasionally call her for advice!

The Connie Feissner Scholarship is funded by generous donations from her husband, George, who honors her memory and love for wildlife rehabilitation work and the animals that she was always there to help.


NYSWRC Facilities Grants
Grants will be awarded to independent NYS licensed wildlife rehabilitators working out of their homes and may be used towards:

  • building or updating facilities.
  • caging utilized for housing wildlife being rehabilitated.
  • for emergency provisions for wildlife during extraordinary circumstances.

Grants may also be used towards purchasing equipment used solely for wildlife rehabilitation purposes – for example, freezers, refrigerators, scales, incubators, microscopes or other applicable equipment.

Examples of emergency provisions for wildlife might be for mealworms for bats effected by the Covid crisis, or fish for waterfowl during a severe winter freeze-over.

Applications for a NYSWRC Facilities Grants are accepted from June 1st through October 15th each year (year-round for emergency provisions). Funds are allocated on an annual basis and may be limited based on the number of requests received during the year.

In addition to the basic application, applicants for a Facilities Grant must also submit the following:

  1. A description of the planned project or equipment purchase.  If applicable, schematics of construction or renovation plans should be included.
  2. An estimate of the total cost of the planned project or purchase and a breakout of how the funds will be used.
  3. An explanation of how the project or equipment will help you in your rehabilitation efforts.

Grant recipients will be asked to submit a follow-up report upon project completion along with 2-3 paragraphs describing the benefit to them of receiving the award.

For questions, please contact us at scholarships@nyswrc.org.